VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Is City Hall not listening? Is the system broken? Do we need to run government like a business?
There are some very well-used campaign lines being tossed around this civic election and a former city councillor and longtime observer is looking at how many of them are actually just cliched baloney.
Here’s a hint: A lot of them.
The biggest doozy, according to Gordon Price, is that “City Hall isn’t consulting with the people.”
“I certainly heard it when I was [on Vancouver city council] and we continue to hear it,” he tells NEWS 1130.
“If you don’t like a decision that someone made, you’d like to think it was a lack of consultation because if it had been done properly, they’d agree with you.”
Price asserts that just because a finding doesn’t align with your views, it doesn’t mean the system is rigged.
“[Journalist] Frances Bula has a good line. She says she’d give money to a delegation who came up and said ‘I really think your consultation process was excellent., I just don’t agree with you,'” he chuckles.
If you hear candidates saying a city should be run like a business, Price says try closing those money-pit firehalls and libraries.
“I get the idea — you do need to be accountable, every dollar does count, particularly if you’re raising taxes. No one is going to disagree with that but there’s a fundamental misunderstanding here. Government is not, and should never be, a business.”
He says local governments must serve everyone equitably and provide that service universally. “If it doesn’t make money, you don’t get to just hive it off. You don’t get to close that library or firehall.”
When it comes to unrealistic campaign promises, Price points to pledges to cut taxes while, at the same time, talking about increased expenditures on things like housing.
“We’ll solve that housing problem, we’ll build a lot more on city land, as though city land were free!”
That’s why, he suggests, you should listen for the verbal fine print: “In partnership with senior governments, we will … ” and perhaps think about the likelihood of it really happening.
And while there have been some comments about the “nasty tone” of some campaigns in Vancouver, Price takes the opposite point of view.
“I’ve attended a few of the forums and I’ve been surprised, at the mayoral level, how well the candidates are getting along. In many cases they actually seem to like each other!”
He feels the city will be fairly well-served by the eventual victors.
“We’ve got basically good people with good intentions. I think I wouldn’t be concerned with any particular combination elected,” Price says, predicting healthy debate ahead.
“As long as it’s a majority of the people I like,” he laughs.
B.C. voters will head to the polls on Saturday, Oct. 20 to vote for mayors, city councillors, and school and park board trustees. Join NEWS 1130 on-air and online, starting at 7 p.m. for complete election coverage with #CityVote2018.
– With files from John Ackermann