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UBCM will work with province on auditor-general but their members don’t like it

September 29th, 2011 · 19 Comments

A Gordon Campbell lovefest — that’s what the annual convention of civic politicians often was. The former premier had been a councillor, a mayor, the head of Metro Vancouver, and the president of the Union of B.C. Municipalities, so people knew he understood what the job was like.

Thankless, gruelling hours, by and large crummy pay, and on the front lines of public sniper fire, unlike cushy provincial and federal jobs, where a phalanx of aides usually protect politicians from too much contact with the restless masses.

When Christy Clark said she’d bring in a municipal auditor-general and commented, as one senior civic politician recounted to me vividly, that “municipal spending is out of control,” that did not go over well with that group.

As my story in today’s Globe makes clear, Clark and her minister and her minister’s staff have been dedicating an unusual amount of time the last two weeks to trying to get back on good terms with that group. These 2,000-some politicians, after all, are out in the community every day telling their residents what they think of this or that provincial initiative.

The voters this morning grudgingly okay the UBCM to work with the province on figuring out how the office should work and what kinds of things it should do. But they also delivered the message loud and clear that they still didn’t think much of it.

Campbell’s speech at the end of the convention was often a platform for bringing presents to this group. Now civic politicians, feeling stung but hoping that the premier is genuine in wanting to improve her relationship to them, are waiting to see what she’ll do for their communities tomorrow.

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