Four brave souls put their money where their mouth is

Councillor Jonathon Cote’s car-free commitment makes this weekend’s front page in New West

July 19, 2009 (Vancouver, BC) There is a lot of talk from Metro Vancouver’s civic leaders about the importance of transit and alternate modes of transportation, and now four brave civic politicians are willing to hand in their car keys as part of a week-long "car-free challenge."

“With over 100 civic politicians in Metro Vancouver, we thought more than four of them would be willing to try out life without a car,” says Mike Klassen, co-editor of, a popular blog focused on urban affairs in Canada. “I give full credit to the four politicians who are willing to put their money where there mouth is and live car free for a week. It won’t be easy.” declared July 19-25 as Civic Leaders Car Free Week in Metro Vancouver to determine how many local politicians were willing to ditch their cars and check out life using alternate transportation. Abbotsford Mayor George Peary was the first politician to accept the challenge followed by New Westminster Councillor Johnathon Cote, Port Coquitlam Councillor Brad West and Vancouver Councillor Suzanne Anton.

Each of the elected officials are expected to hand over their car keys to the city manager for a week. They will also be writing a series of blog entries to be published on as part of the challenge. Only politicians who use their vehicle as their primary source of transportation were eligible to participate.

“We need to get people out of their cars and into public transportation in order to save our local and global environment,” says Daniel Fontaine, co-editor and weekly civic affairs panelist on CKNW’s the Bill Good Show. “We thought this challenge was a good way to test out how many civic politicians not only wanted to talk about the importance of alternate transportation, but actually wanted to use it.”

A number of civic politicians such as Vancouver Councillor Andrea Reimer, a long-time green advocate who also contacted about the Challenge, and Mayor Gregor Robertson are already not currently using a car as their primary mode of transport. "We must also give credit to former city councillors Peter Ladner, Fred Bass and Gordon Price who set the example for today’s civic officials," adds Fontaine.

“Living without a car for a week as a civic politician may be an eye-opener for them,” says Klassen, who along with Fontaine is also opting not to drive his car during the week. “We hope that the four politicians writing for us this week will be frank and open about their experiences and that it helps to shape their future thinking around the need for alternate transportation investments in Metro Vancouver.” is based in Vancouver and is Canada’s most successful new urban affairs blog discussing the issues of importance to Canada’s cities. Since our launch last December we’ve had over a quarter of a million page views. We’ve also been featured on Global TV, CTV News, CBC Newsworld, The Vancouver Sun, The Province, The Ottawa Citizen, Langley Times, Abbotsford News and Seattle Post-Intelligencer.


Contact: Mike Klassen,

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Car-free Councillor Jonathan Cote makes the front page

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  • Great idea! Kudos to the four who took up the challenge.

  • TVAN

    This challenge was one of the better things Citycaucus has done in a while — something positive and not politically divisive or made up.
    KUDOS to those politicians who are practicing what they preach! I look forward to reading about their experiences here.