Mayoral candidate Sylvia Bishop says her opponent’s reaction to criticism shows he “has much to learn about both public service and public accountability.”
In a letter submitted to the North Delta Reporter on Oct. 5, Bishop responded to comments made by rival candidate George Harvie at a press conference last month and quoted in an article published online Sept. 27 and in print Oct. 4.
The press conference and story centred around Harvie’s response to assertions made by candidates with two opposing slates — Bishop’s Team Delta and mayoral hopeful Jim Cessford’s Independents Working for You — that he acted without council’s authority when attending a meeting in March 2013 with Metro Vancouver representatives regarding the regional authority’s issuing of an air quality permit for the Enviro-Smart Organics composting facility in East Ladner.
At the press conference, Harvie laid out evidence supporting his claim that he attended the meeting with the full knowledge and blessing of council and that he at no time pushed for Metro Vancouver to “just grant Enviro-Smart everything.”
“I take great exception to rival mayor and council candidates Sylvia Bishop, Robert Campbell, Jim Cessford, Bruce McDonald and Jeannie Kanakos continuing a baseless and shameful attack on my character and record of public service for the citizens of Delta,” Harvie said on Sept. 27. “My opponents working together have now sunk to an all-time low, moving instead from the issues of the day that affect the community of Delta to a personal attack on my character, dignity and leadership. I will not take this assault any longer.”
In her letter to the editor, Bishop called Harvie’s response “overly-sensitive” and “disproportionate,” adding “public scrutiny is essential to public service.”
Bishop outlined the actions taken at council by herself, Campbell, Kanakos and McDonald, all of whom are candidates in the upcoming election, and went on to say that all of the candidates named except for Harvie have “considerable experience as publicly-elected representatives.”
“I believe this largely explains Mr. Harvie’s exaggerated, overly-sensitive response to questions regarding his conduct as a city employee. He seems to have no concept — or, to be charitable, is simply unaware — of what it means to be accountable to the public,” Bishop wrote.
“Being a servant of the public means listening to voters and taxpayers, it means subverting one’s own ego to the best interests of our community, and it means graciously — if not happily — accepting criticism and scrutiny.
“As the Oct. 4 story in the North Delta Reporter sadly shows, Mr. Harvie has much to learn about both public service and public accountability.”
The civic election will take place on Oct. 20, with advance voting on Oct. 6, 10 and 11.
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