Vancouver Park Board chair Aaron Jasper has practically made a career out of stuff that he used to oppose. The full time realtor whose political ambitions know no bounds has just racked up his third major policy flip-flop since being elected to office. People are now stopping and saying, "Hey, aren't you the guy who used to oppose this...?"
Okay, we here at CityCaucus.com get the fact that over time some maturity happens in elected office. You get the advantage of working with staff, you have conversations offline, you start to see more grey and less black and white. But Jasper's changes of heart have been so sudden, and so completely without justification, folks might begin to ask, will the real politically ambitious self-promoter please stand up?
The latest flip-flop comes yesterday with the announcement of the Park Board's pending approval of a Cactus Club restaurant at English Bay. During the year while Jasper was running for office he said this to the Georgia Straight:
“Our hope would be that if the residents and the people of the West End come out to the sessions and flat-out reject it—and say they just don’t want to see this—that the park board is open to that. In our minds, a consultation on just the design aspects is too narrow a consultation. So we hope that the scope is broader.…We don’t feel that a high-end restaurant would be necessarily a good fit. A lot of folks in our neighbourhood are of modest-to-low incomes.”
Of course, the spectre of a "high end restaurant" was dangled in order to strike fear into the hearts of locals by Jasper and WERA buddies like co-hort Brent Granby. There was no plan to put an elite establishment in a place where deep fryers and soda fountains have stood for generations. Where is Aaron's "concerns about the commercialization of the beaches"? Conveniently forgotten, of course.
Jasper effectively outs self-appointed resident groups like WERA for what they are – political tools for folks like him who want to run for office. Remember how often we'd hear from Granby, Jasper et al when Vision was in opposition? You couldn't pick up a Vancouver Courier without reading another one of their press releases condeming the NPA for proposals like replacing the burger stand at English Bay with something modern and appealing.
Where are these guys now? The last time we heard from Granby was his concerns about Vectorial Elevation shining up the nighties of Beach Avenue residents.
On last night's GlobalTV newscast, you have to love wily reporter Ted Field for pointing out that the man he was interviewing in favour of the English Bay development, was the same guy they interviewed not so long ago opposing the bistro. Thanks, Ted!
Of course, this is not the first Bizarro World Aaron Jasper we've seen. We all remember the giant size 13 loafer he had to remove from his gob over the Queen Elizabeth Park Celebration Pavilion. Originally he wanted to wipe out the private contractor when running for office then, whoops, he had a change of heart.
Then there is the other famous time Jasper began singing yet another tune about the Mount Pleasant pool. When running for office, Jasper's promise to fight for the facility was music to the ears of pool supporters. But when he got elected, well, things just didn't work out.
There was a time when Jasper garnered the tag "unsung hero" by a friendly West Ender newspaper commentator. However, as Jasper openly admitted as he did on CKNW radio in his now infamous Stephane Dion-esque retort, "it's easier when you're in opposition."