Saanich wants province to investigate term limits

Saanich will ask the province and the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) to investigate term limits.

“Let’s have that discussion,” said Coun. Karen Harper. “Let’s see where it goes.”

She made that comment as council meeting as committee-of-the-whole debated 30 recommendations that emerged from the review of a report into ways to improve internal governance, community engagement, and external governance prepared by the Governance Review Citizen Advisory Committee (GRCAC).

“Term limits would resolve concerns we heard that councillors go past their ‘best before’ date, would permit fresh ideas and perspectives more frequently, and prevent what amounts to career politicians in Saanich,” read GRCAC’s final report, which acknowledged that the province would have to institute such a change.

Council received this recommendation in October, and forwarded it to a standing committee consisting of Mayor Richard Atwell as chair, as well as Couns. Judy Brownoff, Karen Harper, Fred Haynes, and Susan Brice. They punted the question back to council’s committee-of-the-whole, whose members voted 8-1 with Coun. Leif Wergeland opposed to send the issue to Victoria and UBCM, the lobby organization representing municipalities in British Columbia.

The motion does not endorse a specific position, a selling point for many supporters. Coun. Dean Murdock said he is not sure whether he opposes or supports term limits. But it would be a “fascinating discussion” to hear UBCM delegates, some with more experience, others with less experience, debate the question, he said.

Coun. Fred Haynes agreed.

Haynes said term limits can serve as a “tool” to revitalize public engagement. On the other hand, term limits can also be limiting, noting that it takes time to acquire experience and become familiar with issues, he said .

Mayor Richard Atwell — who has previously spoken in favour of term limits and tabled the motion — said it is important for Saanich to follow upon on the recommendation of GRCAC. “The sticky point for me is the number of terms,” he said. GRCAC’s final report called for a limit of two terms for members of council.

Council members considered the question of term limits during the early phase of their deliberations on their way to dealing with other procedural and institutional issues, including the issue of amalgamation and regional policing.

Council’s committee-of-the-whole made these decision after reviewing the findings of a council committee that had reviewed the findings of a report from the Governance Review Citizen Advisory Committee (GRCAC). It launched GRCAC after almost out of nine out of 10 Saanich voters supported a “community-based review of the governance structure and policies within Saanich and its partnerships within the Region” during the municipal election of November 2014 against the background of amalgamation, the proposed merger of communities in the Greater Victoria to cut governance costs and improve effectiveness.

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

Just Posted

Greater Victoria writer releases first novel inspired by U.S. school shootings

Dear Mr. President tells thought provoking story of victims left behind

Saanich mayor joins fight to protect local wildlife from rat poisoning after second owl dies

Mayor Fred Haynes to meet with provincial, federal pest control industry representatives

Sidney fire responds to fewer but more severe calls during pandemic

Rise in severity linked to changes in routine during COVID-19 pandemic

Saanich police see spike in excessive speeding compared to previous years

Nearly 100 excessive speeders caught since January 2020

Colwood branch drop-off to continue throughout summer

COVID-19 safety measures remain in place

QUIZ: Test your knowledge of the world of summer sports

In a typical year, there are plenty of summer sporting events and tournaments held across Canada

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Protesters rally against anti-black, Indigenous racism in Toronto

Police estimated the crowd to be between 3,500 and 4,000 and said there was no violence

Feds earmark $1.5M to support recovery of B.C., Indigenous tourism

B.C. money will be split between Vancouver Island and Indigenous tourism

‘We’re sick of it’: Anger over police killings shatters U.S.

Tens of thousands marched to protest the death of George Floyd

Surrey mayor’s party under fire for ‘sickening’ tweet accusing northern B.C. RCMP of murder

Mayor Doug McCallum says tweet, Facebook post ‘sent out by unauthorized person’

Father’s Day Walk Run for prostate cancer will be virtual event this year throughout B.C.

The annual fundraiser for Prostate Cancer Foundation BC has brought in $2.5 million since 1999

Dr. Bonnie Henry announces official ban on overnight kids’ camps this summer

New ban comes after talking with other provincial health officials across the country, Henry says

Senior man in hospital after unprovoked wolf attack near Prince Rupert

Conservation officers are on site looking for the wolf

Most Read