Vancouver City Council meets every second week. The clerk’s office shares upcoming agenda items and motions before these meetings, which can be accessed on this website.
When agenda items are released the week before council, a Watch Council member will go through and highlight and recommend any notable motions to be discussed with other Watch Council members. If there are any motions that significantly impact women, Watch Council members will be immediately notified and meet virtually that same evening to decide how to respond.
This week, we've focussed on three motions.
About the proposal
Back in November during operating budget proceedings for 2022 and after hearing from more than 70 speakers, Vancouver City Council voted to limit the Vancouver Police Department's budget. This decision was based on a previous budget that passed unanimously by council on decriminalizing poverty, and meant that city officially turned down a request by the VPD to increase their budget. Leaving unhappy, the VPD appealed this decision to the province.
Fast forward to this past March, British Columbia's director of police services overruled the city's decision to limit VPD's spending and has ordered the city to pay the original 5.7 million dollar increase proposed by the VPD.
"Rejecting the Increase to the 2021 Police Budget" is a direct response to this decision, calling for the mayor to officially disagree with the director of police services and enquire about the precedent that allows the province to overrule decisions made by the city in the first place.
Women Transforming Cities supports the work of organizations like Defund604, and all service-based delivery organizations that have voiced their concern for an increase in the police budget.
Back in November, we spoke to council advocating council to secure funding for the position working on the MMIWG and Red Women Rising reports at the city, and other service delivery programs that could have faced severe cuts rendering them obsolete. Had the city accepted the police's request, funding would have been moved away from supporting these vital services. We firmly believe that the city should have ultimate decision-making power over decisions that impact them, and that the democratic implications of this incident are worrying.
About the proposal
Asking the province to allow the city to exercise its own progressive property and mansion tax. This would mean that wealthier people pay more property taxes, while those who make less pay less.
Our federal and provincial property tax system is progressive, and the motion calls for our municipal tax to match.
A progressive taxation system tied to property could generate for the city to use to manage numerous crises, such as in housing. We'd like to point to the People's Budget on other areas that this extra funding could be put towards.
About the proposal
Due to Vancouver being named the second fastest growing innovation hub North America this proposal asks that the Vancouver Economic Commission (VEC) provides a breakdown to Council of the organizations, job opportunities, capital investments, and key opportunities of this "innovation economy." That economy largely looks like enterprises who work with "innovation" meaning sectors that involve, "cleantech, visual effects, virtual reality, biotech, augmented reality, Web3, blockchain, NFT technology, video gaming, Cloud as a Service, and applied artificial intelligence."
It also proposes that the VEC "host a roundtable with key leaders in the local innovation ecosystem to gather further industry input."
Read more about this proposal and our position here.