CVN letter to City Council: Support for motion on “Strengthening Representative Democratic Practices in the City of Vancouver”

The following letter went to Vancouver City Council relating to a motion going before the regular council meeting on March 10, 2020.

March 8, 2020

City of Vancouver Council

Dear Mayor Kennedy Stewart and Councillors,
RE: Motion B.8 Strengthening Representative Democratic Practices in the City of Vancouver


The Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (CVN) supports this Motion that directs staff to review the City’s current practices and procedures for gathering public feedback. While there are concerns and differences of opinion amongst our members on the specifics of various issues within the Motion, and a belief that certain aspects need clarification, we stand ready to aid the City staff in such work.

As the text of the Motion points out, the practices and procedures for identifying one’s location is standard practice in neighbouring municipalities, and this information is considered relevant to Council’s consideration of a matter. And the City’s LIP program mentioned includes certification and authentication procedures and processes that may serve as a model. Of equal importance is that when a staff report which goes to Council and/or appears on the City website refers to a petition, it should state the number of signatures supporting or opposing an item, and not just count the petition as a single opinion.

CVN overwhelmingly supports the intent of the motion (that staff be directed to review the process) and certain aspects (e.g. the petition clause), but also believes that certain clauses (e.g. verification) need more clarification as part of the review.

Larry Benge, Dorothy Barkley