Brian Slater’s impassioned letter regarding the above has prompted me to write the following observations on the subject.
Though the Tri-City News article is clear that a by-election is mandated by law, I thought I would cite the relevant sections of the Local Government Act:
54 (1)Subject to this section, an election must be held to fill a vacancy in an elected local government office that occurs in any of the following circumstances:
(d) the person holding the office resigns from office;
(2) A local government may decide that a by-election is not to be held if the vacancy occurs after June 1 in the year of a general local election that will fill the office.
Provincial legislation requires that council must hold a byelection to fill former councillor Bonita Zarrillo’s vacated seat.
Council’s arguments for not holding a byelection, as repeated by Brian, are the same arguments that have long been used by politicians to incrementally erode our democratic rights: “Look, we’re saving you money and you’re not really interested anyway."
As a result, the public has far less input into the matters of local government and their operation than we had 40 years ago.
As to why a private citizen must take his own community to court to have them obey the law, it is because the province has abdicated its responsibility to control the behaviour of municipal governments.
It’s encouraging that there are still people engaged enough to challenge their government when the government is not obeying the law.
- Mike Carver, Coquitlam