Opposition Councillors walk out as Vision Vancouver mires public hearing in bad process

AC___presser_on_public_hearing_may_25_cropped.pngVancouver, BC - May 25, 2016 — At noon today on the steps of City Hall, Green Councillor Adriane Carr and NPA councillors Elizabeth Ball, George Affleck, and Melissa De Genova discussed with media the circumstances that saw all four walk out in protest during a incompetently-run and highly partisan public hearing where Vision Vancouver only managed to get out three of their seven caucus members.

The May 24 public hearing into floating signs on False Creek and a Cedar Cottage development project was the first in which Vision Vancouver failed to have a majority of its caucus present.

Carr et al charged that Vision Vancouver’s Raymond Louie as Acting Mayor conducted the meeting in a dismissive and partisan manner unbecoming of chair, including:

  • Prompting fellow Vision Councillor Tim Stevenson to ask questions.
  • Ruling Councillors Carr and De Genova out of order for requesting an extension of the meeting as it neared the 10 pm deadline beyond which the hearing would terminate.
  • Ruling Councillor Carr out of order for pointing out correct council protocol with regard to an attempt by Councillor Stevenson to refer the hearing to staff.
  • Failing to be transparent in revealing staff advice and his reasons for ruling in favour of allowing Councillor Stevenson’s referral motion.

On the issue of referring the hearing to staff, Carr pointed out that she herself had been ruled out of order for the same request as seen in this video from 2012. At that 2012 hearing the Mayor had consulted with the City Clerk and City Manager and ruled that once debate on a matter before public hearing has begun, the task of Council is to decide for or against the matter at that meeting; it cannot be referred.

In protest of the unfair and undemocratic process of one set of rules being applied against a Green Councillor and a different set of rules being used to the advantage to a Vision Councillor, Carr and the NPA councillors chose to walk out.

Carr noted that her job as a Councillor is not just to make a decision on the particular matter before Council, but also to ensure good governance in our city:

“As Councillors, we have to make decisions on process, not just the specific matter before Council. What we saw here was unfair application of the rules, with different rules being applied to Vision Councillors when they didn’t have their majority in Chambers for this vote.”

Live stream video feed sharing the Council hearing was cut out just as a controversial development in Cedar Cottage was coming to a vote. Due to the extenuating and unprecedented circumstances of the public hearing, Carr cannot comment on specifics save to reiterate a commitment to new affordable housing and good, transparent public process.

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