A big difference between provincial and federal politics compared to municipal is the lack of political parties.
In provincial and federal governments, the parties have ‘whips’ who are responsible to ensure all members of that party or caucus are voting with the leader of the party. Individual MLAs and MPs are generally not allowed to vote from the heart, but rather only on party lines.
In municipal politics, the mayor and all the councilors needs to gain each other’s trust and build allegiances to pass votes. Without a majority agreement, no votes on legislation will pass.
If you have been watching the Rob and Doug Ford saga in Toronto, one lesson to be learned for Parksville, is a maverick will fail. A maverick that burns alliances and bridges with other council members is destined to be a lame duck elected representative.
One local council member, Bill Neufeld, seems to always take a contrary position. He is often opposed to others, and even makes non-cooperative and unprofessional comments such as “past councils have paid only lip service to the residents,” (The NEWS, Nov. 4).
When Neufeld was first elected, in short order he started attacking Mayor Chris Burger. Neufeld’s plan to run for mayor was clear the day he was elected as councilor.
I have my own experience with Neufeld, speaking to him by phone before and after that last election.
I made suggestions about the city encouraging small specialized industry to Parksville to encourage high-paying, quality jobs, and the idea of a downtown casino based on my experience with seeing the economic revitalization of Brantford Ont. by a casino.
My suggestion of the casino was to be immediately labeled by Neufeld as “not what Parksville wants.” My impression with my discussion with Neufeld, and the long number of newspaper articles since, is Neufeld knows what Parksville wants, everyone else doesn’t have a clue, including the local taxpayers.
When we vote for our new mayor and council, remember cooperation and respect within council will move Parksville forward.
A negative local government with infighting will mean years of ineffective government.