Local residents and some local politicians think Vision's decision to politicize PNE board simply reeks of partisan politics
They did it. Despite speaker after speaker voicing concern about a severe lack of process and consultation, Vision rammed through a vote in the chamber today which will see the Pacific National Exhibition (PNE), Vancouver's most high-profile version of a crown corporation, chaired by a politician.
One could only imagine the howls of anger from some quarters if BC Premier Gordon Campbell had made a decision to name one of his Liberal MLAs as the new Chair of BC Hydro or ICBC. Imagine if Premier McGuinty announced one of his MPPs was going to take over the helm at Hydro One. The left would be up in arms at the decision.
Mayor Gregor Robertson's decision to have Vancouver's PNE Board chaired by a city councillor is simply outrageous. This is a multi-million dollar operation that for that last several years has finally become a money maker vs a big-time money loser. Putting a civic politician at the helm at this juncture, especially one as partisan and political as Councillor Louie, is a another lapse in judgement on the part of Vancouver's rookie mayor.
Kudos to COPE Councillor Ellen Woodsworth and NPA Councillor Suzanne Anton for holding the Mayor's feet to the fire for his decision. Here is what Woodsworth told CKNW's senior reporter Janet Brown:
To have the chair, an elected city councillor, supervising decisions in which four city staff are going to participate really may influence the kinds of statements they make or how they vote.
With the exception of CKNW's intrepid city hall reporter Janet Brown, almost no on other media outlet has picked up on the significance of this story. Especially the fact the report was slipped in at the last minute as a "late distribution" and that it all but came as a surprise to local residents.
In only six months this Vision government, elected with an overwhelming majority mandate, is beginning to demonstrate a serious case of arrogance. When it comes to politicizing the PNE board, they may soon learn that this type of behaviour comes with a price. To think, there's only 30 months before the next civic election. Oh, how time flies when you're having fun.