Adams Peanut Butter Shelves

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Thanks to a healthy peanut butter addiction (I go through a kilogram every 2 weeks), I’ve been steadily acquiring large Adams peanut butter jars that are perfect for storing staples like beans, nuts, and flour. The only problem is our small kitchen doesn’t have enough storage space to fit them all.

Like her father

I’ve looked for shelving units online that would fit our jars but have never found any. Luckily my father is a talented carpenter (you can see his other work here) and I sent him the dimensions for the shelves I wanted – wide enough for 8 jars with a 1/2 inch lip around the edge to make sure the jars stay on.

New Shelves New Shelves New Shelves

Now we have extra space for 32 easily-accessible jars. They’re perfect for refilling at Nada, our local zero-waste grocery store.

New Shelves

Astrid – Winter is Coming

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Reach Up

It’s November and cold and flu season is officially upon us. That means all the kids at daycare are snotty-nosed germ carriers now. Our doctor told us that Astrid would likely get her first cold in mid-September – two weeks after kids go back to school. And like clock-work Astrid got sick on September 14. Luckily the first cold wasn’t too bad and barely triggered her asthma. A few weeks later she had another cold which took longer to get over. The third (and most recent) moved quickly to her lungs. She was wheezing and coughing, and Ventolin was barely making a difference. So off to BC Children’s Hospital we went for Astrid’s 9th emergency visit for asthma. We’ve since started Astrid on a new asthma drug (montelukast) that we’re hoping will get us through the next 5 months of cold and flu season without regular hospital visits. It’s going to be a long winter.
Hospital Visit #9

On the positive side, Astrid started gymnastics at the beginning of September and loves it. On Sundays, she gets to jump, swing, and climb for 45 minutes at the gym. Then she comes home does all the same moves in our living room with piles of pillows and our couch as a trampoline. She’s learned to do somersaults and has gotten much better at jumping with two feet and landing with bent knees.
Jump Gymnastics

Astrid had her first dentist appointment and it wasn’t a complete disaster. I was surprised she let the dentist poke around in her mouth. The feedback was mostly positive (she has all of her teeth and no cavities). She needs to stop sucking her thumb before it causes lasting damage, and we should be brushing her teeth twice a day and flossing them too. There is little chance we’ll be able to floss her teeth, but we’ve been more persistent since the dentist that she actually brush her teeth, instead of just sucking on a toothbrush before bedtime. The thumbsucking is going to be a harder habit to break, but we’re working on it.
1st Dentist Visit

Astrid’s vocabulary has really exploded in the past two months. Unfortunately her pronunciation is lagging. We’ve gone from understanding 90% of what she was trying to tell us to 50%. Sometimes it’s like charades – “Astrid I don’t know what that means, can you point and show me?” She also likes to sing and make up new words to her favourite songs.

Monster
For Halloween Astrid dressed up as a cute monster. This is the first year she understood what was going on. She enjoyed the costumes, riding the ghost train in Stanley Park, decorating a pumpkin, making the hallway spooky, and going trick-or-treating. The hard part is now limiting how much candy she gets. Last year she didn’t eat any of it, but this year she knew what it was. We took away the really sugary stuff and have been letting her have one treat a night.

Loves: Jumping on the couch, running around with her daycare friends, building towers with blocks, helping daddy make pancakes on Saturday mornings, and her Mickey Mouse pajamas.

Hates: Getting her hair washed or brushed.

Mastered: Turning on/off the lights, putting on her jacket by herself.

Favourite expressions: “I no like it” and “my turn – 2 minutes.”

Making Pancakes

Acrobats

Playtime

More photos from September, October, and Halloween.

PR Referendum Guide

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BC is having a referendum on how we choose our elected MLAs. This is a big deal. If the referendum passes and we move to a proportional representation voting system, it will fundamentally reshape voter engagement and politics in this province. So vote wisely. Your ballot should arrive by mail in the next few days, if you haven’t already received it.

The Ballot

There are two questions on the ballot.

  1. Which system should British Columbia use for provincial elections?
    1. The current First Past the Post voting system
    2. A proportional representation voting system
  2. If British Columbia adopts a proportional representation voting system, which of the following systems do you prefer? (Rank in order of preference.)
    1. Dual Member Proportional (DMP)
    2. Mixed Member Proportional (MMP)
    3. Rural-Urban Proportional (RUP)

You need to fill out your ballot and mail it back to Elections BC so that it arrives before November 30.

