"It's easier when you're in opposition," admits Aaron Jasper

Post by Mike Klassen in


Flower Power: Jasper echoes Dion in a recent CityCaucus.com attack

City Hall watchers are saying that Park Board chair Aaron Jasper "pulled a Meggs" by calling into Bill Good Show yesterday to confront CityCaucus.com's Daniel Fontaine on the subject of Vision's decision to close the Bloedel Conservatory without any public input. "Pulling a Meggs" refers to the time that Mayor "Geoff" Meggs called into the Bill Good Show to dispute Fontaine directly – a move most people agree that embarrassed Meggs and his caucus.

Jasper's statement contained eerie echoes of former Liberal leader Stephane Dion, who bristled at criticism of his policies. The now infamous exchange between Dion and Michael Ignatieff was used by the Conservatives as part of their attack ads. Dion probably regrets blurting out, "Do you think it's easy to make priorities?!" In other words, leadership is tough, babe.

On yesterday's Bill Good Show civic affairs panel with Daniel Fontaine and Frances Bula, Jasper got a bit of a rough ride from the host and the panelists on Vision's hasty decision to shut the Bloedel Conservatory down, and the eleventh hour move to bring in a private operator for the public building. Jasper used the old political finger pointing tactic, blaming previous NPA and COPE commissions for their lack of investment in the facility. Fontaine reminded the listeners that the Conservatory has been impeded by Canada Line construction and aquifer upgrades.

Jasper then stated, "everybody's now on the bandwagon because they see it's the issue, and I understand it's easy when you're in opposition, but we're making some tough decisions." (listen to quote below or d/l mp3)

In other words, leadership is tough, babe, so get used to Vision's decision.

Of course, this is the same Aaron Jasper who made promises to get elected that he's since backed away from, and trashed the previous government at every turn along with his pals in the West End Residents Association. Now that he's governing the Park Board, Jasper has done some serious backpedaling on a number of issues, such as the commitment to keeping open the Mount Pleasant pool & community centre, and taking the Queen E Park Celebration Pavilion away from its private operator and handing it over to CUPE.

But as Jasper now has to admit, it's not easy to make priorities easier when you're in opposition.

- post by Mike


What a sad sad story at Queen Elizabeth Park.
First the privatizing of the wedding pavilion, now the same talk for the Conservatory.
The wedding pavilion have doubled their prices, cut the times for weddings from 2hrs to 1 and 1/2 hrs. Try booking something other than a traditional marriage. The current contractor simply will not book a same sex marriage.
Nice going Jasper.
The conservatory is next. Maybe it should be privatized and turned into a no barrier shelter.

You mean "low barrier shelter"...it could become a tourist attraction much like Main and Hastings has. See the animals in their natural habitat.

For years he was a COPE, NDP door to door peddler, drove the school bus for Mel Lehan during the first lost shot at Gordo Campbell.
Changed professions, became a Realtor, joined Vision, what else a new condo salesman could possibly do?
Oh, wait,he pulled a MiniMeggs for his wife and got her appointed on the Board of Variance, you know, that "independent" body of appeal.
Talk about backstabbing and opportunism.
Bloedel conservatory and The Petting zoo = collateral damage for the heartless in the quest for grandeur.
"the glory that was Greece and the grandeur that was Rome"
E. A. Poe
This guy and his Vancouver Virus pals achieved nothing so far. They are riding the train to nowhere. And that's where they'll end. To say that they'll end up in the little league political history garbage bin would be an understatement.
Give him a medal already.

Most people agreed? Small pool?

2008 - "Through citizen engagement, Aaron will work towards the renewal of our parks and community centres"

2009 - Citizen engagement is through, Aaron will work towards the disposal of our parks and community centres.

" I can sell your home quickly and for top market dollar!"

I like the euphemisms you use to describe Aaron's fealty to his betters, Higgsy.

"Driving the bus"
"Riding the train to nowhere"

Might I add another one that may be particularily apt as he gets his and his party's ass kicked at this moment in time?

How 'bout, "Drinking the KoolAid"...

