Arguably one of the most successful actions of the Australian Greens has been the reaction to their Democracy for Sale website. This site allowed the media and public to readily access information on ‘who gave what to whom’ and has, (albeit grudgingly), forced some governments to make changes to the funding regime. But more importantly it showed that political donations were not just for buying favours, they were also about changing government policies or legislation to suit the donor at the expense of the general public, including their right to protest. And when it came to getting legislation changed there was none more successful than the development industry. Paul Keating became involved in 2006 saying that New South Wales (NSW) property developers were sending a wall of money to the planning minister. Of course is wasn't only in NSW, West Australia (WA) was the home of the infamous 1980s “WA Inc.”, referring to corporate deals with government under Premier Brian Bourke. WA Greens Senator Ludlam would know this from the findings of the WA Corruption and Crime Commission report.
You might wonder why city staff in towns like Campbell River, Courtenay, and Nanaimo, BC or 500 other localities across the land are threatened with disciplinary action if they leak information about the hidden pro-growth agendas of their "employers"--the mayors and town councillors. Well, here is the context. Regional planners, under the direction of their political overlords---the proxies of developers----are trying to shove tens of thousands more people into the North Vancouver Island region. And they don't want people get wind of it, or at least to grasp the full implications of their devious plans. Sound familiar? It should. What is transpiring here is transpiring across Canada and the continent of North America--and elsewhere. New subdivisions are sprouting up all over the map in place of greenbelts, woodlands and marshes and the people have little say in the matter.
Canadians respond to Australian Mischaracterization of Canada
LTE editor, Sydney Morning Herald
Re: "Canadians have successfully managed a similar swelling in population numbers", by Josephine Tovey (SMH June 29/2010)
It would come as a surprise to most Canadians that we have coped well with the addition of 13 million consumers since 1970. Yet with trans-oceanic vision, Professor Peter MacDonald, sounding less like a demographer and more like a growth-obsessive economist with rose-coloured glasses, confidently asserts that to be the case. In fact it is not.
At least three government-funded studies---Report number 25 from the Science Council of Canada, a 1990 report from the Privy Council and the damning Healey report of 1997----all documented the devastation wrought by population growth on our arable land and ecosystems. Our largest cities are bursting at the seams with congestion, smog, overloaded infrastructure and unaffordable real estate. Built-up development pressures have overwhelmed urban boundaries and claimed 20% of our best farmland for housing to accommodate a largely foreign-born demand. According to Ontario Farmlands Trust, Ontario alone lost some 600,000 acres of prime farmland in the decade following 1996.
Short interview with anti-growth advocates highlights Canadian apathy
“Populations, like potholes, are produced locally....” Garrett Hardin
You may have heard of "S.O.S." (Save our Suburbs), an anti-growth organization that has set up shop in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide, Australia. You may even of heard of how Noosa Shire, Queensland had developed a vision of sustainability that involved capping their population level. But what about North America?
Dear Ben West, Chairperson of The Green Party of Vancouver,
A friend, Tim Murray, has alerted me to a quote you have made in a letter you wrote to the Mayor of Vancouver, Sam Sullivan:
"Densification is of course environmentally positive in so far as it prevents the devastation of agricultural lands or wilderness areas but this initiative if not part of an overarching smart growth land use plan would not accomplish this goal."
I have some questions for you.