With the recent municipal election (and the not-unexpected low voter turnout), I realized something. Even though I now have a pretty good grasp on city politics, it’s in large part due to the fact that I had to teach myself in order to cover city council meetings as part of my job at CBC. If not for this, I would probably still be completely ignorant of how the whole thing works.
Since this lack of knowledge is one of the main reasons I heard given for people not voting, I figured I would put together a little city council 101 piece for CBC. For help, I went to Walter Babicz, manager of legislative services for the city of Prince George. I simplified the very complicated processes he took me through– some of these processes are a little less simple than I make them sound, this is through me simplifying them, not him.
You can listen to the full item on the Daybreak North website.
I should mention that these rules, while specific to Prince George, can be broadly applied to councils across B.C. Some things differ (for example, whether the mayor votes every time or not), but other things, like how you get something onto a council agenda, are pretty much the same.
The gap between readings applies primarily to things like bylaws affecting property, for less consequential agenda items, the first three readings will sometimes take place in one go.