Elections Canada provides this data on the public's excuses for not voting
A tip of the hat to hardworking City Hall watcher Mike Howell of the Vancouver Courier for this story. In last Friday's paper Howell identified who on Vancouver city council today opposed bringing the 2010 Games to the city during a 2003 referendum. It turns out almost half of today's city councillors – Reimer, Jang, Chow, Cadman & Woodsworth – opposed bringing the Olympics in Vancouver. Not a surprise to us here at CityCaucus.com, as we've argued that no city council could have done less to get Vancouver prepared for the Games arrival than this one has.
However, one member of city council, Mayor Gregor Robertson, claims he didn't make time to vote one way or another.
He told the Courier in June 2009, "I was so deep in my business [Happy Planet], that I wasn't focused on that at all."
Gregor's response given last summer is a puzzler. Did he even live in Vancouver nearly seven years ago when the referendum took place? According to records, he bought his house in the Douglas Park neighbourhood in June 2005. He campaigned for the nomination for Vancouver-Fairview during 2004, and was elected MLA in May 2005. His primary residence before settling in Vancouver was on Cortes Island, where his family still owns a home.
In order to vote in the February 22, 2003 referendum, Gregor would have to had his permanent residence in Vancouver by mid-January 2003. Was he able to even vote?
The COPE/Vision city council of 2003-2005 were big fans of so-called "direct democracy" (they also held a referendum on wards 20 months later), which might seem like a great idea except for the fact that they were very divisive to communities and cost about a million bucks per referendum.
In both referenda conducted by COPE they most definitely did not get their way. COPE and their ilk, such as lefty Councillor Kerry Jang, are devout Games detractors. Using their logic, the Games are a lavish expense for the elite, and taxpayers should be putting money into social programs rather than social infrastructure such as new community and sport facilities.
As Jang says, "spending the money on the Olympics was a real lost opportunity ... to solve some of our health and housing challenges." That's news to the Province, who've poured hundreds of millions into Vancouver for social and supportive housing in advance of the Games.
In the case of the Olympic referendum, it was a rout for Games supporters – 64% for and 36% against. And despite the vigorous efforts of a sitting government and the city's socialist community, COPE lost their coveted vote for bringing in a ward system against Councillor Sam Sullivan and a small "Knowards" team (of which I was a member), %54 against wards vs. 46% for.
As for Robertson, his response to Mike Howell was classic fence-sitting by our teflon Mayor. Gee, I was too busy wrapping up my brief career in small business and gearing up to run for the NDP to actually take the time to form an opinion on the issue and cast my ballot.
Robertson is also avoiding other opportunities to show leadership despite the fact he's sitting in the big chair. He recently sent Mayor "Geoff" Meggs to represent him on the Translink Mayor's council during a controversial vote to increase rider fares.
- post by Mike