On Monday, I spent a bleary-eyed morning at a SkyTrain Station with several other volunteers, engaging folks on the referendum, and stumping for the YES side. Lots of people had serious questions, and needed clarity on a few of the myths that are out there. Most appreciated having information, and providing links to where they can get better information. Some people agreed to disagree, and that is cool.
The funniest conversation of the day I had was with a middle-aged guy coming off of the 555 express bus, and it went something like this (I paraphrase):
ME: “Would you like more information on the Referendum?”
HE: “Are you on the YES side? Because I have to tell you something.”
ME: “Yes, I am supporting the Yes side.”
HE: “Do you know why businesses are opposing this?”
ME: “What businesses?”
HE: “All businesses, we are all opposed. Do you know why?”
ME: “But most business appear to be in favour. Business- supporting organizations like the Surrey Board of Trade and the Vancouver Board of Trade have publicly supported the YES side here,”
HE: “Do you know WHY businesses are opposed? You need to listen.”
ME: “I am listening sir, but I need to understand your premise. The BC Chamber of Commerce, the Chambers of New Westminster, Delta, Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, North Vancouver, Richmond, the Tri-Cities, they are all on the Yes side, so they are clearly not opposed at all”.
HE: “I can tell you why all the businesses are opposed.”
ME: “But I don’t think they are opposed. There are BIAs across the region supporting this, as is the tourism industry, the hotel industry, construction and building trades, consulting engineers, real estate boards and building management associations, the Port Authority, the Gateway Council…all of these organizations, representing the vast majority of private sector employers in the Lower Mainland, are in favour… who are all these opposed businesses?”
HE: “They are opposed because TransLink is wasteful! Have you heard about the Poodle on the Pole?”
Me: “um… yeah, except the public art budget for TransLink is less than .1% of their annual budget. “
HE: “They should cut that! Then they don’t need this tax!”
ME: “Thank, you sir. Have a nice day.”
For the rest of you, here is a quick link to the 100+ organizations, business and otherwise, who are on the YES side of this campaign.