Sadly, the Mayor’s profanity-laced diatribe deriding petitioners before his government is not an isolated incident.
His comments are instead reminiscent of comments made by the Mayor and Councillor Jang about residents of False Creek North when they dared complain about the mayhem caused by No-Rules Shelters forced on that neighbourhood.
As Michael Smyth wrote in the Province at the time after reporting on the legitimate concerns expressed by those residents at a public meeting: “Even then, some of Robertson’s Vision Vancouver councillors opted to lecture and harangue residents rather than respond to their concerns. Instead, Jang suggested the residents simply don’t care about poor people.” At least that’s what they said in public …
“The Mayor’s use of profanity isn’t as bothersome as the disdain for dissenters expressed in its usage.” Gary Mason, Globe & Mail
The most recent intemperate remarks by the Mayor are concerning not because they’re unusual or profane, but because they are part of a larger pattern of contempt for the citizens of the city he runs:
- Public consultation has become a laughing-stock.
- Neighbourhood associations are routinely ignored.
- Planning processes are ad hoc at best.
- Staff reports regularly delivered too late for councillors to review prior to votes.
- Independent commissions like the Board of Variance have been subverted.
- In-camera off-record meetings are so common now as to pass unremarked.
- Expert advisory committees like the Civic Theatres Advisory Board are regularly ignored while others are stacked with party stalwarts.
- Deals affecting public assets are made behind closed doors to reward those with good connections.
- Any staff that raise questions, such as the highly-respected City Electrician Ark Tsissereve, are summarily dismissed without cause.
- Committee assignments and commission seats are restricted solely to card-carrying members of the ruling party and its coalition partners.
- Back-room negotiations for STIR giveaways have replaced long-established standards such as the 2.75 acres of parkland for every 1000 residents in all new developments.
“Robertson reveals himself as ignorant, arrogant.” Michael Smyth, The Province
That same arrogance and contempt for public process is often on open display in council chambers. Attend any council meeting and it’s possible to observe first-hand the lack of respect accorded to anyone not wearing Vision’s bright green colours. Andrea Reimer wielding the gavel in the Speaker’s chair is singularly dismissive and sarcastic to Councillor Woodworth and Councillor Anton to the point of derision. She forgets that while they aren’t important in and of themselves, they represent voters and points of view that the electorate wants heard.
“Vision is like a bully misbehaving.” Dharm Makwana, 24 Hours
In short, the contempt exhibited by this administration for voters and long-established democratic processes has been apparent for all to see for some time.
His stay in the Provincial Parliament was relatively brief, but perhaps the Mayor and his crew spent a little too much time in Victoria even so, infected as they now appear to be with the same contempt exhibited towards the taxpayers of Vancouver by the bureaucrats and politicians in Victoria.
“Do what you’re told and say what we tell you to say seems to have replaced professionalism at city hall.” Gordon Clark, The Province
The people who appeared before the Mayor deserve his full respect, that of his Council and the entire government of The City of Vancouver. And contrary to the Mayor’s remarks, we know who they are. They are the people who make the city work, the volunteers who dedicate thousands of hours of their own time every week across the width and breadth of our city for no reward.
They are the people who apparently care more about our city, Mr. Mayor, than you do.