Monday, September 15, 2014

With municipal elections just around the corner, what needs to be done to get people to vote?

Should there be fines for not voting? On the other hand should there be incentives for voting such as a tax credit receipt. Some say yes, but only if 'none of the above' is on the ballot. In light of this discussion on the media recently local resident Sue Cook answers the Province Newspaper's E-Street question.
 This is a difficult question to answer as it really depends on how big the municipality is.  If it is smaller community, the old fashioned knocking on door routine could work well.  Public contact is really important.  Larger municipalities becomes a problem and usually money is a major factor.  The present Mayor and Council usually have a much larger financial pool to draw from (usually anyone or any organization that wants something “special” from City Hall. I think that NO money should come from ANY special interest groups whether they be unions, developers, ethnic voters or special interest groups, nor should City Hall be used ever for present candidates such as newspaper ads etc.   Candidates should raise their own money and there should be a limit to how much they spend. City of North Vancouver has an interesting situation as the Mayor is being challenged by a person called Kerry Morris who is independently wealthy and can afford to put regular ads in the North Shore News.  He also is the only municipal candidate that I can think of who has his campaign office all set up at the bottom of Lonsdale.  Too bad all candidates cannot do the same.
—Sue  Lakes Cook


Anonymous said...

So CNV mayoral candidate Kerry Morris is "independently wealthy."

There really should be some way to allow people who aren't so flush to realistically compete.

Barry Rueger said...

(Blogger keeps refusing to believe that I'm posting less than 4,096 characters, so here's 1 of 2)

If you want people to vote (at any level) you need two things.

First, there have to be candidates that are actually appealing to the voters.

Second, you have to convince voters that voting will actually change things that they care about.

On the former, I'll admit that it's been at least a decade since I actually voted for a specific candidate, or even a specific party. In every single Federal, Provincial, and Municipal election in memory I've either voted against the incumbent, (so called “strategic voting”) or have held my nose and voted for the candidate that offends me least.

On the latter, it's important to understand that a lot of what happens municipally is not really in the hands of the local politicians – over the last couple of decades the Province has grabbed control of a significant amount of what were formerly local decisions.

For instance, local school boards don't control, or even influence, 90% of the decisions that are made about how our children are educated. That control is the hands of the powers that be in Victoria, and it's abundantly obvious that they aren't listening to anyone around here.

Similarly public transit used to be managed locally by the local municipal governments.

Now the ultimate say in budgets and funding, and in many of the larger decisions on things like bridges or even new transit infrastructure, is totally in the hands of Victoria.

The refrain that candidates should not be allowed to accept money from insert name of group you don't like here is quite beside the point. Anyone with an ounce of political experience will just find individuals who will channel the same money to a candidate.

Aside from which the contributions in North Shore elections are honestly just not large enough to really offer a significant enticement to corruption.

The fact that a politician votes for something that you don't like does not mean that they're “corrupt,” it probably just means that they didn't agree with you.

Still, I'd support a system that eliminates all campaign contributions (including personal contributions.)

The bonus would be a lot less advertising, and a significant drop in the forest of signs that blanket the landscape.

If you get rid of advertising, candidates will be forced to actually have clear positions on issues, and will have to stand up in public and declare them.

Perhaps we can get rid of the idea of politicians as a “brand,” and create a climate where voters will choose to look at issues and candidate positions, and not just suffer through another popularity contest.

Barry Rueger said...

(2 of 2)

Does it “really depend on how big the municipality is?”


I've door knocked with candidates in municipalities much larger than either of the North Vancouvers. Even Jim Hansen (now running for DNV Council) has door knocked over much of the North Shore.

If you really believe that a municipality is just too large geographically to canvass, then make the argument for a ward system – it works in an awful lot of cities, and I'm honestly surprised that we don't have it in the Lower Mainland.

And while we're at it, lets require candidates at all levels to actually reside in the riding or ward where they are running – even the Premier.

Finally, if you really want to improve the calibre of candidates and encourage voters to actually give a sweet damn about local elections, you have find a way to break down the local political cliques and make space (and campaign funding) for fresh faces and new ideas.

