When I first immigrated to Canada I was blown away by many things – not least of which was its free press. I had spent more than three decades living under a regime that tolerated no press freedom whatsoever, so I was extremely impressed by what seemed to be an unfettered press.
After watching Global TV this morning my illusions of a free press in Canada are shattered (sadly, not for the first time).
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Here’s what did it: last night Global reported that a study has concluded that the new bike lanes in downtown Vancouver have had a moderate impact on business. This morning I saw what should have been the same story. However, it had changed so much overnight that it made me wonder:
“Who the heck got to Global?”
Reporter Aaron McArthur started off by reminding us that the bike lanes were controversial even before they were installed, and then went on to say that:
“many business owners, impacted by the bike lanes, say the project has been a DISASTER. And a new study by city staff seems to support their opinion.”
Can anyone at Global explain how a study that concludes the impact has been “moderate” can be seen as supporting the opinion that the project has been a disaster?
Here’s a comparison of the terms “moderate” and “disaster”:
“Moderate”: “within reasonable limits; not excessive or extreme.”
“Disaster”: “a state of extreme (usually irremediable) ruin and misfortune.”
Quite a difference in meaning, wouldn’t you say?
In a quick nod to freedom of the press, Counsellor Geoff Meggs was given a chance to speak, pointing out that only four of 150 businesses that were approached by researchers actually sent in detailed responses, and also that there are still just as many cars as ever on the affected streets. The latter indicates that the feared lack of shoppers in cars has not occurred. At the same time, bicycle traffic has also increased – there were 55,000 bike trips this June. To me, this would indicate that there are even more potential shoppers downtown than before.
Next we were (again) reminded that “critics point out there was next to no consultation” – to which I always reply, when was the last time you were consulted about a major highway going in?
The final insult was having to listen to Suzanne Anton yet again. Has Suzanne got a cousin working at Global? Somebody there clearly loves her. With complete disdain for logic, Suzanne told us (again): “I’m a cyclist; I want safe biking facilities.” What I want to know is how continually speaking out against Vancouver’s separated bike lanes is consistent with wanting bike lanes?
And what I want to know even more is: what does Suzanne mean when she keeps claiming to be a cyclist? Does she mean she occasionally throws a leg over a stationary bike at the gym? Certainly, I’ve never seen a photo of her arriving at work on a bike. And I googled images of “Suzanne Anton on a bicycle” and came up with zip.
Of course, I stand to be corrected: if anyone has a photo of Suzanne on a bike I’ll happily post it – and grant her some respect for at least being honest, if not logical … (stationary bikes at gyms don’t count).
Update: Suzanne Anton really is a cyclist – as I have heard from a couple of readers. I am delighted to hear it. Maybe one day she will find herself able to look past partisan politics and start standing up for her fellow cyclists – cycling really is a bigger issue than petty political squabbling: sustainability, health, quality of life, quality of our downtown core …