Governance & Politics
November 12, 2018

Civic Election: The Real Dividing Line between Right and Left


Aaron Licker posted these maps, showing where each party got their votes.  Click here for a closer look.


The map on the lower right showing the leading vote-getters (Sim, Kennedy and Sylvester) interested me the most.  It looks pretty close to the results I remember in the elections from the 1990s, with the NPA majorities coming not just from the west side but also the southeast quadrant.

In fact, if there was a dividing line between the right and left, it wasn’t Main Street (or Cambie or Ontario, depending on your definition.)

It was Kingsway.

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A number of political narratives were scrambled by Vancouver’s electorate on October 20th.

Of note was the carefully curated story, or perhaps image, of the Non-Partisan Association as the party of the west side establishment. Think of Southlands, Dunbar, Point Grey, Kitsilano, Quilchena, Kerrisdale, Shaughnessy, and Oakridge — these are the neighbourhoods long associated with the wealthy class, members of which have also long held the political reins in the city. The homes of many mayors and councillors to be sure, but also party backers and benefactors. The NPA has also historically been the party where the great distaste for greenways, transit, and integrated community healthcare facilities has been nurtured, and where the pushback against densification has bloomed.

So, one would be forgiven in thinking that a five-member NPA coalition on council would indeed mean continued representation of this western flank, and those who live there.

The map at the top of this post (and here), depicting the home neighbourhoods for all 11 Vancouver council members, tells a very different — and a very new — story. 

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Vancouver has scattered itself across a broad spectrum, two-dimensional no less, on its approach to housing. It’s now carved in a sort of electoral stone, whose duration is 4 years.

Nathan Lauster has written a terrific article (HERE) parsing the makeup of our brand-spankin’ new city council.  If housing is still the topic, then here’s where the parties and members of council fit on Mr. Lauster’s scatter plots.  These add an axis of municipal urbanism (IMBYism) to the traditional social-economic lefty-righty distinctions between parties.

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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.

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