Staff thrown under the bus by COPE's Cadman over protest tax bylaw

Post by Mike Klassen in


“Please don't throw me under the bus, Gregor!” City Engineering staff horsing around

In perhaps one of the biggest breaks in protocol during this term of government, COPE Councillor practically "threw City staff under a bus" in order to defend Mayor Gregor Robertson in a CKNW radio interview this afternoon. In a two minute clip we've taken from the exchange between host Mike Smyth and David "Carbon" Cadman it's as though the COPE councillor is using the term "staff" as though it's a curse word.

Listen to how many times David spits "staff" in the following recording. Just imagine it was a drinking game and you had to have a shooter each time Cadman says the word, you'd be out cold by the end. The recording features the remarks of a caller who says he hopes Mayor Gregor Robertson is voted out of office. Cadman quickly runs to the defense of his political coalition partner (mp3):

Neither Vision, nor the COPE party which helped them form government want to carry any responsibility for the so-called "Protest Tax" bylaw aimed at Falun Gong protesters. However, you can be absolutely sure that not only did Penny Ballem, Robertson's hand-picked City Manager, give the report her full blessing, it would have never been put to council without the approval of Mike Magee, Gregor's chief of gaffe.

Now it seems Vision are in a panic to reassure their members that they're not against civil rights, despite the heavy criticism of their new bylaw. An email blast delivered by Vision Vancouver party organizers today was meant to cool down angry party supporters. The obvious question though is why only contact party members?

Why does this Vision Vancouver government continue to shut out other Vancouver citizens in yet another decision? Here's the e-blast sent out to Visionistas:

Last night at City Council, Vision councillors heard a staff report on regulating protest structures in the City of Vancouver. There is a lot of misinformation floating around about what the language in that report means, and we at Vision want to make our position clear.

Protests and free speech are part of the culture of our city. They are part of the culture of our party. We will not accept changes to the law that restrict these critical social expressions.

The staff report on protest structures has come to city council because of a BC Supreme Court ruling around the Falun Gong protest hut on Granville. We are working to abide by the court's decision. For us to do it in a way that reflects the wishes of the city as a whole, we need your help.

Right now, Gregor and the Vision councilors have a lot of questions and concerns about the scope of the proposed changes. City council will not vote on these changes until April 19th. Between now and then, we need your feedback. Read the report and then tell us what you think.

You can email us at info@vø Please feel free to forward this request to individuals and groups that you think have a stake in this decision. We need to get the broadest possible input.

Gregor was clear yesterday when he said “Vancouver is a free speech zone”. Work with us to make sure that happens.

So, if you're a Vision Vancouver member, naturally Robertson & co. want to consult you. If you're a member of the general public, well, not so much...

How City staff will continue to handle the disrespect doled out by COPE's Cadman and his coalition partners in Vision is another matter. Vision and COPE think they have a free ride going into the 2011 election with the future of the NPA uncertain. If there is one group you don't want to mess with it's the people who actually do the work to run the City of Vancouver.

Criticizing staff is a no-no for elected officials. I can't see how Mayor Gregor wouldn't require an apology from his COPE ally immediately over his careless remarks.

- post by Mike. Follow @MikeKlassen & @CityCaucus on Twitter.


Councillor Cadman has been diagnosed as having a staff infection (from the bacteria "staff-is-loco" or "staff-is-non-caucus aureus")

The term derives form the Greek word 'staffyle' which means 'bunch of sour grapes'. It is a common disease of the thin-skinned

If not treated viagorously, this kind of staff infection will inhibit his ability to sustain an election. Councillor Cadman should be OK with the proper proscribed rest. We wish him a speedy recovery

CKNW didn't announce that they were doing a segment on this issue.

It was "not posted" on the website, but was hidden under the guise of 911 calls...

So for me transparency wasn't part of the agenda..from either direction..

It makes me question both Cadman and CKNW...

Someone is having reading comprehension problems, and it's either me or Mike. He says "[s]o, if you're a Vision Vancouver member, naturally Robertson & co. want to consult you. If you're a member of the general public, well, not so much..."

But the email reads "Please feel free to forward this request to individuals and groups that you think have a stake in this decision. We need to get the broadest possible input."