The fastest way to make municipal elections interesting is to find people who are actually passionate about the place that they live, encourage them to sign on and run, and then give them enough money and support to create a realistic possibility that they'll actually win.

If you can get enough new, exciting, and enthusiastic people to run, and can help them mount credible campaigns, you'll see people stepping up to vote some of them in, and the Old Guard out.

Anonymous said...

Bang on Barry!

An example of municipalities losing their "authority" is what is happening in Burnaby now. Mayor Derek Corrigan is citing Kinder Morgan for disobeying Burnaby's bylaws regarding cutting trees in "protected areas."

Kinder Morgan feels it's above all this and our federal government agrees.

In other words, senior levels of government have more and more power and municipalities are losing their punch. School boards have become redundant in B.C.

Anonymous said...

Wendy's comment on the same thread in today's Province.

People tend not to vote in municipal elections because they are satisfied with the status quo. However, lately many municipal councils, especially across Metro Vancouver, are making decisions that are transforming our neighbourhoods into highrises and traffic congestion. This produces more crime, noise, and pollution. Talk to everyone you know and get them to pay attention. It’s not just water, sewer, and garbage pickup anymore—it’s the quality of life in your neighbourhood. The only people who benefit from this rampant densification are the developers and their cronies.

—Wendy Qureshi, North Vancouver

Anonymous said...

Maybe the voter is just tired of voting for self-serving politicians who cater to themselves and the 60% senior staff that work within the municipality but do not reside and their only interest is maximizing their benefits and a paycheck?

Amalgamation would be the first step to ridding the constituent and community of this plague.

Anonymous said...

Would love to see amalgamation to create 1 muni with 1 plan for NV.

The daily Hwy 1 traffic jam from the 2nd Narrows to Westview starting at 3pm is getting tiresome.

What is this latest fad of turning our broad boulevard-like streets into skinny dangerous cowpaths with these stupid traffic bulges and wasted space on the extended sidewalks? Take a drive past Mahon Park. What a waste of money and a detriment to drivers.
Same thing happening in DNV and W Van.

Rip these things out and return our safe and broad streets.

Last election I personally polled every candidate regarding traffic flow concerning specific proposed projects. All but 2 said they would oppose the projects if elected and everyone of them voted in favour.

Frustrating when you take the time to become informed and they mislead you. So now what?

Anonymous said...

Don't re-elect the incumbents.


Anonymous said...

Someone needs to run against the DNV Mayor. If there is no one then why vote?

Anonymous said...

Anon September 17, 2014 10:37:00 am, why should precedence be given to motorists in a 5km square city? Why should residents tolerate wide streets that allow cars to travel at speeds well over 50 km/h along residential streets near single family homes, parks and schools? Anything that reduces the speeds of the entitled, distracted motorist is fine by me! Mahon and Jones are examples of traffic calming that we, as residents, should be embracing. Want a green community? Make the automobile secondary and the pedestrian primary.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:46. Non so simple. Questioned non-incumbents and they misled me.

Anon 8:03. News flash. Streets were built for cars, motorcycles, busses and bicycles sharing the road. Sidewalks are for pedestrians.

The vehicles carry mothers with young children, elderly folk with their goods from the store, people doing business whose taxes support your parks and schools.

A wide boulevard allows a motorist a clear view of the conditions in front and time to react if a child, pet etc. darts out. The skinny goat-trail with parking permitted along the side (ie Mahon and Jones) is the most dangerous possible option for residents if a kid or pet runs out from between parked cars - no time or room to react.

Traffic calming road humps can still be installed on broad boulevards - no need to make roads skinny.

Entitled and distracted pedestrians and cyclists are the problem. Just love those folks staring at their smart phone and launching off across the street without even looking and the cyclists running stop signs.

Anonymous said...

Who cares if someone is financially comfortable.

It is time for a change have you watched or attended
Monday night council meetings. How about a 20 child
day care next door in a residential area? Can I run a
20 dog day care in this zoning?
Ridgeway School is full, 60 students waiting to enrol
and yet were selling school properties to the developers!
Vancouver leases their vacant schools.

