Opinion » Maxed Out

Maxed Out

A fearful hope is born



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I guess now would be a good time to ask the obvious question. No, not what have we done to deserve this quality of government, assuming you believe the adage about people getting the government they deserve. The question that ought to be asked now is this one: Upon what information are we expected to make our decision if, in fact, we are ever referendumbed?

Hopefully, whatever info we have will be more enlightening than the original staff report that contained just slightly less meat than a tofu burger.

Posing that question may be jumping the gun though, since it’s not entirely clear under what circumstances we might hold a referendum, but then very little about this fantastic voyage has been clear so don’t even think of laying that burden on me. It may be an exercise in gun-jumping because the redesign might not cost more than 20 million bucks. I don’t hear anybody laughing; that was humour. Or it may be gun-jumping because someone associated with the muni may ferret out corporate sponsorship money or maybe even scare up a public-private partner attracted to the Whistler and Olympic™ brands. Or it may be gun-jumping because it’s going to take six more months to work up the details of the new, improved sludge hockey arena and by then VANOC may be so discouraged at the prospect of Whistler ever making a firm decision they just yank the whole thing away.

But let’s be optimistic. Let’s be hopeful. After all, political campaigns – and make no mistake, this ain’t about sludge hockey; it’s about political campaigns – are an endless battle between hope and fear. Viewed that way, council’s vote on the arena was very clearly an exercise in hope. Hope that having done the bidding of what they perceive as a majority of voters we’ll all suddenly come down with a bad case of avian amnesia and forget what a fiasco of mismanagement their collective efforts have been. Sort of a fearful hope, if you will.

But fear and hope, thought of as anchoring ends of a continuum, are a handy, if two-dimensional, way to size up candidates. It’s not the only criterion upon which one might base a vote, but it’s at least as meaningful as any deep analytical thought that went into the unanimous arena vote.

So looking at the mayoral candidates, in no particular order except the sequence they announced their desire for the job, I’d have to rate Nick pretty far along the fear side of the hope-fear teeter-totter. As I recall Nick’s first take on the arena, it was a definite no. In fact, Nick led a most interesting, if one-sided, cheer at a Chamber of Commerce luncheon that sounded almost Bushian in it’s No New Taxes spirit. But Nick’s a flexible guy, in a sort of inflexible way, so he’s been shocked and awed – or is that shucked and jived – into supporting it.