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Auditor General for Local Government in British Columbia

In BC, the Auditor General for Local Government is now up and running. I think it is clear, from looking at the initial proposed audits, that this is going to be a very important office.

Results of the BC Mandate Campaign

The results of the BC Mandate Campaign have been posted. Roughly 300 BC residents participated which is a small sample. Still, this was a neat experiment. It will be interesting to see what other projects come out of PartyX.

Advocacy from WWF Canada

I stumbled across the advocacy guidelines for WWF Canada.  Here are the main points of their “advocacy with excellence” philosophy:

  • Being politically non-partisan
  • Being non-ideological
  • Being efficient
  • Getting results
  • Being scientifically accurate
  • Doing our homework well
  • Checking someone else’s homework
  • Staying within our area of expertise
  • Trying cooperative approaches first
  • Following due process internally
  • Taking the high road
  • Being prepared to say No

I like these a lot. These guidelines might not be appropriate for all non-profit advocacy groups, but they sure could help a lot of them.

Eric Foster’s constituency office reassessed at $214,000

I’ve been meaning to update this blog with the results of my complaint to BC Assessment.

Back in January, I filed a complaint regarding the 2012 assessment of the Vernon-Monashee MLA constituency office. The office in question is located at 3209 31 Ave in Vernon (it was purchased by Kalview Park Enterprises just days before the 2009 election).

The original 2012 assessed value was $177,100. This seemed ridiculously low given that the MLA in question, Eric Foster, had arranged for as much as $78,000 to be spent on office renovations.

After receiving the complaint, BC Assessment – to their credit – assigned two senior employees to reexamine the property. The new value from BC Assessment was $214,000. This was an increase of $36,900 (a 20% increase from the original value). The $214,000 assessment was confirmed after a hearing at the Property Assessment Review Panel.

The building owners, who are allegedly related to Eric Foster’s constituency assistant, did not bother to show up at the hearing.

Jessica Van der Veen in Oak Bay-Gordon Head

This is Jessica Van der Veen’s third effort to win Oak Bay-Gordon Head. This is not unusual and it isn’t something that should be held against her.

In the CRD, there are lots of examples of politicians who were not successful with their first attempt at elected office. Look at Randall Garrison, who is now the Member of Parliament for Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca. It took him three tries before he was elected. Look at Chris Coleman, who is serving his fifth term as a councillor for the City of Victoria. It took him a few tries to get elected. Ben Isitt ran for mayor twice, took a break from politics, then he was elected as a city councillor (and CRD director) in 2012.  In Oak Bay, Michelle Kirby ran once (twice?) before getting onto council.

Winning an election is often difficult. My main point in this post is that no one should discount Van der Veen because she has tried a couple of times and not succeeded. If anything, it proves something important: She doesn’t give up. She is tenacious, patient, hard working and, above all, committed to the folks who live in this riding.