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Spinning out

As anyone with a shred of political awareness knows, politics is mired with half-truths, whitewashes and outright lies.

As anyone with a shred of political awareness knows, politics is mired with half-truths, whitewashes and outright lies. Time and time again politicians rely on a population's short memory and even shorter attention span to spin events to their benefit, or to mitigate damage. "Spin" must be the word to answer the mind-boggling statement made by Premier Gordon Campbell's in Beijing this week about the rockslide at Porteau Cove. He called it a "200-year event.""Clearly the rockslide that took place on the Sea to Sky Highway was something that wasn't expected," he said.The man is either spinning out or he needs to hire much better staff - oh, that'll be another tactic: blame it on staff.Let's set the record straight, shall we? March of 1964: a massive rock fall barely misses drivers at the exact spot of the July 29, 2008 event. Train passengers are picked up by boat to finish their journey to the Lower Mainland. Jan. 27, 1960: a 100-ft. section of cliff comes down at the PGE rail line near Porteau Cove, the same area as a slide that delayed the inaugural train in 1956. The operator of a loading machine working on the highway had to run for his life as the "truck-size" boulders hurtled down, pushing the machine near the road edge. Feb. 1969: a Porteau Cove rock fall kills two 21-year-olds and a 17-year-old. While attempting to blast remaining rock, Ministry of Highway workers are pulled out due to on-going hazards. Sept. 1982: one woman is killed and her father disabled by falling rocks at Porteau Cove. Spring of 1987: falling rocks at Porteau Cove strike a car carrying two passengers. A follow-up article in the Squamish Times describes the area as a "slumbering time bomb" that poses a threat not only during heavy rains but all year round. Spring of 1991: a Porteau Cove rockslide kills a 43-year old Squamish man after a boulder 12 inches in diameter smashes through his windshield. Highways calls it a "freak accident."Geotechnical experts and any longtime local with half a brain have long been aware of the area's susceptibility to rockslides. Campbell's blatant untruth is extremely worrisome for what it means to the hordes of residents and visitors that drive the highway. It suggests the province is willing to turn its back on a mountain of evidence -not to mention the lives of Sea to Sky drivers - for the sake of visuals.In 1982, the Supreme Court of Canada found that, "the province owes a duty of care, which ordinarily extends to their reasonable maintenance, to those using its highways" Duty to those using the highways - apparently that's a concept lost on Premier Campbell.