Watts has the right stuff to become the new Chair of Metro Vancouver
Now that Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts has finally announced she doesn't want to run British Columbia, would she open to the idea of running Metro Vancouver? It's an intriguing question that no one has posed to the region's most popular mayor. Would Watts be prepared to run again in Surrey and make a bid to run Metro at the same time?
Lacklustre Delta Mayor Lois Jackson has been the chair of the Metro Vancouver for a number of years now. Under her leadership, costs have gone up and little has been done to help stem the tide of urban sprawl. Jackson has purposely kept a very low profile and by all accounts has done little to provide the visionary leadership Metro so desperately needs.
As a result, senior mandarins within the public service have been running this ship for years with little to no accountability to the voters. If you recall, it wasn't until CityCaucus.com began exposing how much Metro was spending on Vancouver Councillor David "Carbon" Cadman's travel and per diems that Jackson finally put the brakes to this wasted spending.
As for how the Metro Vancouver chair is selected, perhaps it's time this be reformed along with other civic election rules in BC. Currently the Metro chair is appointed from a pool of elected officials from each of the cities comprising the Metro region. As a result, taxpayers don't have a say as to who will become the region's top political dog.
I agree with Bob Mackin over at 24 Hours when he asks via Twitter if it's time to review how the chair is selected. Shouldn't voters have a say as to who will become the political head of Metro Vancouver? The only way they can do that is by casting a ballot for a candidate running for this position.
If this were to happen, it would take provincial legislation to make it so. Luckily, the Province of BC is currently reviewing the rules governing civic elections and is expected to bring forward new legislation early next year. Therefore, it would be easy to change the rules requiring the Metro Vancouver chair be elected by all the voters in the region. It's an idea whose time has come given the size and scope of this unelected and unaccountable level of civic government.
Just think of it. Whomever puts their name forward, they would have to put policies that appeal to a majority of Metro voters. This would not only put an end to petty parochialism, it would likely help to provide a much better level of governance. It would also ensure that Metro Vancouver is much more accountable to the voters who are paying the bills. The interesting thing is that someone could run to become the chair of Metro and not actually be a Mayor or councillor. Now that would make for an interesting turn of events.
Now back to Mayor Watts. Would she do it if she had to run for the position? What if she stayed within the existing rules? Would becoming the chair of Metro Vancouver have any appeal to her? I'm told if the position were vacant, she would jump at the opportunity. However, Jackson doesn't seem keen to go anywhere soon. That is unless she had to compete for the position in a region wide vote or can read the tea leaves from her Metro colleagues.
I think the time has come for some major electoral reforms at Metro Vancouver and they should start next year with the election of a chair by the voters of the region. I'm pretty confident if the position became vacant, Watts would be willing to lead Surrey and Metro as well. What do you think? Should voters get a chance to elect the chair of the board for Metro Vancouver? Should Lois Jackson step aside? Would Dianne Watts make for a great regional leader? Let us know by leaving a comment below.
Here are several other previous posts we've written over the last two years regarding Metro Vancouver that might of interest:
- Report reveals Metro Vancouver salaries pegged at $102,131,905
- Metro Vancouver's 5.8% tax increase is shameful
- Metro Vancouver getting into bison business
- Metro Vancouver pours $220,000,000 down the drain - literally
- More concern about Metro Vancouver water troubles
- Metro Vancouver dances lightly on water abuse
- Carbon Cadman finally grounded by Metro Vancouver
- Carbon Cadman spends over $110K as Metro Vancouver foreign affairs minister
- Metro Vancouver rudderless under Chair Jackson
- Post by Daniel