Green Party Vancouver City Councillor Adriane Carr makes a fool of herself once again

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Green Party Vancouver City Councillor Adriane Carr makes a fool of herself once again



After being basically handed carte blance by Vancouver's mainstream press to launch a blistering attack on the Vancouver City Manager, Adriane Carr backtracks, apologizes, after seeking legal advice on manager's comments.


- just in from the Vancouver Sun 



’m hearing that Vision Vancouver is mightily ticked at Coun. Adriane Carr for her attack on City Manager Penny Ballem and they feel she may have violated the city’sCode of Conduct.

The city’s code isn’t as strong as the one that caught Toronto City Mayor Rob Ford, but it does have some heft to it should a third party investigator find that Carr violated Sec. 7.7,  to wit:

7.7 Council members must not make public statements attacking or reflecting 
negatively on City of Vancouver staff or invoke staff matters for political 

As of this writing, council is still in camera discussing other issues. Once it resumes in public Carr is expected to bring up under “new business” her belief that the city should have accepted the motion mentioned in the post below.

(The following was posted early this morning.)

Coun. Adriane Carr has gathered an unlikely troika of supporters around her view that Vancouver City Manager Penny Ballem is wrong in suggesting she’s is out of order for trying to push a motion around the increasingly fractious community centres funding debate.

This morning Carr held a press conference in which she called upon the support of  three former city councillors, all of different party stripes, who agreed that the city manager doesn’t have the authority to tell her what to do.
Carr is being supported by former Non-Partisan Association Coun. Jonathan Baker, former Coalition of Progressive Electors Coun. Tim Louis and, from way, way, WAY back, former TEAM Coun. Darlene Marzari, who was also a one-time NDP minister.
Both Baker and Louis are lawyers, and since his departure from council chambers in the 1980′s Baker has made municipal law a specialty. Ergo, he weighed in with a legal opinion released today that suggests Ballem doesn’t have the legal authority to rule a motion by Carr out of order. Baker’s summary of his opinion is posted below.
Here’s the press release Carr just filed. I am sure the city will weigh in on its own at council session this morning. I’ll add the other documents shortly.

Expert in Municipal Law Confirms Carr’s Motion Was Illegally Squashed
Vancouver – City of Vancouver Green Party Councillor Adriane Carr released her legal counsel’s 10-page opinion confirming that her motion “Risks to City Budget of Proposed Changes to Community Centre Operations”, duly submitted on February 4 for the February 12 agenda of Vancouver City Council, was illegally squashed by the City Manager last week.
Carr’s motion asks for a report back to Council on the potential impacts on the City’s budget due to the Park Board plan to shift management of Vancouver’s Community Centres from Community Centre Associations to the Park Board (attached).
After receiving an email from the City Manager on the evening of Tuesday, February 5 stating that the Manager would be “not allowing it (Carr’s motion) to go out with the agenda”, Carr retained the legal services of Jonathan Baker, a distinguished Vancouver lawyer who specializes in municipal law.
In his opinion, Mr. Baker concludes that, “Nothing in the Board of Administration Bylaw no. 4017 provides a glimmer of support for the Manager’s claim to be able to prevent your motion from coming to Council…She cannot declare the motion out of order and simply refuse to deliver it to Council. This is an abuse of public office”. Mr. Baker also noted that “Council and only Council may vote to defeat, table, refer, adopt, amend or deal with it any other way allowed by its procedure bylaw.”
Coun. Carr also consulted with lawyer and former Vancouver City Councillor and Park Board Commissioner Tim Louis (COPE) and former Provincial MLA (NDP) and Vancouver City Councillor Darlene Marzari (TEAM) who confirmed that, in their experience, the blocking of a City Councilor’s duly submitted motion by a City Manager is unprecedented and a threat to democracy.
The complete legal opinion and summary (attached) also confirm that Carr’s motion does not pose a risk to the City or Park Board as claimed by the City Manager, is clearly within City Council’s jurisdiction and does not need to be dealt with in camera. It further establishes, through case law, that “local government electors should be able to speak freely and frankly, boldly and bluntly, on any matter which they believe affects the interest or welfare of the inhabitants.”
“I am buoyed by the legal opinion and will ask the Mayor, as Chair of City Council and duty-bound by the Vancouver Charter to ensure the laws of the city are obeyed, to rectify this wrong-doing by placing my motion on the Council agenda, so that we can move on to deal with the substantive issues that my motion raises,” concluded Carr.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

I don't know that Carr embarrassed herself. I'm a bit unsure about what to think of this Park Boards fiasco (as I am about most of the bizarre institutions that make up Vancouver's municipal governance). Perhaps some of the more savvy Vancouverite babblers can weigh in.

