"I didn't vote in Olympics referendum," says Mayor Robertson

Post by Mike Klassen in ,


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


Ahhhh yes, Mayor Moonbeam - nice guy but seems out of his league.

"I was so deep in my business [Happy Planet], that I wasn't focused on that at all."

That statement has a certain Beatnik "Jack Kerouac" poetry resonance about it.

I'm still waiting to see Mayor Moonbeam play bongo drums! BTW, ain't that a popular musical instrument on Cortes Island? :D

Me suspects unless something is under Twitter's 140 characters maximum, Gregor has a tough time grasping the concept. But who cares really, he looks great on TV! So terribly photogenic is he. He makes all the girls heart flutter. Really smart mayors are way overrated. Surfer dude like mayors are cool.

I think nothing of the Mayor and Vision, however...

...the Olympic and ward vote turnouts were under 50% and 25% respectively. The sides that won did so primarily as a result of the manipulation and apathy of the Vancouver electorate.

As a result we are stuck with an Olympian legacy of financial waste and a political system that the Italians call "Partitocracy". For any councillor the most important concern is not the voters but his position on the party list as decided by the party fixers. Come the election the winning and usually richest party can scoop the pool by achieving a multiplier effect from its own supporters' votes suppressing representation of its opponents.

FPTP in wards is far from perfect but it creates the connection of voter to representative that the above turnouts show we desperately need.

I didn't realize Sam Sullivan's cronies were still at it until I found your website. Are you a Partisan Association blogging team? How cute.

Does anyone care that Gregor didn't vote against or for the Olympics? You say yourself, that he probably wasn't legally able to anyways.

It seems like the point of your article is that Gregor didn't vote and that he's not a very good leader. Hmm.

The polls are mightily in Gregor's favor at the moment. In fact, they're higher then when he was voted in. Interesting. Must be because he's so pretty. Nothing to do with his policy, I'm sure.

I wonder what the Olympic vote would have been if they knew that the costs would end up doubling and that security would be a billion dollars?

That last post sounds a lot like a vision blogger I know. Hmmm. For someone who wasn't even aware of this blog (are you living under a rock or something???) you sure seem to be aware of the city scene, so to speak. You are so plugged in your aware of so called polling numbers showing Gregor at stratospheric levels. I say drink more of that vision bath water my good friend. Lull yourself into thinking those poll numbers actually mean something. I wouldn't even wipe my %#@ with that kind of a poll because it's meaningless and you know it.


I think the point is that if the Mayor didn't vote because he wasn't eligable, then why not say so???

Why make up an excuse like he was busy with Happy Planet, when Happy Planet had nothing to do with whether he voted or not?

I don't think anybody really cares whether or not he voted, but I think this article is a great example of how likes to spins the truth. Just another example of why it's so hard to trust Gregor.

I agree with RED, his Worship's comments seem kinda ridiculous.... I don't get it. Why would someone so ambivalent about the Olympics run to be Mayor of the Host City? I don't even get the sense that he actually likes being Mayor. He always looks kind of tortured about the whole thing. I am also equally unconvinced that his "maverick CEO" attitude doesn't serve any real purpose other than to annoy people and make them feel like they are outside his circle of trust. Its a very Orwellian elitism going on at City Hall.

Mark is full of s***.

The Mayor's numbers are "higher now" than they were during the election?

Mark, when having spent time on Cortes hanging out with Gregor's friends and taking part in their favorite pastime, I suggest staying away from the keyboard until you've come down or had another brownie...

Show me polling the conclusively proves this, from even standards to the polling from then, and I'll donate $100,000 to the NDP.

You are completely lying.

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