Councillor Suzanne Anton stared down Mayor Robertson and the Vision/COPE council, and it looks like the governing party blinked. During Tuesday's meeting city council passed Anton's motion (with minor amendments) which urged council to request that the B.C. Coroner's office to reconsider staging the Pandora Street inquest AFTER the November election.
As media reported earlier, Gregor Robertson pointed the finger at the Coroner's office for the decision to hold the inquest post-election, which was influenced by City Manager Penny Ballem's recommendation. Robertson said repeatedly that it was the Coroner whodunnit, not City Hall.
If you think the vote to request moving the inquest prior to Election Day in November sat well with the Mayor's staff, just look at the tweet Chief of Staff Mike Magee blasted out on Tuesday evening:
NPA ignored death of Darrell Mickasko. Now try to exploit tragic fire on Pandora Street for political gain. Shameful.
You have to pity Darrell Mickasko. Not only did he have an extremely hard life and a tragic demise, he's been a continuous political prop for Gregor Robertson and his key adviser Mike Magee for over three years now. It was in February 2008 that Robertson first used Mickasko's name as an excuse to quit his MLA's job and run for mayor.
Now 37 months later Magee is once again using Mickasko's name for his social media cheap shot.
(At least the public can now see Mike's tweets, which he hid from public view until CityCaucus.com asked why the transparency-challenged Magee couldn't just let us all in on his musings.)
We agree with Anton that it's important to get the Coroner's inquest over with for the sake of those involved, and to answer important questions raised by the incident. Here's a copy of the release she emailed out tonight.
Vancouver council passes NPA motion to request Coroner to move Pandora Inquest prior to November election
Vancouver, BC – During Tuesday's Vancouver city council meeting, a motion put forward by NPA city councillor Suzanne Anton was passed unanimously to advise the B.C. Coroner's office that the City is now prepared to cooperate with the Pandora fire inquest prior to the November election. The motion was amended by Vision Vancouver but the intent remained the same.
Anton's motion noted that the Coroner suggested two dates to the City: October 28th, and November 28th. Mayor Robertson had supported the choice to hold the inquest after the election, claiming that staff would be too busy to participate during the civic vote.
"I'm glad that Mayor Robertson has reversed his previous position, but it would have been preferable if he had stepped in immediately when he learned the earlier date was available," says Coun. Suzanne Anton. "Shifting to the earlier date will help to close a chapter sooner for the family and community of the victims, Dwayne Rasmussen, Garland McKay and Steven Yellowquill."
"At the time of the tragedy, Vision councillors said there was nothing more which could have been done," says Anton. "A long-term staff member of the City who had been dealing with the issue left her job. Citizens deserve answers to these issues as well, and it is better to have them prior to the election if possible."
"It is important to know soon if the City can do anything to prevent tragedies like this from happening in the future," adds Anton. "I look forward to hearing back shortly from the B.C. Coroner's office."
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- post by Mike. Follow @MikeKlassen & @CityCaucus on Twitter.