My instinct, particularly since it seemed to be the richer Community Centres that were complaining, was that the NIMBYist Kerrisdale folk were complaining about sending their money to poorer centres -- but it seems Vision's solution to this inequality was to eliminate local governance, which I think is a mistake -- and of course, the "non-negotiable" approach by an unelected official was not the most democratic of moves.


kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

The rich areas have better fundraising potential and their facilities are starting to be far better than in other parts of the city.  Most of the community centers are on board but the ones in the tooney neighbourhoods want to keep all the money for themselves. 


The new deal, if it passes, would see the park board pool $1.3 million in annual revenue collected by the city’s 20 volunteer-run community centres. The stated goal of the plan is to make the centres more equitable, and was approved by the park board on Feb. 6 after nine hours of heated debate.

Thirteen centres support the deal, which would come into effect July 1. One has not indicated its position, and six are vehemently opposed.

Vancouver’s community centres are funded by the city, but individual centres fundraise extensively to support programming and equipment needs. Under the proposal, presented by park board general manager Malcolm Bromley, the efforts of fundraising and any matching funds or grants would remain under the control of the individual community centre associations.

The new deal would force the groups to hand surplus funds and facility-based revenue back to the park board for equitable redistribution. The proposal, including the funding model, remain subject to negotiation until July 1.


Things have gotten better I think but there is still no comparison between the facilities in the wealthier areas and the areas that are less affluent. For example compare the tennis court facilities.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Seems to me like Adriane Carr tired to play politics with an extremely divisive issue and some of the shit form the fan blew back on her. The idea of getting city staff to figure out the impact of something that is in the process of negotiation is not only absurd but a total waste of valuable staff time.

Bellam should have let the Mayor tell Carr her Motion was out to lunch and then this would not be an issue. 

Where Carr is at fault is that paid staff should not be attacked publicly because it is a violation of their rights as employees.  If there is a problem then a counselor must bring the matter up on camera because it is a private matter between the employee and their boss not something to be decided in the court of public opinion.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Isn't Britannia against the proposal? I wouldn't characterize it as a "have" centre, but I could be wrong. Also, COPE seems to be against the proposal too -- is that just political posturing for cheap votes?

ETA: Nope, I was wrong, but only four of the six dissenters are NIMBYs, and Strathcona hasn't made up its mind (another have-not):

The six associations organizing the revolt are spread across the city – Killarney, Hastings, Marpole, Kerrisdale, Sunset and Hillcrest – and have received considerable media attention.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Gee I wonder if any of the people involved in the dissent are contemplating running for office next election?  I believe in community control but I also believe that funding has to be equalized so that all residents of the city can have access to the same types of facilities. 

I wonder about the groups and the people who are saying we will not sit down and negotiate we are going to force you impose something.  Sounds a little fishy and almost like some people are trying to run on a open government and democracy platform next time.  Of course that was one of Gordo's most successful lies in his first sweep of the legislation.

As a resident of Burnaby I consider Vancouver politics to be a delightful spectator sport.  If I lived in Vancouver my inclination tells me I would likely have voted for COPE.  I find Gregor just a little to slick and developer friendly for my taste.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Oh, believe me, I'm no friend of Gregor or Vision. When they serve me spaghetti I look under the sauce to see if there's pasta. Gregor is a comely coward, a pro-developer sell-out with a vacuous gaze. That's exactly why I'm skeptical of this proposal -- I certainly don't want to find myself aligned with the NPA, who also oppose it, but there's something rather bizarre about the whole ordeal.

Of course, I'm not sure why Burnaby gets so high a rating from you, though. I've been fairly disgusted from what I've heard from Derek Corrigan. Gregor would never say this, for example:

The people in permanent shelters—of which Vancouver has dozens and most cities in the region have at least one—are by and large beyond hope, he said. They’re either addicted, seriously mentally ill, or habitual criminals. Some live in rooms crammed with junk floor-to-ceiling, and many rooms are infested with bugs. And, as he told me, many are the type of folks who, if they found you dying on the sidewalk would pull out your gold fillings. Are these the kind of people Burnaby residents want living in their neighbourhood, he asks, when the province doesn’t even assign them a social worker?

