A screen shot of two uniformed officers posing for Vision Vancouver campaign website
Yesterday Mayor Gregor and a few glum looking candidates appeared in front of a children’s park to reveal another component of their platform. They were probably hoping for better press than their initial commitment to place a moratorium on gambling expansion received in the media. Check out Mike Howell’s well-researched story in the Vancouver Courier to see what I mean.
When I went to Vision Vancouver’s website to read more about their “livable neighbourhoods” platform which commits to hiring more police, I couldn’t believe what I found. There were still images/video of Gregor Robertson, Chair of the Police Board, alongside uniformed officers posing for a campaign photo.
Excuse me? Since when are neutral public servants, especially Vancouver police officers, allowed to pose for partisan photographs in a campaign brochure? As far as I’m concerned it’s highly inappropriate and deserves some answers. Here are a few questions I'll be posing to the VPD:
- Did the officers know they were posing for a campaign brochure? If not, why not? If they did know, did they make the Chief of Police aware of this information?
- Was the Chief aware these photos were being used in a partisan brochure?
- Did members of the Police Board receive any prior knowledge that uniformed officers were going to be used as props in a campaign brochure?
- Does the VPD believe the pictures are inappropriate and will they request they be removed?
Mayor Robertson and his crew have worked tirelessly over the last three years to politicize the upper ranks of Vancouver’s civil service. But never would I have imagined the Mayor would go so far as to use images of sworn officers in his promotional material.
This truly takes partisanship at Vancouver City Hall to a whole new level. What next, will City Manager Penny Ballem be in a video too? Will Deputy City Manager Sadhu Johnson hand out Vision brochures outside the front entrance at 12th and Cambie?
Vision Vancouver should provide the public with some answers as to why the Chair of the Police Board felt it was appropriate to use his officers in this way. If the cops didn’t know they were posing for a campaign photograph…well that’s a whole other story.
I spoke to the Vancouver Police earlier today and they are looking into whether the department or the individual police officers authorized the use of those images. Stay tuned...something tells me this story isn't going away anytime soon.
PS Mr. Mayor, in Canada it's spelled neighbourhoods, not "neighborhoods" (see image above)