Vision attack dogs aim to crush Green Party's Mackinnon

Post by Mike Klassen in

30 comments

Vision attacks Stuart Mackinnon
So insecure with their own Park Board governance, Vision goes on the attack

To me, it looked like an innocent expression of one person's principles. Green Party park board Commissioner Stuart Mackinnon was putting to his colleagues the idea of a 2011 plebiscite to gauge public opinion on the future of large mammals in the Stanley Park-based Vancouver Aquarium. If you've ever encountered Mackinnon, you know that he's probably among the most principled individuals in local elected politics you'll meet. I don't agree with all of Stuart's views, but I salute his respectful approach.

NPA Commissioner Ian Robertson put it best when he said on today's Christy Clark Show with host Mike Smyth, "I would have been surprised if Stuart did not bring this motion. He's a passionate opponent of large marine animals in captivity." Indeed, I truly have not formed my own opinion on whether we should have orcas, belugas and dolphins in tanks at the Vancouver Aquarium. But I respect those who argue on both sides of the issue.

However, Vision Vancouver seem to take another approach – it's called kill the messenger.

If you ever needed more evidence of how cheap Vision Vancouver are when backed into a corner, look no further than how they have dealt with Mackinnon on this issue. For those who do not recall, Stuart Mackinnon was a part of an anti-NPA slate featuring Green Party, COPE and Vision Vancouver park commissioner candidates back in 2008. In fact, Coun. Andrea Reimer was once a Green Party member serving on the Vancouver school board.

When it came to some key votes early in this term, Mackinnon decided that he could not support Vision Vancouver. In particular, he voted against Vision's budget cuts. Almost immediately Vision's knives came out. By voting against Vision he was deemed immediately persona non grata. Commissioner Aaron Jasper, who has gained a reputation as a very churlish member of the current board, began to repeatedly make personal attacks on Mackinnon, accusing him of political grandstanding.

"If you want a glaring example of political grandstanding," comments Comm. Robertson, "look no further than Vision's vote on the HST petitions in our park community centres. It served no purpose except to make an empty political point."

It's an absolute puzzle to me why Vision would have gone on the attack in this instance. Mackinnon's request was only to debate the motion at a Park Board meeting. With Vision and the NPA's Robertson already on the record as opposed, it would have fallen on a vote and that would be the end of it. In fact, it's rumoured that none of the commissioners had any problem with the motion – that is, until the Mayor's office caught wind of it.

Then there is another wrinkle for Vision. Reportedly, Commissioner Constance Barnes was set to vote in favour of Mackinnon's motion. Not so fast, Barnes was warned. In fact, we've heard unconfirmed rumours that Barnes re-nomination as a Vision commissioner was threatened if she decided to break ranks on this issue. If our sources are not accurate on this count, Comm. Barnes is welcome to contact us and we'll correct the record.

Then there is the nasty press release sent out under Park Board Chair Aaron Jasper's name – seen below. As you can see from the email information, it was provided to Jasper by Vision Vancouver staffer Jonathan Ross. The release is hardly what anyone would describe as focusing on the issue at hand. Rather, it is a very personal indictment of Mackinnon's character.

----- Original Message -----
From: Jonathan Ross jonathan@tdhstrategies.com
To: aaron_jasper@hotmail.com
Sent: Thu 15/07/10 3:17 AM
Subject: Fwd: PRESS RELEASE - Motion puts Vancouver Park Board at risk of lawsuit
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 15, 2010

Stuart Mackinnon motion knowingly puts Park Board at risk of lawsuit

Political posturing takes precedence over protection of taxpayer interests

Vancouver, BC – A motion being forwarded by Vancouver Park Board Commissioner Stuart Mackinnon is putting the Park Board at risk of a potential lawsuit, in spite of his prior knowledge of a legally binding agreement with the Vancouver Aquarium.

On Monday, November 26, 2006, the previous NPA majority Vancouver Park Board voted to “amend the term of the current Stanley Park Aquarium Agreement to extend the license to 20 years.”  As part of that amendment, it was also decided that “it is the Board’s intention that in 2015 the board review the Parks Control By-law relating to captive cetaceans” (a decision that passed with 4 votes from the NPA in favour, and 2 votes against from the opposition).