If voters choose proportional representation, the next 2 elections will be conducted under the most popular system from question 2. After that, there will be a second referendum to asking if British Columbians like the new voting system or we should go back to the old voting system.

The Options

The options might be overwhelming at first, but in less than 10 minutes you can learn the basics.

Here’s a 3 minute summary of what is wrong with our current system, from National Post columnist Andrew Coyne.

And a fun, easy-to-understand 4 minute video summarizing the options you’ll be voting for. If you only have 4 minutes to figure out how to vote, watch this video.

How I’m voting

Question 1 is easy. I’m voting for proportional representation. Our voting system is broken and needs to change. Too many people vote strategically for a party that isn’t their favourite. More people don’t even bother voting because their vote doesn’t seem to matter. Proportional representation should fix these problems, but if it doesn’t we can always go back to First Past the Post after 2 elections. So there is little risk of trying.

Question 2 is harder. Any of the options will be better than the system that we have right now, but they each have their pros and cons. As the video above points out, Dual Member is the simplest, Mixed Member is the most common around the world, and Rural-Urban gives voters the most power with ranked ballots.  I used the survey at referendumguide.ca to explore the characteristics of each of the proportional systems and this is what it suggested.

BallotRD

  1. Rural-Urban
  2. Dual Member
  3. Mixed Member

Rural-Urban is clearly my preferred system. I like having a ranked ballot and power as a voter to pick candidates from a bunch of political parties. As an example of how this might play out for me in Vancouver, my ballot would probably rank a bunch of Green and NDP candidates with the best ones at the top. That level of choice might not appeal to everyone, so I’m glad there are other options like Dual Member and Mixed Member being proposed that offer simpler ballots.

More Details

If you want more details on the voting systems and how the mechanics work, this 24 minute summary goes into all the details:

If you’re curious what the results of the last election (2017) hypothetically would have been under the 3 proportional representation systems, checkout bcvoteoptions.ca.

If you have an hour to hear more about why we should keep our voting system or change it, you can listen to a debate between the Yes and No sides from the Politicoast podcast, featuring Suzanne Anton and Seth Klein.

If you want to read more, there are descriptions of the three PR voting systems proposed here:

If you want to have a celebrity explain it to you, here’s Dan Mangan.

Lastly, there seems to be a lot of fear mongering coming from the No PR side (especially with Facebook ads) so to counter it I suggest you checkout Fair Vote Canada’s mythbusters series (which tackles questions like will proportional representation remove local representation or lead to unstable governments) and this spoof ad below for a chuckle.

Bonus Videos

Vancouver 2018 Election Retrospective

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I have to say I’m happy the election is over. Now I can get some sleep. But first some analysis.

The key takeaway for me is that the next four years will be very interesting. A progressive slate won a majority yesterday but it is split between 3 parties and an independent mayor who have fairly different ideas in how to fix the housing crisis in Vancouver. The five NPA councillors will likely form a unified opposition, although there is a chance of some collaboration with the other councillors.

General Thoughts

  • There were 5000 fewer votes cast in 2018. That’s disappointing.
  • The city needs to invest in more scantron machines. Even with less people voting on election day this year, almost every polling station had lineups throughout the day and there were several reports of people abandoning their ballots because they couldn’t wait an hour to have it scanned. Double the number of machines and the problem disappears.
  • Even though we didn’t elect our first female mayor, women did extremely well yesterday (8/10 councillors, 2/7 park, 6/9 school), but visible minorities struggled. School board is the only place where there is any diversity. The rest is very, very white, which is not reflective of Vancouver’s cultural diversity.
  • If you add Kennedy Stewart and Shauna Sylvester’s votes together and compare that to Ken Sim, Hector Bremner, and Wai Young you get remarkably similar results to the last election, at least for mayor.vancouver-mayoral-2005_2018
  • The results for every race other than mayor were roughly:
    • Tier 1: Greens – thousands of votes ahead of everyone else
    • Tier 2: NPA, COPE, and OneCity –  fought for the remaining spots and each elected multiple candidates.
    • Tier 3: Vision – elected 1 person, but was otherwise wiped out.
    • Tier 4: Everyone else – took lots of votes from the major parties but didn’t come close to winning.
  • The high number of qualified candidates running for council this year created wider distribution of votes than in 2014. The tail is much longer and fatter this election.council distribution
  • 38% of the votes this year were for someone who wasn’t even in the top 20 (compared to 22% in 2014).
  • Vote splitting affected all the races and lead to some winners having very low vote percentages. We definitely need some form of electoral reform.
    • Mayor Kennedy Stewart won with 28% of all votes.
    • Councillor Sarah Kirby-Yung won with 25%.
    • Park Commissioner John Irwin won with 26%.
    • School Trustee Allan Wong won with 27%.

