Transparency In The Mayor’s Office

By October 4, 2014Issues, Mike Archer

By Mike Archer. ‘Transparency’ has turned into a ten cent word which political candidates throw around like rice at wedding. They put it in their ads; add it to their lawn signs; say it repeatedly in public, until it becomes a meaningless sound.

It is encouraging that mayoralty candidate Henry Braun is prepared to reveal both his campaign donors list and the amounts they donated a week before the November 15 election. Braun has made it a hallmark of his term as a councillor to argue that the public’s business should be conducted in public. After all, he has repeatedly said, they’re paying for it all.

Braun railed against the secret meetings and backroom deals surrounding Banman’s attempt to give millions away to theYMCA; he helped force the revelation that senior city staff and politicians new full well we had no water shortage despite a very public campaign to spend $300,000,000 on a new water supply; and, he was responsible, along with councillor Dave Loewen, for revealing the secret deal the Abbotsford Downtown Business Association (ADBA) executive was prepared to accept despite all of their public statements about the need to protect ‘Mom and Pop’ businesses downtown when Banman killed the ACS/BC Housing proposal.

Braun has argued strongly against Mayor Banman’s plan to take the economic development arm of municipal government out of the public sphere, put it behind closed doors, and have it operate at arm’s length from elected officials and as far away from the public as is legally possible.

Mayor Banman, on the other hand, uses the word transparency almost as often as he breathes but, when challenged by the Abbotsford News’ Alex Butler and asked if he would reveal the names of his donors and the amounts they have contributed before the election, he demurred and obfuscated telling Butler, ” … he is currently undecided on whether he will do the same. He said donations could be coming in until the last week of the campaign. ‘It’s something I would have to think about whether it’s even feasible.'”

Really Bruce … you’ve got so many donations from so many people it’ll be hard for you to tell the public who they are and how much they’ve donated before the election? Are you not keeping track? Do you not know? Is your campaign in such disarray you won’t be able to get the paperwork together over the next four weeks? Maybe there are so many people lining up to support you the flood gates won’t be closed until the very last minute.

Come on …

Don’t cheapen the word ‘transparency’ more than you already have. Man up and match Henry Braun’s commitment to tell us who is backing him.

Before we choose our next mayor we need to know that, if there are going to be un-elected men or women who will be regular fixtures on the 5th floor or at the mayor’s or the City Manager’s breakfast table, we will know who they are, what their interest in being so close to the mayor’s office is and how that may affect the expenditure of our money.

As Henry Braun says, we are paying for it all.

Leave a Reply