It is time for CHANGE get out and VOTE

Anonymous said...

Echo 8.01 ... time for a change in the City .. anyone noticed how visible the present Mayor is suddenly? Picture everywhere, taking full advantage. Most important criteria to be sure candidates are independent and will not vote as a slate - no union or developer campaign donations!!!!! check last 2 election history and watch Council meetings.

Anonymous said...

Don"t you think 21 yrs. in power is too much??? Mussatto

The slate is too much!

Pay attention and VOTE

Anonymous said...

The City passed a non-binding motion that they will not accept union or developer contributions...

At every opportunity they should be reminded of it and ask them publicly if they will abide by it.

Anonymous said...

Mussatto in Power? He has never had his fourth vote but because he has a supportive CAO he is still fairly powerful.

Mussatto is going to win, if you want to limit his power, stop him from getting his fourth vote, and influence the majority to retire Mr. Tolstam (The most over paid CAO in the region).

George Pringle said...

The illegal motion passed by the majority of Councillors/candidates aimed at getting their slate a political advantage was declared null and void by the Electoral Officer.

As someone pointed out above, the union donations are quite telling, they can be found at

Anonymous said...

Pathetic, connection to the developer is somewhat
corrupt but legal by law.

Anonymous said...

to 12.44 .. ridiculous, everyone knew the motion had no power in law but it was an ethical choice by a majority on Council. To think the electoral officer would be concerned with this is nonsense George Pringle.

Way to go Councillors Bell, Bookham, Clark and Heywood!

Anonymous said...

Council is responsible for the CAO are they not?

I expect Keating, Mussatto, Buchananen and most likely Bell support this CAO.

Makes sense as I see these individuals (perhaps Bell is on the fence)above as self serving and in it for the money or/and to further their political ambitions.

CAO doesn't even live in the community does he?

George Pringle said...

Actually, the Chief Electoral Officer (City Clerk) officially declared that motion "null and void" during a Council meeting, on the record and on camera.

There was no mention of it included with the nomination package.

The CEO can over rule Council so they cannot create rules that benefit their candidacy in a conflict of interest such as 3 councilors did in this case.

Anonymous said...

Correction to George Pringle - Karla Graham is the Chief Election Officer - you keep referring to the Chief Electoral Officer who is appointed by the Lt.Gov in Victoria.

I believe that at some point it was said in Council that the information would be included in the candidate packages.

George Pringle said...

I have been given a nomination package along with about 30 others and there is no notice of the motion that where a slate on Council tried to re-write the election rules as Karla Graham, the Chief Election Officer ruled it null and void.

George Pringle said...

From the minutes of March 3rd, 2014 Item 7 after the motion,

"Note: This Notice of Motion indicates Council’s opinion as at this date and is
considered as a statement of Council only. As the Notice of Motion is
contrary to case law and Section 100(2) of the Community Charter, it is considered to be null and void and of no force and effect."

North Van City Voices said...

The motion you refer to from March 2014 was a different matter, the original carried motion is as follows from November 2013 and remains in force:

23. Financing of Election Campaigns – File: 4200-01
Submitted by: Councillor Heywood
Moved by Councillor Heywood, seconded by Councillor Clark
WHEREAS the Provincial Government's recent effort to reform local
government elections did not deal with the source of election campaign funds;
AND WHEREAS the appearance of a conflict of interest is created when
developers and unions that make significant contributions to election
campaigns of candidates for Council also have matters that come before
Council and that whether or not these conflicts are permitted in law, they harm
the reputation of Council and impair the legitimacy of its decisions;
BE IT RESOLVED THAT while this resolution does not have the force of law,
the City of North Vancouver strongly urges all candidates for election to Council
to abstain from accepting donations from developers with projects or potential
projects before Council or from labour unions that represent employees of the
City; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT a copy of this resolution be forwarded to
the other Metro Vancouver municipalities, UBCM and the Provincial Ministry of
Community, Sport and Cultural Development.

A recorded vote was taken on the motion.
Voting in favour: Councillor Bell
Councillor Bookham
Councillor Clark
Councillor Heywood
Voting against: Councillor Buchanan
Councillor Keating
Mayor Mussatto
The motion was CARRIED by a vote of 4 to 3

George Pringle said...

