They call it democracy: Anton muzzled by Vision majority

Post by Daniel Fontaine in ,

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Vision councillors pass 'in-camera' motion to silence NPA opposition regarding Olympic Village issue

In what will undoubtedly be a contender for the Headshaker of the Year Award™, has learned that Vision Councillors passed a motion in yet another secret 'in-camera' meeting before the holiday break which restricts the NPA's Councillor Suzanne Anton from speaking publicly about the Olympic Village development.

The last time we checked, muzzling the elected opposition wasn't something one associated with democratic institutions in Canada.

When contacted by, Anton confirmed that her Vision colleagues have already invoked 'closure' on several occasions in public meetings.

"Not only are they invoking closure, they are now dusting off arcane rules which say that I am only allowed five minutes to speak on any given topic," says Anton. "They're telling the 55,000 people who voted for me that their voice isn't important because with a majority they can pass anything they want through Council."

According to a City Hall source, the in-camera motion ordered Anton to remain silent on the issue of the Olympic Village development, with only Vision Vancouver Mayor Robertson being permitted to speak to the media.

The source also indicates that during the secret meeting to fire former City Manager Judy Rogers, Anton tried to call 'notice', but was overruled.

Calling 'notice' is a long-standing practice which is available to all councillors who feel they don't have enough information in order to cast their vote. Once notice has been called, typically the item is then bumped to the next meeting for a discussion and vote.

As you recall, Anton did not even know that the firing of Rogers was on the in-camera agenda, let alone have time to assess the situation.

Incredibly, Mayor Robertson and his Vision/COPE colleagues shot Anton's 'notice' motion down by voting to suspend the rules in order that they could ram the vote on Ballem's hiring through with only limited debate. There was no public recruitment process to hire Vancouver's new City Manager as she was hand picked by Mayor Robertson.

There goes openness and transparency again.

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The good citizens of Vancouver (or at least a majority) elected the Vision candidates with considerable enthusiasm. Now they will live with the consequences. I suspect there will be a lot more of these shenanigans over the next three years. Just wait for the 09/10 budget. I suspect that taxes will be upsetting to many. One good result will be a reminder for those liberals who might have a tendency to vote against Gordon Campbell in the coming provincial election to consider what these NDP folks are really like when they form government.

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