Last week, NPA Councillors decided that they do not need the advice of citizen advisory committees on a number of important issues including women’s equality, peace and justice and pedestrian safety, among others.
Council heard from a long list of the volunteer members of these now “discharged” committees about the important work that they had accomplished since their inception. This included members of the Peace and Justice Committee, whose members were responsible for initiating the World Peace Forum, which Vancouver hosted in June 2006. Members of the Women’s Task Force, which produced a very well respected report on the everyday barriers women face in the city, also addressed council, to no avail.
“Apparently the councillors from the Non-Partisan Association believe that they are all knowing experts on all topics, and therefore do not need to seek the advise of citizens who are engaged on a particular topic, and who are willing to volunteer hours of their time to help make this city safer and more equitable,” said COPE Councillor David Cadman.
Cadman will be approaching members of the “discharged” committees in order to offer them space at City Hall to continue meeting as committees.
“There are a lot of citizens in Vancouver who want to participate. These are important issues where city council should be encouraging voluntary participation. For instance, Councillors Ladner and Lee seem to think having a pedestrian task force is a ‘frivolous committee’. But we need to take Pedestrian safety seriously. There are now more pedestrian deaths in the city than homicides,” explained Cadman.
“I am committed to helping these ‘discharged’ committees grow by encouraging the continued participation of volunteers working on important issues in the city,” concluded Cadman.