As you keep trying to fool the voters, I'll sent it to the Chief Elections Officer for her to answer the question.

It is obvious that the CEO declared both motions null and void, both violate provincial law and a politicial party (Voices) keeps trying to mislead the voters.

George Pringle said...

Copy of an email I sent to the City Election Officer

" Someone representing the group "Voices" is distributing false information regarding this motion. As some potential candidates use this false information to make their decision to run, Voices' actions may have the effect of suppressing some candidacies. Those who would oppose Voices. It has been stated that this motion was distributed with the Nomination Packages as if it is an instruction by the CEO. It is effecting not just those who receive a package who know it is a
I believe that a statement made by the Chief Elections Officer and posted on the City Elections website is necessary, re-stating the statement made in the March 3rd, 2014 minutes and making it clear that both motions are "null and void".
In addition, had this action taken place after the 30th of September, I think it is part of "opposing" candidates in the election and therefore requires registration with Elections BC. Considering Voices is a group that has violated election law in the past, they deserve special scrutiny which should include their ties to current candidates who I believe they are acting for."

I have also forward the info on my webpage and the email to our local CEO to Elections BC so they will give extra attention to any application that Voices may make for registration.

Anonymous said...

Well done George.

Anonymous said...

How does a motion that says "does not have the force of law" come into force?

Anonymous said...

check out Petty Pringles blog "city council watch" - how did this guy ever graduate high school with such atrocious spelling and grammar. He wants to run the City? Heaven help us

Anonymous said...

North Van City Voices is back to being anon again.

Anonymous said...

I am remaining anon anything to do with George Pringle
he is down right scary! Never seen him with another

Anonymous said...

I have sat near to and talked to George Pringle at a few meetings. He has been respectful of the process of the meeting and I have found, through the last few years of conversations, that he has an instinctive knack for North Vancouver politics.

Anonymous said...

Looks like George is also back to being anon again .. enough of this nonsense

Anonymous said...

So DNV councillor Roger Bassam thinks that we shouldn't have the amalgamation question posed on the upcoming ballot (NSNews Sept. 24) and Alan Nixon agrees with him. Bassam says, "We may get a good question on the ballot in four years."

Wow. What have you been thinking about for the last 4 years?

It takes 4 years to think up a good question? What might happen if you went home and really thought about a "good question" for a couple of hours? Might you be able to craft one? How about directing the paid staff to come up with a good question by next week?

We wouldn't want the electors to have a chance to express their opinion would we.

The hubris is breathtaking.

Anonymous said...

I just could not believe until I looked at North Vancouver council candidate Iani Makris face book page and saw his misogynist posting referring to women as "cun#ts" and also posting pornographic links. And That is just some of his disgusting posts. What really gets to me is that he has been officially endorsed by the president of the NDP Craig Keating and Mayor Darrell Mussatto you would think they would have the decency to tell Iani to take that stuff down What kind of people do these two so called community leaders want running the city of North Vancouver? I would not want my daughters reading that kind of garbage.

George Pringle said...

That settles it.

"Hi George –

Thank you for your email.

We have clarified with the North Van City Voices that the past Notice of Motion regarding campaign contributions was null and void because it contradicts the provincial legislation. Basically, the motion that was approved was only stating Council’s opinion at the time. We only include the pertinent information in the nomination packages and the applicable election legislation and standardized nomination documents that all local governments will be using.

Regards, Karla

Karla Graham
City Clerk
t: 604.990.4234"

Anonymous said...

George Pringle I noticed that on Ianis' pininterest picture board that you are in a photograph with him, as well as Mayor Mussatto, council members Linda Buchanan and Craig Keating. Are you endorsing Iani's candidacy? and in do so, do you support his use of misogynist terms on face book, as well as posting of links to pornographic sites?

George Pringle said...

To be clear, candidates who self impose a donation limit are only utilizing a campaign tactic. Really they want a law that knee caps their opponents.

Most are turning down what they could not get anyway and trying to create a virtuous image of their candidacy.

