Tag Archives: Green Party

My Endorsements for Vancouver’s 2014 Election

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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.

The Parties

  • 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

2014_endorsements

Mayor (1)

  1. Robertson, Gregor (Vision) – Vancouver’s hip, cycling mayor

City Council (10)

  1. Reimer, Andrea (Vision) – leads the Greenest City initiative
  2. Deal, Heather (Vision) – food cart champion
  3. Aquino, RJ (OneCity) – best ideas on affordable housing
  4. Sharma, Niki (Vision) – passionate about social justice
  5. Meggs, Geoff (Vision) – transportation guru
  6. Louie, Raymond (Vision) – finance wiz
  7. Jang, Kerry (Vision) – focused on housing homeless
  8. Tang, Tony (Vision) – seniors advocate
  9. Stevenson, Tim (Vision) – provocateur of Russians
  10. Barrett, Lisa (COPE) – former Bowen Island mayor and bike racer

Parks Board (7)

  1. Granby, Brent (Vision) – Super knowledgeable, favourite twitter follower
  2. Tull, Coree (Vision) – Double Rainbow Dodgeball founder
  3. Loke, Trevor (Vision) – Young and running for re-election
  4. Rumbaua, Sammi Jo (Vision)
  5. Girn, Naveen (Vision)
  6. Evans, Catherine (Vision)
  7. Romaniuk, Anita (COPE) – advocate for riverfront parks and restoration of streams

School Board (9)

  1. Bacchus, Patti (Vision) – current chair and outspoken advocate for public schools
  2. Bouey, Jane (PEP) – former COPE
  3. Clement, Ken (Vision)
  4. Giesbrecht, Gwen (PEP) – former COPE
  5. Lombardi, Mike (Vision)
  6. Payne, Cherie (Vision)
  7. Wong, Allan (Vision) – former COPE
  8. Wynen, Rob (Vision)
  9. Alexander, Joy (Vision)

Alternates – Some other decent candidates:
City Council

  • Fry, Pete (Green) – Strong advocate for Strathcona and cyclist, but anti-development
  • McDowell, Rob (NPA) – only NPA candidate that responded to HUBs bike survey.

Parks Board

School Board

  • Oak, Mischa (Green) – LGBTQ advocate

Mapping the Vancouver 2014 Election Candidates

Vancouver 2014 Election Candidates Map
Is there any regional bias to the Vancouver election candidates? I took the postal codes from the candidates nomination papers and mapped them.

Here are a few interesting tidbits I noticed.

  • NPA mayoral candidate Kirk LaPointe lives on the UBC Endowment Lands, so he can’t actually vote for himself (a detail the Straight already noticed).
  • For the main parties, their heaviest concentration of candidates are in the same areas their supporters live, unsurprisingly.
  • Vision and COPE’s candidates are mostly from Kitsilano and East Vancouver.
  • The majority of the NPA’s candidates are from the west-side (12), only 4 are from East Van, and 4 are from the downtown peninsula.
  • Vancouver 1st is running 12 candidates, evenly spread out throughout the city, though none are from the downtown peninsula.
  • The vast majority of the independent candidates live in East Van, including a number from the DTES.
  • For comparison, I also mapped the candidates during the 2011 election.

Mayor and City Councillors

Park Commissioners and School Trustees

Disappointed by Vancouver’s Green City Councillor Adriane Carr

An open-letter to Councillor Adriane Carr,

Adriane CarrIt’s been one year since you were elected as Vancouver’s first Green city councillor. You should probably be congratulated for your accomplishments, but I’m sorry to say I’ve been disappointed with your first year in office.

I voted for you because I thought you’d champion environmental causes at City Hall. You know, the issues you highlighted in your platform as reasons for electing you: promoting sustainable living, completing the residential bike network, creating a swifter transition to zero waste, and changing building codes to include passive solar designs and green roofs. I haven’t heard a word from you on any of these issues, but maybe I haven’t been paying enough attention.

So I took a look at all of the news articles and blogs that quoted you in the past year. You’ve been vocal on trying to create an opt-out program for BC Hydro smart meters, opposing high-rise development in the West End, opposing high-rise development in Mount Pleasant, opposing mid-rise development in Arbutus Ridge, opposing mixed-use development in the Downtown Eastside, opposing any development in Dunbar, amending dog leash bylaws, and opposing alcohol at city golf courses. If I was anti-development or a smart-meter conspiracy theorist I might be excited, but I’m not.

