More money for programs? Better start looking for change under the sofa cushions
At first blush the report this morning on CKNW sounded only like another case of foot-in-mouth disease from Gregor Robertson. Vancouver's Mayor, who has been solidifying his reputation as being a Bubble Boy by only granting rare interviews with the media, went on a public stroll with reporters in tow on Monday night. The subject was a homeless youth initiative called In Our Shoes, and as it was framed by the news report, Gregor didn't have a lot to offer the organizers.
Here's the clip from CKNW:
When it comes to Vancouver going it alone in support the homeless Gregor Robertson says, "We don't have the budget or the mandate, er, responsibility to do that." It's a startling admission for the Mayor, and a signal of his desperation for new funding now that the Province is effectively tapped out.
There aren't many signs that the Federal Conservative government has warmed much to Robertson's lefty administration. Between the Mayor's plumping for Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff, and his aimless attempts at getting funding for shovel-ready projects at last Spring's FCM, Gregor Robertson really only has himself to blame for the lack of support from Ottawa for Vancouver's homeless initiative.
But saying that Vancouver doesn't have "the mandate" for this problem was the worst kind of Freudian slip. It almost made him sound like NPA Councillor Anton, who has steadfastly argued that the city has no business taking on traditional provincial responsibilities like mental health.
It's possible that Mayor's office handlers thought nothing could possibly go wrong by letting Robertson walk around with media and some homeless kids. After all, they've got him scripted up the ying-yang at these pompous podium media conferences, where there are so many flags lined up behind him the UN wants a royalty payment. But sadly, they were mistaken.
It's possible that Gregor Robertson has already broken the piggy bank, and is now digging under cushions for funding his projects. He'll need to try to make up with the Feds, and reign in his cranky caucus, before he can count on a single dime coming from back east.