So I think maybe you're wrong Mike. Unless you're implying they are lying, in which case why not say so?

In any case, good for Vision for taking their lumps. I'm reasonably sure the activists (an august body of which I count myself a lapsed member) are shouting loudly at them. A lot more open to that feedback than Sam and co were, eh Mike?

Cadman and Robertson need to go ...from the Hall to Hell. Who on Earth hired Ballem and Johnston and all the other dozen or so of highly paid managers???? You VISION and COPE happy planet bunch did, and all this behind our backs, no contest, no qualifications, no advertising for these positions, NADA! These people ARE "THE STAFF" that you complain about. BOZOS! You hired them; to do what you tell them, to advance your social agenda. So shove it! Bunch of losers that you all are.


>> I think maybe you're wrong Mike. Unless you're implying they are lying, in which case why not say so?

I don't need to imply anything. Vision saw fit to have this bylaw – which would impose restrictions upon political protests in our city – dropped into the council package with 36 hours notice for the public. They're now doing damage control through an email list of supporters who will most likely only contact like-minded individuals if they bother to open up the email at all. Hardly reaching out to the masses.

>> A lot more open to that feedback than Sam and co were, eh Mike?

If you're implying that the NPA did as poor a job of listening to the public as Vision, you'll have to come up with more than just an accusation to convince me. I can't recall when City Hall has had a continuous succession of meetings with dozens, sometimes hundreds of speakers lined up to challenge council.

If Vision worked harder at talking to the public rather than just sending e-blasts to their political base, perhaps there wouldn't be so many upset and disappointed people lining up to speak in council chambers.

"I can't recall when City Hall has had a continuous succession of meetings with dozens, sometimes hundreds of speakers lined up to challenge council."

Yes, the public reception to EcoDensity and Project Civil City were smooth as melted butter. And the NPA government did a great job of responding to feedback on those issues.

"They're now doing damage control through an email list of supporters who will most likely only contact like-minded individuals if they bother to open up the email at all."

Money where your mouth is Mr. Klassen: you can get the unlike-minded to take part. Twitter it, Facebook it, blog it, call your neighbours. I'm certainly bugging my social circles to get involved. If your concern is more than skin deep outrage, step up to the plate. Then again, the following quote from your old boss while he was still Mayor make me suspect this is more cosmetic than deeply principled:

Reached at his office, Mayor Sullivan acknowledged that the city’s Falun Gong display bothers the Chinese. He also said he has “heard from people from the federal government” who said the protest “is not helpful” to promoting closer links with China.

“This did not motivate me to act as I did last week,” insisted the Mayor. “I have felt for the last few years that not enough emphasis has been made on public bylaw enforcement. When I became Mayor six months ago, it became an obvious issue [to pursue].”

(Brian Hutchinson, June 16, 2006 edition of the National Post)

Did you chastise Sam for his actions then?


Lets stay on target here, quit regurgitating what is posted at the FB site...those comments were hurled at me, as well as the accusation that I was one of the City Caucus at least be original and stop stealing lines from Spartikus..

So explain this one, will you Piotr.... I am due to speak at City Hall this weekend, my number is way down the list.

The Vision led city workers told us to call in the night before speaking, to see how far down the list we are, to keep the traffic at City Hall to a minimum....but City Manager wasn't bright enough to leave a copy of the list with the 311 we get no answers even though it was Councils bright idea to call us in on the weekend....since so many of the citizens of Vancouver are enraged and need to line up to voice our displeasure, something unheard of on such a regular basis...

now how are you going to blame that one on Sam or Mike...

and for the record, I'm a Vision they are now screwing their own....stop blaming everyone else, man up, and except the fact that your beloved Vision is majorly screwing up!! jeeze!!

How does the new by-law proposal effect Car free they need a structure permit?

Piotr, you make a very salient point. This whole thing originated with the previous NPA council, including a secret dinner meeting Sam had at the Chinese consulate. Suzanne Anton is generally agreeable with the intent of this bylaw, just not the details. If you want to know how legally deficient this initiative is, check out the city's website for the BCCLA's response. It's around an hour into the meeting. They are unequivocal in their condemnation of this bylaw as fundamentally flawed.
As for Cadman blasting staff, Michelle's angle is correct. By blasting staff he is by proxy blasting Robertson and Meggs, who constitute the axis of absurdity at the center of this crumbling coalition.
I sent Vision's email to West End Neighbours along with this note.