Big Winners and Losers

Green Party (9 elected/10 candidates)

The night’s only big winner was the Green Party. They came within 3000 votes of having 4 city councillors elected. Adrian Carr, Pete Fry, and Michael Wiebe now form the bulk of the progressive slate on council and it will be interesting to see how they use their new power. Adrian Carr has spent the past 7 years opposing a lot of Vision’s actions, especially around housing. Now she has the challenging role of making policy.

NPA (10/20)

They almost did it. After trailing badly in the polls, Ken Sim almost sneaked out a victory for the mayor’s chair, which would have given the NPA a majority. Instead they have the biggest block of councillors (5) and will see if they can swing someone to their side to get their agenda through or just oppose everything for the next four years. They did ok on school board and park board picking up a few seats but are outnumbered by the left-wing parties.

COPE (4/7)

I’m sure COPE is happy to have broken onto council after a long absence but disappointed that their good polling numbers and Jean Swanson’s popularity didn’t translate into more success. Swanson will be another influential vote and it will be interesting to see how she applies her years of protesting to governing.

OneCity (2/5)

I’m disappointed OneCity didn’t do better but I think they’re happy to have broken into council with Christine Boyle’s victory. They also won a school board spot (Jennifer Reddy), but incumbent Carrie Bercic lost her spot which is a huge loss. Just like COPE, it was mixed results for them.

Vision Vancouver (1/10*)

Nearly shut out after 10 years of majority rule, Vision Vancouver was the biggest loser last night. Many people don’t think the party will exist in four years.

New parties and Independents (0)

For all the talk about it being the year of the independent, they struggled yesterday. The only independent who won was Mayor Kennedy Stewart. No one else finished even close, despite lots of attention and some really qualified candidates. The top independent was Sarah Blyth who finished 19th and almost 15,000 votes away from a spot on council.

The new parties also struggled. Vancouver 1st, YES Vancouver, Coalition Vancouver, and ProVancouver had a lot of hype and social media presence but it didn’t translate into votes. The closest any came to winning a seat was Kevin Low of Vancouver 1st who finished in 24th.

Beyond the Results

My favourite way to learn about the candidates and issues this year was podcasts. The Cambie Report and This is VANCOLOUR had some great interviews.

It was cool to be part of the conversation this year. I’ve blogged about elections in the past, and had some traction, but this year I had thousands of page views every day, was averaging 10,000+ impressions a day on twitter, and got mentions in the Vancouver Courier, Globe and Mail, and CBC.

More importantly, I got messages from friends and complete strangers thanking me for the election resources. That made all the late nights compiling charts and summaries worth it.

I’m glad that were thousands of people who took the time to educate themselves and read resources like this blog. But it’s clear from the results that most Vancouver voters vote based only on the party name. That’s why the NPA and Greens did so well, and the new parties and independents struggled. It wasn’t because their candidates weren’t as good. A great example of this is Rob McDowell. He ran in 2014 under the NPA banner and got 53,965 votes and finished in 15th place. This year he ran as an independent and only managed 11,839 votes. Same candidate, same experience, same ideas and priorities but 42,000 votes less.

Update: Some interesting exit polling data from Mario Canseco.

Vancouver Election 2018 Primer – Part 7 – Slates

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Election Day is in 2 days (October 20) and you’re scrambling to figure out who to vote for.

