Cadman deserves credit for gutsy motion

Post by Daniel Fontaine in


toast at wedding
A toast and bouquet of flowers were delivered to David Cadman for his courageous stand

It’s not often staff at CityCaucus Tower take the time out of their busy schedules to raise a glass to Vancouver COPE councillor David “Carbon” Cadman. However, that’s exactly what happened over the weekend as word spread Cadman had introduced a council motion demanding his coalition of the willing partners practice some fiscal accountability. Cadman is asking Vision to reverse their previous decision to allow the City Manager to sign off on untendered contracts up to $300,000 without any political oversight.

In the past, any contract over $30,000 required political approval. It was something newly-minted City Manager Penny Ballem learned the hard way when she garnered headlines for issuing two back-to-back untendered contracts to Hoggan and Associates. Just prior to the Christmas break, she convinced council to significantly increase the amount she was permitted to arbitrarily approve. City Hall watchers argue the move was intended to prevent additional bad press and limit transparency when it comes to issuing contracts to friends and insiders.

As Charlie Smith from the Georgia Straight rightly points out, COPE have given Vision a veritable free ride when it comes to council expenditures. It was recently revealed on our site that Mayor Gregor Robertson was even given access to a $1000 a day contractor to help boost his image during the Olympic Games.

So just how did Robertson afford to hire the contractor when council provides him with only a limited budget for these type of expenditures? Well, no worries on that front. Robertson was permitted (without council being aware) to dip into the City's general operating budget to get access to this hired help. As for his $800K+ office budget, well it wasn’t hit up for a penny to pay for all this type of Olympic period promotion.

It’s likely this revelation raised the ire of Cadman and triggered his motion asking for more fiscal accountability at City Hall. That’s because until now the Mayor traditionally could only spend the money he was provided by his council colleagues. Now it would appear the City Manager also has the authority to help plump up the Mayor's office budget.

Unlike some American mayors that have unfettered access to public funds, Robertson has to go cap in hand to Cadman and his colleagues to get his budget approved. In fact, every Mayor and Council are supposed to operate this way in British Columbia. It's something our imperial Mayor likely finds frustrating as he watches communist leaders in China govern without the "hassle" of public accountability.

The fact Robertson’s hand-picked city manager is now allowing him special access to resources not provided equally to other members of Vancouver council should be of concern. Those interested in promoting the concept of open and transparent government should be advocating that these expenditures are properly approved and reflected in the Mayor’s discretionary budget.

I suspect Cadman’s motion will trigger at least three COPE/NPA councillors to ask some tough questions. Woodsworth could ask if the City Manager has provided any other contracted support to the Mayor or his caucus colleagues besides what we’re aware of from Hoggan and Associates, FD Element, and Linda Oglov? Anton could ask what the policy is with regards to providing the Mayor with special access to support services not paid for out of his budget? Cadman could well ask why Council wasn’t advised of such an expenditure until it was posted on

I give Cadman full marks for having the guts to stand up to the Mayor and his Vision colleagues on this one. That's because you can anticipate some of the nastier Vision Vipers will try to figure out exactly how Cadman will politically pay for his open defiance to their authority.

I don't see this as signs of a split in their coalition. Rather, I see it as a politician relying on principle to hold a government's feet to the fire. If he wants any hope of getting re-elected, Cadman better get into this habit more often.

What do you think of Cadman's motion? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

- Post by Daniel


Congrats to CD"C"C on a well thought out, long overdue initiative. The $300,000 limit is gross negligence waiting to happen. In fact it is gross orchestrated negligence.

Well, it's about time he finally did something that his Vision Overlords didn't pre-screen and pre-approve first. I just hope he actually shows up to vote on his own motion.

Holy Batman. Just noticed that it was Geoff Meggs who ordered the $60K untendered contracts for Hoggan and Assoc. Click on the hyperlink to check it out. Funny how no other councillors can take on these types of expenditures without first getting approval.

Good on Cadman for bringing this forward. He better wear a hard hat cause Chairman Robertson does not like anyone challenging his imperial authority.

"Negligence" implies that it was unintentional. It was obvious from the get-go that it was an open door to corruption.