"This just landed in my inbox. It’s rather pathetic considering that yesterday Vision councillors unanimously (and in one instance angrily) rejected the lone NPA councillor’s amendment that this version of the bylaw go back to staff for further consultation! What a waste of the public’s and council’s time bringing forward a bylaw whose own constitutionality is questionable to replace one that was clearly unconstitutional. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance."
PS Michelle, believe that things will get better. If it's any consolation, the councillor yesterday who most vituperatively denounced Councillor Anton is a psychiatrist!! :-)

That's where this thing gets odious. Staff suggests "discretionary" enforcement of the bylaw. They say that events like car free days have those things automatically included, but I can't say if they actually considered these details ahead of time. They seemed to be flying by the seat of their pants. Here's the bylaw, see espec p.8, and how broad the net is ie "thing".

PS Sorry, I don't think the city's video is up yet and unfortunately I had to leave early so I didn't catch the BCCLA's representative. I will be posting some of the beginning of this meeting on Youtube, probably early Saturday morning. A lot of it just leaves me shaking my head in disbelief...that supposedly intelligent people expect us to eat this stuff.

PPS I may have footage of the BBCLA shot at home from my computer screen, in fact I'm pretty sure I do. Saturday morning...

Cadman is still on Council? Who knew? he might as well be the invisible man.

Not sure why I'm being accused of not being salient. I think I've made it clear that I think the proposed changes are foolish, and that people should email them and voice their concerns. That said, it's laudable that Vision is taking their lumps, because either they screwed up or it looks like they screwed up, which is just as bad for a politician. I should also add, in regards to Mr. Klassen's comment below, that the "like-minded" of Vision are a much more likely to give them hell over this than the unlike-minded. If comments on stories at the Sun and Province are any indication, NPA voters are quite happy about these proposed changes, but former Vision council nomination candidate Dave Eby is incensed.

I also think it's worth pointing out that Mr. Klassen doth protest too much, given that his old boss was not exactly Falun Gong-friendly. Also, I remember the controversy around Project Civil City and the Downtown Ambassadors. Civil liberties were never high on his agenda, and he is acting the virgin while pregnant. In the same way that the NDP has had to wear the scandals and errors of the 90s for over a decade, I believe the NPA should have to answer at the ballot box for the shameful use of private security guards to criminalize homelessness. If Vision passes the proposed changes, the same type of judgement should be applied to them.

And, as much as Spartikus is a good online sort, he's not the only one who can google.

Me said you made salient point.

Huh? "the NPA should have to answer at the ballot box for the shameful use of private security guards to criminalize homelessness"

OMG, talk about over the top rhetoric and misinformation. The downtown ambassadors are doing nothing of the sort. They are providing eyes and ears on the streets of Vancouver that have been abandoned by city police who now only drive around in their fancy cars.

I notice that Robertson just gave the police a nice 9% raise yesterday. The ambassadors are looking a lot more cost effective now aren't they?

As for who will pay at the ballot box, I doubt it will be the lone NPA councillor who has been trying her darndest to hold vision to account. Good try. Mayor gregor is going to have to be held accountable for his government's decisions.

"Criticizing staff is a no-no for elected officials." Well, Robertson, Magee and Ballem have been running roughshod over City staff for more than two years now, and I suspect will continue to do so. Doesn't seem to have hurt Vision much.

I've read many of the comments on all news sites covering this matter.

How you state that 'NPA voters are quite happy about these changes' is intersting as personally, I can't decipher who is an 'NPA member' and who is not.

And at what point in time is Robertson and Vision and their followers going to take responsibilty for their actions rather than reverting to the 'well Sam did it'....stance.

Spartikus on FB's site - I am pretty sure he works for Vision, or he definitely defends their every breath a such.

Well, Glen Clark wasn't running the NDP in 2005, and I still refused to vote for them. Sam was a bad mayor, and the NPA deserves a long time out for his actions as mayor and as very questionable fundraiser. If a party can let a man like that run the show, they are deeply flawed and need renewal. Perhaps the right mayoral candidate could begin their rehabilitation, but I have yet to see that candidate.

