Those hoping for glorious vindication or unequivocal condemnation from David Loukidelis’s independent review of the District of North Vancouver’s controversial pigeon ban bylaw will both come away disappointed.
The report released this week doesn’t answer the question of whether the law has been broken. It really only lays out the facts and makes recommendations for better training and practices in the future, which the district should, of course, adopt.
But the report does make clear that Coun. Betty Forbes attempted to influence the passing of a bylaw behind the scenes when she was, by her own admission, in a conflict of interest. It is up to the courts now whether there should be legal consequences.
Those who are political allies of Forbes will flock to her defence because that’s what political allies do. Those who disagree with Forbes will continue to use the pigeons to ruffle feathers.
But those who are simply interested in the principles of good, old-fashioned transparency and accountability will see that the process by which this bylaw came about has been so sullied, it brings all of council into disrepute.
The bylaw must be repealed.
If, in the future, council really feels pet birds are such a threat that they want to ban them, they can go through a proper public process that consists of more than backchannel emails among council allies.
And existing pet pigeons must be grandfathered in. That is the only way we can be sure we are getting the good governance Canadians expect and not a petty attack on a council member’s neighbour.
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