Insert Your New Ideas Here

June Op-ed for the Bridge River Lillooet News

In less than 6 weeks the online passenger train petition has 1,150 signatures, and counting. (https://www.change.org/p/premier-gov-bc-ca-bring-back-the-north-vancouver-to-prince-george-passenger-train) The Facebook page—Bring Back the BC Passenger Train—has hundreds of Likes and shares so far. People are keen to have the service.

But as I connect with people and do research, one negative keeps cooling the excitement: even though population, highway traffic, and tourism have significantly increased since the train was cancelled in 2002, would ridership be enough to make a new service profitable?

To that negative train of thought (sorry, the puns abound) I would say this: it’s time to think beyond old-school revenue models. Why force ridership to be the sole profit generator? Let’s re-imagine the passenger train concept and find ways to maximize the infrastructure in terms of the incoming green economy.

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Some new kind of crazy

We have to change our ways, and fast, and yet our politicians are still smiling for the cameras and pushing fracking and LNG plants; in faraway offices behind closed doors they’re still approving oil and bitumen pipelines that traverse vast stretches of land, up and down mountain ranges, in an active earthquake zone, pipelines that are bound for coastal tankers which will then navigate rugged BC fjords during winter storms and other extreme weather events, pipelines that are bound for tankers that will go right through the heart of Vancouver’s staggering coastal beauty.

And why are politicians dragging their feet and timidly avoiding the green revolution? Because they want to get re-elected. Because they lack vision and/or courage. Because they put politicking over people, because they don’t want to go anywhere near the touchy subject of structural economic change. Because they don’t want people to panic.

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Time for an Online Petition

March Op-ed for the Bridge River Lillooet News

Recently this paper reported the latest developments in the ongoing passenger train campaign (DoL asks communities to get on board, March 16th) and I’d like to suggest that if it’s not already being planned, it’s the perfect time to take the campaign to social media.

An online petition would transcend the distance between the communities along the passenger rail service line. It would be a great tool for revealing unknown pockets of support, gathering more energy and awareness of the issue, and magnifying the voice of the people.

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My Family and Remembrance Day

In 1916, at age 15, my grandfather lied about his age to get into World War I and because he was considered a clown he was charged with the role of bugler. It seems a rather dangerous assignment, announcing to the enemy in loud, tinny notes your whereabouts–not to mention blowing the thing to wake your weary, mud-soaked comrades at 5 in the morning. But there he was, just barely 16, a bugler in the infantry and on the front lines in France.

My grandfather's World War I record from the Dept. of Veteran's Affairs

My grandfather’s World War I record from the Dept. of Veteran’s Affairs.

According to my father, my grandfather wasn’t much of a talker but he would tell one story: on the front line he and a buddy found themselves under heavy fire and dove beneath a wagon for cover. But a bomb exploded on the wagon and when he regained consciousness he reached out to check on his buddy and his hand went right through his abdomen. He had always figured his buddy died but it would take another world war to find out the real story.

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