The first major motion has passed Vancouver City Council – unanimously!
A unanimous vote on an ideological issue is a significant indicator – and Jean Swanson’s motion on renter protection was the first big test for the new council. The way amendments and process were so skillfully handled among the various parties and interests suggests effective communication and negotiation. (How much of that, I wonder, was done by the Mayor’s office?)
I would not underestimate the emotional impact of the more than 50 delegations organized effectively by the year-old Vancouver Tenants Union who, hour after hour, over two days, told personal stories of their experiences and anxieties. Regardless of where any individual councillor stands politically, the emotional effect is substantial. It wears away intellectual resistance, leaving the need to respond in some way.
Jean Swanson called the amended motion mush. But the Tenants Union, having achieved a recognition of legitimacy, recognized it as a victory, regardless of the fact that not much actual protection is afforded those subject to a determined renovictor.
In the end, the NPA aligned itself with a vote on an issue coming from the far left; the amendments they supported came from the parties of the near left. The result is a solid wall of political support for intervention in the rental housing market – another indicator of how much this election has changed the status quo.
What will property and development interests do in the face of this? Watch Jon Stovell and Berkeley Tower.