January 27, 2020

Why City of Vancouver Proclamations are not really City of Vancouver Proclamations


Here’s the spoiler: you would think that City of  Vancouver proclamations would be based upon the approved criteria as listed on the City’s website and are then vetted through an approval process and then presented to Council.


It was the CBC’s municipal roving reporter, Justin McElroy who along with the Breaker News  started to see that Vancouver’s proclamations were a little funky. On his twitter feed Justin noted that under Mayor Robertson there had been a  “St. George’s Rowing Day”, “The Rock Proc for Dwayne the Rock Johnson Day”,  “The Elite Canadian Champion Wrestling Day” and the ‘International Clash (the UK Band) Day”.

Surprisingly work done by Bob Mackin with the Breaker uncovered  a proclamation for Mayor Robertson’s girlfriend on her birthday, and another proclamation for the  mother of Mayor Robertson’s chief of staff on her birthday.

I was curious why the City of Vancouver would not recognize Pat Davis and her son John Junior for the remarkable multi-decade  legacy they have left the city with their streetscape on the 100 block of West Tenth Avenue and the stewardship of Mount Pleasant. What I found is that the approval process for City of Vancouver proclamations is not a transparent process, but are approved by the Mayor’s own political staff~and the Mayor. There’s no Council involvement for background or references.

The mayoral staff are the hardworking people that are hired directly by the mayor and usually leave with the mayor as he/she go onto other political jobs. Extraordinary people like Laurie Rix, Janet Fraser and Muriel Honey have held those positions.

While you fill out the proclamation here  the proclamation then goes into a political decision making process in the Mayor’s office and is not referred back to Council. The criteria that is used to decide who gets a proclamation is also not publicly available. Other journalists have had challenges even getting a list of all the approved proclamations from the City of Vancouver despite having  a Freedom of Information request. There is apparently no list.

Take a look at the City of Burnaby’s criteria for a proclamation. They are more transparent in their process and even list what proclamations have been approved for the last two years.


Maybe it is time for a clearer process like at the City of Vancouver Washington where everything is outlined, as well as the presentation to Council.

Somehow the City should recognize the late Pat Davis and her son John Davis for the nearly half century of work they have done in Mount Pleasant.

I don’t think there is anyone else in this city, province or country that have  been so substantially important in the design, development, and future of an entire community.  Their  legacy should be recorded in the City for future generations.


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  1. In my experience, all proclamations are the perogative of the Mayor. Often, presented by staff for the Mayors consideration based on the historic record ; no matter how silly or irrelevant.

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