I have 3 options for you:

  1. Vote for the internet consensus picks.
  2. Vote for my recommended candidates.
  3. Or vote for one of these prebuilt slates. The first 3 are from Allen Pike’s excellent election guide.

vancouver-example-ballots

Stop the NPA West-Side Protectors
The best chance to defeat the NPA (minus Carr and Swanson because they should win anyway) Defending the shrinking populations in Shaughnessy, Dunbar, and Point Grey from renters
  • STEWART, Kennedy
  • BOYLE, Christine (OneCity)
  • CROOK, Adrian
  • FRY, Pete (GREEN)
  • ROBERTS, Anne (COPE)
  • PAZ, Tanya (Vision)
  • BLYTH, Sarah
  • O’KEEFE, Derrick (COPE)
  • YAN, Brandon (OneCity)
  • WIEBE, Michael (GREEN)
  • DEAL, Heather (Vision)
  • SIM, Ken (NPA)
  • TAYLOR, Elizabeth (Vancouver 1st)
  • LOW, Ken (Vancouver 1st)
  • DOMINATO, Lisa (NPA)
  • BLIGH, Rebecca (NPA)
  • MUSSIO, Penny (Coalition)
  • KIRBY-YUNG, Sarah (NPA)
  • GREWAL, David (NPA)
  • CHARKO, Ken (Coalition)
  • JOHL, Jesse (Vancouver 1st)
  • CHERNEN, Glen (Coalition)
I Want to Ride My Bicycle Save a Viaduct, Rip Out a Bike Lane
Cycling infrastructure for ages 8-80 Driving is a right, cycling is a luxury
  • SYLVESTER, Shauna
  • BOYLE, Christine (OneCity)
  • CROOK, Adrian
  • FRY, Pete (GREEN)
  • EVANS, Catherine (Vision)
  • COOK, Graham
  • PAZ, Tanya (Vision)
  • BLYTH, Sarah
  • PORTER, Elke
  • YAN, Brandon (OneCity)
  • DEAL, Heather (Vision)
  • YOUNG, Wai (Coalition)
  • DE GENOVA, Melissa (NPA)
  • HARDWICK, Colleen (NPA)
  • PETA, Franco (Coalition)
  • MIRZA, Raza (ProVancouver)
  • XIE, Jason (Coalition)
  • MUSSIO, Penny (Coalition)
  • LIN, James (Coalition)
  • CHARKO, Ken (Coalition)
  • JOHL, Jesse (Vancouver 1st)
  • CHERNEN, Glen (Coalition)
Build, Baby, Build Developers Are Evil
Pro-density Thomas Falcone (Abundant Housing) Anti-development Justin Fung (HALT)
  • BREMNER, Hector (YES)
  • BOYLE, Christine (OneCity)
  • CROOK, Adrian
  • SHUM, Erin
  • VIRDI, Jaspreet (YES)
  • PAZ, Tanya (Vision)
  • BAINS, Brinder (YES)
  • TANG, Phyllis (YES)
  • YAN, Brandon (OneCity)
  • OSTLER, Stephanie (YES)
  • CHAN, Glynnis (YES)
  • CASSIDY, Sean
  • FRY, Pete (GREEN)
  • ROBERTS, Anne (COPE)
  • CRELLIN, Breton (ProVancouver)
  • MIRZA, Raza (ProVancouver)
  • SWANSON, Jean (COPE)
  • BLYTH, Sarah
  • O’KEEFE, Derrick (COPE)
  • WONG, David HT (GREEN)
  • CARR, Adriane (GREEN)
  • REZEL, Rohana (ProVancouver)
Independents Day No City for White Men
Full of indie street cred Gender-balanced, diversity slate
  • STEWART, Kennedy
  • CROOK, Adrian
  • SHUM, Erin
  • COOK, Graham
  • GRANT, Wade
  • SPIKE
  • BHANDAL, Taqdir Kaur
  • BLYTH, Sarah
  • MCDOWELL, Rob
  • RAMDEEN, Katherine
  • PORTER, Elke
  • SYLVESTER, Shauna
  • BOYLE, Christine (OneCity)
  • FRY, Pete (GREEN)
  • PAZ, Tanya (Vision)
  • GRANT, Wade
  • SWANSON, Jean (COPE)
  • BHANDAL, Taqdir Kaur
  • BLYTH, Sarah
  • CARDONA, Diego (Vision)
  • WONG, David (GREEN)
  • YAN, Brandon (OneCity)
Rainbow Coalition
Full spectrum of collaborative candidates
  • SYLVESTER, Shauna
  • BOYLE, Christine (OneCity)
  • CROOK, Adrian
  • SHUM, Erin
  • GOODRICH, Justin (NPA)
  • GRANT, Wade
  • BLYTH, Sarah
  • MCDOWELL, Rob
  • O’KEEFE, Derrick (COPE)
  • OSTLER, Stephanie (YES)
  • WIEBE, Michael (GREEN)
  • DEAL, Heather (Vision)

