Tory leadership hopeful touches down in West Vancouver

Appeared in the North Shore News – January 27, 2017

Agent 6ki4nsP is one of my shrewdest agents. He also describes himself as more right-wing than Genghis Khan.

So it was revolutionary when he announced admiration for Justin Trudeau, whose character and decency impressed him in personal contacts when Trudeau lived on this coast.

One year after Trudeau’s October 2015 election victory, 6ki4nsP and I met in full prediction mode. His forecast: “After two years in government the Liberals will implode (i.e. in autumn 2017).” Mine – ever the light-hearted lad – was: “The Liberals will hold the centre and move both left and right, pushing Conservatives and New Democrats to the extreme margins, and the Liberals will rule forever and ever. Ah, men. And women.’’

Some would say Agent 6ki4nsP erred by a year – that Trudeau’s honeymoon resoundingly crashed late last year. Not me. I’m not that optimistic.

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That said, Conservative leadership candidate Michael Chong touched down at a party gathering at former MP John Weston’s West Vancouver abode this month. Both spoke exceedingly well – to this jaded ear, measured and thoughtfully. Leavened with wit: Weston, introducing Chong, rolled out his attributes, turned to wave him on, then faced back: “I forget to mention, he can also walk on water.”

Water-walking aside, and without my pressing the flesh of the 13 other aspirants, Chong looks almost straight from central casting for the leadership. To cite only the superficial: Bright but revealing only a fraction of his brightness (classically Canadian), Hong Kong father and Dutch mother, small-town Ontario background. Had the rare jam to resign from Stephen Harper’s cabinet, opposing its motion to recognize the Quebecois as a distinct nation in a united Canada. Electable – unlike, say I, temporary media fave Kevin O’Leary.

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It’s late, but happy birthday – her 105th! – to Mrs. Ann Reynolds, mother of peerless West Vancouver chronicler and former councillor Carolanne Reynolds. The birthday girl, in good health and wheelchair-bound only in the last year, was able to get out for dinner on the big day, Dec. 29, at the Sutton Place Hotel.

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Correction: It’s Corus Entertainment, not Chorus, as misspelled in my last column. Embarrassing. I own Corus stock. Unfortunately.

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The deaths days apart of Gary and Carol Troll, whose always packed restaurant is Action Central in Horseshoe Bay, had a local history dimension – they were collectors. The restaurant walls are enriched by syndicated caricaturist and delightful character Kerry Waghorn’s depictions of prominent personages of West Van and beyond. They amused countless patrons waiting for a table and for Troll’s signature fish and chips.

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It’s lonely up here.

Every West Vancouver councillor voted for it. Not one council candidate in the November byelection questioned it. The West Vancouver Chamber of Commerce cheered it.

So, like the man in the blues song who couldn’t dance, who “don’t have rhythm/so nobody’s with him,” I’m the loneliest man in town in slamming the Dispiriting Trail link from 13th to 18th Street. Concrete planters separating two-wheelers from two-leggers on the 13th Street end of Argyle were erected almost on the day of the byelection. What a coincidence.

I asked WV town hall last year how beach-bound families would cross the trail: Tiny tots with sand buckets in hand, the old and unsteady of foot … I hope I’m breaking your heart. Silence. I suspect the boosters suppressed the fact as bad for their hype. The answer is: Zebra crossings (!), which the hearty kind of recreational cyclists will obey, as they do stop signs, red lights, and any impediments to their spandex speeding. Yeah, right.

More than 100 parking spaces lost. Businesses hurt. Relaxed strolling and neighbourly chatting replaced by regimented lines of pedestrians and show-off cyclists. Prediction: Some cycling packs will choose Bellevue and its motor traffic rather than share the bike lane with meandering cyclists and pedalling kiddies, as many do when slowed down on the trail’s present easterly link from Park Royal to 13th – they spill onto the dedicated motor lane, smiling at annoyed drivers.

And how many cyclists did you see on Lions Gate Bridge in the recent cold spell? In snow and ice, even those who regularly cycle to work – skilled, properly equipped and observant of traffic laws (applause for them) – have to use other transportation. Excuse the personal testament: I delivered telegrams in my mid-teens, and a Christmas holiday stint navigating icy Ontario streets lives in memory. I never slid, slipped, flipped. Angel-watched.

Gregor Robertson can preen until green as Ireland about his agenda, but Vancouver’s clownish mayor can’t overcome the bicycle’s limitations concerning riders’ age, strength, and physical ability or disability, let alone weather, terrain, and more.

© Trevor Lautens, 2017