I guess it’s possible the media hasn’t done a good job portraying your efforts. I know there is a lot of work that goes into council meetings that the media doesn’t report on. I searched City Hall’s meeting minutes to see if you’ve been advancing environmental issues there, but the only proposal you put forward that is environmental in nature is a letter to Kinder Morgan opposing their pipeline.

Your website is also sparse on promoting environmental issues. It shows your opposition to the pipelines, but not much else.

There are a lot of important (and sometimes controversial) environmental issues being discussed at City Hall right now – composting programs and waste reduction, separated bike lanes for Cornwall and Commercial Drive, a bike-share program, car-free Robson Square, road diets, congestion charges, a better pedestrian crossing on the Granville Bridge, removal of the viaducts, water metering, urban agriculture, etc. If you won’t take a stand on these issues and be a champion for them in the public, what was the point of electing Vancouver’s first Green Party city councillor?

Photo by BlueAndWhiteArmy.

How the NDP Found its Green Mojo

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The NDP has always had strong environmental credentials, but in the past decade it has sat back and let other parties lead the charge. Although Jack Layton was a committed environmentalist, it often felt that environmental issues took a back seat to health care, education, and pensions during his leadership, and it was painful to watch the NDP oppose carbon taxes in BC and federally. As a result, people like me sometimes voted for the Green Party. But that’s changing.

The BC NDP now supports the carbon tax, and, more importantly, promises to use some of the proceeds to improve public transit. They’ve also strongly opposed the Enbridge pipeline to Kitimat, arguing not only against the environmental costs but the economic risks of the project to BC.

Federally, Thomas Mulcair has started pushing sustainable development in a big way, arguing that polluting industries need to internalize the costs of dumping pollution into the air, water, and land, including the oil sands. The ‘polluter pays’ principle. He’s also making an economic argument for protecting the environment.

I think it’s a smart strategy. Up until now, the debate has always pitted the environment against the economy. And when push comes to shove, the economy always wins. However, Mulcair is arguing that our zeal to export raw resources is harming other sectors of the economy, like manufacturing – the so called Dutch Disease. By framing sustainable development as an economic issue instead of a environmental one, Mulcair is creating a sharp contrast to the Conservative budget, which focuses on destroying the environment for economic gain.

And it looks like the Conservatives are scared. The last 3 polls have all shown the NDP in the lead, but the economy is the Conservative trump card. If Mulcair can convince Canadians that the Conservative’s approach to the environment is in fact harming the economy outside of the oil patch, the NDP lead will continue to grow. This interview with Mulcair explains his ideas in his own words. It’s worth watching, and I’d embed the video but CTV’s video player sucks.
Continue reading How the NDP Found its Green Mojo

Vancouver’s Ultimate 2011 Election Map


Building on the analysis I did for COPE, here is a map that summarizes at a very high level the voting results in Vancouver. I looked at the ‘winners’ – the candidates that placed in the top 10 for city council, top 7 for parks board, and top 9 for school board in each of the city’s 135 polling districts. There are a few slates that do well in concentrated regions of Vancouver.

Hopefully this clarifies my quote in the Vancouver Courier about ethnic voting in south-east Vancouver and the split between west-side enviros vs east-side social progressive voting blocks.

