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EDITORIAL – Will party politics make a return to Kamloops City Hall?

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

IS IT TIME to party — so to speak — in Kamloops City Hall?

What brings the question to mind in a round-about way is Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s decision to cut the number of Toronto City councillors in half.

Ford announced Friday he’ll slash the council from 47 to 25.

I’ve proposed a couple of times that Kamloops City council would be more efficient, and cheaper to operate, if it had six councillors — instead of eight — and a mayor. My rationale is similar to that of Doug Ford’s, which causes me concern.

It’s fair to acknowledge, though, that some experts see no evidence that smaller municipal councils work any better than bigger ones. While Vancouver has only 10 councillors, Montreal has 65.

In B.C., the maximum number of councillors a city can have is established by provincial law and based on population.

And if you’re wondering why the premier of Ontario can decide how many members of council a city can have, well, that’s the way it is — provincial governments basically have total power over municipal governments.

That’s not always a bad thing. The then-NDP government of B.C. forced the amalgamation in 1973 of Kamloops, Brocklehurst, Valleyview and Dufferin, as well as unincorporated Westsyde, into one city.

The entire issue of how to bring efficiency and fair representation to City Hall is worthy of debate with the next municipal election coming up this fall.

In addition to the size of council, for example, maybe it’s time for a serious discussion of ward systems.

And how about party politics? Many people assume Kamloops City Hall has never had party politics, but that’s not true. Back in the 1970s and 1980s there were civic parties like the Kamloops Voters Association and Action Team ’88, PACE, CORE and the CCC.

None of them lasted long but maybe times have changed. Politicians, after all, like to talk about change.

There are pros and cons to all of the above, and each is raised from time to time, but a comprehensive public discussion could prove lively and worthwhile as we look towards a new political season.

Mel Rothenburger’s Armchair Mayor editorials appear Mondays through Thursdays on CFJC- TV. His Armchair Mayor column is published Saturdays on ArmchairMayor.ca and CFJC Today. Contact him at mrothenburger@armchairmayor.ca.

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About Mel Rothenburger (5943 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At ArmchairMayor.ca he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

7 Comments on EDITORIAL – Will party politics make a return to Kamloops City Hall?

  1. Donald Barz // August 6, 2018 at 9:00 PM // Reply

    Mel, your statement that proportional representation excludes independent candidates from running is refuted by the Irish proportional representation system, which is a multi-seat constituency, single transferable vote system. In the last Irish election in 2016, 19 independent candidates our of 166 seats were elected. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Members_of_the_31st_D%C3%A1il
    If you think it is so important to elect independent candidates, you should be supporting the STV.

  2. tony brumell // August 5, 2018 at 5:16 PM // Reply

    A lot less time is devoted to pleasing the party boss if there isn’t one,When a councellor is worried about his/her job and following the party line then trouble is brewing.I would in fact extend the non partisan issue to the provincial level and even beyond
    With a non partisan government ,party does not play a role and the elected ones tend to try to please the electorate rather than the narrow goals of the party leader.How much time and money and acrimony are waisted on leadership drives .When a representative is trying to please the bulk of the people then it would be a much more democratic outcome. ie ” The best person for the job not the only liberal or NDP available.
    Instead of liberal/ conservative /NDP govt by the gov of the gov’t for the gov’t it would be gov’t of the people ,by the people for the people.All house votes would be conscience votes and better satisfy the voters.

    a

    • Mel Rothenburger // August 5, 2018 at 10:03 PM // Reply

      Yet proportional representation is dependent on the party system, and actually excludes independent candidates from running.

      • tony brumell // August 5, 2018 at 11:11 PM //

        Thats exacty the point all candidates are independant and are beholding to no one but the electorate.All votes count.One hundred per cent of the vote equals one hundred percent of the gov’t .All votes count and the need for proportionality becomes moot.Even with pro rep (which I will support ) there will be people who do not get into gov’t.but those who do speak for the voter not the party line.

  3. Why?? Running a city should have absolutely nothing to do with party politics. Decisions should be made by people who have a like mind regardless of their politics.Politics,like religion,are a constant source of division in our society.

  4. Party politics in civic elections never works well. Just look at Vancouver, and Surrey as an example.

  5. Ian MacKenzie // July 30, 2018 at 6:26 AM // Reply

    Lots of pros and cons here

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