In spite of Mackinnon’s motion referencing the “motion to review the Parks Control By-Law relating to captive cetaceans in 2015,” it still is advocating that “a plebiscite be held during the 2011 Vancouver civic election asking the public if they are in favour of ending the containment of cetaceans in Vancouver parks.”

This is the height of irresponsibility, according to Aaron Jasper, Chair of the Vancouver Park Board.

“I am absolutely shocked that in spite of being aware of the binding agreement that we as Park Board commissioners are bound by, Mr. Mackinnon is still pushing ahead with this motion” said Jasper.  “The fact is that under these terms, the issue of cetaceans in captivity is moot until 2015, and bringing forth such a motion puts the taxpayers of Vancouver at considerable risk from a lawsuit.”

There are plenty of ways to gauge “public sentiment” regarding the issue after the current agreement lapses, and Mackinnon’s personal ambitions are clouding his ability to put fiscal responsibility first.

“Stuart is trying to initiate political mischief with this motion” added Jasper.  “Regardless of our personal feelings on the matter, we as elected representatives have a responsibility to put the interests of our constituents ahead of petty politics.”

Mackinnon’s motion will be voted upon on Monday, July 19, 2010.

-30-

Media Contact:
Aaron Jasper, Chair of the Vancouver Park Board

(604) 669-3131

We've often puzzled at the person that CityCaucus.com staff offhandedly refer to as "Civic Boy". Is Civic Boy on the Vision Vancouver payroll? Is he in fact speaking on behalf of Mayor Robertson, Commissioner Jasper and the rest of the Vision Vancouver caucus when he launches into put downs?

For example, we have to wonder what the members of the West End Neighbourhood group (aka WEN) might think of being called NIMBYs by someone hired by Mayor Robertson's own party? It's bad enough that Robertson flipped the West End the bird last week, and now we have one of his own on a search and destroy mission. How can Vision Vancouver benefit by having one of their own trashing people in the community who disagree with Mayor Robertson?

Then there is Civic Boy's own attack on Mackinnon, again accusing Stuart of political grandstanding. Funnily enough, he cites his own press release written for Jasper, as though Jasper himself produced it! Civic Boy goes on to say this about Mackinnon as his parting shot:

But for a guy whose party has absolutely no profile, and who will be fighting for his political life in the next election, this kind of politics makes perfect sense.

One can only guess that the Vision-COPE-and-Green Party coalition is effectively dead. Not that Mackinnon would be stupid enough to align himself with these turkeys ever again.

Jonathan Ross is Vision Vancouver's direct pipeline from the Park Board to the Mayor's office – he's paid to attend every meeting. Mayor Robertson might want to explain what one of his own paid employees is doing making personal attacks on public officials and members of the public.

- post by Mike

30 Comments

Disgusting!

Jonathan Ross, !@#$%^&* Vision Hack!

And as for Aaron Jasper, how do you like being a one term wonder,kid?

Kiss those dreams of the Mayoralty buh-bye, real estate boy!

Let's see...

J Ross, claiming to be an independent blogger, with no affilaition to the party in power.

Well, if that is so, hasn't he just broken his own high journalistic/blogger standards?

Who is paying J Ross in this instance? The Vision party? Jasper? Or???

Clearly, using this bogus "impartial" blogger to attack a fellow Park Board member constitutes dirty tricks by Vision, Jasper and God knows who all else.

I hope that Jonathan Ross recuses himself from any statement on this issue on his blog. And issues Stuart McKinnon a profound apology, if he hasn't restrained himslef.

Don't they have enough "communications" people at City Hall---some of who have also worked--or work-- for the Vision party---to do this type of character assassination? Oh! I forgot---they can't seen to be interferring with Park Board! That would constitute POLITICAL INTERFERENCE with an INDEPENDENTLY ELECTED BOARD(AHHAHAHHAAHAHAHA, hooha, boy, I make myself laugh sometimes).

Guess they meed to contract out the sleasiest stuff (too much work to do at the Hall, lately) so that their Park Board and School Board peeps can stay on message.

