Aaron Jasper faces censure vote at Vancouver park board

Poll

Does Vancouver park board vice chair Aaron Jasper deserve to be censured?

Yes 61%
80 votes
No 35%
46 votes
Undecided 4%
5 votes

At the tail end of a fractious March 26 park board meeting lasting almost four hours, Non-Partisan Association commissioner John Coupar rose from his chair.

Holding in his hand a withering 600-word motion to be debated next time out, the first-term commissioner read vice-chair Aaron Jasper the equivalent of the Riot Act.

“Whereas Commissioner Jasper has recently made comments regarding the naming of parks and was quoted in the Georgia Straight as follows,” Coupar began. He then cited Jasper’s comments last week on proposed changes to the city’s park-naming policy: “We don’t want to return to the days where park commissioners are naming parks after themselves, which is really what we saw with George Wainborn Park and Andy Livingstone [Park]—a bunch of commissioners sitting around deciding which park they were going to name after themselves.”

An ashen-faced Jasper looked on as Coupar listed in full the achievements of the two former park commissioners whom the Vision Vancouver politician purportedly insulted and demeaned. Backed by former NPA commissioners Nancy Chiavario and Christopher Richardson, Coupar claimed he’d checked past minutes of the board to confirm the late commissioners did not engage in self-promotion.

“George Wainborn was the longest-serving park commissioner, with 33 years,” Chiavario told commissioners earlier during the meeting. “In his own words, he did it ‘for the children’.”

At the end of his motion on notice, which will be placed on the April 16 meeting agenda for the park board, Coupar says Jasper should be censured and asked to apologize to both families involved as well as to park commissioners and staff.

“Failing that, this board hereby asks Comm. Jasper to tender his resignation to the chair,” Coupar’s motion states.

“No comment,” Jasper told the Straight after the meeting.

Comments (19) Add New Comment
City observer
John Courper should resign for putting forward such a silly motion. Censoring someone for making a comment that you don't agree with ??? Too funny.
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You're kidding, right
Jasper is an ass. Never missing an opportunity to toady to council, this smug twit really should be censured for his ill-advised remarks.

Crapping on dead men, who did more this town than most since, and certainly far more than Jasper's weak-kneed group. Shame!
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Wankoover
"City observer" should observe a dictionary.
It's "censure" not "censor", and yes he should be censured, Jasper IS an ass.
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City Observer
Tch, tch. Someone has assumed my nom-de-plume, City Observer, and takes a position exactly opposite to mine.

Wasn't going to comment, but now?

As it happens, I attended Monday night's Park Board meeting. It is far from funny when the otherwise estimable Park Board Commissioner Jasper attacks a former Park Board Commissioner who PB Commissioner Trevor Loke had asked to speak in favour of Mr. Jasper's motion to rename Discovery Park as Art Phillips Park. When the speaker refused to confirm a phantom conversation Mr. Jasper alleges he had with the speaker about the corrupt politics of the NPA, Mr. Jasper then set about to call the speaker a liar, before Chairperson Sarah Blyth reined him in.

John Coupar's censure motion expresses a thoughtful and well-reasoned concern respecting Mr. Jasper's often bully-boy approach to politics that, as Matt Burrows states in the story above, insults and demeans the memory, and the accomplishments, of a former Park Board Commissioner, who over 33 years contributed much to the livability of our City.

