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Corrigan: 1, provincial government: 0

March 25th, 2009 · 14 Comments

The mayor of Burnaby was in fine punching form yesterday after the provincial government backed down on its plans for a remand centre at a site near Canada Way and Willingdon. The story in the Globe today, by Justine Hunter and me, captures some of his trademark style.

This decision also goes into my file of interesting examples of the way that public uproar and media coverage can actually have an impact on political decisions.

Speaking of which, I have to give a talk next week about the power the media exerts in influencing political decisions. I’m looking for examples of where a strong story or media campaign appear to have influenced public policy or pushed politicians into changing their minds about decisions — perhaps for the good, but perhaps also for the bad. I can think of some examples, but what are some that spring to mind for you?

Categories: Uncategorized

  • Chris B

    Frances – Check out the recent decision in Ontario on youth driving. There was a case of a 17 or 18 year old getting in an accident while driving with friends and leaving them all dead. McGuinty (in a rather knee jerk reaction) tabled a bill to change the law re passengers in cars driven by people under 19 (I cannot remember the exact details). There was uproar, and he backed down in the end.

  • coldwater

    And check out the Park Board decision to keep the old Mt. Pleasant CC open and available for daycare while a new daycare centre is built. Citizen participation can work if politicians can be gutsy enough to go against bureaucratic advice.

  • tyee

    Millenium’s plan for a 400′ tower on the North Vancouver waterfront came to a screeching halt when an overflow crowd of hostile citizens roasted the developer and the Council at a town hall meeting in Dec. 2007. Seems the locals were not impressed with the phallic design of the “landmark tower” of the promise of a floating swimming pool and other amenities offered in exchange for the right to build on a site with a height limit of 75′.

    The blow back from this ill-considered proposal cost Mayor Darrell Mussatto control of council in the 08 election.

  • hg

    Also the Jericho wharf deal, the saving of the hollow tree in Stanley Park, and way back when the Mc Gill extension – the elevated freeway from McGill to downtown along the waterfront, the Lafarge cement plant.

  • rf

    I find it funny to read the NDP bluster about this in Burnaby. Why wouldn’t the libs put it to the regions mayors? Burnaby is the one that made it a no-win for them. Nimbyism at it’s finest.
    Of course, sometimes Corrigan ends up looking like a petty little punk. Remember how he fought against the Olympics tooth and nail and then cried like a little punky boy when they moved the Oval from Burnaby to Richmond.
    He likes to bitch and pick on everyone outside his city, and then whimpers like a little poopy pants when no one wants to play with him on the good stuff.
    And now his wife will be his little puppet as she rides the nepotism card into the legislature.
    The phoney bluster by the NDP is always the dead giveaway when their bluff gets called.

  • glissandoremmy

    Frances, here are two that I think are and will make a difference for all of us:

    1. “Grant’s law” – requires urban gas stations in B.C. to have a mandatory pre-pay system in operation at night ( after 6 PM).
    Grant De Patie was struck and dragged to his death in March 2005 while trying to stop a punk from stealing $12 bucks worth of gas, somewhere in Maple Ridge.

    2.Robert Dziekanski the Polish man Tasered and killed at YVR in 2007, courtesy of RCMP. The outcome on this one is still pending and I am looking forward to two firm recommendations:
    2.a) Police should not investigate themselves. Ever.
    2.b) Use of Taser guns (adequate training including enhanced communication skills for all police officers regardless of rank and number of years in service, or simply banning the Tasers altogether . And I really hope something is done before the 2010 Winter Games or they may forever be remembered as the “Taser’s Open Season” Olympic games.

  • Travis

    Peck’s report on how information leaks from council’s in-camera meetings was directly related to how the media dealt with the Olympic Village funding debacle. I am sure that from now on these meetings and who knows what from whom will be monitored much more closely.

  • not running for mayor

    Just to clarify the Lafarge cement plant on Ports property has not been defeated and will still go ahead once the downturn is over. The rest of the cases I don’t know enough to comment over. Heck even the Willingdon pre-trial centre might still go ahead, it’s only been delayed a few months.

  • A. G. Tsakumis

    Tsakumis vs. Sullivan…all thirteen bouts and the championship rematch…

  • Gassy Jack’s Ghost

    Ha-ha, AGT, but did any good come of your tussle, other than a lot of good laughs?

    I was thinking about the power lines in Delta, which was another example of Gordo trying to ram a cancerous plan down people’s throats before having to backtrack and eventually buy a whole neighbourhood off…

    …then I read rf’s comments about NIMBY’s, petty punks, phoney bluster and the nepotism card, and it got me to wondering: if you are up in arms about a husband and wife who both must face democratic elections, rf, what is your view of unelected jobbers like Paul Barbeau, Ken Dobell, Geoff Plante and Patrick Kinsella? For that matter, what do you make of Michael Campbell’s wet dream for Thatcher economics shilled daily in the CanWest drivel factory, mirroring to a tee the semi-literate economic policies of his bro? I assume your outrage against the nepotism of the Libs is 100 times worse than it is over two harmless cuddle-bunnies out in Burnaby, is it not? Just curious.

  • blaffergassted

    I’m kinda proud of the fact that after concerns were raised about the USA Patriot Act the BC Liberals rewrote the FOIPP Act to ensure sensitive government health records would stay in Canada.

  • The flipside, I would suggest, are the important ones that really have public* and local political support but don’t attract the media’s fickle attention for more than a fleeting second or two…

    Example – the soon-to-be-removed Heart of Pacific Spirit Park.


  • A. G. Tsakumis

    Gassy Jacko!

    Yeah…the ultimate good: He’s gone and we have a Mayor that we can be pleased with, even if we don’t always agree.

    As for the laughs, you can thank some of your pals like Danny Fountain and Mikey the Planner, over at

    Glad to have been of service…

  • Rick

    How about those cranky seniors vs. Mulroney? I think it was about de-indexing pensions or something like that but the silver-haired set got Mulroney to back down despite having the largest majority in history…