Oh, dear...from Jonathan's blog...contrast and compare.
_______________________________________
'More political grandstanding by Stuart Mackinnon'

July 16th, 2010

(Pic caption): 'Mackinnon is using politics to cloud the issues, as per usual'

Here is the text of the motion:


“WHEREAS at a special board meeting dated November 27, 2006 the Vancouver Park Board passed a motion to review the Parks Control By-Law relating to captive cetaceans in 2015;
AND WHEREAS the residents of Vancouver value the ability to express their views on relevant issues of the day;
AND WHEREAS a plebiscite is a non binding democratic tool to survey the public sentiment;
THEREFORE be it resolved that a plebiscite be held during the 2011 Vancouver civic election asking the public if they are in favour of ending the containment of cetaceans in Vancouver parks, including the phase out of existing cetacean exhibits which are located on land leased by the Park Board. “
Seems reasonable, considering the death of baby beluga Nala last month. Right?

Wrong.

A press release from Park Board Chair Aaron Jasper gives a little more context. Here are some excerpts:

“On Monday, November 26, 2006, the previous NPA majority Vancouver Park Board voted to “amend the term of the current Stanley Park Aquarium Agreement to extend the license to 20 years.” As part of that amendment, it was also decided that “it is the Board’s intention that in 2015 the board review the Parks Control By-law relating to captive cetaceans” (a decision that passed with 4 votes from the NPA in favour, and 2 votes against from the opposition).
“The fact is that under these terms, the issue of cetaceans in captivity is moot until 2015, and bringing forth such a motion puts the taxpayers of Vancouver at considerable risk from a lawsuit.”
“Regardless of our personal feelings on the matter, we as elected representatives have a responsibility to put the interests of our constituents ahead of petty politics.”
A debate on having whales in captivity is reasonable and even appropriate in light of recent events.

(NOTE FROM TNAR: WOW! THIS READS REMARKABLY SIMILAR TO ROSS'S E-MAIL NOTES PROVIDED TO JASPER!!! Fancy that! Shurely, separated at birth?
Now, on with the J Ross Show...)

Accordingly, Stuart jumped on this in interviews with Rick Cluff on CBC and Bill Good on CKNW, saying that there was a contradiction between Vision Vancouver’s desire for consultation with the public and Aaron Jasper non-support for the proposed plebiscite.

What a load of crap.

First, it was the former NPA Park Board that locked the current Commissioners into the deal that they are currently dealing with. No bylaw changes can be considered, as per the contract signed with the Vancouver Aquarium, until 2015.

Which of course means that a Park Board initiated plebiscite constitutes a breach of this agreement, which in turn is grounds for a substantial lawsuit against Vancouver’s taxpayers.

Furthermore, Mackinnon’s line that this is the last opportunity to seek out the public’s position on this issue before 2015 without spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on a stand-alone plebiscite is ridiculous. Why would you use polling from 2011 to make a decision in 2015? And if the ability for the Park Board to change the parameters of their policy on whales in captivity comes into play again 2015, why wouldn’t you just attach the question onto the 2015 electoral ballot instead?

The logic of Mackinnon’s arguments are deeply flawed.

No one is doubting that he truly believes that whales should not be kept in captivity. That is an issue that he seems to be legitimately passionate about. And, there are no doubt others on the Park Board who share his sentiments.

However, with the knowledge that nothing can truly be done until 2015, and that initiating such a plebiscite would place great financial risk atop the shoulders of the Vancouver electorate, his motion turns into nothing more than political posturing to gain a little attention.

And that is an irresponsible and quite frankly selfish position to take as a public servant.

Now that he has heard the staff’s opinion that a lawsuit is likely if his motion passes, Mackinnon would be wise to pull the motion in the name of protecting the public coffers.

But for a guy whose party has absolutely no profile, and who will be fighting for his political life in the next election, this kind of politics makes perfect sense.

Just not for those who care about fiscal responsibility.

---30---

Provided by me as a public service, because, if this Ross had any shame, he would remove it. Which he won't, because he doesn't.

Disgusting. That's the only way to describe what Vision and their pitbull Ross are doing to Stuart. And to think he helped get them elected. I think Vision's blogger owes an apology to the commissioner an to westend residents. Talk about a lack of respect. Where is the mayor when all this is happening? Robertson should call off his attack dogs now or completely ruin his chances at holding the coalition together.

Me thinks Aaron Jasper has some splainin to do. Are those really his words in the news release or is it Jonathan's? He should let the public know if this blogger is being paid by Vision to spew out these nasty personal attacks against green party officials. I'm not holding my breath.

