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Coquitlam City, BC (avec Maillairdville), BC's bellwether on softwood lumber deal
  Jul 12, 2006

A random sample of 414 respondents within the City of Coquitlam (avec Maillardville). This poll was conducted between July 7-12th, 2006. This poll features a margin of error of 3.95%, 19 times out of 20 @ 96% competency.
This poll was sponsored in part by Jim Van Rassel of NewTrend Optical.

Question #1
Which of the following is most important to you in terms of what you believe should ultimately be the priority of Coquitlam Mayor and council?
Improved parks and recreation    23 %
Greater attention to private property concerns    77 %
Question #2
In your opinion should Coquitlam city council pass a new bylaw including a $500 fine to anyone placing their garbage outside for Ďpickupí at hours other than between 5 am and 7am on collection day?
Yes    30 %
No    70 %
Question #3
Would you be in favour of such a bylaw and $500 fine in bear-prone areas only?
Yes    67 %
No    33 %
Question #4
Coquitlam city councillor Doug MacDonell believes that increased development should be taking place in Coquitlam because there is only one other way to get money, and thatís at tax time. It is your understanding that development levies and municipal taxes are the only forms of revenue for Coquitlam city?
Yes    44 %
No    56 %
Question #5
Who would you prefer as your MP in the next general federal election possibly in the spring of 2007?
Conservative MP James Moore    56 %
Liberal Mayor Joe Trasolini    44 %
Question #6
Whose opinion do you most favour on the Canada U.S. softwood lumber file?
Conservative MP David Emerson who wants to keep the deal    72 %
Premier Gordon Campbell who does not want to keep the deal    28 %
Question #7
Do you approve or disapprove of either/both the legalization of marijuana and taxation of the sale, and/or the increase of legal amounts for possession?
Approve    45 %
Disapprove    55 %
Facts and Inferences-In this ROBBINS poll of citizens in the City of Coquitlam (just after tax notices have been mailed out), we learn some interesting opinions as these relate to issues presently before Coquitlam city council. This poll also reveals how some statements politicians make or the actions they take may often have unintended consequences.
Only a minority of respondents chose improved parks and recreation over greater attention to private property concerns. The public perception currently is that Coquitlam is short of money and wants to begin to develop aggressively to increase revenues, and residents already believe they are overtaxed and over developed. (The area around city hall, the Arts Centre and Recreation Centre, including Douglas College has a less than average appearance, which could use some improvement).
(Jim Van Rassel): Basically the residents of Coquitlam are saying Private Property no Trespassing. One of the promises of the Harper Government was that we as landowners are waiting to be kept is for private property rights. This is one of the positive rights Americans have and as Canadians we don't.
Coquitlam city hall is on the right track dealing with the bear problem. They only need to hone in the policy more precisely to ensure maximum efficacy.
(Jim Van Rassel): Don't paint everyone with the same brush. As you see in Question 3. Common sense SHOULD prevail.
In Q#4 we see how Coquitlam city councillor Doug MacDonell either misspeaks or didnít think through his statement in entirety regarding Coquitlam city tax resources. Nearly 50% of respondents in Q#4 are not aware that the City of Coquitlam receives millions in revenues from gambling, and other commercial taxes. This means that one-half of Coquitlam residents do not have the complete picture of city taxes. Not all are homeowners, but most, if not all, are consumers. Most respondents have really no idea how money is spent by the city. Many respondents grumble that they are not receiving services for their tax dollars. City officials should buy up more space in local newspapers in return for more public education. This is fair to the newspapers who do their best to report, its fair to the public who need to know more, and its fair to the politicians who have a heck of a time communicating with a public that is oft distracted.
(Jim Van Rassel): So Mr. MacDonnell what you are really saying is, We at the city of Coquitlam are spending above our means and Joe tax payer you are going to pay for my poor budgeting and chronic spending habits. Mr. MacDonnell what do you think we are stupid? So if all the development is done in Coquitlam will the sky fall? Be accountable with the resources you take from us there is only so much the taxpayer can endure!
In essence, with discussions of highways and thoroughfares and other development-taking place, Coquitlam residents have decided to draw a line in the sand (likely around their own property). It is interesting that Coquitlam residents perceive private property rights as important simply because many donít believe their rights are properly protected. This is more real than it is ideological.