Mr. Jasper: apologize. You made a mistake; own up to it. Taking responsibility for your untoward conduct will serve the public interest, lessening the coarseness in the political discourse that has become Vision Vancouver's defining approach to governance.
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DJ Lam
Censure motions carry little weight when politicians (even municipal) have community cache in any case. One can even be found in contempt of an institution such as Parliament and find a soft landing. It's to get media attention. It doesn't matter what 'side' politicians and others are on with any given issue and, specifically, derivative comments. If public comment is made with regard to others, without privilege, there may be legal recourse.
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Martin Dunphy
City Observer:

Matthew Burrows did not state in the story above, as you allege, that Comm. Aaron Jasper insulted and demeaned the memory of a former park board commissioner.
If true, that would be an entirely subjective account of the proceedings that took place at the park board meeting in question, and would seem to lend weight to your rather opinionated take on the matter.
In fact, Burrows reported that Jasper "purportedly" did so, and that this was an allegation made by political rival Comm. John Coupar.
A somewhat important distinction, to be sure.
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Wankoover
Martin Dunphy,

The Straight has kindly provided a link to Jasper's comments in the above article. There's nothing "purported" about it. Aarogant Jasper actually did insult and demean the memory of a former (long-serving) Commissioner.
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City Observer
Should have included word "purportedly". My bad. At any rate, Martin, I wasn't saying that Matt Burrows subjectively opined insulting and demeaning conduct by Mr. Jasper, just that such commentary was reported in the story.

Didn't mean to appear to impugn Mr. Burrows', or The Straight's, journalistic integrity.

Otherwise, my commentary stands.
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Martin Dunphy
Wankoover:

You have misread, or misinterpreted, both the original comment and the intent of my reply.


!. The word "purportedly" was used in the story.

2. The story in question is, as the poster wrote, "the story above", not an earlier story, link kindly provided by us or not.

3. Whether or not Mr. Jasper insulted anyone is a matter of opinion, not of record, and you are certainly entitled to yours.

(City Observer: offence neither inferred nor taken. Thanks for the clarification.)
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JamieLee
Park Board has sunk to a new low. It is unbecoming of a Park Commissioner to attack two dead men both former Park Commissioners who had an impressive 53 years of service between them but to also attack a member of the public appearing at Park board, namely Christopher Richardson who is Chairperson of the Mt Pleasant Community Centre is just way over the top. Is it any wonder that members of the public are gun shy about appearing before elected officials if this is how we are going to be treated..
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You're kidding, right
Jamie Lee,

Agree with your comments. Kasper is carrying on--and escalating--- the current straegy of Vision Vancouver politicians to attack, insult, berate and demean any public speaker who dare to express disatisfaction with the regime.

I have witnessed this at City Hall, and frankly, it disgusts me. They may have majorities at our 3 levels of local government, but they act like that is license to dictate. Considering how poorly many of them have performed on files, they really need any reality check that can be delivered.
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janet
What does this even have to do with Park Board business what a waste of peoples time.
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Susan Lowe
Good Lord.

Why is this thread even being commented on? Some people have waaay to much time on their hands. Including myself right now.

As a person that is a CONSTANT rec centre user and supporter in the City of Vancouver, I have had the opportunity to Observe Mr. Jasper at many community functions as well as at numerous Park Board Meetings that I have attended over the last 3 years.

From what I have seen, Mr. Jasper is always beyond respectful and courteous to anyone that has taken the time to go and voice their concerns in front of the Board. Most recently, I attended the heated discussion on the future of Riley Park, where tensions were running high. Mr. Jasper had to chair part of the meeting and did so with grace and respect to all who were speaking.

In my observations of Mr. Jasper at various community events and during the election campaign I again, have nothing but respect for the man. He deals with the public with ease and takes the time to speak with anyone that approaches him.

From what I see, Mr. Jasper has apologized for the unfortunate choice of words he made in regards to naming of past parks in the Vancouver Courier.

Time to move on folks.

