Tuesday, July 24, 2007

City Hall Gets This One Right

I'll be the first to admit that I haven't been impressed with Calgary's City Council these past few years. One local columnist has dubbed them "Silly Hall", and on the overall measure, I'd have to say he's right.

When Alderman Ric McIver put forward a motion to slap "support the troops" decals on city vehicles last week (and again this week!), a lot of people looked and wondered what the heck was going on. (Cynically, I think McIver was trying to make some cheezy political points for the coming fall election - and there's one Alderman that's worth replacing!)

Anyhow, it seems that the Office of the Aldermen must have been deluged with e-mails similar to what I sent my Alderman yesterday (and posted a slightly longer version on my blog.), as they collectively slapped McIver's plan into the Bow River.

For once, Bronconnier came up with the most constructive suggestion of the night:

But Mayor Dave Bronconnier said using the stickers would give little tangible support to troops overseas and the city should do something more rather than just a symbolic gesture.

"I don't think the best way to support troops is putting a decal on the back of a garbage truck," he said.

"I think that what we should do to support the troops, the men and women that are fighting for Canada, is to support their families, support the family resource centre."

Bronconnier said the donated stickers should be sold to the public at city facilities for $5 or $10 with the proceeds handed over to the Military Family Resource Centre.

Apparently, like most Bitter Reformer types, McIver didn't like being told "no" (amazing for a man who has been dubbed "Dr. No" by the rest of Council and the media):

While council unanimously backed the mayor's amendment, the debate became heated when a second attempt to use the decals on city vehicles was raised.

Council shot down the move 11-4, with some fearing it's not the city's role to become entangled with Canada's foreign policy by showing any public support.

So...someone proposes a compromise (and one that actually I don't mind at all), and McIver decides to push it further because it's not his grandiose idea of patriotism.

Whines McIver:
The decision left McIver displeased with the lack of resolve on the part of his colleagues.

"There was just four people courageous enough to put their names on city vehicles," he said.

"I would hope the citizens of Calgary engage the mayor and aldermen to be more courageous."

Argh! There are definitely times where I'd be oh-so-happy to slap McIver upside the head. As I pointed out, and obviously others did as well, the "Support the Troops" slogan has been abused by Canada's right wing to imply support for the mission in Afghanistan. Not everybody feels that they can morally (or ethically) make such a statement - and Calgary's city fleet is not a rolling billboard for McIver's personal politics.

As if to make my point that McIver is really grandstanding:

It remains unclear, McIver said, whether the donation, which had been intended only to be used on city vehicles, will still be available to be sold to raise the funds for military families.

Okay, so the supplier (no doubt one of Ric's good buddies through this bunch of "Chandler's Friends"), is willing to donate a bunch of material to a grandstanding effort, but when it is turned to real charity, not so much? Says a great deal, doesn't it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good thing Council voted the way they did and sanity prevailed despite Dr. No's supreme efforts at grandstanding. They would have had a good time with drivers who would have refused to drive vehicles with those decals on them. I can just imagine how hard it would be for a Muslim city employee to accept driving a city vehicle with a decal showing support for occupation of his co-religionists. Maybe even human rights complaints might have come out of it.

Aside from that situation there are probably many opposed to the war amongst the city's many unions.