Governance & Politics
June 6, 2017

Ending the Referendum Requirement – Response from Sam Sullivan

Sam Sullivan, the Liberal MLA from Vancouver-False Creek, is the first to respond to the “Price Tags Initiative to End the Referendum Requirement” – henceforce know as PTERR.
Sam: Speaking personally, expediting new transit service is a much higher priority than a new referendum. I would be in favour of removing the referendum requirement if an agreement for funding the Mayor’s plan can be achieved among the three levels of government.
(Price Tags will compile all the responses at a separate post called PTERR.)



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The latest video from Sam:

Canadian cities were established 150 years ago with a very simple structure. Returning to established principles of good government could lead us to reform municipal governance and give us better, healthier cities.

Sam provides in-depth historical context, including references to ancient philosophy,  for what is a radical suggestion for our civic government: separate the legislative and judicial functions so that city council would not be deciding on development projects – effectively, he argues, a conflict of interest.   But he would give the mayor more executive functions, as in London, considerably augmenting their powers.
I’m looking forward to videos from Sam on how the provincial government could exercise its powers to address the most urgent issues that affect his constituents: housing and transit.  So far he has remained as quiet as the government he represents.

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From Sam Sullivan’s Global Civic Policy Society :

On Wednesday, September 25 from 3:00 to 4:30 PM at the Roundhouse Community Center Theatre we will be hosting a Greeting Fluency Salon.

We want you to learn about the many remarkable cultures of Vancouver and to be able to say a few phrases of greetings.  Come and get immersed in German, Arabic, Chinese Sign Language and First Nations Languages.

Join us for The Tzu Chi Foundation Sign Language Choir First Nations Performance.

Admission is $10 cash at the door.

Please RSVP at if you would like to attend.

You can watch all of the presentations from previous Public Salons on our website .

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Maybe in response to the tsunami of social media that inundate us daily, a counter-response has been the growth of the salon – like  Pecha Kucha, or Sam Sullivan’s Global Civic Policy Society, or the SFU City Program: opportunities for personal engagement in real, not virtual, time.

Here’s another:

deLiberate: a salon conversation series is a series of salon events in the Vancouver area that aim to free our discourse from the constraint of buzzwords by engaging individuals with diverse ideas, skills and background to collectively explore information and make meaning through conversation.

For the civic election, they had what was undoubtedly the most thoughtful forum during the campaign:

… council candidates from across all of the major municipal parties discussing their leadership abilities and decision making processes. In alphabetical order, they are:

Andrea Reimer, Vision
Ellen Woodsworth, COPE
George Affleck, NPA
Mike Klassen, NPA
Nicole Benson, NSV 
Sandy Garossino, Independent 



I found some of the conversation truly insightful – as much for what they revealed about the candidates as the content of their ideas.  Worth listening to, particularly if you’d like to know more about new councillor George Affleck, and about Sandy Garossino, generally considered the candidate who should have won, if there was any chance that an independent could.

There are more parts to this forum on the site.  And this judgment:

Nearing the end of the forum, one of the candidates pointed out that while we were having an intellectual conversation about politics and leadership, it has been proven that the electorate votes based on emotional connection to candidates. The response from our moderator was that strong emotional connection can come from the kind of deeper and intelligent conversation that had just been held. All feedback we’ve received so far would indicate that’s true – here’s to hoping we can collectively raise the bar of standards for our election time discourse.

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