07 August 2010

City's democratic deficit

By Michael Bellegarde, Vancouver Sun August 7, 2010

One of the hardest things to find in Canada right now is good old-fashioned democracy.

After Stephen Harper prorogued Parliament and the B.C. Liberals slammed the harmonized sales tax down the throats of the electorate, I had clung to the hope that municipal politics would be the last bastion of democracy.

Alas, the Vancouver park board recently voted against Green Party commissioner Stuart MacKinnon's motion to have a plebiscite about whales and dolphins being kept in captivity.

For me, this was less an issue of cetaceans in captivity than of the democratic process in Vancouver's politics.

The commissioners who voted against the motion all took the coward's route out -- each one stated that a deal was in place with the Vancouver Aquarium and he or she had to honour it.

I would agree with them.

However, the motion was simply to ask the citizens what they thought, not to amend the agreement or renege on the deal.

The results of the plebiscite would merely have served as a compass to guide the board in its decisions, come 2015.

I am relatively new to Vancouver, but I thought I had read somewhere that Mayor Gregor Robertson is a bit of a socialist.

Why are his Vision Party comrades on the park board catering to corporate wishes, rather than the will of the people?

Michael Bellegarde


No comments:

Post a Comment