As a former Park commissioner I am dismayed. I have never witnessed such an off-based, unfounded personal attack on any fellow Commissioner. But, to do so to Commissioner McKinnon is especially unforgivable. Stuart is an articulate, intelligent, principled individual who commands respect from all who get to know him. This attack goes to far & debases not only those who make it but, the office itself. a very unfortunate precedent.

I understand the reason Stuart is bringing this motion now is because there is a possibility there will be a 4 year term [a bad move from my perspective], so 2015 comes before the end of the next term. Stuart, contrary to the misinformed Vision drivel, is, in fact being very fiscally responsible in proposing to hold a plebiscite coinciding with the next election, thereby saving taxpayers dollars. But, Vision never have been good @ math.

I can also compare Stuart's reception by Vision with my own recent NPA experience. He is instantly blackballed for wanting to consult voters [remember, a Vision promise ciria 2008] about an environmental issue [read: 'green' City], not surprising from a Green Party member. By contrast, when I and a number of like minded individuals approached the NPA hierarchy to make 2 fundamental changes in what that organization is, we were told although not all agreed with our ideas, the debate would be welcomed.

The contrast is enlightening.

Is Mr. Ross speaking on behalf of his vision party when he spouts off and levels his attacks? If he is I think the mayor owes some Vancouver residents another apology.

Based on Robertson's F-bomb salvo against the WestEnd last week, I happen to think that what Mr. Ross writes is actually what his worship is thinking.

It's ancient class warfare of renters vs. owners. Renters (like Ross and the Mayor) are good, pure and altruistic. Owners are bad, capitalists and preying on the underprivileged. This is what our civic political scene has degraded to in the last 2 years. Perhaps is the mayor owned his own home he wouldn't be so antagonistic toward people who are?

I'm just wondering how it is that CityCaucus can be anti-local democracy (wanting the school board to shut up and do what its masters say) but is an advocate for local democracy when it makes Vision look bad (e.g. when MacKinnon and Ian Robertson disagree). I'm always for local democracy, by the way.

@Suzie Nice try, girl. Waving the "democracy" card, that is. What on earth does that have to do with Ross and Jasper's insulting remarks against Mackinnon? As for Mike's comments on Bacchus & co. I agree with him that they're merely shilling for their BCTF masters, which has nothing at all to do with your coveted notion of democracy.

I also want to know where is Gregor on all this?

Perhaps they are also punishing Stuart because he showed up at the last NPA AGM. I met him, he's a very nice guy.

I'm sure we can also count on Alex Tsakumis to publish his own shrill diatribe about Stuart, so, Jonathan Ross will be in good company.

Not sure about that, Tom. AGT knows how Vision rolls and has also been a big critic of Jasper. Plus, it's a weekend and (unlike us) he probably has better things to do.

I don't know about Mr Ross but Mr Robertson owns a considerable value of real estate, like his other very wealthy friends. It's unlikely to embarrass him, however, any more than his numerous air journeys or the ecological impact of the fruit farms supplying Happy Planet disturb his green self image.

You're right, my comments weren't about the MacKinnon issue (where I agree with you), but about the hypocrisy of the folks on this blog.

As for Vision "shilling for BCTF masters", that's a cliched "in the pocket of unions" assumption that has absolutely no basis in reality.

The teachers (both the provincial federation and the local unions) have been virtually silent on the issue of budget rows and school closures, and nowhere to be seen in this recent row between MacDiarmid and the VSB. Will be interesting to see if they have anything to say as school closure decisions are made.

Perhaps the BCTF knows that the VSB will look after their interests and it is more productive to work behind the scenes.

Yes, you're right - what was I thinking. Behind the scenes has worked really well these past few years.

The teachers like the rest of the unionized public sector have not fared too badly during the current recession. Best strategy for the public sector - keep their heads down and hope the private sector workers, who pay for their rich compensation packages, do not notice the sweetheart deals the public sector already has.

I wasn't aware that the Mayor didn't own his home.

I believe a corporation owns the Mayor's home.

I believe his wife sits (or sat) on the board of that corporation.

Whatever can it all mean!??

Tom:

What's your problem? I actually am a friend of Stuart Mackinnon's and we agree to disagree. As anyone who knows me is aware, I am a STAUNCH supporter of the Vancouver Aquarium and their incredibly valuable research.

As for Jonathan Ross, I believe I have revealed him to be the paid whore that he is. There is something unstable about him and eventually he'll have to answer for many of things he's done and said.

