Hundreds of B.C. municipal politicians are too busy today to attend to boring old municipal business.
They’re fighting the federal election campaign, or re-fighting the 2013 provincial election, judging from the long and wacky list of resolutions once again up for consideration at the Union of BC Municipalities convention.
Burnaby’s reps are calling for the immediate return of the long-form census. Fraser Valley’ delegation wants welfare rates boosted. Vancouver’s reps want a national pharmacare program, pronto.
There are requests for federal tax breaks to spur rental housing construction, expansion of the carbon tax, lowering of highway speed limits and reinstatement of the home renovation tax credit.
The attentive voter will note that these issues have been discussed in past provincial and federal campaigns, and are precisely the sorts of issues that are being discussed again in the federal election campaign now underway.
But when they get together, the province’s small-time politicians just can’t help wading into areas in which they have no expertise or, frankly, any mandate to meddle.
They ought to be talking about the best ways to keep the streetlights turned on, the potholes filled in, and municipal taxes as low as possible, not advocating a hike in the provincial corporate income tax, as Cowichan Valley delegates are going to propose.
As ever at the UBCM convention, it seems to be the people representing the smallest towns that have the most deluded sense of their own importance. The delegation from Anmore, which we Googled to discover is a village of less than 2,000 somewhere in the wilds north of Port Moody, wants to get everyone railing about genetically modified foods.
Perhaps the most admirable resolution is one from the tiny village of Telkwa, in north-central B.C.
Their delegates will ask for UBCM support in calling for a new provincially created mechanism by which local government officials can be recalled from office between elections if voters believe they are not acting in the “best interests of their constituents.”
Unfortunately, Telkwa’s suggestion is unlikely to go very far.
The UBCM Resolutions Committee is recommending delegates vote against it.