2011 is the time to elect new chair for Metro Vancouver

Post by Daniel Fontaine in


watts leadership.jpg
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:

- Post by Daniel 


Metro budget needs to be put through the ringer. With so much pressure on Muni taxes for both residential and business, the flagrant program creep at metro has to stop. There is no reason Metro should have any PR, Communications or marketing staff. Farm this to the munis or get a temp contractor. This level of Government/beaurocracy should be as thin and task oriented as possible.

While we're on regional governance and waste, does TransLink really need seven full-time staff dedicated to responding to tweets?

While I agree with Will Tomkinson that costs should be reduced at Metro, I do not agree with him as to where.
Metro has many initiatives, water, sewer,housing, parks and many more, that the participating municipalities need consistant, clear information on.
Cuts should be made in that regard at the minicipal level where each little fiefdom has their own spin artists. And spin they do.
Cut where necessary at the non-core activities of Metro, but really cut at the municipal level, where the region should be reduced to four or five municipalities.
Cut at police forces also,
go regional.
Having two North Vans. and two Langleys is ridiculous. Belcarra, UBC Endowment Lands, Electoral Area A,
New Westminster, Port Coquitlam, etc, all with their own expensive bureaucracy is very wasteful.

I gotta say how disappointed I was to see Watts not throw her hat in the ring for premier.

It drives me crazy to think about the endless stories about the lack of females in federal and provincial politics, but here we have Watts and Taylor with a near free pass to the throne and neither take it.

Hey rf, do I smell a whiff of mysogeny there? Several men have already said no.
In any event, it ain't over til the weght challenged person sings. Don't count anybody out.
Could be that some of these folks are waiting for a draft movement to start.
the initial post is right, it is time for new leadership at Metro.
The problem is the two camps at Metro, and Jackson is a saw-off candidate.

I gotta say how disappointed I was to see Watts not throw her hat in the ring for premier.

It drives me crazy to think about the endless stories about the lack of females in federal and provincial politics, but here we have Watts and Taylor with a near free pass to the throne and neither take it.

I have to agree with you. What is it? When a woman who is a good candidate gets wind that she is a shoo in then she backs off so as not to fail down the road and suffer a hit to the ego?

Maybe the best women don't go for the kill as much as men do.

Maybe she's not very keen to have anonymous Internet trolls drag her name through the mud RF.

Not that you'd know anything about that right?

Right, speaking of trolls: Read your own comment, Chris. lol.

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