The political climate in North Saanich is on the lips of many residents of not only that community, but the entire Peninsula.
The Nov. 19 municipal election tipped the scales on that council, giving majority to the Daly-Browne-McBride-Mearns bloc. The re-distribution of weight is already having profound effects.
Last week, Coun. Ted Daly became the municipality’s representative on the Capital Regional District’s board of directors, after Coun. Dunstan Browne nominated him. Daly offered a compromise to Mayor Alice Finall, giving her the CRD seat if he could sit on two committees. Finall declined, essencially voting herself off the CRD board.
Many North Saanich residents are outraged. Letters to the editor express dismay that a councillor, who only snuck into a seat by 12 votes, should represent the community on the region’s board. North Saanich has a tradition of seating its mayor at the CRD table.
Finall has experience on CRD, from her previous term as mayor. So does Daly, who was mayor of the municipality from 2002-08. And it’s not as uncommon as some think to have councillors serve on CRD – there were, in fact, eight councillors on the 23-member board of 2011.
Seven of those eight, however, were from municipalities whose mayor was also on the board. The only community that was represented by a councillor and not a mayor was Langford.
Critics accuse Daly’s team of playing dirty politics by seating one of their own at CRD. But Finall had the opportunity to keep her position, had she agreed to a compromise.
Certainly, North Saanich council is divided and the next three years could be wrought with controversial moves like the CRD decision. Finall will have to accept that compromises might be the only way to play along and get her way (sometimes) with Daly and his crew.