Monday, July 18, 2011

North Van councillor considers Liberal nomination

July 7, 2011

North Vancouver city councillor Mike Little has confirmed he's considering running for the provincial Liberal nomination in North Vancouver-Seymour. That riding is presently held by party MLA Jane Thornthwaite. Speaking with Public Eye, Mr. Little stressed such a run is dependent on the Liberals allowing incumbent candidates like Ms. Thorntwaite to be challenged. Moreover, he said, "I have no interest in embarrassing the current candidate or the party and I want to work with them."

"I've known her for quite a long time," the councillor continued. "As long as she's been involved in politics I've been dealing with her. But there are a lot of people in the community who think it would be a good role for me and I'm considering my options. Likewise, if the party doesn't allow a challenge then I will still be on council and she will still be my MLA and I will still work with her."


John Sharpe said...

I was under the impression Mr. Little was a Conservative.

Anonymous said...

The provincial Liberal party is a coalition of federal conservatives (eg. Kevin Falcon) and federal liberals (eg. Kristy Clark).

Anonymous said...

What's with all the NVD coucllors wanting to jump into Provincial Politics first Roger then Mike, could make for an interesting November Municipal Election.

Anonymous said...

I would hate for North Vancouver to have to hold another by-election in a year or two. Again!

Anonymous said...

John, you posted this and should know that it's Provincial politics under discussion, not federal. I don't think that Mike has jumped over to the Provincial party just yet! But heck, maybe that's an idea if Liberal Party brass decide to protect incumbents whenever the next election takes place.

It is getting less and less likely that we'll see a provincial election this fall. Given the obvious benefit to Seymour residents, I would hope that voters would not be too pi**ed with ML for going after the nomination, especially since he would make a much better representative for the riding. I for one would be more than happy to see the last of Ms T who has been to my mind, a less than stellar representative for the community and I hope that Liberal party brass get that message loud and clear.

Mike is ready for something bigger and I wish him luck. As for Jane, well, she can go back to counting calories!

John Sharpe said...

Yes I know it's Provincial politics. I forgot the BCLibs are really just conservatives. But I believe Mike is foremost a Federal Conservative.

Anon 9:54 Pm,

Actually Roger tried for a Federal nomination not a Provincial.

It could be interesting if one or two District councillor seats were available. Then there would be some room for more 'developer candidates' like John Gilmour. Too bad. We need some real alternatives to the present council in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

Provincial Liberals are a coalition of Federal Liberals and Conservatives. With her federal Liberal connections, that's why many were afraid of Christy Clark becoming premier because someone (apparently) that partisan could divide what was a pretty stable coalition. Unfortunately, the only thing being destroyed these days is her own credibility - every time she opens her mouth, she blows herself out of the water!

Mike Little IS a federal Conservative, ditto DMD. Bassam is a Federal Liberal as is Walton and probably Nixon, and likely all vote Liberal provincially. Who knows where Hicks sits - could be a dipper given his Brit background. Lisa Muri doesn't show her cards, but I'm betting she leans towards the Conservatives federally and the Liberals provincially.

If none of the incumbents step down to run elsewhere, I can see Nixon being replaced if a strong alternative candidate came along. I think the others are pretty safe, but for the life of me, I can't figure out how Hicks topped the polls last time against strong candidates like Muri and DMD.

Anonymous said...

You're wrong about Muri, John. More than that I will not say.

(BTW you should proof your comments before posting. I have to translate your typos to be sure of what you're saying.)

Anonymous said...

I am a conservative minded civil libertarian who tends to be pro-business.


John Sharpe said...

Hicks an NDP'er - not likely. He seems far to 'business-minded' for that. I'd peg him as a Federal Liberal or hesitant Provincial Lib. His topping of the polls probably came from either working hard or maybe for some strange reason he received some of Ernie's votes who 'topped the polls' more than once is his 25 years as a District councillor.

I miss Ernie's 'alternative' voice on council. He gave some colour to what is now mostly a pretty bland group. They seem to believe that they "know better" than the public that elected them, and from what I have seen ignore with impunity the 'inconvenient' and overwhelming public hearing opposition and petition results.

Muri has to be a Fed Liberal and maybe an NDP'er Provincially.

Anonymous said...

I don't blame the young councillors for looking at other options.

How can you possibly afford to live in North Van on about $35,000/yr plus a part time job?

Anonymous said...

Hicks is a conservative, but he'd rather hang out with Liberals.

John Sharpe said...

