B.C. municipal politicians set to get four-year terms

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      In the 2011 civic election, Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson won a second three-year term in office.

      If the politician branded by some critics as "Mayor Moonbeam" is victorious this November, he'll get four more years in the mayor's chair (provided he doesn't win election to another level of government before his term is up or resign for other reasons).

      Today (February 25), the B.C. government announced that it plans to change the cycle of local elections from three years to four years, as in other provinces. After this fall's balloting, the next election will be scheduled for October 2018.

      Community, Sport and Cultural Development Minister Coralee Oakes is set to introduce legislation to that effect during the current legislative session.

      "My experience as a municipal councillor convinced me that to succeed in today's complex world, local governments need enough time to plan and complete projects that build strong, inclusive communities. I'm confident this change, supported by UBCM and the task force, will help local governments continue to make B.C.'s communities great places to live and work," Oakes said in a news release.

      The longer terms will apply to elected mayors, councils, park boards, school boards, regional district directors, and Islands Trust trustees.

      According to the release, the government's legislation will also "modernize election campaign financing rules" in time for the November election.



      CityHallWatch Randy

      Feb 25, 2014 at 3:44pm

      This proposal is scandalous. Imagine incumbent politicians in elections bought and paid for by the development industry, unions, and special interest groups (including foreign interests) having four years before being held accountable. People should take action now to pressure MLAs to handle the systemic corruption of municipal governments in the biggest cities of BC. And mainstream media are failing to cover the core issues. Just re-printing government media releases. The current proposals are designed and supported by incumbents. No surprise they want four year terms with no strict controls on the corrupting influence of political donations. The idea of saving money is a cover up. The savings will be lost a thousand-fold by having unaccountable governments. Politicians should be kept on a shorter leash.

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      Feb 25, 2014 at 5:36pm

      We should be returning to a two year election cycle for municipal governments rather than increasing it to four years. If the ruling party has a majority on council it gives them more time to line their pockets & those of their friends without having to face the public. If the council is fractured and incapable of getting things done having four years of bickering could cripple the city. Four years gives corrupt politicians too much time to change the city to fit the image of their donors.

      We have a mayor and council that has spent more taxpayer money on PR than any previous Vancouver government even as they give friendly developers increased profits via zoning changes & reducing community charges. They run a fantastic propaganda operation that pays lip service to "green" & "social justice" issues but the only actions taken by the city in those areas invariably enrich a party friend or friend of a friend. Even gifts to developers who happen to be donors are spun to appear somehow "green" or otherwise "for the city:" "saving" the Waldorf will give a Vision donor millions in increased profits; reducing the number of parking spots required in new developments saves more money for the developers than for home buyers; "affordable" rents as defined are absurdly high and rooftop gardens count as public green space. The list could go on but the real gifts to developers will come after the next election when they will probably have a new term.

      Three years would give Vision enough time to pass their "densification" plan, changing zoning wholesale throughout the city. Three years would give them enough time to pass their neighbourhood plans, guided by advice from key donors, over the objections of local residents. Three years would give Vision enough time to make sure the Cambie corridor is lined with lots zoned for towers 20 storeys & higher from 41st south to the river, including the western half of Langara Golf Course. They could do it without any recourse until the next election and now that time frame has expanded magically to four years.

      Mayor Robertson has done far more to destroy the fabric of the city that any mayor since Tom Cambell. Gordon Campbell is still excoriated for allowing more towers in Kerrisdale when he was mayor; Robertson is planning on doing it throughout the city yet he is still a darling to some segments of the left.

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      Feb 25, 2014 at 7:47pm

      Apparently Vision is in talks with Creative Energy Canada Platforms to provide "low-carbon" power to city owned Central Heat Distribution. The only director of CECP is local developer and Vision donor Ian Gillespie. Naturally the city will sell this as being "green" but once again the key to getting taxpayer dollars appears to be having a financial relationship with Vision.

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      Feb 25, 2014 at 7:51pm

      Apologies. Central Heat Distribution is owned by Gillespie but he wants taxpayer dollars to subsidize converting to the biomass company of which he is sole director. Somehow it is even sleazier than first thought.

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      Feb 25, 2014 at 11:30pm

      FOUR more years of Vision paying off their developer donors by ramming massive overdevelopment (masked by greenwashing,of course)through every neighbourhood?

      "Scandalous" is too mild. The throw-the-bastards-out cycle should return to two years. the pols get less and less accountable and the public gets less and less democracy.

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      I'm okay with this

      Mar 5, 2014 at 3:51pm

      Some of you want elections every 2 years? That's been tried, and it's called the United States Congress, where they spend one year governing, and one year preparing their re-election campaign. It can also leads to quick power swings that prevent people from making a long-term plan and actually carrying it out. For example, Obama and the Democrats only had 2 years before the Republicans snatched Congress back and prevented them from accomplishing very much. There are obviously other issues with their system as well, but the 2-year terms are a big one.

      I understand people's concerns about accountability, but I think the importance of giving the governing party some stability and time to carry out a long-term vision is worth considering as well. Three year and four year terms both seem pretty reasonable to me, so I don't mind this change.

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      Mar 12, 2014 at 10:13am

      Need anymore evidence that our politicians are corrupt and deaf?

      The public is clamouring for MORE input and MORE accountability and what do elected politicians do...extend terms, chat about expense accounts, change electoral boundaries at a whim, voter suppression, electronic voting...all of which is sold to U as 'efficiency' and 'cost savings'. Those are the obsessions of CORPORATIONS, not democracy.

      "the cycle of local elections from three years to four years, as in other provinces."
      Other provinces have WARD systems? Conveniently missing fact of course...it will be cute listening to our collection of politicians explain how everyone else in the west is WRONG and BC is a trend setter.

      "I'm okay with this said:"
      Some of you want elections every 2 years? That's been tried, and it's called the United States Congress...
      1) we used to do it quite recently in municipal elections...where have you been?
      2) Only House of Reps...Senators, Prez, Governors, State legislatures all 4 years. Also have you not noticed that EVERY two years an American ballot usually comes with referendum questions and capital spending bills most of which are generated by citizen petitions?

      Clearly you HATE the fact that people who don't share your good taste or political preferences, but nonetheless also pay taxes, are even given the opportunity to vote. Therefore CLEARLY you don't support democracy and really don't care about anyone else participation if they disagree with you.

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      Mar 20, 2014 at 6:00pm

      The fact that they want 4 years instinctively tells me they should really only have two years.

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