It was surprisingly hard to narrow these lists down to 10 candidates, which is a testament to the quality of candidates we have running this year. Some honourable mentions go to:

  • Penny Noble – “I Want to Ride My Bicycle”
  • Abubakar Khan  – “Independents Day”
  • Erin Shum – “No City for White Men”
  • Diego Cardona (Vision) – “Rainbow Coalition”
  • Brandon Yan (OneCity) – “Rainbow Coalition”

Vancouver Election 2018 Primer

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Vancouver is about to enter one of the most interesting and uncertain elections in recent history. The mayor and most of the current councillors are not running for re-election, a number of new parties with similar sounding names have formed, and new campaign finance rules are limiting the influence of big moneyed donors like developers.

Here is my collection of resources to help you figure out who to vote for.

vancouver_political_axis

Part 1: The Parties

minor_issues

Part 2: The Minor Issues

VancouverHousingPlatformsV10

Part 3: Housing

my_ballot

Part 4: My Picks

endorsement_leaderboard

Part 5: Endorsements

surveys

Part 6: Survey Says

slates

Part 7: Slates

2018VancouverCandidateMap

Bonus: Candidate Map

Where to Vote – You can vote at any polling station across the city. Polls are open 8am to 8pm.

Other election guides:

Photo credit: City Of Vancouver

Vancouver Election 2018 Primer – Part 6 – Survey Says

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vote.png

We’re less than a week to go to election day. 18,000 Vancouverites have already voted. If you’re not one of them and are looking for more information, here’s a collection of survey responses that you might find helpful.

Hub’s #VoteToBike Survey on Cycling Issues

  • Need to Know: Shauna Sylvester, Kennedy Stewart, OneCity, Vision, and COPE were the most enthusiastic toward new bike infrastructure. Pete Fry (Green) was positive but more hesitant.
  • Interesting Responses:
    • Adrian Crook (Independent) – “If it weren’t for investments in protected bike lanes in Vancouver, my family’s cycling would be severely curtailed. I support the principles of the 8-80 movement, as well as Vision Zero, both of which support modern cycling infrastructure.
  • Notable Omissions: No response from Hector Bremner, Adriane Carr, or anyone in the NPA.

Vancouver Public Space Network on Parks

  • Need to Know: Greens want new pocket parks to increase green space, NPA wants private partnerships.
  • Interesting Responses:
    • Matthew Kagis (Work Less Party) – “There are some unique opportunities on the horizon. Hastings Race Course, with their lease about to end & there’s IF the viaducts come down. Both are excellent opportunities to expand our park network.
    • Stuart Mackinnon (Green) – “Community Centres can and should be used for emergency shelters when temperatures become unmanageable on the streets. In the past term some Commissioners wanted to close these facilities and leave the most vulnerable to freeze on the streets. Luckily this was defeated.
  • Notable Omissions: No response from Vision Vancouver.

Patti Bacchus on School Board

  • Need to Know: The survey is long and I didn’t read all the answers, but Patti provides a good summary. SOGI is a divisive issue. Instead of reading all the responses, just read Patti Bacchus’s endorsements.
  • Interesting Responses:
    • Patti Bacchus on Janet Fraser (Green) – “It takes a lot of chutzpah to take credit for passing a motion that was never implemented by the board you chair. And not in a good way. At all.”
  • Notable Omissions: NPA

Force of Nature on Environment and Climate Change

  • Need to Know: Everyone that responded is committed to tougher GHG reduction targets and annual reporting.
  • Interesting Responses:
    • Shauna Sylvester (Independent) – “Advance the 100% renewable energy targets, support and enhance integrated active transportation into planning, protect and increase the canopy and green space, increase efforts to achieve zero waste, electrify city fleets and enhance community electric charging.”
    • Connie Fogal (IDEA) – Thinks climate change is caused by chemtrails and 5G wireless. And “the little Japanese scooters that operate on one wheel should be encouraged for use by locals who do not have far to travel.”
  • Notable Omissions: No response from Kennedy Stewart, Adriane Carr, the NPA, or Vision Vancouver.

