Victoria ruffles UBCM feathers — again

For the third year in a row, a City of Victoria delegation is heading to the annual convention of the Union of B.C. Municipalities (UBCM) resolved to advance the interests of the province’s trade union movement

For the third year in a row, a City of Victoria delegation is heading to the annual convention of the Union of B.C. Municipalities (UBCM) resolved to advance the interests of the province’s trade union movement.

And, for the third year in a row, the executive of the UBCM is going to politely tell Victoria to put a sock in it.

The issue is the city’s perennial aversion to “for-profit” health-care clinics. It is a deeply partisan provincial issue that usually divides New Democrats and Liberals. It is not an issue that tends to emerge as a municipal priority.

As I mentioned last week, the UBCM (Sept. 26 to 30) is the closest thing B.C. has to an annual political summit. It is attended by representatives of every city and hamlet, as well as every MLA.

It is a forum for vibrant debate about real local issues such as taxation for public transit, municipal policing costs and the distribution of gaming grants.

It is a forum where cities of the size and stature of Victoria are expected to champion issues that are relevant and timely, not issues that serve only to define who is on the left and who is on the right of the political spectrum.

The UBCM executive bends over backwards to give as many of the important issues of the day as much exposure as possible on the convention floor. It also bends over backwards to avoid issues which are so partisan that they cannot be adjudicated without rancor.

“For-profit” clinics belong in the latter category … rancorous.

In 2009, Victoria submitted resolution B-147 which called for “a moratorium on any further expansion of private, for-profit surgical and MRI/CT clinics,” and “an end to public funding of for-profit clinics, including the contracting-out of day surgeries and the provision of health authority contracts to for-profit clinics.”

At the time, former Green Party councillor Sonya Chandler told reporters the resolution was “inspired” by the B.C. Health Coalition. The coalition is populated by every significant trade union organization in B.C. and its primary function is to support union jobs in a union-dominated public health care system.

The UBCM resolution committee allowed B-147 to die a quiet death deep inside the resolution book.

Undeterred, the City of Victoria came right back in 2010 with the exact same resolution, “B-155” this time. The UBCM resolutions committee let it die a second time and delicately reminded Victoria that the resolution had not made it to the convention floor in 2009.

This year the city has made a third absurd attempt to force this divisive partisan issue — now “B-159” — onto a convention agenda that is packed with issues of actual importance.

The resolutions committee has made it clear that it considers the “high profile” resolution to be needlessly “controversial.” It has also reminded Victoria that a 2002 UBCM resolution supported the universal and comprehensive principles of Medicare.

Nevertheless, the city refuses to get the message and its partner, the B.C. Health Coalition, continues to urge other municipalities to support the cause. Happily it won’t amount to anything since the resolutions committee is refusing to endorse B-159 this year.

Also encouraging is the fact that city council’s three-year mandate expires this fall. Hope springs eternal that an injection of new blood in the November civic election will restore some common sense at City Hall ahead of UBCM 2012. M

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sidney’s Mary Winspear Centre to host a trio of acts

Aaron Pritchett, Alex Cuba and Valdy will each play four shows

Pacific Opera takes music to the streets

Artists travel around Capital Region District this summer for live performences

SKAMpede goes live in July

Beloved annual event returns with changes, pre-registration online

Victoria Flamenco Festival goes virtual for 2020 event

The show will go online from July 23 to 26

Campbell River teen produces quarantine musical

Ryver Santos Cegnar performed for friends and family over Facebook

Nanaimo Art Gallery summer camp moves programming online due to COVID-19

Teenage artists have until the end of next week to apply to Dazzle Camouflage

Symphony pop-up concerts coming to central Vancouver Island

Only 40 tickets available for each Vancouver Island Symphony private backyard show

Courtenay theatre gets support for livestream ‘hybrid’ shows this year

Island Coastal Economic Trust funds help Sid Williams Theatre with infrastructure, training

Virtual film industry career fair offers chance to talk with the experts

Experts in 11 different departments, three film union representative will be in attendance

Victoria Classic Boat Festival cancelled due to safety concerns

Organizers say Inner Harbour doesn’t provide enough space for physical distancing

Infringing festival finds a way to dance during pandemic

Nanaimo’s Crimson Coast Dance Society holding drive-in, micro and physically distanced events

Coastal scenes at the forefront for July shows at Victoria galleries

From sculpture to landscape paintings, summer art is about nature

Most Read