North Vancouver District Councillor Roger Bassam will not be a candidate in the 2018 municipal election.
Aug 31st, 2018
For immediate release –
Effective today I have suspended my campaign for Mayor of the District of North Vancouver. While I remain passionate about this community and have deep concerns about our future I have made the decision to pursue a private sector opportunity. I do this in recognition that my family obligations trump my personal desire to participate in our local politics and lead our municipality.
Over the past 3 terms and 10 years I have focused on fiscal prudence and applying rational thought to the challenges facing our community. The District is in good shape financially but is at a crossroads philosophically. It is in my nature to take the long view. Leading a community is not about today nor even tomorrow. We set the path for the community to travel for the next decade, the next generation. Government is painfully slow. I sincerely hope that the community chooses to stay the course and implement the OCP fully and within the 20 year horizon. I have my doubts that this will happen. We appear to be far more concerned with the inconveniences of today than the consequences our inaction will have upon our children.
I am grateful for the support the community has shown me in electing me three times to District Council. I hope people understand my decision not run for office again – especially all those who have helped me with my campaigns. I will miss the opportunity to help people – individuals, small business owners and community groups – navigate the DNV bureaucracy and achieve their goals. I would like to thank the staff of the DNV; from the works yard to the CAO’s office the District is filled with talented people who care deeply about our community. It has been a pleasure to work with such an excellent team of professionals. It is an open secret that politicians don’t actually ‘do’ anything – it’s the staff that does the work. I take some small pride in having helped the Girls Soccer club build their soccer bubble and I am terribly sorry I could not deliver the second turf field and clubhouse for the NVFC. I was very fortunate to have had political independence during my time in office. I suspect the days of truly independent candidates are numbered and the District will soon be home to formal parties and slates.
It is also apparent to me that our local politics are becoming meaner. Perhaps it is a cascade effect from the toxic populist politics that are dominating the United Sates and shown on media everywhere. Regardless its roots this type of politics has appeared in the District these past few years. I fear the days of reasonable and rational thoughtful debate on the issues are over. We have politicians who have spent decades in office and now clearly feel entitled to behave awfully and ignore the rules which govern council conduct. We have politicians who simply deny reality (yes, the District does have a transportation plan). There is a popular saying in our community that politicians should be able to disagree without being disagreeable. That now appears to be an anachronism. I will not miss the ‘alternative facts’ and awful conduct that dominated this past council term. We can be better.
Final thoughts: On October 20th I hope we elect a council that can see the opportunities that are available to us and not become stuck in the selfish inertia of today’s inconveniences. I hope the community will vote to invest $150 million dollars to build non-market housing. That decision will have enormous ramifications for our community. Not tomorrow but 20 years from now. I hope we vote to re-unify North Vancouver and that our vote clears the way for more rational thought in the City. I hope our community embraces change and stops fearing it. I hope because hope is so much better than fear. And if none of this comes to pass, maybe I will go live in Hope. 😉