One certainly has to wonder where the union is in all of this.
Wedding Pavilion privatized. Not a peep.
Conservatory.... not making a profit...
What has happened here?
Mayor Moonbeam...busy creating a happy planet, hob-nobbing with the beautiful people. Jasper... kissing butt.
Louie, Dewey and Huey say, "we've cut this piece of wood nine times now...
and its still too short".
Earth to Paul Faoro..... this certainly can't be good.

The Closure of the Bloedel Conservatory must be stopped.Aaron Jasper the new Park Board Chair can show leadership.A mistake has been made ,step back look at the facts attendance is way up.If the political will is there.. recind the motion.. start again lets do the right thing for the citizens of Vancouver and visitors from around he world.Anyone who spends anytime in the Bloedel comes out refreshed and smiling. Birds flowers plants and trees feels like a Park Board core service to me. I was there today fantastic and once you walk outside what a view..Someone once had Vision but that was 1969

As a former Park Commissioner (1986-1990) and (1999-2002) I stated in late November at the Park Board that there were tough decisions to be made BUT they -- ignored their responsibility to step back and seek input and creative ideas. They did not even look at the Bloedel Deed of Gift which outlined the terms of the gift ... a group of citizens had to search out the paperwork at the CofV Archives ... shame. They then tried to rely on a legal opinion that failed to admit to the moral obligation to steward the gift - shame.

As for the bulk of the cuts -- the initial meeting to discuss the details of the possible cuts is next Tuesday, January 12th ... but the dead-line for input was last December ... so much for a transparent and full public debate and meaningful discussion.

It is essential that consideration be given to what happened -- why cut services every year. They were implemented ( for the most part ) because they were needed. Prior to the Fall 1009 'core review' the previous 'look' was a 2 year 'zero based budget' review in 1987-1988 -- the concept of be accountable is proper but it cannot be done in isolation and should be done with all stakeholders at the table -- the public thru their Community Associations know their communities and their needs.

NOTE -- I am the newly elected VP, Mount Pleasant Community Centre Association -- but the above comments are mine not theirs.

JOIN US -- for the official opening of the newly built and relocated MPCC at # 1 Kingsway on Saturday, January 24th -- 11 to 4 -- speeches etc at 1:00. Hope to see you there.

For anyone who isn't aware, commenter "Brenton" is the same Brenton who worked on Aaron Jasper's campaign.

Brenton likes to troll around local blogs with his buddy Jonathon Ross putting their Vision spin on whatever they can.

The damage this group is doing to the city will take years and millions to fix once they're shown the door. 2011 cannot come soon enough.

I've read Jonathan Ross' sad attempt at writing a blog.

Trust me if you want Vision to lose come the next election, you WANT Jonathan supporting them!

JOIN US -- for the official opening of the newly built and relocated MPCC at # 1 Kingsway on Saturday, January 24th -- 11 to 4 -- speeches etc at 1:00. Hope to see you there.

Christopher, thanks for the heads up on the Grand Opening of 1 Kingsway! Did you mean January "23rd"?

I plan to be there, and will promote this here on CC.com. That facility is a real gem, and I'm very pleased it's finally online.

"For anyone who isn't aware, commenter "Brenton" is the same Brenton who worked on Aaron Jasper's campaign."

That's not true at all. I briefly worked and volunteered on the Vision general campaign. I don't know if I've ever met Aaron Jasper, other than when he was courting votes at the nomination meeting.

All I've done is question the phrase used re: the Meggs call into CKNW. I realize now that actual debate is frowned upon here, apologies.

And further to that: I don't actually have an opinion on Mr. Jasper, as I don't closely follow Parks Board stuff. It's an odd dynamic between the Parks Board and City Hall, and I've often wondered how they manage it. Not very well at times, it would seem.

The new Mount Pleasant Community Centre is a gem, indeed. Kingsway/Broadway/Main is becoming a real locus of community activity. I live a few short blocks away, and love being able to drop by. My girlfriend loves sitting in the comfy chairs in the library doing her work. I'm really looking forward to indoor drop-in soccer, and to the deli/cafe space opening up soon.