However, people like Jamie Lee should remember the saying that people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. From what I have seen of her, she heckles and interrupts commissioners and shows a lack of respect to these elected officials who are there to do the job that we, the people of Vancouver, have elected them to do.
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JamieLee
Oh Ms Susan, funny you care so much about Park Board issues but I've never seen you as a delegation at Park Board. I'm there often so that gives me the right to bitch. Perhaps you should attend a few meetings and see how your precious Mr Jasper is always talking when delegations are presenting. That is a funny way of showing respect and speaking of glass houses Ms Lowe perhaps you should choose your words more carefully next time before throwng stones at others.
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Jean
I think that Aaron Jasper is arrogant, and is very much -"my way or the highway" His comments were not welcome.
Thank goodness for people like John Coupar!!!!
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Coupar Is Silly
This is clearly a political ploy by Coupar, who is splitting hairs to make a mountain out of a molehill. Anyone who has done a little digging realizes that support for recognition of Phillips' contribution to the city originated from NPA supporters, but is backed by people across the political spectrum.

The fact is that Park Board Commissioners Chiavario and Richardson named something member of THEIR BOARD at the time they were elected officials. So Coupar is splitting hairs and trying to rile up families and bring in sentiments that are clearly not there. Jasper was not disrespecting anyone's memory, as evidenced by his willingness to call the families regardless of Coupar's cheap attempt at scoring points.

Bottom line? Coupar and the NPA are so desperate for attention that they need to pervert intent to get it, and unfairly bring in the names of people who were never intended to be a part of the story.

Weak John. Very weak.
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Same Old NPA
Jasper definitely could have chosen his words better. Instead of referring to the good old days “when commissioners named parks after themselves,” he should have said “when commissioners named parks after each other.” That’s exactly what happened when back in the late “80’s then commissioners Nancy Chiavario and Christopher Richardson voted to name a park after their colleague George Wainborn.

I guess hitting so close to home is what motivated the two past commissioners to attend the Park Board meeting and attempt to deflect everyone from their own misdeeds and focus on Jasper’s poor choice of words. The same could be said of Coopar’s actions. Accuse Jasper of slander. Accuse Vision Vancouver commissioners of wanting to name parks after their friends. What got lost amidst the mud slinging is that in fact that shameful tradition of CRONYISM can already be claim by the NPA.

It’s also interesting to note that Jamie Lee is quick to go after Jasper and his fellow Vision commissioners while conveniently being silent on the NPA. No hypocrisy there! And as someone who has followed the Park Board over the years, I have to agree with an earlier comment. Whether through the numerous media interviews or as Chair the past two years, I’ve always been impressed with how respectful, attentive and non-partisan Jasper has come across. That he apologized immediately to the Livingston and Wainborn families again just shows what a stand up guy he is. Coopar and Hamilton could learn a thing or two from this guy.

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Vision Attack Squad
True to form, the well-financed Vision Attack Squad (see comments above by Coupar is Silly and Same Old NPA) are up to their usual disinformation ways.

Just to clarify: Jasper did not apologize to the Wainborn and Livingstone families. Instead, Jasper fed a backhanded apology 'story' to a sympathetic reporter at a paper other than The Straight (where Jasper's original comments were published).

As for Jasper being "respectful, attentive and non-partisan" one is only left to wonder what planet Same Old NPA lives on. On planet Earth, PB Commissioner Jasper is unduly partisan, almost always on the attack, at PB meetings disrespectful almost always, dismissive of public input, and barely attentive (much of his time spent attempting to intimidate PB Chairs Sarah Blyth and Constance Barnes into shutting speakers down, when speakers say something with which he doesn't agree).

There is nothing 'silly' or perverse in John Coupar wishing to hold Jasper to account. In point of fact, a motion of censure is long overdue.
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JamieLee
Same old NPA to be clear I spoke up and raised opposition to the Vision controlled board plans to alter the way park names are made. Currently, this park naming process is community-led, fair and democratic. Vision wants to change this process to one that is anti-democratic and stinks to high heaven where cronyism will surely prevail in how our parks are named. Its interesting that you sling mud at the former NPA controlled board for naming a few parks after a couple of long-serving Park Commissioners yet the current Vision controlled Park Board are planning to name a Park for their colleague Mr Jim Green who is co-founder of the Vision municipal party and yet you say nothing of this fact. Talk about a double standard.
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