Falcon stages legislative coup of TransLink for big business, says CUPE BC

    BURNABY, BC, April 27 /CNW/ - Bill 36, the legislative overhaul of
TransLink, is like a staged coup of our region's transportation system by
Kevin Falcon on behalf of big business, says CUPE BC President Barry O'Neill.
He warns the bill paves the way for P3s (public-private partnerships) in
transportation without public scrutiny, and hands taxation powers over to an
unelected group chosen by the business community.
    "This is what the transition from democracy to dictatorship looks like,"
says O'Neill. "In this case, it's a legislative coup orchestrated by the BC
Liberals and their business allies for control over transportation decisions
in the region, and they're determined to stifle democratic dissent."
    O'Neill sees this as Falcon's reaction to "democracy getting in the way"
of the Liberal government's objective to privatize the region's transportation
system and is driven by the government's resentment of the difficulty they had
pushing the Canada Line (RAV line at the time) through the TransLink Board.
The P3 project was defeated twice, before narrowly passing on a third vote. At
the time, Falcon referred to the Board as a "circus."
    Bill 36 replaces the TransLink Board with a new agency called the South
Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority -- an unelected body
pre-selected by a screening panel made up of Liberal insiders including
representatives from the Greater Vancouver Gateway Society, the Vancouver
Board of Trade, and the Minister himself. There is only one elected municipal
politician on this panel.
    A newly formed Mayor's Council only meets twice yearly to make what
O'Neill calls "rubber stamp" approvals of the new Authority's recommendations.

    CUPE BC (Canadian Union of Public Employees B.C. division) represents
SkyTrain workers and supervisors at TransLink.

For further information:

For further information: Barry O'Neill, CUPE BC President, (604)
340-6768; Diane Kalen, CUPE Communications, (778) 229-0258

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