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OPINION: Vancouver's mayor Kennedy Stewart is completely uninspiring during COVID-19

It'd be nice if he let us know we're not on the verge of sliding into the ocean
kennedy-stewart-covid19
Kennedy Stewart speaking at a press conference on April 8, 2020. Screengrab

I'll say it: Vancouver's mayor Kennedy Stewart is doing very little to inspire the residents of our great city during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It's one thing to have a humdrum mayor in normal times, but during a lockdown like this it would be nice if our leader was able step up to the plate and make people feel concerned, yes, but perhaps also just a little bit hopeful, and proud of their neighbours and their community.

Before the past few weeks changed everything, when people asked me how I thought he was doing as mayor (a lot of people would ask me that) I generally used to start with a shrug of my shoulders. A visual "Meh."

What followed would be some version of "He's okay. He's one NDP vote on council, just kinda cruising along. He's got very few interesting policy ideas or initiatives, but no major downfalls."

As folk singer Utah Phillips once said about certain politicians, our mayor is like a refrigerator; "The light goes on, the light goes off; it's not going to do anything that isn't built into it."

I had been tempted to write a column about him being a "do-nothing mayor" at one point, but the guy did go to work every day and heard a council made up of people from a smattering of different viewpoints.

He did offer himself to the media often, standing up in front of us and answering our questions about things the City was working on.

None of those things were super memorable. In fact in my mind they all just kind of blur together into one long and droning "We need to solve the opioid crisis and we want to do a whole lot of other things that the we have no juridiction over and that the feds and the province should be doing" statement.

Oh, and there was one time where he answered a question I asked him about Canuck the Crow. That was okay.

Over the past few weeks we've watched as our mayor has pleaded with people to stay indoors, and follow the instructions that Dr. Bonnie Henry has been giving us.

The light goes on, the light goes off.

In recent days he's shifted to full-on doomsday scenario mode, sending out releases and holding press conferences that have been not much more than excuses to tell the provincial and federal governments that the City is completely screwed on a fincancial level, and that it needs help.

The small survey he got done (did we pay for that?) helped him paint a dire picture of most homeowners defaulting on their property taxes, then Vancouver basically sliding into the ocean in a few months.

Thrown in for a pinch of good measure have been a few thoughts for residents to "hang in there", but these completely uninspired showings from an already dull mayor leaves a lot to be desired.

It's unclear how many of the City's communications staff have been laid off as they've done some cuts, but perhaps it's time for those that remain to rally around the man and work on a plan to start ecnouraging us and letting us know we're probably not going to slide into the ocean.





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