The Mayor makes an appearance at Billy Bishop, but doesn't bring any presents
It won't be long before the red poppies will be seen on coats throughout Metro Vancouver. Given we are in an election season, the issue of tax breaks for our veterans is likely to make a few headlines again. That's why we thought this old story might be interesting to re-publish as part of our CityCaucus Redux series. Hope you enjoy!
One of our favourite people here at CityCaucus Tower is crack CTV reporter Shannon Paterson, who went on a tough assignment Wednesday reporting from a pub. The Billy Bishop Legion to be exact. Paterson tracked down Mayor Robertson at the famous Kitsilano watering hole, and asked him whether he would give Vancouver's Legions and similar veterans establishments a tax break. After all, other cities in the region already do this.
His answer came as a surprise: "Nope." Robertson tells Paterson he's not sure if Council would support helping the veterans (if he doesn't know, we're not sure who would?) because the city is out of cash:
I don't know if there is a will at this point. The budget is very, very tight. And uh, we're facing cutbacks right across the board. So it's a very difficult year to be considering giving people a tax break like that.
Interesting that Robertson now claims that he can't give a paltry $20K tax break to the Billy Bishop to help them keep open their doors when just months ago he could find over $800,000 to install new regal carpeting and office furniture for the councillors. He also found over $90,000 to throw a glitzy inaugural bash for himself. He also found $60,000 to provide James Hoggan and Associates two untendered contracts to assist him with communications messaging on the Olympic Village. As they say, it's all about priorities.
Good leadership is often about having to make tough decisions. However, weak leadership is characterized by tough decisions not being made. Providing an exception for the Billy Bishop Legion is a no brainer. Interestingly, we've received a couple of emails from folks who regularly attend the Legion who indicate at least one Vision councillor (perhaps more) used the folks at the Legion to help support their various political endeavors.
To hide behind the Vancouver Charter, or claim the City of Vancouver has no money for the veterans is simply disingenous. The Mayor and Vision still have the opportunity to help the Bishop, and not look too silly in doing so. Let's hope they do the right thing.
- This post was first published by Daniel back in November 2009