Most of the councillors have other jobs or businesses except maybe Roger. Mike - business, Robin - accountant, Alan - realtor, Lisa - raising a family,(husband works), Doug - retired VPD.

When you consider what they all do at their 'day jobs', it seems flexibility is the common denominator. It would be hard to imagine a full time blue collar, average working person being able to hold down a council position because my research revealed a councillor seat is a full time position itself. Shame really because I think more elected gov't councils could use the perspective of an average working person.

Anonymous said...

The "average working person" has plenty of opportunity to make an impact via public hearings, or even regular council meetings, even participating on various panels and focus groups. Face it, most people are content with the status quo. It's the folks who think they know what's best for everyone else that you have to watch out for.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:45

Should be “Face it, most people are content with the PERCEIVED status quo.

Local government are great at spin doctoring and their success is based more on optics then functionality.

Anonymous said...

They are also really great at defending themselves, witness Langley Mayor Peter Fassbender's absolute outrage at the suggestion that local goverment should be able to cut 1% from their budgets to fund Translink's plans for the Evergreen Line. Of course they can - if the political will exists.

Anonymous said...

I wonder how many of the 100k earners can be trimmed from the budget if you were to amalgamate the district and the city?

Anonymous said...

Forget about the few people earning $100k. Get rid of the well paid laborers who spend an awful lot of time leaning on their shovels talking and smoking while they watch one person do the work. Keep that one person performing and get rid of the slackers sucking up our tax dollar. Do none of these guys not think that the tax paying public isn't noticing?

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:45.

"It's the folks who think they know what's best for everyone else that you have to watch out for."

Amen. What a great quote! Thanks.

Anonymous said...

John, you do remember how this cozy little clique on Council bullied down Ernie in his last years, don't you? Any newcomer who happens not to toe the company line will be mercilessly flogged by this council. No wonder nobody is interested in voting anymore. No good choices left. Same old, same old. We need a box on the ballot: "None of the above"

John Sharpe said...

That is a very good quote but, "what's best for everyone", is a matter of 'the greatest good for the greatest number.' I have a had one councillor tell me that "it's not necessary to run for office but, just address and watch council because we do listen and use ideas from the public." Really? Frankly I haven't seen too much of that. The OCP review process was an attempt at this but, seems to have fallen short because there just wasn't enough 'people participation.'

Griffin said...

John, you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it thirsty. There was plenty of opportunity for the public to participate in the OCP process with lots of notices in the paper and e-mails going out from the various CAs in the District. Until the notice to Seymour residents mentioned the possibility of more high-rises in their neighbourhood, they stayed home watching TV. Too many people are content to leave the decision-making up to others until they get a hint that the decisions being made are not to their liking, but by the time they finally perk up, it's often too late. Good citizenship comes with responsibility, and if you don't stand up and make your opinions known about something, you have absolutely no right to complain. (Sounds a little like those who don't vote but complain loudly about the results, doesn't it? Fact is, it's exactly the same.)

Anonymous said...

Anon 09:45 - it may be just as much a function of the Workers' Compensation Board rules or the union contract that requires extra workers apparently standing around. I am no fan of having three workers where one will do so perhaps we need to vent our anger at a different target.

John Sharpe said...

Anon 9:16 Pm,

You make some very good points.

As a matter of fact I'd say that a citizen has to be engaged to practically to the same level as a councillor to really stay on top of things. The problem is the average person can't practically make the time. So everthing flys by and by the time your realize what's going on, it's already decided anyway. So much for democracy in the District and in general.

Anonymous said...

But John, the lack of time, commitments to work and home life, etc. are why we elect councilors to make decisions. To expect the average citizen to be involved in the process beyond reading the odd editorial and (maybe) voting is pie in the sky dreaming!

Anonymous said...

Which is also why we have elections from time to time, 2011 being one of those "times". If you're not happy with the status quo, get out your pencil!

John Sharpe said...

Well I've been far more involved than reading the odd editorial and I vote (selectively) but, still find it difficult to follow all of the issues. Anyway, vote for whom? It's just going to be the incumbents (same ol', same ol') and maybe another developer (John Gilmour,)God save us all and a couple of also rans.

I'm convinced that unless you are a card carrying Liberal/Conservative you stand little chance of being elected to District council. If you're not a Lib/Con., you're not a part of the big money machine that supports such candidates in the District. Council won't suport you if you're not.

