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VIEW: Media muffs, enviros gain, and more Rafe Mair takes on civic elections

The Vancouver Sun and Province have egg all over their collective faces after the election results in Vancouver and in Surrey.

Both papers obviously did not want Gregor Robertson to win in Vancouver. Just why they supported the Non-Partisan Association is open to conjecture but one has to assume, reading these papers for the last 10 years, that they are so far up the Liberals' backside in this province that there is no safe return.

Both papers had the Vancouver mayoralty race a tossup. They are now trying to explain away a 10,000 vote victory by Robertson -- as close to a landslide as "damn" is to swearing. All sorts of amazing things apparently happened since the day before the election when the papers were calling it very close. It certainly couldn't be their atrocious reporting, now, could it?

A few days before the election, Mr. Robertson "apologized" for not being perfect in his last term and promising that he would do better. Mike Smyth in the Province was particularly surly about this and had it a catastrophe for Robertson. So did both the papers in their general reporting.

Well, I can tell you that this old pol, languishing in Lions Bay, thought that it was a stroke of genius. Robertson said exactly the right thing at the right time and assured many voters who were on the fence that he was open to listening, to bending, and to making adjustments to policy.

Surrey was even a worse call. Both the papers had a dead heat going into the election. The winner, Linda Hepner, stated clearly that her polls showed pretty well what the election indicated. She also said that that those polls were available to the newspapers and that they evidently didn't pay any attention. She won, of course, by a landslide. To listen to the papers, this happened suddenly at the very last moment. Don't believe that, Elmer, them's horse buns!

One might be forgiven for thinking that the Sun and the Province, in order to juice up their circulation, needed to have close horse races to call, not sure things, and got creative. One is hard-pressed to think of another explanation, particularly when it got down to the last few days.

This election, in many parts of the province including Lions Bay and Squamish on the Sea-to-Sky Highway, were victories for environmentalists.

Environmentalists have waited a long time to make the kind of breakthrough that happened last Saturday and much of the credit for that goes to Adriane Carr, who led Vancouver poll for council. (Three other Greens won on the school board and parks board). Adrian has demonstrated in her time on council that the Green Party is capable of dealing with day-to-day issues as well as "green" issues. This has always been the concern of voters and those concerns were dispelled and it showed in other parts of the province.

This is far from saying that all those who supported environmentalist causes voted "Green." Such has been the change that there are sympathizers in all parties.

Poor Barbara Yaffe in the Sun simply can't grasp this. She has become so far to the right that the thought that people might not want to have more coal go through their community and a bigger pipeline in their backyard is beyond her ability to believe much less accept.

There is going to have to be a great deal more acceptance of environmentalism as time goes by. There is no question but that people all over the province are not prepared to accept the assurances of large foreign corporations and their client governments that everything is just peachy with what they intend to do.

If nothing else, this election demonstrates that the people will have something to say about this.

Veteran commentator, environmental advocate and former Socred MLA Rafe Mair publishes a column every second Monday on The Tyee, and publishes a blog Rafe Mair Online where this first appeared.

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