Some loudly proclaim their opposition to union support and funds even place ads in paper but apply for support from the Labour Council.

I for one would never apply for or accept endorsement or support from the Labour Council or any of their member unions. If elected, now or in the future, a councillor's role is to sit on the other side of the table in dealings with the unions. It's a firm wall that should not be breached.

George Pringle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
George Pringle said...

To Anon 1.04, a person who might be running for office who slanders people anonymously or a member trying to help a probable candidate.

Until the declaration of the Chief Elections Officer on the 17th of October, there are no official candidates.

I will registering Amalgamate North Van as an official electoral group with their name on the ballot. By provincial law, I only way I can endorse candidates is to submit a letter of endorsement by AMV to the Chief Election Officer by the 10th of October along with a form signed by the candidate accepting the endorsement. This allows them to have the group name on the ballot.

I won't be mimicking VOICES' election law violations by endorsing Don Bell for example, without his permission in the hope that voters think other VOICES endorsed members of their political party are part of Don's team.

As nominations have not even opened, I have not submitted any endorsements to the CEO.

sue lakes cook said...

Hello John

I have not visited this site for a very long time and was surprised when a friend said there was something here written by me.

Just to clarify, I will NOT be supporting Mr. Morris in his bid for Mayor. I just thought it was novel that someone was able to have the means to run in a Municipal election in this way. I am sorry that others may not be able to do the same thing but I do think candidates should start early for any kind of success. At this point of time if only Mussatto, Morris and Pringle are the only ones running for Mayor I will skip that part of the ballot and go on to vote for the council.


sue lakes cook

Anonymous said...

George, I'm sure Don will be thrilled that if you endorse him, for instance, he'll be listed as an Amalgamate candidate on the ballot.

George Pringle said...

I said very clearly "I won't be"

If Don signs an application I would accept it but he has indicated that he won't this time.

Anonymous said...

Do you have any candidates that have requested to be a part of your group George?

Anonymous said...

Are we going to get any real candidates, or is it going to just be the wing-nuts who drop out at the last minute? Based on what I've seen so far, I think I'll stick with the statued quo. At least they have experience on their side.

Anonymous said...

The "statued quo" and perhaps their experience is all bad.

Anonymous said...

I'll take that over the new crop that have stepped forward. Better the devil you know...

Anonymous said...

I disagree. Why not show a little faith in at least 1 or 2 candidates who put their names forward?

For the democratic system to work, changes in government must take place.

Anonymous said...

Seems my previous post has been censored. John, are you up to your old tricks again?

The candidates for the City show very little for me to have faith in. Why would I choose them over what I already know? I don't care much for our current mayor, but I'll take him over the alternatives that have thus far presented themselves. And no, I will not spoil a ballot by not selecting any of the choices presented.

George Pringle said...

To Anon Sat, Sept 27, 7:10 pm

Nominations open tomorrow morning so there has not been any candidates to contact.

In the candidate search conducted last June, my effort failed. People who applied were more concerned about receiving funding from the electoral organization then joining a team and paying their share of joint expenses.

So no candidates were approved and I knew I some education and building work to do. I had hoped that I was starting to roll a snowball down from the top of the hill but really it's more like starting from the bottom and rolling uphill.

But as we used to say in the infantry, March or die.

So I will be running for Mayor under a local elector's group called Amalgamate North Van and use the extra media attention to advertise amalgamation of North Vancouver (without West Van).

When someone submits a nomination to run for Council, if they are pro-amalgamation I may offer them a chance to be endorsed by ANV which puts that right on the ballot. Again, until the CEO posts the nominations received, I cannot offer the opportunity.

Anonymous said...

Surely you could offer it to the already declared candidates.. no takers?

Anonymous said...

You're assuming the other candidates are pro-amalgamation.

Anonymous said...

Not assuming anything, you won't know whether they are or not when the list is published.

George Pringle said...

I said nominations opened today. Here is the link to the candidates.

Right now there are two, me and Dorothy Bell who is not pro-amalgamation.

Very likely I will be the only one and the only way to vote for amalgamation is to vote for me.