Gordon Price and Ken Ohrn have collected their thoughts.
It’s not over yet, since a mayoral recount is in whisper stage. But it probably is, since a recount will be hard to pull off, let alone succeed.
NPA’s back room controllers will likely review every possibility of electoral malfeasance and blunder, probably all related to slow ballot processing by those infernal machines. They’ll have to find 1000+ new NPA votes, or to disqualify a similar amount of Stewart’s, or a combination. Plus some mail-in ballots are not counted yet, quantity unknown, but somewhere in the “few hundreds”. Let the strident accusations begin.
An NPA success at recount would turn a difficult council controlled by no faction into one controlled by the back rooms at NPA HQ. With neighbourhoods fossilized by unconditional grant to any and all of veto over any sort of meaningful change to density. These are big stakes.
Onwards to more observations on the results.
Demographics: Eight (8) councillors are women. No Asians, and nine white people. In Vancouver, 52 percent are people of colour, yet Chinese voters didn’t vote in sufficient numbers for Brandon Yan, even with his Chinese name on the ballot, to get him into the top ten.
Which raises the question: Do Asian voters really care about diversity – or more about brand and ideology than ethnicity? Same in Richmond, where over half the population identify as Chinese. Two Asian councillors – Chak Au and Alexa Loo – were elected, but long-time councillor Derek Dang was dropped.
The End of Independence: It’s clear now: you gotta be part of a party to get elected in the at-large system in Vancouver. Other than Kennedy Stewart, clearly associated with the NDP and visibly connecting with OneCity, there wasn’t a single independent elected, regardless of the range of choices and quality of the candidates. For council, you have to go to #19 in vote count to find an independent. Likewise for Park and School Boards.
Branding by Established Party: Vancouver’s voters primarily consider the party brands they’re used to, even though souring on one (bye-bye Vision Vancouver, down to one voice on School Board). The ‘Vancouver’ newcomers (Pro, Coalition, First, Yes) were shut out, except for OneCity, with, appropriately, one elected councillor (and one on School Board). Don’t think that was what they had in mind.
We have a council of 5 NPA, 3 Greens, 1 COPE and 1 OneCity. One independent – the mayor.
Number of candidates in a party: Splitting a party’s votes across a large number of their candidates will get the party fewer seats in the long run. The big brand winner is Green, with Carr and Fry topping the council polls, and both pulling more votes than any mayor candidate.
Splitting: Shauna Sylvester pulled votes from Kennedy Stewart, and Wai Young pulled votes from Ken Sim, as did Fred Harding and Hector Bremner to a lesser extent. The top two mayoral vote-getters totaled only 56.9%, while in previous elections, the top two always got close to 90%.
Pundits agreed: If Ian Campbell had stayed in the campaign for Vision, it would likely have pulled enough votes away from Stewart for Sim to be the mayor.
Turnout: 39.4 percent according to City numbers. According to one calculation, NPA share of council vote was around 25% (5 seats), Greens 15.7% (3 seats). It took 49,800 votes to become mayor (down from 70,000 to 80,000 in previous elections), and around 44,000 to become a councillor.
Are we Urbanist or Conservationist? The Cambie Report boys had divided the parties and independents into ‘Urbanist’ or ‘Conservationist’, depending on their position regarding housing supply and development. Would this election clarify the direction a majority of Vancouverites wanted to take by their electoral choices?
We still don’t know, given the spilt on Council – but it seems to come down to what the Greens will do. Adriane Carr has tried to have it both ways, but it looks like the Greens will now have to come down from that carefully constructed fence if they are to support Kennedy in his ambitious targets for housing supply.
The Strangest of Bedfellows. We look forward to the horse-trading between NPA and COPE’s Jean Swanson if they want to be a governing majority on some issues or policies. Though the outcome would have to be the strangest of mules.