The recent announcement by Abbotsford Mayor George Peary that his city wants out of the Fraser Valley Regional District puts FVRD chair Patricia Ross in a very awkward position. The city that sent her as their representative and the city and mayor that she gets her marching orders from wants to pull out of the government that she leads. I want to be clear that I am not for a moment suggesting that Patricia Ross has done anything wrong, in fact she may have the best intentions in the world, but the optics look very bad.
On a much smaller scale this is akin to Gilles-Duceppe being the Prime Minister of Canada negotiating the separation of Quebec. I know this is an exaggeration however the parallels are very similar, just on a smaller stage.
What happens in the future if Abbotsford city council votes on a motion that they fully intend to take all necessary steps to pull out of the FVRD. If a majority of the Abbotsford city council approves a motion that the city should in fact pull out, doesn’t it follow that the councillors sent to the FVRD must carry out their own council’s wishes. (or do they face being replaced by the mayor or the council as a whole )
I think the chair of the FVRD needs to be able to make good choices for all areas of the FVRD, without this troublesome conflict. As well governments need to be seen as doing the right thing, and I just can’t imagine how Councillor Ross will be able to get past the bad optics. I think she has been put in a very bad situation and has no real choice but to step down as chair. If she doesn’t and she is forced to vote on one or several motions relating to these issues won’t the “conflict” card be played over and over? How can the rest of the FVRD be confident that Abbotsford members aren’t voting on or pushing for projects or arrangements that might “speed” up the separation, or be in Abbotsford’s best interests should the separation take place. (Example your story headlined “FVRD woos Abby with ‘more equitable plan.’ Sound familiar to anybody)
I don’t know Councillor Ross and am not trying to sully her character in any way; however her Mayor and council have really put her in a bad spot. She has to do the right thing and step down as chair of the FVRD.