And of course, after the two fires close by, it will be interesting to see what developments go in. There is great potential. Anyone heard anything on the owners of the real estate there?

Vision need to do their homework, stop pointing the "blame" finger at previous Boards and take a leadership position and admit their decision to close the Conservatory was not well thought out and short-sighted. The reality is previous Boards did invest in keeping the Conservatory in working order. In 1998-1999 $300,000 was spent on replacing the cooling system; in 2006 $42,000 was spent on a misting system; in 2008-2009 $312,000 was spent on replacing boilers, controls, lighting, etc. This is in addition to $75,000 per year on planned service and corrective maintenance. With attendance increasing by the day, it needs more time to demonstrate it can be a viable entity and not a burden on taxpayers.

Thanks for the update on this, Brenton.


You and Ross are about as pathetic as they come.

Please, those in the know, know who you are and what you're up to, and how you're all connected.

Save your denials, they're useless and you'll continue to be called out when you leave comments anywhere in the future.

Great back and forth with some political junkies.
Let's get back to what is happening in the city though.
Why is there not a plan for places like the conservatory? Why is it set up for failure? Why is it stated that the conservatory loses money? If that is true, then the city loses money. Very little breaks even.
Also, where are the fat cat union types in all of this? Speak up! Represent the people that you take hard earned wages from. Your silence makes you complicit!
If you don't speak up, what is next?
Several of us are watching and waiting.


Why is there not a plan for places like the conservatory? Why is it set up for failure? Why is it stated that the conservatory loses money? If that is true, then the city loses money. Very little breaks even.

Probably because it is run as a public service, like the libraries or Canada Post, neither of which are meant to break even or make a profit. They are paid for by the public purse to provide a unique public good. If it had to run as a for-profit venture or even to recoup its costs the entry fee would probably be prohibitive.

Brenton, you make my point precisely.
If what you say is correct, then why is the Conservatory being closed? By your reasoning, the Conservatory is not different than other government services.
Further, why isn't there even an attempt at good business practices, promotion, provide decent refreshment services etc etc. Have you seen the gift shop? Still stuck in the 1980's.

Poor Ian...so desperate to champion "anything" and always getting scooped by Anton on Park Board issues. Only when the cameras were rolling did he feign concern about Bloedel. The NPA has neglected this attraction for years. At no time when Ian was the Chair of the Board did he push for a marketing plan to contend with the RAV line construction or to have the roof replacement put on the 2009-2011 Capital Plan. Talk about a lack of leadership!

@fay, when will vision supporters stop all the finger pointing at the NPA and simply start governing? The election is over, you won. So get you butt into gear and start solving problems rather than playing the blame game. Just admit you dind't like the Bloedel, wanted to close it, then move on. Take your lumps and stop acting like a bunch of wimps.

I don't disagree with you about previous neglect of the Bloedel but lets put a stop to this canard about roof replacement.

It is in very good condition and when the reality of fine crazing in the "bubbles", a primarily aesthetic problem, is exaggerated into "structural cracks" needing "urgent repair" it becomes obvious that there is a political agenda.

A dome which really does have serious structural cracks is on top of St Paul's cathedral. Strangely the Londoners aren't planning on shutting it down, something to do with civic pride.

Brenton, you make my point precisely.
If what you say is correct, then why is the Conservatory being closed? By your reasoning, the Conservatory is not different than other government services.

I assume (I really don't know much about the Conservatory) that while it's most likely run like a public service, it isn't seen as being as vital as others, like our roads or transit system. In a deficit situation, every government needs to decide which public services to maintain, which to cut, or to raise taxes to pay for them all. Beyond that, I don't know why it was chosen. If the numbers that I've seen are accurate, it seems like attendance has gone down substantially over the last few years and it was costing the city a lot to keep open. The recent bump in attendance is probably a short term thing, though it may be a sign of renewed and sustained interest around the Lower Mainland. I didn't even know it existed, and I assume many others didn't as well.

Check out BCWineLover.com!

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