Governance & Politics
September 18, 2018

Mayoral Exit Interview: North Van District (Part II)

Yesterday, Part I of our exit interview with District of North Vancouver Mayor Richard Walton covered issues demonstrating the typical range of concerns acknowledged by mayors in other cities.

Such as the appearance of traffic backups from the Ironworkers Memorial Bridge to Lower Lonsdale in 2012, within days of the opening of the Port Mann Bridge…25 kilometres away. The critical, cross-jurisdictional piece of North Shore infrastructure that he believes everyone has forgotten about. And the reasons why mistrust and resentment are brewing away in one District community, on the basis of new developments, lack of housing affordability, and traffic.

Check it out, and read Part II below — on North Van being caught in the missing middle, on engaging the community on change, and what that change may need to look like in the near future.

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The 2018 civic election campaign in Vancouver is steadily ramping up.  At last night’s Mayoral candidate debate, we saw a fascinating exchange between a reporter, a candidate and the audience.

The subject was Mr. Bremner’s continued insistence that neither he nor his campaign has had anything to do with the billboards appearing around town in recent weeks.  The exchange is shown below in video, with thanks to Justin Fung.

It is worth noting that in my opinion, the audience response was much louder than appears on this video clip (there was no audience mic). It was strikingly impolite for a bunch of Canadians.

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Amid concerns about an advantage conferred to some candidates because their name appeared at the top of the ballot, the City of Vancouver will introduce an alphabetically randomized ballot for the October 20, 2018 civic election.  All voters will see the same ballot layout.

Read more about this in the City’s administrative report from earlier this year:

There is a longstanding collection of empirical evidence demonstrating that voters without well-defined preferences are more likely to select the top-listed names on ballots due to cognitive fatigue.

So how do we get from here to there?

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In this 4th in our series of Mayoral Exit Interviews, Richard Walton of the District of West Vancouver, who has spent fully one-third of his life in public service — as school trustee (1986-’93), then as councillor (2002-’05), and finally as mayor (’05-’18).

Walton has also done what many of today’s mayoral candidates may not fully appreciate as an essential part of the job — serving on the Boards of a number of organizations representing the enormous operational complexity and cultural diversity of this region: B.C. Games for Athletes with Disability, Fraser Basin Council, Metro Vancouver, Municipal Finance Authority of BC, Mayors’ Council, North Vancouver Police Committee, and Metro Vancouver (GVRD) committees on Culture, Environment and Energy, Federal Gas Tax, Finance, Performance and Audit, Port Cities, to name a few.

In 2004, Walton also reinforced one of the more unfortunate stereotypes of chartered accountants everywhere, by co-founding the World Mountain Bike Conference and Festival.

The brain drain continues with his retirement this fall; here’s part I of our exit interview. 

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After a Vancouver civic election mayoral candidates meeting, we have a much clearer picture of where some candidates fall on the pro-bike spectrum.

The meeting was hosted by the Shaughnessy Heights Property Owners’ Association.

Good old bike lanes raised an emotionally-charged anti-bike audience response among the invitees from Shaughnessy Heights. As usual, this showed how the very concept of the bicycle as a legitimate mode of transportation is threatening to those with a deeply entrenched motordom-at-any-cost worldview.  And so provides now-rancid red meat for cynical politicians to throw to this shrinking base.

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Why are they running in a race they can’t possibly win?

It’s the blunter question than was originally posed to our independent council candidates (read on for that). Blunter, and perhaps rooted in the past.

Because, although they may need 60,000 votes to win a seat, this may be the election where voters spurn the party system in Vancouver. It’s a tall order, but if it happens, we can speculate on factors.

Perhaps due to a trend influenced by the strength of the independent mayoral candidates. Maybe a consequence of Millennial distaste for backroom party politics. Or possibly a false equivalency that pays off — confusing social media following and hype, for broader engagement and voter activation…which generates more media coverage, triggering broader engagement and voter activation.

Regardless — here’s Part III on our quartet of independents, and the reasons why they’re running.

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