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LETTER: Victoria byelection an unnecessary expense

You may be aware that Victoria taxpayers are paying at least $ 440,000 for a byelection this year. This is due to the very short tenure as city councillor for Laurel Collins, who resigned in 2019 after winning a seat as MP (NDP) for Victoria.

I am sure Ms. Collins is a very nice person and may make a good MP with some seasoning and improved planning and judgment. This was very costly to Victorians. I take exception to what appears to be irresponsible short-term planning on the part of Ms. Collins. I recall that Ms. Collins only served less than six months on Victoria council and was not present for much of that. I calculate therefore that we Victorians got absolutely no value from this ex-councillor. With the councillor learning curve, required mentoring and introduction to process, delays, absences and preoccupation with the federal election, we would have received negative value to say the least.

I am critical of this on two levels. Primarily that Ms. Collins has allowed her political ambition and short-term thinking to put a small city like Victoria to an expense of more than $440,000. I have not heard her apologize or show any remorse for this error in judgment, at our significant expense.

Secondly it appears city council got along just fine for over a year now with one councilor short. It is only two years to the next election – could we not wait and make do? Or could there not be an inexpensive way to appoint a runner-up from the last election (eg, the very capable and experienced Pam Madoff) to serve out this term.

Apparently the provincial Elections Act requires this byelection, so city council takes no responsibility nor initiative to change this. I asked them. So, change this for all B.C. municipalities to save them all from this unnecessary expense when a councilor resigns. I am a full supporter of our democratic system but let’s also pay attention to the costs of this bureaucratic exercise.

Norm Tatlow

Victoria

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