What public institutions are next when it comes to politics?
You gotta hand it to COPE city councillor Ellen Woodsworth, she really knows how to put the cat among the pigeons. The lefty politician has put forward a motion to the next regular Vancouver city council meeting on Tuesday requesting that space be made available at City Hall for anti-HST canvassers to conduct their protest campaign and canvass citizens.
The motion reads:
- The City of Vancouver is on record as opposing the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) due to its effect on the City and Park Board budget, residents and businesses of Vancouver;
- The City of Vancouver has an interest in citizen engagement in the political process;
- The "Fight HST" campaign is coordinating the petition "An Initiative to End the Harmonized Sales Tax", authorized by Elections BC;
- The City of Coquitlam has opened up its City Hall to make the petition available.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED
THAT the City of Vancouver allow the "Fight HST" campaign access to City Hall during regular operating hours, and in a location to be determined by staff, for Vancouver residents to be able to sign the "An Initiative to End the Harmonized Sales Tax" petition.
Perhaps Woodsworth feels that she can tweak the nose of the Mayor, who has done his level best to stay on-side with Premier Campbell during his term in office. Whatever Woodsworth's motives, she really may be onto a good idea.
Perhaps we're not fully exploring the possibilities here. Where else can and should we be giving people the opportunity to involve themselves in this kind of political action? Of course, Vision has already signed onto park community centres, and now we might be setting up a booth right next to where you pay your property tax assessment. If you're annoyed at paying taxes, why not stick it to the man by signing a recall petition on your way out the door?
What other public institutions should we allow political canvassers to set up shop? Think about the poor shut-ins in our extended care hospitals, or even emergency rooms (it will help to pass the time). Perhaps in the halls of the Legislature in Victoria itself? There really is no public institution which shouldn't be allowed to have a political protest taking place.
How about schools? We know that the BCTF and the radicals from VESTA (Vancouver's elementary school social justice advocates) would like to have an HST petition set up in every classroom. Now, of course, an eight-year old can't really sign the petition, but at least it will give them something to talk about at the dinner table with their parents – "Mom, Dad, can we canvass our neighbours tonight to stop Gordon Campbell?"
Woodsworth is really thinking outside the box with her motion. Let's take it to the next level...
- Welfare offices? Natch.
- Hospitals? Of course.
- Schools? Mais oui!
- Prisons? Go get 'em, tiger!
In fact, why not mail the anti-tax petition home with your tax assessment or tuck it in with your kid's year-end report card? Or give someone the opportunity to sign it when they put their car through Air Care?
We're really only scraping the surface with the COPE councillor's innovative plan. I'm sure our readers can come up with some other great places we can set up protest booths, and I look forward to hearing them.
- post by Mike