As we sit down to this meal of humanely raised, certified-organic, biodynamic, locally grown, non-medicated, carbon-neutral free-range turkey, farmers-market yams, and brussel sprouts, kale and carrots from our own garden, we thank you, the creator who goes by many names: God, Ishvara, Waheguru, Yahweh, Vishnu and Allah – just to name a few. We, of course, acknowledge that we enjoy this bounty on the traditional territory of the Coast Salish people to whom we give thanks. We also give thanks to the many diverse cultures who have come together to share this space.
There is much to be grateful for this year: the good health of my family, our lovely home which has held its value and may even see a modest increase in its assessment next year despite the recent downturn in the real-estate market.
We also give thanks that, so far this year, there have been no running gun battles in our neighbourhood, that our neighbours remain safe and their homes unstrafed by gunfire. We thank you for the juice empire upon which this house is built.
We give thanks for our good fortune. In just over a month, I will be one year into my second term as mayor and closer to my goal of making Vancouver the greenest, most sustainable city on Earth.
We thank the many cyclists who supported me in my bid for a second term, and we hope they are feeling less threatened by traffic as a result of the many protected bike lanes and greenways I have created. We ask you to watch over them, especially the ones who don’t wear helmets.
We thank you for people who choose to ride public transit or walk to work, rather than driving their cars. We thank you for people who have decided to live in tiny condos, above garages, and in shipping containers, thereby reducing their carbon footprint and helping the city achieve its greenhouse-gas reduction targets.
We thank you for continuing to keep Vancouver a nuclear free zone.
We thank you for my Vision Vancouver colleagues on council who, despite having ambitions beyond council chambers, remain loyal to me for the time being, and rarely, if ever, speak out of turn. I thank you for their willingness to assume portfolios in which they may have little interest or expertise. We thank you for my excellent communications staff who encourage me to stay on message and are expert at spinning even the most awkward council reports into good news.
We thank you for delivering to us city manager Penny Ballem, and ask you to guide her as she oversees negotiating a new contract with the city’s unionized inside workers represented for the most part by CUPE Locals 15 and 1004. We ask you to give her strength and to remind unionized workers who have been without a contract since December of last year who their real friends are. We thank you for the unionized workers not striking.
We thank you for the many professionals who have chosen to build their careers with the City of Vancouver and embrace my many ideas no matter how hair-brained. We thank you for the dedication demonstrated by members of The Mayor’s Task Force on Housing Affordability, who are working hard to convince citizens who are not residents of the West Side that building houses in the middle of the road is a good idea.
Thank you for giving me the discipline to keep my potty mouth under control, at least in front of open microphones.
Thank you for Chip Wilson, whose generosity has enhanced our city immeasurably.
Thank you for my dimples and my hair.
Thank you for the Internet – especially Twitter – which makes me appear to be open, transparent and engaged with the public, and is also fun. Thank you for spell check.
Thank you for Christy Clark.
Okay, who’s hungry?