As for the Downtown Ambassadors, they have treated the homeless shamefully. I have not enjoyed all of the actions of Vision Vancouver, but they have yet to be the subject of a human rights complaint.

If they go ahead with the proposed changes to the bylaw, I will judge Vision and harshly. Civil liberties matter a great deal to me. But if they listen, then I will be mollified. It does seem like they are making an effort, which is a sharp contrast to Mr. Klassen's former employer.

Wasn't the human rights complaint you talk about filed by the BC Civil Liberties group? Is David Eby not the head of that group? Did Mr. Eby not run for Vision Vancouver and lose?

Enough said.

How did the Downtown Ambassadors get dragged into this conversation? The city's involvement with that organization was short and there is still a case before the HRT that may or may not totally vindicate the organization and their actions. From my perspective Pivot did not appear to have a case so it is hard to imagine you offering such strong sentiment unless it is pure hyperbol.

Yet, Robertson and VV have used the stats compiled by the Downtown Ambassadors in order to report on the homeless.

How ironic.

You also seem to forget, Sam Sullivan was homeless for a period of years. Down and out. He knows first hand what it is like.

Unlike Robertson, who grew up with a silver spoon in his mouth.

And how is that ending homelessness coming along? How many units of social housing has Roebrtson and VV been directly involved with poviding.

I'll make it easy for you - zero, bubkis, nada.

Everything that has come on line and is set to come on line is a direct result of negotiations between the previous NPA and the Provincial government.

2,200 units.

Prior to Christmas, Vision rushed yet another council meeting surrounding the social housing portion at the Olympic Village. According to Louie it was because 'people were dying in the streets'.

Here we are April and many of those units are still not filled.

And I understand the funding for the HEAT shelters have run out. Have VV tried to negotiate with the housing minister on new funding?

So before you start raising the flag on how great Robertson and Vision are doing on helping the 'homeless' - take a good look at their track record to date. Not exactly shining.

And this 'law' would prevent tent cities from popping up in protest to the housing issue. Unless of course, you fill out your application one month in advance, put up your $1000 deposit and pay your $200 'attack on freedom of speech' tax.

And then too - it allows the city to pick and choose which applications get the 'okay'.

It is all about control.

@ George:

And I apologize to all for hijacking this thread for a moment...

There is a clothes2u event taking place in Surrey - Whalley area on Friday the 15th from 10am - 1 pm.

Clothes2U is coming to Surrey/Whalley. Clothes2U distributes clothes, linens, toys, footwear, personal/household items, books/movies/music, diapers FREE to those in need of all ages, babies to seniors.
This will take place at Christ the King Church, 13388 - 104 Ave. in Whalley.

George, pass this along to whomever you think appropriate.

Thanks all, this PSA is now over!

Thanks Max,

I had seen a little about that event.. will pass it along. You're a very sweet, thoughtful person...

This is just an observation, but does it appear to anyone else, that Piotr has been sent in, to deflect from the uncomfortable position Vision finds itself in?

I notice that the usual folks are missing from the conversation...

All the hooting and hollering is meant to distract from the issue at hand... Vision is throwing Cadman under the bus for standing up and stating that this bylaw is WRONG...Shame on Gregor...

Lets face it nothing is ever said without approval from Gregor's handlers..Cadman broke if he'd only stick with it..

For some time there were 3 parties maybe it is time we go back to that model...


Very interesting choice of words..

**If a party can let a man like that run the show, they are deeply flawed and need renewal.**

Where have I heard the word "Renewal" before? Oh well, all's well that Enswell..

Sorry folks that should read Endswell...

