By AmbrÖse Bierce. Oh to be a fly on the wall in Mike de Jong’s office. Imagine what a kick in the knackers it must be to shove your weight around at the cabinet table, do battle with your mortal political enemy Rich Colemen, get and keep $15.3 million on the table four four years while your city works out the details of the 20-bed supportive housing project you’re gonna build for them …
… and then Bruce Banman turns down the money.
I can hear the laughter around the cabinet table from here.
“No one lay a hand on the $15.3 I’ve got reserved for my constituency!””Back off! That money is for my constituents!”
“The people of my community deserve this money!”
“There are no low barrier housing solutions in my riding and I’ll be damned if anybody is going to get between me and the photo-op I’ve planned as I proudly hand over the cheque.”
All of the backroom pushing and shoving. All of the deal making; the threats; the cajoling, the promises …
I wonder how much Mike enjoys having Coleman laughing at him out loud and all his cabinet colleagues snickering behind his back.
“I guess you’re not as much of an expert on what your constituents want after all … eh Mike?”
“Maybe you should ask Bruce Banman before you make another pronouncement Mike.”
“Who’s town is it anyway Mike?”
“Can’t wait until you ask us for more money for your riding next election Mike … are you sure Bruce will allow you to spend money in Abbotsford?”
Bruce Banman seems to be a pretty courageous and powerful guy to turn down the $15.3 million Mike had already negotiated and fought for in order to plop into his home town and make a major statement on homelessness in Abbotsford. That takes real balls.
Maybe Bruce is the real political boss in Abbotsford.
AmbrÖse Bierce is Today’s writer in residence who occasionally gives voice to the concerns of individual citizens and taxpayers who, for a variety of reasons, are unable or unwilling to take a public stand on issues of relevance to the rest of the community. Reasons may include possible loss of job, injury to their business, or any number of quite legitimate reasons to keep their mouths shut.
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