Vancouver – City of Vancouver Green Party Councillor Adriane Carr released her legal counsel’s 10-page opinion confirming that her motion “Risks to City Budget of Proposed Changes to Community Centre Operations”, duly submitted on February 4 for the February 12 agenda of Vancouver City Council, was illegally squashed by the City Manager last week.
Carr’s motion asks for a report back to Council on the potential impacts on the City’s budget due to the Park Board plan to shift management of Vancouver’s Community Centres from Community Centre Associations to the Park Board.
After receiving an email from the City Manager on the evening of Tuesday, February 5 stating that the Manager would be “not allowing it (Carr’s motion) to go out with the agenda”, Carr retained the legal services of Jonathan Baker, a distinguished Vancouver lawyer who specializes in municipal law.
In his opinion, Mr. Baker concludes that, “Nothing in the Board of Administration Bylaw no. 4017 provides a glimmer of support for the Manager’s claim to be able to prevent your motion from coming to Council…She cannot declare the motion out of order and simply refuse to deliver it to Council. This is an abuse of public office”. Mr. Baker also noted that “Council and only Council may vote to defeat, table, refer, adopt, amend or deal with it any other way allowed by its procedure bylaw.”
Coun. Carr also consulted with lawyer and former Vancouver City Councillor and Park Board Commissioner Tim Louis (COPE) and former Provincial MLA (NDP) and Vancouver City Councillor Darlene Marzari (TEAM) who confirmed that, in their experience, the blocking of a City Councilor’s duly submitted motion by a City Manager is unprecedented and a threat to democracy.
The complete legal opinion and summary (attached) also confirm that Carr’s motion does not pose a risk to the City or Park Board as claimed by the City Manager, is clearly within City Council’s jurisdiction and does not need to be dealt with in camera. It further establishes, through case law, that “local government electors should be able to speak freely and frankly, boldly and bluntly, on any matter which they believe affects the interest or welfare of the inhabitants.”
“I am buoyed by the legal opinion and will ask the Mayor, as Chair of City Council and duty-bound by the Vancouver Charter to ensure the laws of the city are obeyed, to rectify this wrong-doing by placing my motion on the Council agenda, so that we can move on to deal with the substantive issues that my motion raises,” concluded Carr.
For more information contact:
Councillor Adriane Carr: 778-886-4560 (cell) or Jonathan Baker: 604-642-0107