From Seattle writer Knute Berger in Crosscut:


The 30th anniversary of Expo 86 is coming in early May, but there doesn’t seem to be much celebrating in Vancouver. Few dispute the fair served its original intention to revitalize the city after an ’80s real estate bust and capitalize on its ties to the Pacific Rim, but the main discussion around the fair’s anniversary seems to be whether its legacy has been golden, or gone sour. …

It’s fair to ask, by hosting an expo and an Olympics, what was Vancouver expecting? British Columbia’s former attorney general, Geoff Plant, writes of those events, “The world accepted our invitation. What did it see? A marvelously beautiful setting, a mild climate, the rule of law, respect for private property rights, a balanced market economy, safe neighborhoods and a tolerant society. Who can blame the world for wanting some of this?”

But Ley’s study reminds that it wasn’t just what newcomers wanted, it’s what BC’s politicians, business and neoliberals wanted, those who desired growth, trade, wealth and put in place specific policies that generated the current result with its rough “collateral” consequences for many who didn’t imagine a gleaming future they couldn’t be a part of.