It also seems to me that the public hearings are little more than obligatory formalities - something they can say they held and heard the public. Staff advise council and most of the discussion and decisions are made in the back room (in-camera). Seems most things are pre-decided and it doesn't matter what the public says.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like sour grapes, John. It seems you're upset because the majority don't think the same way you do. I seem to recall you tried to get elected once and didn't make it. That should tell you something about how the electorate feel about your views. No? It seems that you're looking to place blame on council for not doing things how you'd like them done. Well, the public voted for them, so it's fair to say that council is performing the mandate they were given. If you want to change it, you're going to have to get the support of the people behind you. But as I said before, It's the folks who think they know what's best for everyone else that you have to watch out for. Politically, you come across as one of those people that we need to be wary of.

Anonymous said...

"if you're not a Lib/Con., you're not a part of the big money machine that supports such candidates in the District."

Sorry John, I had to laugh at this. Labour is by far the biggest money machine in local government, but even with Labour dollars the District campaigns are piddly.

NIXON $10,584
FAIR $9,286
LITTLE $7,751
HICKS $7,657
BASSAM $4,055
BIRRELL $2,720
WALTON $1,801
MURI $1,381

Hardly big money. The Top three money men placed 4th 5th and 7th. Also the Libs and Cons don't finance any of the local campaigns, which is why family members and CUPE tend to be the largest contributors.

John Sharpe said...

"Politically, you come across as one of those people that we need to be wary of."....I'm the one laughing now. Be wary, be very, very wary. I might have a different voice but, but not loud enough to make a difference.

To clarify just a bit. "Big money machine" is more a figurative statement as it's well known that all council members are conventional cons and libs and that is where all the support and votes comes from for current District council. The CUPE local has supported candidates (obviously regardless of party affiliation) who solicit it, have a chance of being elected, and presumably will look after their interests. Don't really know if the CUPE local has the support of any of the current council though. Janice Harris used to accept the CUPE local support I believe.

Anonymous said...

"'s well known that all council members are conventional cons and libs and that is where all the support and votes comes from for current District council."

I don't think that ALL members all conventional party members garnering con and lib support. 3 are for sure but the rest...?

Also candidates don't "solicit" the unions for funds. Prior to an election, the unions send a questionaire to prospective council members that includes a union "wish list" of union issues. Those candidates that return the questionaire (many don't) and lean toward the union viewpoint are invited to meet with the union and funds may flow via that meeting.

Talk about conflict of interest for an elected rep.

Anonymous said...

I think that most candidates would have a bias. No matter If they have union backing or a developer or a business support system etc. The candidates will be influenced by the issues or associations they connect with. Somebody is going to think that there is a conflict of interest with virtually every issue. Bottom line if you are not happy with the person running, vote for some else. I believe that most people, certainly not all, that run for municipal office, do so because they want to contribute . They want to do the right thing. We may not agree with them and that is our right.

Anonymous said...

It's a little more arm's length when a developer or businessman provides support.

They might see support to a policy or rezoning etc. Even then, a
councillor/realtor excuses himself when there are zoning/development issues that could appear to be a conflict.

Council votes to ratify the contract wages and benefits of the very unions (CUPE, Fire) that gives $$ to the council candidate's campaign. A bit too close for comfort and a real conflict of interest.

Let's see those that took the union's $$ recuse themselves from the contract vote to increase wage/benefits. Then you've got the beginning of an arm's length relationship.

But, of course, the union wouldn't like that.

John Sharpe said...

To Anon 5:32 PM,

Maybe we should pull up who if any of the incumbents even accepted the CUPE local's financial assistance for the 2008 election -It might help settle the arguement. Off hand I'd say that none currently elected to council would need or want CUPE's help. A candidate who takes support from CUPE pretty much is obligated to look after their interests if elected. A truely independent councillor wouldn't accept $$ from either business or CUPE.

To Anon 2:13 PM,

I just wanted to add that a person who really believes in serving his/her community should definitely run for office. I also think that all current council members do beleive they are serving their community and doing the right thing.

Anonymous said...

2008 union contributions to candidates.


The 2008 DNV financial disclosures indicate that none of the encumbent council accepted CUPE union campaign donations.

Roger Bassam's disclosure includes a $500 donation from CAW Local 111.


D. Mussatto a total of $6450 from CUPE.

R. Clark a total of $1950 from CUPE.

C. Keating a total of $4200 from CUPE and $1000 from CAW Local 111.

M. Trentadue a total of $5700 from CUPE and $500 from CAW.

You know, it's the weirdest thing. Those of us that remember the last CUPE contract negotiations may recall that Vancouver and DNV locked out their CUPE employees but the City chose not to join the employers in getting tough.