“The people (in shelters) are the impossible to house… so addicted that all they worry about is the opportunity to feed their addiction, whether it’s alcohol, drugs or anything else.”

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Let’s talk about codes of conduct: Mayor, City Council, public interest, bullying and more

Mayor Robertson and other Vision Vancouver Councillors yesterday said they would investigate whether Green Party Councillor Adriane Carr had broken the city’s Code of Conduct for her criticism of the City Manager. This is a great opportunity to talk about codes of conduct of not only the City but other organizations as well. See our compilation of some codes of conduct here. How about other instances, such as the Mayor’s use of profanity in reference to citizens who had come address City Council? (See video, or at bottom of this post.)...


Hillcrest Special Community Meeting on Park Board and CCA agreements – summary February 11, 2013 (with video)

On BC’s first Family Day, a well-attended Special Community Meeting was held at the Hillcrest Centre to discuss the recent decision of the majority of Park Board to make fundamental changes to the way Community Centres are run. Members of the Riley Park Hillcrest Community Association (RPHCA) organized this meeting and provided additional insights into the current role of volunteer Community Centre Associations (CCAs) and the operational agreements with Park Board. Politicians of many different stripes spoke in support of the CCAs....

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

A Letter From Mark Vulliamy, Feb 11, 2013

As someone who has been on both sides of this divide (working in community centres for over 20 years and in Park Board management for 10+) and who has studied the history of our recreation system, I am following this issue with interest and trepidation.

Senior Park Board managers have never had much understanding or regard for the joint-operating relationship with associations. And now the institutional memory of the Board is shorter than it has ever been, with the longest serving Director in that position for just over five years. Furthermore, no current Commissioner has ever served on a community association Board, which provided in the past the training wheels of many Commissioners, Councillors and even MLAs. As a result, some important historical information has not surfaced in the debate on this issue.

First, it was community associations, and not the Park Board, which in the late 1940s put the first of Vancouver’s community centres on the ground. Strong support came from the Provincial Education ministry, the UBC School of Social Work and the Community Chest (later United Way). Park Board was only peripherally involved as the responsible agency for the land upon which the centres were built....

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

The BCA is gun shy of taking on responsibilities that are the provinces.  That is historic because in the dirty thirties the left wing counsel used its resources to fund programs to help the starving masses.  The thanks they got was the provincial government putting them in receivership because they were effectively bankrupt and appointing a trustee to oversee the municipality.  The trustee sold Burnaby's beach front area at the foot of Wilingdon to the oil companies. That is why the petrochemical industry is so big in my city. 

I have mixed feelings on the issue and yes I find Derrick to be less than empathetic when he speaks on homelessness.  But he is right that the municipalities do not have the resources to fight the problem and that the problem is a senior government responsibility. 

I keep voting for the BCA because it provides good civic government with a very slight left of centre flavour and that is far better than most municipal governments anywhere in the province.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Emergency parks board forum draws 300 as sides entrench

More than 300 Vancouverites showed up to an emergency meeting hosted by the parks board at the West End Community Centre Monday night to express concerns about a controversial proposal to manage the revenues from the city's 20 volunteer-run, community centre associations...


While many of Monday's speakers decried a process they said lacked transparency and responsible communication, Vision Vancouver parks board commissioner Niki Sharma said 13 of the community centre associations are ready to negotiate on the parks board's current proposal. She said she still has hope that the six opposing centres will come to the bargaining table before the July 1 deadline to implement the new system.

The Vision Vancouver-dominated parks board was trying to quell the political backlash from six community centres that maintain their volunteer-run societies are best fit to manage the surplus generated by the centres' programming.

A public outcry has broken out over the board's proposal, which it says would make the centres more equitable for lower-income citizens. West End Community Centre Association member Dave Pasin was one of more than 70 speakers who registered at the meeting slated to go late into the night.

Pasin doubted whether the proposal to pool the associations' revenues is the best way to bring equity to centres across the city.

"What's going to happen is you're going to have an inequity in the system, which is going to deprive the system - and when you starve a system of money you're going to have to have cuts," Pasin said. "(The parks board staff) haven't given us any leeway at all."....

