Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Radio Quotes

I was listening to the CBC this morning, while getting ready for work. During one of the stories they were covering, people in Edmonton were being interviewed and two of the quotes from the people went like this:

"We need it, desperately" and, "It will be a godsend."

What might these people have been talking about? What is the "it" that is so longed for, to the extent that receiving it will seem like a gift from God? Is it affordable housing? Is it public water fountains so people can get a healthy drink when they need it? Extra funding for the food bank? Cancellation of extra school fees so that public education is actually free like it's supposed to be? Nope, it was none of these things.

Well then, how about an extension to the public transit system? A tuition freeze maybe? A halt to the urban development that is eating up prime agricultural land in Edmonton's northeast? Nope, none of these things either.

Instead, it was this: a plan to 'fast track' the building of seven (!) overpasses on a segment of Anthony Henday drive, so that people don't have to wait at traffic lights any more. Yes, by 2015, the Henday will be a 'freeway' at last - a veritable gift from God to the automobile commuter, via the responsible stewardship of the Alberta government. Who could ask for anything more?

And how much might these 'freeway' improvements cost? Well, according to the CBC story, the government won't even estimate the price until they receive some bids for the job. But considering that one overpass in south Edmonton was estimated to cost at least a quarter billion dollars when construction started last year (and has since gone over budget), I guess seven bridges could run in the neighborhood of 1.75 billion.

Millions, billions -- who cares, right? It's not like the money is needed for other things.

Sorry, my cynicism is showing.


daharja said...

People have lost the plot. But when governments are giving *billions* to bail out banks, why not spend a few more on making the ridiculously inefficient car a bit less inefficient?

It's not like putting in infrastructure like light rail (based on renewable sources of electricity) or creating a loan-bike system would be better uses for money now, would they?


SoapBoxTech said...

You`re starting to sound like me, with your ranting.


I know what you mean tho. Completely.

Theresa said...

Hi Daharja -ya, the plot is lost entirely. I feel more and more surreal all the time, seriously. I'm sighing right along with you.

Soapbox, I wish I didn't have quite so much to rant about! The most frustrating part is that those quotes didn't seem to phase the interviewer one bit. I found them totally incongruous, once again contributing to my feelings of surreality.

EJ said...

Another reason to stay away from mainstream media- its so discouraging.

Theresa said...

ej - yes, it can be. Although the CBC is a bit more left-leaning than most. I do try and listen to the right-leaning media occasionally as well, just to have an idea of what's 'out there' for mass ideological consumption.

roblaw said...

Hello - I'm the enemy. A Conservative blogger and an actual member of the Alberta PC Party.

That being said - I agree totally with your thoughts.. and truth be told, I have suggested in meetings with fellow Conservatives, that perhaps, for valid conservative reasons, we need to be taking a much harder look at reducing urban sprawl.

My thought - a significant tax advantgage to residential property in the City centres. It reduces consumption of resources, reduces costs of mass transit, reduces use of land for yards, and, beyond that, reduces crime - as a vibrant city centre gives much lest cover for "ne'r-do-wells" to, well, do not well things.

Sorry that I'm not voting green, but, for what it's worth, there are some of us in the blue world who do take very seriously issues like watershed, human intrusion into wild areas - though I'm still skeptical about the efficacy of carbon reduction strategies.

Theresa said...

Hi Roblaw, thanks for coming by and taking the time to comment. My Dad's a member of the Alberta PC party too, so you are surely not the enemy :)

I do very much like the 'conserve' part of conservative, and wish this was a more prominent part of Alberta's zeitgeist, and more a part of the government's policies.

I still think the best carbon reduction strategy going is just to use less - it's quick, and no government funding necessary! But it's tough to get people to 'sacrifice' their 'right' to consume at will.

I just despair sometimes that we as a species will completely ruin the very thing that keeps us all alive: this one planet. Animals know not to soil their nest, but humans just don't seem to get it.

PC, Green, NDP, Liberal - no matter: we are all in this together.