How the current municipal election in Saanich is unfolding raises questions concerning transparency and honesty.
Aside from the office of Mayor, eight Counsel seats, and school trustees there will be the question of “Are you in favour of spending up to $250,000 for establishing a Citizens’ Assembly to explore the costs, benefits and disadvantages of the amalgamation between the District of Saanich and the City of Victoria?”
It’s a valid question seemingly democratically placed on the ballot. The same question is being asked of the citizens of Victoria. The current Saanich mayor, Richard Atwell is running with four counsellors which make up the new United for Saanich slate. If they are elected they will in effect form a majority in council, (5 out of 9 seats). This means they would now be responsible and in control of how this study will be implemented. The campaign manager for United for Saanich is Sandra Menzies. Amalgamation Yes a Pro Amalgamation group based in Victoria has as its treasurer Sandra Menzies. Ian Jessop who is running for the United for Saanich slate in Saanich lives in Victoria, as does the Amalgamation Yes board of directors. Studying the question of amalgamation is in itself one thing. The United for Saanich slate puts into question the transparency of their actual agenda. The United for Saanich slate coupled with the question on amalgamation would be best served if they were to rename themselves, “United for Victoria”. Otherwise it just undermines and sullies any real semblance of choice.
A more trustworthy alternative would be to elect honest, impartial and independent members to the council.