LETTER: Look for democracy, accountability, amalgamation this election

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Keeping our possible amalgamation in mind, I’ve looked into the 2018 election candidates for Saanich and Victoria. They all use the same buzzwords, and with so little detail on their platforms, it’s hard to tell them apart. And with so few of the candidates even acknowledging critical issues of personal concern, it leaves me wondering who to vote for.

Issue 1 – Lack of Democracy. It’s not democracy when your mayor deliberately disenfranchises constituents by blindsiding them and denying them a voice or vote on highly controversial actions, like removing Sir John A Macdonald’s statue. And it’s not democracy either when the electorate delivers unprecedented 80 per cent and 88.5 per cent votes to get on with Amalgamation, and your Council accomplishes little of consequence in four years, on this key governance concern.

Issue 2 – Lack of Accountability. Despite candidate claims of personal accountability, Nanaimo Council’s recent experience shows that we can’t impeach them, recall them, or even give them a Time-Out and send them home with pay. Other than Election Day, there is no accountability. Of course, we could limit them to two terms on Council (as strongly recommended by Saanich’s Governance Review Citizen’s Advisory Committee), but we don’t have the right as voters to force this onto a referendum.

Issue 3 – Lack of progress on Amalgamation. In 2014, Victoria voted 80 per cent “in favour of reducing the number of GVA municipalities through amalgamation”, and Saanich voted 88.5 per cent for the same thing, even though Saanich Council cleverly tried to disguise this as a vote for a “Citizen’s Review on Governance.” True accountability demands a binding vote on amalgamation by 2022.

So 2018 election candidates in Saanich and Victoria: Do any of you truly want to be accountable to the voters and act as our champions at council, for democracy, accountability, two term limits for council, and amalgamation?

Bruce Fowler

Victoria

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