The mayor of Vancouver is a virtue-signalling twat and has finally been called out.
Last Thursday morning, Donald Trump’s eponymous oldest son made a media appearance at the Trump International Hotel and Tower currently under construction in Vancouver. While there, he addressed comments made by Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson that the Trump surname should be removed from the tower to “forcefully challenge hatred.”
It’s good to see that members of the Trump family are going on the offensive against the embarrassing, unstatesmanlike conduct of our mayor. The Vancouver Trump Tower is a great thing for the city. Its construction and staffing has employed thousands of people, and it will be a stunning piece of architecture.
I’ve gone out to see it myself and, shockingly, despite Donald Trump’s name on the side of the building, I didn’t observe any mass suicides. Beyond Robertson’s protests and a stunt perpetrated by a media-hungry construction worker waving a Mexican flag, the Vancouver Trump Tower hasn’t garnered all that much attention. Most people just don’t care.
Lost in the noise of all this, of course, is that like many Trump properties, the Vancouver Trump Tower isn’t really a Trump development. A Vancouver-based building development company is funding and constructing the property, and has merely licensed the Trump branding. The connection between the building and Donald Trump’s policies is nonexistent.
The building has nonetheless become a convenient scapegoat that affords Robertson an opportunity to express one of the safest political stances you can take in our progressive hellhole of a country. How brave.
Hating Trump may be popular in Vancouver, but Robertson’s comments are dangerously irresponsible. Threatening to take legal action against a real estate developer for constructing a building that will bring hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue into the city? If Robertson was attacking the figurehead of any other Vancouver business, his comments would rightly be condemned.
Even if Robertson finds the siren call of political opportunism irresistible, he should consider changing tack. After all, Donald Trump has become a major-party nominee for the American presidency. He has a clear shot at becoming the leader of Canada’s largest trading partner. How will a president Trump treat Canada considering the anti-Trump vitriol of Robertson (and his city council) and other major Canadian political figures?
Perhaps it is, as Donald Trump Jr. puts it, “faux outrage.” But that doesn’t change the irresponsibility of our leadership’s actions.
Vancouver’s mayor is willing to pit his mayoral power against the economic interests of his citizens, even if that means lobbing a legal threat against the construction of a 63-storey skyscraper and potentially keeping hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue on the table. Last time I checked, increasing revenue is one of the things a mayor is supposed to do, even when it means missing a chance to make political hay.
It’s vaguely amusing when university students act like this, but when there’s millions of dollars and key political relationships on the line I don’t find it funny. Other Vancouverites are registering their displeasure with Robertson’s actions as well.
Mayor Robertson is virtue signalling. He’s exploiting a political opportunity to make himself better-liked, and to appease the tiny minority of people who could genuinely be made upset by five letters on the side of a skyscraper. He’s placating the outraged-because-we-want to-be-outraged crowd. Robertson and his progressive base could do some good for once if they focused on combating real discrimination instead of complaining about a word on a building.
It’s promising, at least, that Donald Trump’s surrogates seem unphased. Donald Trump Jr. stated that he was “used to it at this point” and claimed the attacks were symptomatic of a culture “where everyone is outraged at everything and anything anyone says”. These statements reflect a capacity to engage in good-faith negotiations, and are miles more civilized than anything Robertson has said about the Trump family.
At one point in the distant future, maybe the politicians we elect will be able to resist the urge to screw over their citizens whenever there's an opportunity for favourable press. Until then, we’ll have to cope with idiots like Gregor Robertson.