The Emperor has no Clothes and no Transit

Vancouver is at first glance a beautiful city. It is surrounded by sweeping vistas and a dramatic skyline.

The climate is moderate butAi??spend some time here and scratch the surface and it becomes far less attractive. It is a city that is divided politically; it is parochial, narrow minded and shallow. The people are characterless, flaky and disingenuous. Vancouver is the scam capital of North America, a skill set for which the local population is particularly adept.

There are times when I am certain that Vancouver is something straight out of Conrad’s Heart of Darkness.

It is a cold place, people in the same business do not interact of share information they do not network or help each other. There is an almost a Darwinian or Hobbesian social culture – Vancouver is an empty void.

The political environment is polarized and doctrinaire. The left adheres to ideas that are at least a generation out of date. Vancouverites think that Naomi Klein is an intellectual when in reality she is a very silly charlatan. To Vancouverites the secret is a serious work of self help. The right is equally foolish in the banality of their free market ideology.

You don’t meet people of substance here. You meet flakes. The press is dominated by yellow journalism. Rarely if ever have I read a real piece of investigative journalism. You do not meet people who form their opinions based upon facts. When you encounter Vancouverites and engage them in the discussion of social issues the argument usually become circular and they end of talking only about themselves. There is a kind of deep insecurity that comes from profound feeling of self loathing that is hard wired into the political culture here. Narcissism is the dominate religion and worshipping at the Temple of Mammon – real estate speculation isAi??the Holy Grail.

People here (generally speaking of course) are stuck up, materialistic yuppies. The downtown scene used to have decent variety, now it’s full of “cookie-cutter” clubs and bars that cater to Armani clones.
Go east of here, or especially south of here, and you’ll find friendlier people that aren’t so consumed with cliques and materialism.
If one hails from Harare, Timbuktu, Tripoli, or Darfur then yes, Vancouver appears pretty good, but “the most liveable city on Earth”?

Not only is this pretentious, it’s just plain wrong.

No where is the contrast more apparent, than in Coquitlam and Port Moody; cities like Surrey, Delta and Langley, South of the Fraser River andAi??east along the Valley to Abbotsford and Chilliwack.

Politicians, planners, decision makers, wealthy Vancouver suburbanites and the `movers & shakersai??i?? contemptuously dismiss the communities beyond downtown as the boondocks; the disdain for the citizens of the Greater Vancouver Regional Districtand the Fraser Valley is illustrated in the attitude of the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, BC Transit and Ai??TransLink, to public transport in these areas.

The Emperor has no Clothes and no Transit.

In December 2010;


was released and condemned the communities of the Fraser Valley Regional District to a life of perpetuity with no more than a second-rate bus service as an alternative to the private car.

TheAi??Rail for the Valley movement has long campaigned against this inequity:

Whereai??i??s The Transit?

Transit Planning In Metro Vancouver ai??i?? Where Have We Gone Wrong?

Added costs for the Canada Line ai??i?? Has The Taxpayer Assumed Risk?

The truth is now beginning to be realised by the wider community;Ai??The Globe & Mail published the two following articles on March 25 & 26th.

Transit a hit-and-miss affair in Lower Mainland

Transit problems across Canada prompt calls for politicians to address issue

We can only hope that the National Election called on the 2nd May and the endAi??to the ten years of ineptitude, inequality, corruptionAi??& nepotism in Gordon Campbell’s BC Liberal administration will improve the outlook; we can but hope and wish.

One should have some basis for comparison before showering such hyperbole on the overpriced, congested, and conceited squalor that is the most liveable city in the world. If any city (or province) is presumptuous enough to put “the best place on Earth” on its license plates; it’d better well be the case, becauseAi??it’s citizens don’tAi??uphold the credibility.

Vancouver is a poor-man’s version of Seattle that, ironically, costs five times at much. Unlike Seattle, however, Vancouver has a dearth of friendly (and English-speaking) people, good music, and reasonably-priced beer. The self-satisfied smugness Vancouverites have toward their neighbour city to the south (or any metropolis, for that matter) stems from an amalgamation of an inferiority complex coupled with an identity crisis. Canada is like the U.S. in every way, except not quite as good. Nowhere is this exemplified more than in Vancouver.


3 Responses to “The Emperor has no Clothes and no Transit”
  1. Evil Eye says:

    A complete and accurate description. 40 years ago Vancouver was a truly friendlier and interesting place where one didn’t have to worry about their cars being broken into or stolen outright. People left their doors unlocked without fear of thieves and kids walked to school without fear of bad things.

    Vancouver and its people live in a bubble – Lotus land and the truth is ignored because it is too unpleasant.

  2. waif on the wrong side of the river says:

    So correct. Walking in Vancouver is like walking through a maize of zombie like creatures. One goes from the homeless, and/or drug addicted beggars to the cliché, fad driven, too busy, both with empty eyes and forgotten souls.
    I have a friend who moved downtown about 2 years ago and what I have noticed is that she has changed.
    A friendly soul, that was, is no more.
    I would much rather be the waif on the wrong side of the river, then ever live in the bankrupt society of Vancouver.

  3. joe9 says:


    Obviously Vancouver (BC actually) is not the “best place on Earth”
    -that’s why it’s such a moronic logo, ridiculous arrogance turns people off, and people form opinions resulting in articles such as this.

    When in reality Vancouver can be a pleasant enough place to live, if you have friends there and can afford some form of shelter. Otherwise it can get lonely (and cold). You need some sort of ‘foot in the door’ to see Vancouver without the stereotypes, but Vancouver is far more than “materialistic yuppies.” It is no more accurate to call Vancouverites the names you call them, than it is to call Fraser Valley residents “materialistic rednecks.” It’s not actually true beyond a smalll minority, and other than providing a little amusement, it doesn’t do any good.

    The BC government has been playing the regions against each other for years. The result is a transit system that caters only to specific communities, ignoring the others. When the truth is, what’s good for the valley is good for Vancouver. Vancouver proper could be a far better place if it were a part of a larger rail network, instead of having only its own severely truncated Skytrain service.

    People of the Lower Mainland have to start organizing as ONE. It is easy to be manipulated when each region is fighting alone for its own transit. “If you don’t accept this Skytrain money, some other community will…..” etc etc.

    Politically, there are plenty of Vancouverites who are not represented by the BC government at all. You are lumping them all in with Vancouver’s terrible corporate media and uninspiring politicians. Need I remind you that the BC Liberal political base is in fact the South of Fraser and the Okanagan, and that Vancouver is actually split Lib/NDP?