Vancouver Humane Society on Animal Welfare

  • Need to Know: OneCity and the Green Party support Meatless Mondays. Almost all respondents agree with a ban on exotic pets.
  • Interesting Responses:
    • Pete Fry (Green) – “I would be agreeable to seeing plant based food options incorporated into targets and goals for our Greenest City Strategy”
    • Carrie Bercic (OneCity) – “We support the core values of Meatless Mondays, but aren’t able to mandate what students eat in school.”
  • Notable Omissions: None of the leading mayoral candidates plus Vision Vancouver.

Continue reading

Vancouver Election 2018 Primer – Part 5 – Endorsements

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France Bula asked, so I collected as many endorsement tweets/Facebook posts/blog posts as I could. Point me in the direction of any endorsements / “I voted for …” tweets that I may have missed. I’ll leave it up to the reader to score the posters on ideology.

Full Spreadsheet link

The spreadsheet above includes (but is not limited to):

Cambie Report – Endorsement Episode

Ian Bushfield – Who He’s Voting For

Patrick Meehan – Endorsements

VDLC – Labour Endorsements

Vancouver Fire Fighters – Endorsements

Ken Ohrm (Price Tags) – Endorsements

Colin Stein (Price Tags) – Endorsements

Bicycle Mansplain – Bike Friendly Council

James Wanless – Endorsements

Civic Elxn Watch – Pro-Transit/Pro-Housing

Emily Chan – Endorsements

Todd Smith – Strategic Vote

Ian Mackinnon – Housing-Friendly YVR Voting Guide

For school board, check out Patti Bacchus’s endorsements.

Vancouver Election 2018 Primer – Part 4 – Who to Vote For

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The Vancouver election is on October 20 but advanced voting starts today. Do you know who you’re voting for? Don’t panic. I have a few recommendations.

If you’re looking for more detail on the issues, you can check out:

If you just want to know who to vote for, this is the blog post for you.

My Recommended Slate (In Ballot Order)

Mayor  5. SYLVESTER, Shauna
Council  2. BOYLE, Christine OneCity
 6. CROOK, Adrian
27. COOK, Graham
36. PAZ, Tanya Vision Vancouver
45. SWANSON, Jean COPE
54. BLYTH, Sarah
56. CARDONA, Diego Vision Vancouver
59. O’KEEFE, Derrick COPE
65. YAN, Brandon 甄念本 OneCity
71. DEAL, Heather Vision Vancouver
Park  2. DEMERS, Dave GREEN
18. SHIVJI, Shamim Vision Vancouver
22. KAGIS, Mathew Work Less Party
25. ZUBKO, Cameron Vision Vancouver
26. GIESBRECHT, Gwen COPE
29. DUMONT, Camil GREEN
32. MACKINNON, Stuart GREEN
School  2. REDDY, Jennifer OneCity
 7. BERCIC, Carrie OneCity
15. JAAF, Erica OneCity
23. LEUNG, Aaron Vision Vancouver
26. WONG, Allan Vision Vancouver
28. CHAN-PEDLEY, Lois GREEN
30. DAY, Diana COPE
31. ARNOLD, Erin Vision Vancouver
32. OGER, Morgane

Edits

October 10 – original list

October 11 – School Board candidate Lois Chan-Pedley replaces Barb Parrott.

October 13 – Park Board candidate Mathew Kagis replaces John Irwin.

How Did I Pick My Candidates?

I’m looking for a new generation of elected officials to take over city hall. I hope after October 20 there will be more youth and more renters. I’m picking urbanists who are not afraid to make bold changes to the city (more apartments, more density, more bike lanes, more public transit, more public spaces) over conservationists who want to preserve neighbourhood character. I also wanted a gender-balanced council slate with 5 women and 5 men.

I don’t endorse everyone on my ballot with the same enthusiasm. Some I know will be amazing and some I have my reservations about. If I had to break them into tiers there would be:

Tier 1 Candidates: I Wish I Could Vote Them Multiple Times
boyleChristine Boyle (Council) – There’s not enough space to explain how awesome Christine is. She won the Last Candidate Standing Debate where she wowed the crowd with her compassion, smarts, and great ideas on how to make Vancouver better. She’s been endorsed by Dan Mangan and Naomi Klein. Check out This is VANCOLOUR podcast to listen for yourself.
yanBrandon Yan (Council) – I’ve been following Brandon on twitter for over 5 years. He’s young, smart, passionate about urban issues, and a huge advocate for LGBTQ youth. If he’s part of the next generation of leaders at City Hall, then I’m confident in Vancouver’s future. Listen to his interview the the Cambie Report.
crookAdrian Crook (Council) – Better known as the dad behind the 5 Kids and 1 Condo blog, Adrian is another young renter and urbanist running for council. He’s passionate about housing and transit, having co-founded Abundant Housing Vancouver and Abundant Transit BC. Listen to his interview with the Cambie Report.
blythSarah Blyth (Council) – She knows more about the opioid crisis than anyone else running for council. Anyone who’s talking about the issue is just repeating what Sarah has said. She has elected experience (Park Board twice) but also knows what it takes to get things done. She founded the Overdose Prevention Society and is responsible for saving hundreds of lives.
bercicCarrie Bercic (School Board) – Anyone who’s paying attention to Vancouver School Board politics knows the current board has been disappointing but there is one standout – Carrie Bercic. She advocates for students (like getting lead out of drinking water) and stands up to the provincial government (ensuring the VSB gets the proper funding for capital upgrades without having to strike deals with BC Hydro).
jaafErica Jaaf (School Board) – I had the privilege of chatting with both Carrie and Erica about School Board issues. These two women know there stuff. They both have long histories serving on parent advisory committees for their kids and the VSB would be better with them.
dumontCamil Dumont (Park Board) – The only Park Board candidate I’m really excited about. He’s an urban farmer, a cyclist, and is passionate about our parks system.
Tier 2 Candidates: I’m Happy To Vote For Them

Shauna Sylvester (Mayor) – She’s clearly the best mayoral candidate and has brought the most interesting policy ideas to this campaign. Her unflinching defence of cyclists in a hostile crowd won my respect (video here). She would be a Tier 1 candidate if I wasn’t worried I was splitting the left-wing vote and allowing Ken Sim to win.

Tanya Paz (Council) – Knows more about transportation than anyone else running for election. She’s a passionate advocate for active transportation and car sharing. She’s new to elected office but not new to government, having chaired the City of Vancouver’s Active Transportation Policy Council since 2013.

Diego Cardona (Council) – Has one of the most interesting backstories of anyone running for public office. He came to Canada as a refugee, ended up in the foster care system, went to UBC, and is now a champion of immigrants and renters. Oh, and he’s only 22.

Heather Deal (Council) – As one of the few councillors actually running for re-election, she brings some experience to what is guaranteed to be a council full of rookies. She’s hardworking, and an environmentalist and scientist.

Jennifer Reddy (School Board) – As an educator, Jennifer brings an important perspective to School Board (which is usually dominated by parents). I haven’t had a chance to meet her yet, but if she’s anything like the other 4 candidates running for OneCity (and from reading what others have said she is), then she would make an excellent trustee.

Morgane Oger (School Board) – She came within a few hundred votes of knocking off former Mayor Sam Sullivan in the provincial election. She’s a big proponent for Trans rights and SOGI curriculum in schools.

Stuart Mackinnon (Park Board) – One of the longest serving members of the Park Board. I haven’t always agreed with him, but he engages with Vancouverites and is committed to his role as a Park Board Commissioner. He should be re-elected.

Dave Demers (Park Board) – Another Green candidate with seems perfectly suited for Park Board. Dave describes himself as a plant geek, and although I can’t relate I respect that.

Tier 3 Candidates: I Hope I Don’t Regret This

Jean Swanson (Council) – A principled fighter for the poor and marginalized. I have some doubts about COPE from previous elections, but I think with Swanson and O’Keefe they’re moving in the right direction. She’s not a huge advocate for urbanist issues, but she will stick up for people who normally don’t have much influence in City Hall.

Derrick O’Keefe (Council) – I was really impressed with Derrick’s interview on This is VANCOLOUR. He’s a principled socialist but also pragmatic. As a founding member of the Vancouver Tenants Union, he is a great champion for renters.

Graham Cook (Council) – Graham is a last-minute addition to my ballot (replacing Pete Fry). He shares all the same opinions as I do about how to make the city better. I just worry as an independent without much visibility outside of twitter what his chances are. Listen to his excellent interview with the Cambie Report.