Seems like you get what you pay for.

Anonymous said...

"Those of us that remember the last CUPE contract negotiations may recall that Vancouver and DNV locked out their CUPE employees but the City chose not to join the employers in getting tough."

July 2007 wasn't a lock out, it was a strike.

The reason why Vancouver and the District were on strike was simply because they, along with Port Moody, were the first three communities to enter bargaining. Port Moody signed early for a 36 month contract, but that deal would have ended two months before the Olympics. The rest of the region wanted to have a contract that extended beyond the Olympics.

The reason why the DNV strike was only two weeks and the City of Vancouver's was 12 weeks was partly political, but mostly because of 'table issues' (non-monetary issues like scheduling, sick day policies, boots & uniforms etc).

Anonymous said...

Cupe endorsed Robin Hicks, Roger Bassam, David McKee, John Fair, and Richard Walton in the 2008 election.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:10, you're right. The employer refused to entertain the 30% package increase over 5 years and the union went on strike.

Too bad CNV council didn't join the other employers in solidarity. Ooops, they're already in solidarity. Just elsewhere.

Anon 10:27 "endorsed" and "financially supported" are two different things (except in CNV).

Anonymous said...

So the bottom line is that CNV has a council majority whose campaign has CUPE funding and DNV councillors do not have union campaign funding.

DNV council holds the line on union contract negotiations and CNV gives CUPE a walk.

Seems simple enough. One can draw their own conclusions.

Anonymous said...

One of many issues that add to the inefficiencies of local government is the attitude of staff. The culture is because staff have been here for x number of years the organization owes them a job with an excellent wage. There is no need to be qualified. It is about seniority and nepotism.

Anonymous said...

Actually, some of the more junior staff at the CNV, particularly the planning/building desk, are pretty useless, too. Talk about entitled!

I've found that the more senior staff to be far easier to deal with. At least that has been my experience at the CNV planning/building desk.

Face it, there are good and bad workers every where you go. Unfortunately, it seems that we love to whine about it but do little about it. If you experience poor service from any person in municipal government, no matter at what level, I would think that it in your best interest as a taxpayer to be vocal about it. Complain loudly and often. Hopefully it'll sink in and they'll do something about it.

Anonymous said...

Who do we complain to when the bad workers belong to the union that finances the council members?

Anonymous said...

Complain to the non-union management. Management is non-union, no?

Anonymous said...

A few may care but the majority are only interested in maximizing their monetary rewards by doing little and counting down the days until the pension kicks in.

Anonymous said...

I had a conversation with an employee at the City and was told that with the exception of a few departments the city was a toxic place to work.

They went on to say that the HR department is more or less absent and the HR department’s only real interest was protecting under performing managers.

Anonymous said...

Let's see.

The union helps finance the councillor's campaign.

A manager makes trouble for a bad worker (union).

In response, can the union make councillors, who they know via the election campaign, aware that a manager is "difficult?"

The manager is non-union so his employment is "at the pleasure of the employer."

The manager wants to keep his job.

Are the best interests of the taxpayer or the best interests of the bad worker, manager and councillors likely to be served?

Anonymous said...

I say get rid of unions at city hall and let them all work for a living like the rest of us. There's not a single job in that building that can't be performed by private sector employees (and arguable better). There are just too many conflicting interests having union staff, union councilors and union political donations.

Anonymous said...

And the balance of contributions to the campaigns of Mussatto (which was a non campaign because he was acclaimed), and Keating were from developers. The non successful like Leia and Schecter also raked in the CUPE money.

Maybe this discussion rates it's own heading.

G H said...

Has anybody suggested that the BC Liberals sell off the Vancouver Convention Centre for $1.8 billion or more. I read that the project had a high cost over-run as mentioned at .
I would like to see Christy Clark sell it for a small profit back to the developers. Then the money could be used for a mini-hospital in West Vancouver as a medicare idea or pay-back Stephen Harpers bribe to the Provincial Government of BC.
Why has not the Mayor and / or the North Vancouver Council sent this idea in writing to the BC Liberals Caucus? They are supposed to be "Highly Educated" as per Ralph Sultan, MLA, West Vancouver - Capilano.


Anonymous said...

So gary, you seem to be all about the short term benefits. Why sell a profitable facility? The income generated in the long term will far outpace any potential profit from its immediate sale. Do you even think of long term benefit when you publish these ideas of yours?

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