I don't know about you but I've noticed that lately a number of 'agent provocateurs' are going in and out of some controversial CC's posts.
IN this one, let's call him 'Piotr' (a simple misspelling on his part though, and a mentioning, more like on the line with Ilyich and waaay closer to Lenin than to Tchaikovsky). We know that VISION is a blooming KKpitalist green commie organization by now, but what are they doing sending their little trolls on opposing fronts? Simple. They want to divert and to mislead.
'In any case, good for Vision for taking their lumps.' That's a lie insert, right there. VISION are in the business of Lying. Period.
'Did you chastise Sam for his actions then?' That's another diversion on someone that's NOT a Mayor for almost three years, buddy. Let's stay on Robertson/ Vision here, TODAY!
As for the others on other posts calling for 'fewer BUT better paid SENIOR Managers' 'larger budgets for our learning...MANDARIN Mayor' or '...let's call him 'Steven'

Oh, and BTW re. Ballem's request for more security as in HERE:
As for the heightened security measures for future public hearings, here is what the Straight is reporting:

New security measures include:

- Fire officials will review occupancy loads in the upper and lower areas of the council chamber. These will be posted, and corporate security staff will enforce them.

- Overflow crowds will be directed to wait in the ground-floor media centre.

- Crowd-control barriers will be erected in the third-floor lobby area outside the council chamber to maintain clear access.

- The lower area of the chamber will be reserved for registered speakers and staff.

- Speakers will be required to sign in at the ground-floor information kiosk. They will receive a numbered label. Only the first 40 speakers will be permitted into the lower level of the council chamber.

- After speaking, they will be "encouraged to move out of this space to make way for those waiting to speak".

- Additional security will be deployed to prevent people other than council members and staff from moving beyond the speaker's podium.

- City clerk's staff will be able to press a "duress button" when necessary.

"While it is a public building, access to City Hall after regular business hours is controlled by Corporate Security," Bradshaw wrote.

In the final paragraph of his memo, Bradshaw stated: "These changes are being put in place to ensure the safety of the public, staff and Council members and that public meetings can proceed in an orderly manner."

ONLY AN OPPRESSIVE GOVERNMENT that's doing something WRONG for SO LONG and with such WICKEDNESS is afraid for their own safety.PERIOD.
You can not skin the citizens of Vancouver like sheep, day in day out, and expect love, hugs and kisses. THIS DESPICABLE LOT HAS TO GO!

I don't know the detail about the new bylaw but my understanding (correct me if i am wrong) is that its purpose is to restrict and disallow protesters from building any permanent structure on city sidewalks and streets by introducing this protest tax bylaw. Is it a common sense that nobody should build a structure occupying public space and distracting public use of streets? We want freedom of speech but also laws and orders, for everybody! right?

I have been in public meetings where the new protocol would have made sense. Civility cuts both ways and I think both sides of the conversation have to own this.

However, Higgins makes an excellent point - it is shameful that people feel they cannot be heard by civic officials unless their behaviour is disruptive. What does that say about our faith in democracy?

reading the report, it suggests they are most concerned about residential areas. How will that work in places like Yaletown where you have commercial at grade and residential above?

I was at the Council meeting we are discussing...
The by-law goes further than a "structure" on a sidewalk for the Falun Gong...this is a smoke screen..

It was stated that a sign post in the ground was an illegal structure, a pile of manure is an illegal structure, a homeless person leaving his shopping cart on the sidewalk while going indoors to use a public washroom was an illegal structure..but sleeping in a business alcove is not...a table for HST signatures is an illegal structure...

I strongly recommend that everyone goes to the City of Vancouver website for Thursday's meeting and listen online will be shocked by what you hear Penny Ballem said...don't rely on these sites for your information....this is a very slippery very aware of what is going on here...

@ Gerry: "Staff suggests "discretionary" enforcement of the bylaw." - Yikes!
Sounds a lot like all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others. Getting awfully close to an area that can be challenged under the charter (provided of course the aggrieved party still has rights in the animal world). It seems like a circuitous way of discouraging peaceful assembly (Charter item 2c)


Whereas Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law:

Guarantee of Rights and Freedoms

Rights and freedoms in Canada

1. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.

2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:
(a) freedom of conscience and religion;
(b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;
(c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and
(d) freedom of association.

Including the freedom to put captions on City Councillors and insert humourous asides into a very serious discussion. This doesn't drag too much, I took a lot more out than I left in. If you make it through to the end, you will be rewarded with a special performance by "Penny".

Here's a re-edit. I extracted some extraneous and/or repetitive dialogue, and it still has the same fabulous finale!

(The previous link is disabled now).

Did you have to get a permit for uploading that?
Impressive how finely Councillor Chow can splits hairs... the new slogan for the city should be 'let 'em eat Japadog'

Check out!

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