Coquitlam City legal department doesnít believe they ought to be accountable or responsible for the brittle ĎBig O Pipeí used in drainage that Coquitlam City approved through permits for residential when current city councillor Lou Sekora was Mayor. (While were at it, are Sekoraís old friends at Wesbild giving any money for maintenance? This area is never properly looked after and they pay huge taxes). Legal says itís a private property issue. Yet, these city-approved pipes are exploding everywhere costing homeowners tens of thousands of dollars (particularly in Westwood area). Former Coquitlam Mayor Jon Kingsbury likens the leak pipe issue to the leaky condo issue. Current Mayor Maxine Wilson says she would look into it, but has been away on city junkets or holidays for a third or more of her term as Mayor. Councilman Richard Stewartís position on the leaky pipe matter will be interesting as well.
In politics (and less so Law), you canít have it both ways. Coquitlam city is going to have a heck of a time expropriating one blade of grass on citizenís property AND at the same time trying to tell everyone that any mistakes made by the city, which beset oneís property, will be the homeownerís fault. This isnít accountability, its dishonesty City of Coquitlam style.
Conservative James Moore physically towers over the diminutive Liberal Mayor of Port Moody Joe Trasolini, however he doesnít completely overwhelm Mayor Joe in this ROBBINS poll of likely future federal combatants. Some of these Coquitlam respondents are not in James Mooreís federal riding, and none of the respondents are from Port Moody. However, it is the Liberal name that holds Mr. Trasolini back some from achieving even better numbers, and this poll suggests that although Mayor Trasolini may have worn out his Mayorís welcome in Port Moody, he is more popular outside the city. Only 23% of respondents could not choose between Moore and Trasolini. Bear in mind however that Conservative numbers are not as high in some sections of Coquitlam where James Moore does not preside.
(Jim Van Rassel): Ding-Ding,,, lets see who has mastered the Rope-a-Dope.
Conservative MP David Emerson blows everyone out of the water on the softwood deal. How it is that the BC Liberal government and Opposition NDP could have missed the boat so badly on this, but from the respondents, most think this question is a no brainer. Emersonís background as a CEO in the forest industry likely steals away 5-10% from BC Premier Gordon Campbell on this question; mostly people want to move on.
Based on this bellwether region ROBBINS cannot see how the softwood file could become a confidence question in the House of Commons in Ottawa. The arguments against the deal may be valid if ones considers all of the intricacies of the deal, but to respondents in this poll, they donít really care. Coquitlam residents are of the belief we should get past the deal and move on. This file is a classic example of how independent polling by ROBBINS can help political leaders. Politicians often refer to the question of leadership as going against the grain but when support is under 30% in an area like Coquitlam city (all things being relatively equal) I would refer to it as poorly conceived. The position recently taken by the BC Liberals and the BC NDP on this file was simply poor judgement. I leave it to the good judgement of Mike Farnsworth and Premier Campbell to point out what we have missed. Anything is possible in politics.
(Jim Van Rassel):It would seem Most Canadians have had enough of this file. Canadians understand the US ripped us of, so a lesson well learned. I hope in the future our leaders remember this, so when an oil or water file open (which is likely) we are holding the cards and we as Canadians accepting this deal have earned a Trump card which WILL be cashed in. Fool me once shame on you fool me twice shame on the People of Canada. Mr. Emerson's deal stands. NEXT!
Our somewhat convoluted question relating to marijuana revealed a near split amongst Coquitlam residents. The question was designed (and succeeded) in determining those respondents who were AGAINST any liberalization of marijuana laws, as those interested in liberalization would often ask to go through the question again, while those against would simply provide their decision-they are saying NO to any liberalization. It is somewhat ironic that the vast majority of supporters of more liberal marijuana laws in this poll also support in the majority, private property rights in (Q#1), new bylaws for bears in (Q#2), arenít aware of all sources of Coquitlam cityís revenues (Q#4), AND support David Emersonís softwood lumber deal.
Insight- Frankly its my opinion (and I would suggest the citizens as well) that city hall lacks leadership right now. It is fractured and disjointed. With many talented individuals on city council this lack of cohesion falls on Mayor Wilson who frankly doesnít seem up to the job. Iím sensing early retirement for Ms. Wilson would be a big benefit to the city overall.
Coquitlamís future would look best with someone like Fin Donnelly, who is progressive, young, intelligent, understands city hall, and (yes I am a bit of a PR hound) is extremely good looking. Like Mayor Scott Young in Port Coquitlam (who may be the most physically fit politician in the province), Donnelly has an athletic pedigree and is extremely popular.
I like the talent I see at city hall, we just need to use it more wisely to get the city moving in the right direction. This is a progressive city; the days of clear-cut developments are over.

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