SENSE BC is apolitical and we’ve no axe to grind with any political party; they get praised when we feel they’ve done something right, and they get scolded if they do something wrong. The BC Liberals have done plenty wrong with respect to the BC Motor Vehicle Act changes in 2010. Their on-the-spot impounds by police, for a mere allegation of excessive speeding, have no place in a democracy (except under extreme circumstances); particularly when many highway speed limits are demonstrably low to begin with. We’ve scolded them for the dishonest theft of nearly $1b from ICBC to “balance” the provincial budget. And we’ve been vocal about what’s wrong with the BC Civil Forfeiture office which has morphed, from taker of ill gotten gains from thieves, to confiscator of super cars from rich Asian kids – for now.
The BC NDP are the official opposition and it’s their job to provide parliamentary balance and critique stupid legislation. Where’s the NDP been on all of the above? Apart from some thoughtful debate about the 2010 MVA changes from Public Safety critic Kathy Corrigan, there’s been little said by the NDP about what most drivers know to be the elephant in the room, which is unrealistic speed limits in BC. In fact, they’ve been downright lame.
Chris Thompson’s film Speed Kills: Your Pocketbook was released on Sept. 11, 2013 and in under one week it was a Youtube hit with more than one million viewers – with overwhelming support for its proposition. Along with the release was a plea on the SENSE BC website for viewers to email Premier Christy Clark, Transportation Minister Todd Stone and their MLAs. Many people did, and from the looks of the identical boiler plate responses we’ve seen so far, it looks like the NDP just don’t get it, or worse … they are still just the same dumb bunch whose answer to traffic safety in the 90’s was to take us as fools and throw away $130m on photo radar.
Nothing drives public cynicism in politics more than elected representatives who refuse to tell it like it is.
So here’s what we wrote to the NDP MLAs the other day:
We’ve been getting some concern from NDP MLAs’ constituents following a letter they sent to their MLAs concerning speed limits on BC Highways in response to the recent video “SPEED KILLS: YOUR POCKETBOOK”. I thought I would forward the following thoughts, to you three, as one or all of you are the most likely originators of the letter. If not, could you please pass this email onto whoever it is?
Here’s a sample email:
I used your website’s function to send a letter to politicians expressing my support of sensible speed limits. Just today I received a “canned” response from my MLA, … , which seems to totally ignore the intent of my message. His response includes the following lines:
“Excessive speeding is a serious threat to public safety, with higher driving speeds linked to an increase in the frequency and severity of car accidents.”…“Pending the outcome of the review, B.C.’s New Democrats will continue to support the enforcement of current speed limits while putting the focus on needed improvements to our provincial roads, bridges, and highways.”
Please note that nowhere in the original email to you is there a mention of excessive speed, rather the intent is to demand correctly set limits which represent the UPPER END of safe travel speeds by the reasonable and safe majority on BC highways.
To answer an email as you did above is showing your constituents that you either missed entirely what the concern is, or you refuse to acknowledge it. In addition, when multiple MLAs send the same boiler plate email, it sends a strong message to the recipient(s) that either:
a) the MLA has no clue how to reply (and has forwarded it to someone in the party that hopefully does)
b) that the MLA does not care enough to think through a response and reply personally,
c) that the party is sticking with the status quo and party members are being instructed to follow, or
d) all of the above.
It’s appalling, really, that you believe your letter is appropriate given what so many drivers know to be true. Speed Kills Your Pocketbook – a video illustrating the frustration many BC drivers feel daily with BC’s often inconsistent and under-posted speed limits – quickly went viral throughout North America, racking up over a million views in under a week. The down votes to the video’s proposition of raising speed limits, has been almost immeasurably small at 0.03%.
Yet many BC politicians, as illustrated by your party MLAs’ careless / thoughtless remarks, remain beholden to the story the video refutes: that speed is killing us.
Nobody is questioning that dangerous drivers exist and that tragic crashes happen, nor that unsafe speed, wide differences in speed (different than speeding) can be responsible. But the narrative we’ve been fed since the introduction of photo radar is a trite bit of marketing backed up by snapshots of statistics that don´t match the sales pitch.
Notwithstanding that SENSE BC is apolitical; your party, the BC NDP introduced photo radar and sponsored significant disinformation and hysteria in the 1990s in order to garner public support (which quickly eroded) for a program doomed to fail from the start.
You were on the side of both dubious science and the wrong side of public opinion then, and you are hereby on notice that your letters indicate your party, unbelievably, may be continuing this trend in 2013.