18 December 2010

Five reasons why Vision Vancouver badmouths Green commissioner Stuart Mackinnon

By Charlie Smith, The Straight

This week, Vision Vancouver park commissioners ramped up their attacks on the lone elected Green in Vancouver, Stuart Mackinnon.

In a peculiar move, Vision's Raj Hundal called Straight reporter Carlito Pablo out of the blue on December 15 to tell him that Mackinnon is "almost a bit of a bully".

Another Vision commissioner, Sarah Blyth, sent an e-mail to the Straight claiming that Mackinnon has—get this—"been anything but supportive", even rolling his eyes when she spoke.

What accounts for Vision's decision to go after Mackinnon this week?

Here are five theories:

1. The Vision Vancouver-controlled council approved the budget on December 14 before the Vision-controlled park board had a chance to hear submissions from the public. Mackinnon will likely point this out tonight (December 16). It's unheard-of for council to approve its budget before the elected park board has a chance to provide input. So the best defence for Vision commissioners was a good offence against Mackinnon in advance of him mentioning this to the media.

2. Related to the first point, the Vision-controlled park board postponed its budget consultation with the public, which was scheduled for the December 13 meeting. If Vision had proceeded on that day, there would have been a huge public outcry the night before the Vision-controlled council approved its budget. That's bad optics for a party that's obsessed with how it's perceived by the public.

3. Mackinnon simply knows a lot more about parks and recreation than the Vision commissioners. He has been attending park board meetings for years. Maybe the Vision commissioners are jealous.

4. Mackinnon is not a toady who supports all Vision motions. This doesn't sit well with a party that had an electoral arrangement whereby one spot was saved for the Greens. Vision feels that it helped elect Mackinnon and he's not sufficiently grateful for this.

5. Mackinnon lines up with NPA commissioner Ian Robertson on some issues. They both opposed opening up community centres for anti-HST petitioners, for example. Mackinnon has also put out joint news releases with Robertson. In the eyes of Vision Vancouver, that's tantamount to treason, and therefore, the Green commissioner must be punished.

Follow Charlie Smith on Twitter at twitter.com/csmithstraight.


  1. Certainly it's great to have Stuart Mackinnon as an indie but associating too closely with the NPA is not likely to ensure continued support from Vancouver's trade unionists who contributed to his election expenses.

  2. I would hope that Vancouver trade unionists would support any initiative that keeps our parks and recreation system strong and healthy. That's why I work with anyone that supports our workers and keeps our parks green. Partisan politics doesn't help anyone. If the NPA, COPE or Vision bring forward initiatives that keep our parks and recreation strong, I will support them, as I hope they will support me.

  3. I think the article missed something:
    Stuart's remarks after the latest budget cuts are likely to make the Vision team unpopular with park users (that is, pretty much everybody).

    I'm not an expert, but I can't see any way for Vision to spin these budget cuts into something positive ("whooo, filthy toilets!", "yay for expensive community centres!").

    I suppose somebody decided that making Stuart the bad guy could help people lose interest in this issue.

    Maybe I have no idea what I'm talking about...

  4. I voted for Stuart because of his integrity and dedication to parks and recreation. It takes guts to stand up to Silly Hall to protect essential services for the community/public facilities which might I say, is not only helping those who depend on the services the most but also saving many jobs for workers. I'm glad that he refuses to be intimidated by partisan politics, he's actually working for the people!

  5. Diversity works on many levels. It's also important to have a variety of perspectives to avoid GROUP THINK at Parks Board. Only Vancouver Parks Board has members from 4 civic parties: COPE, Greens, NPA and Vision. Having more perspectives helps to check the blind spots. It's interesting that Vision would complain about Mackinnon when they hold the majority on Parks, while non-Vision Commissioners hold the experience with Woodcock and Robertson being re-elected and Mackinnon attending Parks Board meetings for years.