NPA Slate – In the 21 red areas, every single NPA candidate, all 21 of them, win a seat. The NPA’s strength is in Dunbar, Kerrisdale, Arubutus Ridge, and Shaugnessy.
Mostly NPA – In the 11 pink areas, at least 18 of the 21 NPA candidates win.
Vision/COPE Slate – In the 19 blue areas, all 26 Vision and COPE candidates win. The Vision/COPE slate excelled in Stratcona, Commercial Drive, and Mount Pleasant.
Chinese Slate – In the 19 yellow areas, the 7 candidates with Chinese last names win, regardless of what party they are running for. Chinese block voting was the biggest factor in the south-east part of the city – Renfrew-Collingwood, and Kensington.
Green/Vision/COPE – With the addition of Green candidates things get a bit messy. In the 26 light green areas, the Green Party elects at least 2 candidates, and Vision/COPE take most of the rest. The Green Party does best in Kitsilano, the West End, and Fairview.
Green/Vision/NPA – In the 3 dark green areas, the Green party still wins two spots, Vision does well, but COPE is shut out. This is similar to the purple areas below.
Vision/NPA Coalition – These are probably the most interesting parts of the city. There are 12 purple polls where all the Vision candidates win, but the remainder of the spots go mostly to the NPA (not COPE or even the Green Party). Most of downtown, including Coal Harbour and Yaletown, plus a few polls in the Sunset neighbourhood fall into this category.
Mostly Vision / Strong COPE – In the 11 orange areas, Vision elects most of its candidates and COPE elects at least 5 of its 7 candidates. These areas are scattered throughout east Vancouver.
Mostly Vision / Weak COPE – In the 14 light blue areas, Vision elects most of its candidates, but COPE struggles and elects less than 5 candidates.
Mixed – There are 2 gray areas that are a mixed bag that don’t fall into any of the above categories.

For reference, here’s the 2008 map created with similar criteria (tweaked slightly because the Greens ran as part of the Vision/COPE slate and the numbers of candidates from each party is different).

Where do Vancouver’s City Council Candidates Live?

Vancouver doesn’t have a ward system, so city council councillors don’t represent a neighbourhood, but rather the city as a whole. I don’t want to go into the pros/cons of a ward vs at-large system, but it is interesting to see where candidates live.


Vision-blue, NPA-red, and COPE-yellow, other-purple – I chose to put the other parties as purple dots to prevent clutter.

Interesting notes:
– south-east Vancouver has no candidates (from the major parties), even though it is densely populated.
– The breakdown of candidates by large geographical area is:
– Downtown: 1 Vision, 4 NPA, 7 other
– West side: 4 Vision, 3 NPA, 1 COPE, 8 other
– East side: 3 Vision, 3 NPA, 2 COPE, 15 other
– NPA candidate Bill McCreery lives in Richmond

Note: the address of each candidate is listed on their nomination papers available on the Vancouver Votes website.
Continue reading Where do Vancouver’s City Council Candidates Live?

Poll Shows Mayor Gregor Robertson With Huge Lead

The latest polling numbers released in the Vancouver election are good news for Mayor Gregor Robertson. Thankfully, Suzanne Anton’s anti-bike lane agenda seems to be floundering.

What interests me is the analysis of the numbers done by Frances Bula in the Globe and Mail – Poll shows Gregor Robertson in lead but predicts divided council

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson starts the 2011 municipal campaign with a comfortable lead, but could end up heading a divided council that could stall the agenda of his Vision Vancouver party, a new poll suggests.

What a flawed conclusion. The raw numbers from the polling are as follows:

Mayor
Gregor Robertson 68%
Suzanne Anton 32%
Parties
Vision 37%
NPA 29%
Green 19%
COPE 11%

I’m guessing the conclusion that this would result in a “divided council” was made by taking the party support and assuming that it would correlate with the number of councillors elected from each party. But that’s not how the voting system works.

Each voter gets 10 votes for city councillors, to distribute as they see fit, but only the NPA is running a full slate of 10 candidates. COPE and Vision are running a co-operative slate of 7 and 3 candidates respectively, and the Green party only has a single candidate for Council.

Only the last sentence of the G&M article addresses this:
“since Vision and COPE are supporting each other and their supporters are likely to vote for each others’ council candidates, the two parties had combined support of 48 per cent in the recent poll.”

This is key. That and which other 9 candidates the 19% of respondents backing the Greens will vote for.

Because the pollster doesn’t ask about 2nd choice preferences, it’s difficult to judge what combinations of candidates voters will choose. But there is one indicator – the vote for mayor, which Gregor Robertson leads 68% to 32%.

Conveniently, if you add up Vision + COPE + Green party support, you get 67%. So, it’s highly likely that supporters of those parties will vote for candidates from the other parties. The only problem is there are 11 candidates and only 10 spots. That will likely allow 1 or 2 NPA candidates to squeeze in, but is unlikely to lead to a “divided council”. I wonder if Frances Bula was just trying to add some drama to the election.