Transportation is a headlining issue in the Lower Mainland right now. The Campbell administration is in the process of restructuring TransLink. And it's laying down up to $3 billion worth of road and bridge improvements as part of its controversial Gateway Program. But the provincial New Democrat's new transportation critic, Esquimalt-Metchosin legislator Maurine Karagianis, says she thinks the fact she's not from Vancouver will actually help her hold those initiatives to account.
In an interview with Public Eye, Ms. Karagianis said, "It's probably better that I - as a critic - am not directly involved politically in the local communities over there. I think it allows me to bring more objectivity to both those issues and to look at them from a much broader perspective and look at them without the local politics and local attachments interfering with my views. So I think it does give me a better opportunity to look at this in a cold-blooded way and to look at it in a practical and political sense without a lot of background in the community affecting my thinking one way or another."
That being said, Ms. Karagianis added she has "great concerns" about Gateway because "it doesn't have any sustainable solutions attached to it." Although she intends to "continue to meet with the communities affected and gather information" in advance of the fall, when she says the party will finally announce its position on the 19-month old highway-expansion program.
Ms. Karagianis took over the job of transportation critic from Vancouver-Kensington legislator David Chudnovsky earlier this week as part of the New Democrat's shadow cabinet shuffle. The party is presently split on whether to support Gateway - with Mr. Chudnovsky being seen one of the caucus members opposed to the program.