Claws For The U-Pass

In the Carillon student paper this week is my letter to the editor, and Mr. Musleh’s response to my rebuttal of his tepid reception for the latest U-Pass effort underway by students with the support of the University President.

While Mr. Musleh frames my response as a personal critique, it’s actually taking issue with his facts and what his goal is in stating his version. For instance, where did I say or suggest “collaboration with the University will not work”? Asking questions is fine, and seeking details commendable, but doing so to scuttle the latest effort to bring a sustainable transportation plan to the University is not helpful.

I assure him that it’s not “at best dramatic” to suggest that fertile land will be lost to construction if we continue to fail as a city and university to fix our transportation issues. The UofR has already considered ‘developing’ the community gardens on Grant Rd. with residences or some other buildings. One need only look north on Broad St. to the new Badham Blvd. to see this is a real danger in Regina.

Another fact not yet mentioned enough is the UofR administration now actively supports a U-Pass proposal, while previously that was lacking. As for not seeing work done on U-Pass in the past 10 years, I invite Mr. Musleh to attend at least one U-Pass organizational meeting, or to look at what’s been done at the dozens of other campuses that have since implemented such an idea.

Like Mr. Musleh, I’d prefer the City commit to improved bus routes prior to students voicing their support in the referendum, but transit-hostile Council members won’t allow that to happen as it did recently in Winnipeg. So are students to give up for now (again) as Mr. Musleh suggests, or instead take charge and start making very reasonable demands of City Council to fix the Transit system in their city?

Councillor Hawkins in the Leader Post suggested he’d vote against the student’s democratically decided wishes if the voter turnout is “small”. Student votes are traditionally low, often as small a voter turnout as for those who elected Councillor Hawkins to Council. Why wouldn’t students want to oppose a Councillor who in part raised their bus passes by $200 with no service level improvement? By passing a referendum that says students can have a pass for LESS than the increase imposed by Hawkins, students win.

If the referendum is successful, city council will still have to vote on the proposal. One thing Hawkins will be watching is voter turnout at the referendum. “I don’t think that a small voter turnout among the student body will tell us anything on this. So, I think that the voter turnout is going to make a difference here.”

Let’s keep in mind what we’re trying to achieve, and who/what we’re struggling against to change the status-quo, and not fuss so much over any perceived imperfections in a new-to-Regina system well tested and used elsewhere. And that’s a criticism of Regina as a whole, not Mr. Musleh specifically.


About John Klein

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