But not quite yet...

What, the mayor doesn't own his own home? Apparently a corporation owns it. We should all be so lucky. Anyone know what the tax advantages are of having a corporation own your home? Just curious.

Alex:

Can you tell us some of the discoveries made at the Aquarium regarding cetaceans?

In visiting their website it appears most of the research they do w/r/t whales is performed in the field.

http://www.vanaqua.org/conservation/cetaceans/

Chris go fly a kite somewhere. You're an a*******.. Set up the straw man and then pretend you're this polite impartial guy. I'm sick of you and so are a ton of people. You're THE f*******. hack on all sorts of websites, bumping for the Mayor.

Do I look like the head of research at the Aquarium? No. But you try to corner me and post comments well after the thread is done just to put up what in your pee brain you consider a "counter"

Adjust your skirt and pay attention.

Okay, I attended more than a half dozen lectures sponsored by various IMPARTIAL groups where both sides were extolled. I viewed the specific gains in understanding whales and dolphins AS SIGNIFICANT. I also appreciated the advances studying these beautiful creatures made to science and medicine. One Korean party actually talked about how researching dolphins has led them to the door of potential liver cancer cures. Another group told of how the digestive system of a whale led to other advances. It wasn't some business group sponsorship. These are serious groups with vested interests in helping both cetaceans and humans.

Your b****** is infuriating.

"Chris go fly a kite somewhere. You're an a*******. Set up the straw man and then pretend you're this polite impartial guy. I'm sick of you and so are a ton of people. You're THE f******* hack on all sorts of websites, bumping for the Mayor."

Alex, for the sake of your health and sanity, please get some help:

http://www.counsellingbc.com/areas/Anger+Management+Issues

xo

Tom if you're still in a snit that I openly challenged your husband, Sean Bickerton, then it's you that needs help.

The horse manure you shovel is unending and intolerable.

But then again, if Sean's bumping for Vision, why expect anything else from you.....

Save your advice for Sean when he loses yet another election (another good candidate with bad decision making skills).

Because when the electorate can't differentiate between an NPA and Vision candidate...

Alex:

It's a valid question that anyone reading the aquarium's web site and researching the issue might have.

You appear to be defending the idea of cetaceans in captivity as a way to learn about them. I pointed out a seeming disconnect between your position and the apparent facts. If that infuriates you then so it goes.

I am a polite guy. If that ticks you off there's not much I can do about it. I'm not a shill for the mayor, but we certainly share similar viewpoints. I'm hardly alone in this regard.

You love to single me out, call me names, and otherwise behave in a manner that's downright rude and disrespectful. Your issue. I don't particularly care. But don't whinge about the playing field being a rough place when somebody makes a fair tackle in the open field, when you can't wait for the next ruck to try to stomp somebody's face.

Play on.

cheers,
CK

No, Alex, to be in a snit over the lies and innuendo you post about Sean (and now me) would mean that I take what you write personally. I read your blog for the comedy. It makes me chuckle. Sometimes I even LOL.

Name one lie or innuendo I've posted about your husband.

One.

The only one making anybody laugh is you. IF you like Visions policies so much and think your husband is making all the right political moves, great, go to Vision.

For crying out loud, Alex, there's one right in your post here:

"bumping for Vision"

Utter horse manure, to use your words.

It seems to me you are incapable of separating partisan politics from policy. According to you, anyone that has an opinion which may align with City Council's decision is "bumping for Vision." How incredibly absurd and short-sighted.

I recall before the last city election that you wrote an article in 24 Hours with some glowing words about a few Vision candidates. By your own logic, you, too, were "bumping for Vision."

"IF you like Visions policies so much and think your husband is making all the right political moves, great, go to Vision."

So, are you now recruiting for Vision as well as bumping?

If you'd prefer a group of ideologues who all think and do everything the exact same way in City Hall, then perhaps it is you who should go to Vision. The NPA will have candidates with a variety of opinions, views and ideas. Get used to it. It's called Democracy.

I saw this headline in the Sun and at first thought it could be related to this story:

Jasper explosion caused by gas leak

I don't understand how anyone would think that Jonathan Ross is on the payroll of Vision Vancouver. Why just last year, I asked him if he was being paid by the civic party to operate his site. He said "No."
http://civicscene.ca/charlie-smiths-exposes-vision-vancouvers-true-colours

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