Doubtful this picture will be part of Vancouver's next tourism marketing campaign
Mayors aren’t in office just to cut ribbons, attend events and pose for photo ops. The mayor’s job is to ask questions, be on guard for the best interests of the people and ensure things are done right. The mayor doesn’t have to know every detail of every department, but he does have to ask the right questions.
These questions can be “How much will it cost?” about city spending, or “How long will it take?” about infrastructure. The mayor can’t just sit back; put his feet up and let things happen, blindly hoping for a decent outcome. The mayor is in charge, and asking the important questions is a big part of his job.
One thing is clear in the ongoing saga of the riot aftermath: Mayor Gregor Robertson didn’t do his job.
He didn’t ask “What’s the plan for a riot?” or “Have all the recommendations from 1994 been implemented?” ahead of Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final.
Robertson has now admitted he didn’t ask the right questions and couldn’t even get the number of police deployed on the night of June 15 from Police Chief Jim Chu.
Not only is this unacceptable, it calls into question Robertson’s competence on other files beyond the riot. What else isn’t he asking questions about? What problems are boiling under the surface because the mayor is more interested in letting Vancouverites grow wheat in their front yards and raise chickens in their backyards?
Nero played his fiddle while Rome burned. No one is exactly sure what Robertson did while Vancouver burned, but I don’t recall hearing fiddle music. In an interview with the Globe and Mail, he said he was “pissed” when he got reports of the riots downtown.
Vancouver needs a proactive, not pissed mayor.
Robertson should get answers from the chief of police. He needs to start asking the tough questions – or in November voters will ask him the toughest question of all: “Why should we re-elect you?
- Post by Kathryn Marshall. She is a writer and broadcast commentator on Canadian politics and current affairs. Kathryn has worked on political campaigns across the country at all levels of government. She is originally from London, Ontario and has also lived in Quebec, British Columbia and Alberta. Kathryn has a BA in Women’s Studies from the University of Western Ontario and is currently completing a Law degree at the University of Calgary. Before Law School she worked for the Fraser Institute, Canada`s largest think tank.You can follower her on Twitter @kvmarshall.
This column first appeared in 24 Hours Vancouver on Monday, June 27, 2011.