Political games trump gender equity spin by Robertson, Mackinnon

The dynamic duo is at it again, and this time, they are using gender politics as their latest form of attack.

This story went up in this morning’s Vancouver Courier, with the spin being that Aaron Jasper was undemocratic, and that a female should be in the chair.

But like usual, the Ian Robertson/Stuart Mackinnon alliance has become more concerned with cheap politics than substance.

First of all, where are Robertson’s examples of how Jasper was undemocratic?  I know for a fact after speaking to several of the Commissioners that on a range of issues – from the budget, to the negotiations with Van Dusen Gardens to take over control the Bloedel Conservatory, to the – Robertson was brought into the discussions from the very beginning. Mackinnon was also asked to be a part of the selection committee to select the Park Board’s new General Manager.

It is easy to throw out a label, but until Robertson can back up his claims, his rhetoric does not match up with the way in which he has been treated by the Chair of the Vision Vancouver majority.

The second tactic that Mackinnon and Robertson tried on Monday was to nominate the three women on the board for the position of chair.

Each and every Commissioner nominated by the pair refused.  Sarah Blyth has a young child and a full time job, Constance Barnes has a full time job and a full slate of committee and portfolio responsibilities, and Loretta Woodcock was also not interested.

In each and every case, Mackinnon and Robertson acted unilaterally, nominating for the purpose of political gamesmanship rather than in the name of equality.

Woodcock’s comments about Robertson’s and his party’s conduct on previous incarnations of the Board are also very telling about their views on women:

“Woodcock said she got a laugh out of Robertson’s bid to have a woman elected as chair. Woodcock explained that when the NPA was in power, she brought forward an unsuccessful motion asking the board to support International Woman’s Day.

“The NPA said if they did that, they’d have to support International Dog Day too,” said Woodcock, laughing. “It looks like Ian Robertson has become very enlightened.”

I asked Blyth in an email about how she felt about being nominated, and this is the response I got back:
I am happy to report Aaron Jasper was elected as Chair last night and Constance Barnes Vice Chair.

Aaron has done an outstanding job as chair this year and we are really excited about the coming year.

The only odd part of the election was when Commissioner Mackinnon supported my nomination for chair last night.

For 2 years he has rolled his eyes at me heaved sighs and talked down to me. He has been anything but supportive.

With out consulting me he decided to be my champion.

I found it very patronizing.”

There you have it folks – the fact is that it chaps the hides of both Robertson and Mackinnon that they do not have control of the Board, and so they pull mischief like this to try and create fissions and tension amongst their fellow Commissioners.

But everyone else on the Board seems quite enthusiastic about the upcoming year, particularly the items that they are going to be forwarding on for inclusion on the Capital Plan.  As a former Marpole resident, let me suggest the community centre as a strong consideration, as it is most definitely on its last legs.

And with the victory that Jasper was able to achieve with regards to the budget process, one can only be hopeful for Park Board items that will be in line to receive support via the Capital Plan process.

Meanwhile, Robertson and Mackinnon operate in the shadows, trying desperately to plot out their next line of empty and bitter political attacks.

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