Tuesday, March 3, 2014
The Stampede Over Due Process
Hauling the Liberals onto the carpet for local gov't elections reform
Released by Dermod Travis, IntegrityBC
is calling the B.C. government on the carpet for running roughshod over
its own consultation process on local government elections reform.
Six months later, the government did an
about-face and announced they “will introduce legislation during the
current legislative session to change local elections from a three-year
to a four-year cycle beginning with the 2014 elections.”
In its February news release, the government
noted that four-year terms was recommended by the 2010 Local Government
Elections Task Force, that the UBCM passed a resolution in 2013
supporting term extension, and that the B.C. School Trustees Association
supported the change.
While the UBCM did endorse a motion at its
2013 convention to increase the term of office from three to four years,
the organization has been all over the map on the issue.
In 2010, the UBCM rejected a motion to extend
the term of office. In 2007, it endorsed extending the term. In 2006, it
rejected the motion it later endorsed in 2007. In 2003, it rejected
two-year staggered terms and three-year “all-at-once” terms. And in
1986, it endorsed a three-year term but annual elections if local
residents demanded it.
IntegrityBC notes that while the UBCM and
B.C. School Trustees are stakeholders on the issue, they are not the
only stakeholders. By releasing its White Paper stating that the term of
office was not going to be extended and then doing exactly that six
months later, the government effectively excluded the most important
stakeholder of all – the public.
“It may come as a shock to the government,
but generally speaking the public is not enamoured with politicians at
the moment and they deserved to have their say on this issue,”
said IntegrityBC executive director Dermod Travis.
“To have this done in the dark of night with a stroke of the pen
stripped them of that right.”
organization noted that the only thing that seems to have changed
between the release of the government's White Paper in September and the
government's change of heart in February, is the vote of less than 1,950
local politicians at the UBCM convention that took place last September.
“Frankly, it's a pretty slim basis to justify a decision that should require more thought and consultation and – if done at all – be part and parcel of other reforms to the B.C. Community Charter,” said Travis.
Dermod Travis is the executive director of IntegrityBC. www.integritybc.ca
Placespeak survey: www.placespeak.com/integritybc