If there was ever any question regarding whether the senior ranks of Vancouver's public service are politicized, a recent tweet will help to put that issue to bed. The City's Director of Communications may have thought she was being cheeky, but her tweet referencing the Occupy Vancouver "99%" slogan is not going over well in some circles.
The timing of Mairi Welman's tweet couldn't have been any worse. That's because the City of Vancouver is currently before the courts asking for an injunction to shut down the encampment. Her tweet sent out on Saturday states:
Hey 99%. City Election Advance Polls: Day 4 - voting opens today at 8:00 AM at all 5 locations, including City Hall
I'd be interested to know what the 1% of Vancouver voters Welman ignored thinks of her tweet. That's because they send a considerable amount of property and business taxes each year down to city hall. For Heaven's sake, even Mayor Gregor and many of his top donors are considered as "one percenters".
Interestingly, rather than questioning the content of Welman's tweet, city councillor Heather Deal quickly sent it out to all of her followers (see above image). Deal is no wallflower when it comes to sending out controversial tweets of her own. A few months back she made national headlines when she tweeted out about the lobster feast she and her fellow politicos consumed courtesy of taxpayers.
But Welman's tweet should come as no surprise. On October 15th an anonymous staffer in her communications department tweeted this out to the Occupy Vancouver squatters:
#occupyvancouver rumour you will be kicked out at 10pm false, but pls allow others nearby to sleep tonight by lowering PA volume!
I realize some of you will argue we should simply cut Welman's some slack. After all, she's just trying to be funny and encouraging people to get out and vote. But in the hyper-sensitive world we know as a civic election campaign in Vancouver, this kind of messaging can quickly raise eyebrows. And in this instance, I do think people have good reason to question Welman's judgement.
Is Welman's tweet a career killer? Hardly. But it is yet another reminder to voters of how partisan the upper ranks of Vancouver's civil service have become over the last three years. Given the poor turnout for past civic elections, I think Welman should be encouraging 100% of the voters to get out and vote, not just the "99%". What do you think? Leave us a comment below.