Vancouver’s election is only 10 days away. Advanced polls opened yesterday, so you can vote now. The only thing holding you back is choosing who to vote for. Vancouver’s ballot will likely be the most intimidating ballot you’ve ever seen. You have to pick 1 mayor, 10 city councillors, 7 parks board commissioners, and 9 school trustees from a list of 108 candidates! Don’t worry, I’m here to help.
I’ve read all the platforms, quizzed the candidates on twitter, participated in the reddit AMAs, read their survey responses, and attended a debate. Here’s my take.
Disclaimer: I’m heavily biased toward bike-friendly, environmentalist, hipster candidates who will improve Vancouver’s livability. The issues most important to me are transportation, the environment, the urban realm, and the tech sector. I recognize affordable housing as Vancouver’s biggest challenge, but I don’t think there is much the city can do to address it.
- Vision – The incumbents lead by Mayor Gregor Robertson. Running on their track record over the past 6 years, including separated bike lanes, Greenest City, laneway housing, and food carts. I love what they’ve done for Vancouver. Platform includes pushing the Broadway Subway plan, opposing Kinder Morgan pipeline, and creating affordable housing (all of which they have little control over). Criticized for not consulting enough with neighbourhoods and causing too much change.
- NPA – Main challenger. Right-wing party lead by Kirk LaPointe. Promising to “consult more” which could mean anything or nothing. Platform was only released yesterday, but it includes more outdoor swimming pools, attracting oil and gas companies, and goodies for people who drive. Doesn’t like separated bike lanes.
- COPE – Former left-wing powerhouse, now ghost of its former self. I used to volunteer and support them, but the party has been wrecked by infighting and their best candidates have left for Vision, PEP, and OneCity. Platform includes a $15 minimum wage, a bus pass for every Vancouver taxpayer, and a tax on empty homes.
- Greens – Up-and-comers. Won first council seat last election and poised to win more this time. Riding wave of environmental concern, but with few environmental ideas of their own. Likes to oppose things, like the Broadway subway and new density, which I would argue is an important part of making Vancouver more sustainable. I voted for Adriane Carr last election, but regretted it as she ignored environmental issues.
- Cedar Party – Bike haters who enjoy suing the city (and losing).
- Vancouver First – Oddball party of homophobic, former-NPA school trustees, a disgraced community centre chair, and a former-Olympian.
- Public Education Project (PEP) – The best COPE school trustees now running under a new banner.
- OneCity – One candidate. RJ Aquino, formerly of COPE. One of my favourite candidates from the last election.
My Endorsed Slates
- Robertson, Gregor (Vision) – Vancouver’s hip, cycling mayor
City Council (10)
- Reimer, Andrea (Vision) – leads the Greenest City initiative
- Deal, Heather (Vision) – food cart champion
- Aquino, RJ (OneCity) – best ideas on affordable housing
- Sharma, Niki (Vision) – passionate about social justice
- Meggs, Geoff (Vision) – transportation guru
- Louie, Raymond (Vision) – finance wiz
- Jang, Kerry (Vision) – focused on housing homeless
- Tang, Tony (Vision) – seniors advocate
- Stevenson, Tim (Vision) – provocateur of Russians
- Barrett, Lisa (COPE) – former Bowen Island mayor and bike racer
Parks Board (7)
- Granby, Brent (Vision) – Super knowledgeable, favourite twitter follower
- Tull, Coree (Vision) – Double Rainbow Dodgeball founder
- Loke, Trevor (Vision) – Young and running for re-election
- Rumbaua, Sammi Jo (Vision)
- Girn, Naveen (Vision)
- Evans, Catherine (Vision)
- Romaniuk, Anita (COPE) – advocate for riverfront parks and restoration of streams
School Board (9)
- Bacchus, Patti (Vision) – current chair and outspoken advocate for public schools
- Bouey, Jane (PEP) – former COPE
- Clement, Ken (Vision)
- Giesbrecht, Gwen (PEP) – former COPE
- Lombardi, Mike (Vision)
- Payne, Cherie (Vision)
- Wong, Allan (Vision) – former COPE
- Wynen, Rob (Vision)
- Alexander, Joy (Vision)
Alternates – Some other decent candidates:
- Fry, Pete (Green) – Strong advocate for Strathcona and cyclist, but anti-development
- McDowell, Rob (NPA) – only NPA candidate that responded to HUBs bike survey.
- Mackinnon, Stuart (Green) – experienced, but doesn’t support bike lanes in parks.
- Oak, Mischa (Green) – LGBTQ advocate