Doctors have discovered that COPE's backbone has completely deteriorated
A lot has been written (and I mean a LOT) regarding Vision Vancouver’s recent verbal tirade against a West End community group pleading with council to listen to its concerns regarding their ill-thought out STIR program. Pundits and commentators have described Gregor Robertson and his Vision colleagues as “out of touch”, “arrogant” and even “pompous”. I’m pretty confident they are expressing the sentiments of many Vancouver residents who are tired of having pet projects rammed down their throat by a council who’s mantra is “we know what’s best for you, just trust us”.
I’ve written here before regarding how Vision winning a massive 10-1 majority government is both a blessing and a curse. On the blessing side, unlike the previous NPA 6-5 majority, you rarely have to worry about losing a vote in the chamber. It would take nothing short of a cataclysmic act of God for something like that to happen.
On the curse side, well, we’re starting to witness what it looks like and I believe there is more to come. At this point, the politicians realize that more of Vision’s mandate is behind them instead of in front of them. Any new big initiatives will have little chance of being implemented and taking effect before the next election. In other words, unless you simply want symbolic changes (which we've seen a lot of with this council), Vision will be hard pressed to move forward with any substantive policy items.
By now the novelty of Vision's government has also worn off and the long nights and lack of family time are starting to have their impact. Vision’s caucus members are beginning to fret as to which of them will be “protected” and which of them will have to run for nomination. That inevitably leads to thoughts of who will and won’t make the cut when the NPA wins at least 3-4 council seats in the next civic election. On that note you can expect councillors Reimer, Meggs, Stevenson and Deal will be having a few sleepless nights in the next few months.
As for how Vision regularly gets away ruling Vancouver in such a heavy-handed manner and ignoring the desperate pleas of local neighbhourhoods, I actually blame COPE for that one. You read that correctly. If COPE woke up to the fact that it actually still controls (at least for another few months) the balance of power at City Hall, it would be standing up to the bully tactics being demonstrated by the majority of elected officials. Instead, by remaining silent both publicly and privately, COPE has empowered Vision to steam-roll over community concerns on issue after issue that’s come before council. I would argue their silence has even encouraged some of the tactics.
All it would take is for COPE’s David Cadman and Ellen Woodsworth to say “enough is enough”. If they publicly declared they were going to stand up for neighbourhood concerns and put Vision on notice, I guarantee you the Mayor and his caucus would be forced to listen. The last thing they want is a split on the left side of the spectrum which would almost secure bozo the clown running for the NPA would win in a cakewalk.
So why has COPE been so silent as one community group after another begs with Council to listen? Why have their elected officials let Vision off the hook and allowed them to mock and deride community groups standing up for what they believe in? I don’t have an answer for that one but I know come 2011 that voters will be looking for someone to blame regarding the lack of consultation on a myriad of issues and COPE will have some explaining to do. That is, unless they can find their political backbone – and soon.
- post by Daniel