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Wow $200,000 for a political campaign against the current elected board.  Nice use of the donations that people have given to the community centres. So far it seems no one in this debate is on the high ground.


Ainslie Kwan, president of the Killarney Community Centre Association and spokeswoman for the six centres opposed to the parks board plan, said universal access to all community centres isn't the issue. "We're disappointed to see the park board has still not moved away from the pooling of the revenue, based on the message we've heard from the public," Kwan said.

Her group will continue its $200,000 public relations campaign to highlight the proposed sharing of the roughly $1.2 million annual surplus raised by the centres. Kwan said it's a cash grab by the parks board and city council, both dominated by Vision Vancouver.

"That money is coming from retained earnings and we believe that we were right to spend that kind of money to bring this to the attention of the public," Kwan said. "Because prior to us doing that, nobody had heard about these issues."

Under the current, 40-year-old arrangement, taxpayers pay the majority of the expenses at each community centre building, including the wages of the supervising staff and a lot of the full-time staff, according to Sharma.

The community centre associations get the revenue from the programming that's run out of the centres and pay for some of the part-time staff who run the programming, like dance lessons, she added. Centres in poorer neighbourhoods are at an inherent disadvantage getting revenue because their patrons can't afford to pay the rates other centres charge, Sharma said.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..last year i spent time working with my community of sunrise in trying to have some say in the proposed development of hastings park. at the peak of our struggle we had meetings at the hastings community center of around 250 people. as well as speakers from the community opposing "the plan" and presenting alternatives such as arts & culture, farmer's markets, a library and much more. there were so many speakers they had to extend the council meetings to 4 days on the topic. i can say from this experience that vision fucked us over in a whole lot of ways. they cooked reports, held polls in far away communities that impacted our community. the city is up to no good is something i'm sure of.


..a few months ago i was asked to fill out a questionair fromthe city asking me which services do i want see cut. i suspect this is all about austerity.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture


City councillor follows through on colleague complaint

Geoff Meggs thinks fellow councillor Adriane Carr went too far

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Anita Romanuk (COPE): Community centre changes handled poorly

This "framework agreement" was passed despite overwhelming opposition and a flawed report with numerous errors and omissions that were pointed out by many of the speakers throughout the night. In particular, some associations accept Leisure Access Cards, subsidize programs, and attract grants from senior governments and charitable organizations far beyond what the Park Board is capable of.

These facts were not considered in the report, which calls into question the Park Board's claim of system-wide inequity. Given the city's recent history of cutting the Park Board's operating budget by more than $10 million over the past four years, including 900 staff hours at community centres in 2012 alone, it is doubtful that the new centralized funding model will effectively increase equity.

With the CCAs reduced to primarily advisory bodies with very limited control of funding, they will be ill-equipped if the centralized budget remains inadequate. These vital neighbourhood centres are then at risk of further cuts to programs and staffing.

The 40-year-old Joint Operating Agreement is due for an update, but it has been an effective basis for providing important programming to neighbourhoods and instilling a strong sense of civic pride and engagement.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Thx Catchfire.  Its good to see COPE coming out with a statement on this issue.  Personally I think that Adriane tried to turn a real political issue into a "gotcha moment".  It is seemingly a complicated issue that needs to be dealt with in good faith not thrown around as a political football.  From the other side of Boundary I like the idea that COPE is looking like the rationale actor in this affair. 


When did the Parks board become the "Park" board?

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..i would say after supporting the olympic's vision found the city in debt. funny thing is in our struggle surrounding hastings park last year one of our solutions was to be placed under the parks board to get away from busines influence.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Court stops Vancouver park board from evicting dissident community centre associations

They have been fighting like bitter spouses on the outs since last year over who should control Vancouver’s community centres. But after a court injunction Friday that preserves their marriage — at least in the short term — both the Vancouver Park Board and six dissident community associations say they are now hoping to put their acrimonious dispute behind them.

Only hours after B.C. Supreme Court justice Gregory Bowden ruled that six dissident associations could not be booted from the community centres they run until a court case is heard this year or next, both sides say that date with a judge may now not be necessary.

The associations run the Hillcrest, Sunset, Killarney, Kerrisdale, Hastings and Kensington community centres on behalf of the city, as well as provide programming of their own....