Tier 4 Candidates: If I Had More Votes, I’d Vote For

Kennedy Stewart (Mayor) – If I had a ranked ballot it would be Shauna first, Kennedy a close second. The progressive vote is lining up behind Kennedy and many people I respect (including all of OneCity) have endorsed him. His platform is good, he’s an interesting guy, he’s passionate about the environment and housing issues, and will undoubtedly make a good mayor if he wins. I just think Shauna would make a better mayor.

Pete Fry (council) – I debated and long and hard about whether to vote for Graham Cook or Pete Fry as my last vote. In the end I picked Graham Cook because he represents my opinions closer. I might not always agree with Pete but I really respect him. He engages with people and tries to hear all sides of an issue. I hope he wins a seat and transforms what the Green Party is because the party needs more than Adriane Carr (see below). Listen to his interview the the Cambie Report.

Michael Wiebe (council) – For the same reasons as Pete Fry above. Michael Wiebe is an urbanist and would represent a shift away from NIMBY voices in the Green Party. If you’re looking for a Green Party candidate to vote for please choose Wiebe before Carr. Listen to his interview the the Cambie Report.

Stephanie Ostler (council) – From what I’ve seen of Stephanie Ostler, I think she’d make an excellent city councillor. She’s young, a business owner, and passionate about environmental issues. She gave this great TED talk about fashion and the environment. However, she’s running for a new party that has no platform outside of housing and I can’t vote for someone who has no stated position on the other important issues.

Taq Bhandal and Wade Grant (council) – I already have 5 independent votes on my ballot, but Taq Bhandal and Wade Grant are two more who caught my attention. Both have interesting backgrounds and would bring more diversity to council. They’re worth checking out.

Basement Tier Candidates: I’m Specifically Not Voting For

Adriane Carr (council) – The NIMBY voice of the Vancouver Green Party. My gripes with her have existed for many years, as she’s consistently been the voice against density (including social housing) in Vancouver and ignored environmental issues.

Anne Roberts (council) – Anne Roberts was on council back in the early 2000s where she fought against the Canada Line in favour of buses.

Wai Young (mayor) – The bike-lane hating, Stephen Harper loving candidate for mayor running along with a reject coalition of castoffs who were too damaged for the NPA.

Ken Denike and Sophia Woo (school) – The bigoted candidates from Coalition of Vancouver who want to prevent Vancouver students from learning that some kids have 2 mommies.

David Chen (mayor) – He’s quantitatively a twitter troll and has suggested that bike lanes be removed in the winter. His whole ProVancouver party is toxic.

Other Endorsed Slates

But this is just my opinion. You should really seek out other people’s if you’re wondering who to vote for. To make that easier here is a round-up of other endorsements (not all of which I agree with).

Vancouver Election 2018 Primer – Part 5 – Endorsements

Thanksgiving in Kamloops

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Leaf Leap
This year for Thanksgiving we went to Kamloops to visit my sister’s family. There was lots to celebrate as my parents were also visiting and it was my nephew’s birthday. The three kids (Jacob 3, Astrid 2, and Nora 1) had a blast playing together and the adults enjoyed playing along and mediating the toy disputes.

One of the biggest hits was the pile of leaves on Kelsey’s front yard. And it was a great photo op.

We crammed a lot into the one full day we had. On Sunday we took the kids to drop-in gymnastics and then played skee ball, air hockey, and rode the merry-go-round at the arcade. While we were gone the other adults decorated the house for Jacob’s birthday party with streamers and balloons galore. In the afternoon we managed both a birthday party and Thanksgiving supper, almost blended into one. By seven pm the adults were ready for bed but Astrid and Jacob were running around yelling “party, party, party”.

Arcade Fun

Balloons

Jacob's 3rd birthday

There were a lot of highs and lows between the cousins. Mostly fun and bonding but also screaming and hitting. It seemed like Jacob and Astrid only wanted to play with the toys the other one had. The most popular items were the fart gun, shopping basket, mixer, tool set, and push tricycle. We practiced a lot of taking turns (“my turn, two minutes” Astrid would say) and asking for what we wanted. They also spent lots of time hugging and teaching each other new tricks, like jumping off the sofa into a pile of pillows. Astrid also really enjoyed helping Nora, even though she’s 1-year old, walking confidently, and doesn’t need a lot of help.

We are so grateful that Astrid has cousins so close to her age and that they live only a few hours drive away.
Baba and Gigi and the Grandkids

More photos