Aren't the thresholds for approvals much lower at the federal and provincial levels? I don't think deputy ministers can get away with signing off on 300000 dollar contracts without Treasury Board aka political approval. Am I right? If so, why does a city manager in Vancouver have this right? Btw, how did Cadman originally vote on this motion?

The Thought of The Day

"COPE vs. Vision. Vancouver's version of the Dumb Cop - Devil Cop routine."

Cadman deserves credit for this motion as much as OJ Simpson deserves to play golf with his buddies.

He was never part of any solution; he was in fact, part of the problem. COPE 'put out' to Vision in the previous election in a deplorable manner. Where was their mayoral candidate? How many COPE 'activists, jump ship to Vision, for the kicks? My point, exactly. As a matter of fact I would give Carbon credit for staying put with COPE, if for anything else. I give him that.

So please, Daniel, do yourself a favour, drop the praise, let’s be serious here, it doesn't help, the motion is for show and you know it, and definitely it will not change the equation:

[(7VV + 2COPE) x 1M(BS)] = 1NPA(C)

Following this line of thought, what’s to come next? Gordon Campbell‘s announcement of him scaling back the HST to 8%? I think not.
BTW I heard it on the radio, Jasper the Merry Realtor and his band of friends plus the rest of the VPB voted ‘unanimously’ to save the ‘Bloody Hell’ Conservatory... but not the Petting Zoo in Stanley Park. So it seems it’s not a good time to be a sheep or a goat in the City of Vancouver if you are not 'connected’.

The way I see it... Money Talks, Donkey Walks.

We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.

GR, a swinging door can sometimes be a good thing...

now if someone could just get the City Manager to quit taking politically damaging but true information out of council reports, all would be well.

I'm glad the Bloedel scraped through, by a whisker, but your analysis is probably right.

There are no words to describe the Vision commissioners, in particular Jasper. At least not without running them past my lawyer first.

Cadman voted for the revised procurement levels. The real reason these were established is because contract awards were NEVER debated. The budget is when money is actually allocated. The "contract award" is merely who actually does the work. The problem with the low threshold is that NOTHING EVER GOT DONE! It took forever to get anything done at the Hall. Suppliers would stop bidding due to archaic process. Last point: Does it really matter who approves the contract award? If Ballem is in the pocket of Vision (sorry I don't agree) then it really doesn't matter - is Cadman going to do anything? Check the Policy - there are strong controls and reviews in place already.

After watching City Council in action today, I can only say SHAME on you Mr. Cadman.

This guy and his party are a joke. Just found out that he withdrew his own motion today after he got scared of the consequences. Looks like Vision has his number. All I can say is COPE's days are numbered. What a complete joke they are. You CC guys may want to retract your headline about this being "gutsy". It looks rather inaccurate now.

"I just hope he actually shows up to vote on his own motion."

lol, well it appears now that he didn't.

Councillor Woodsworth has actually embedded herself in community's concerns and has done a good job taking up their causes. However, if COPE is going to stand with Vision again in the next election, no COPE candidates get my vote.

I give Ms. Anton credit for her willingness to stand up today.

@Dennis. I couldn't agree more. I always saved a few votes for COPE on the ballot, but no more. This party is done in my eyes.

I would just like to join in the chorus below and say that on all sides we can rarely have had such a pathetic bunch in the City Hall. It is profoundly depressing to see the inadequacy of both the governing and opposing politicians.

Also I recently had some good words to say for Ian Robertson, Loretta Woodcock and Stuart Mackinnon.

In view of their indefensible choice to join the unanimous decision of the Parks Board in making itself the worst in the city's history - irreparably damaging the legacy entrusted to them - I would like to recant. The thought that this sorry gang is the best that Vision, COPE, the NPA and the Greens can scrape together is truly an indictment of the city's political class. For the first time there is literally no one currently active in city politics that I could contemplate voting for.

Harry Rankin must be turning over in his grave. Who would have predicted Cadman would withdraw his own motion. What utter stupidity.

Tick tock. What's that sound? It's the sound of a dying irrelevant COPE party that's on it's dying days. NPA will be coming back now that COPE is all but dead. Don't let the door hit you on the way out.

I here by withdraw my earlier "Congrats" to Mr. Carb. We are due an explanation please.

Check out!

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