Governance & Politics
September 14, 2018

Questions for Candidates: The Independents (Part III)

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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In Part I yesterday, our four featured independent candidates for Vancouver city council shared their position on housing, and how they would approach the affordability crisis.

Today, the question is transportation. Do independents think differently from the party candidates? What are they saying that nobody else is?

But first, some explanation of why the focus on independents — and why these four candidates — among the estimated 15 confirmed indie council hopefuls.

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The Questions for Candidates series started in June with Vancouver’s Kettle-Boffo controversy (ancient history?), and our appeal to the early field of candidates in the upcoming municipal elections to weigh in how the city was handling the requirement for Community Amenity Contributions from non-market housing developers.

Teasing out substantive(ish) policy platforms from candidates was crazy yet compelling; we followed with an “LRT vs Skytrain” question to Surrey and Langley candidates, and this fugly graphic. We soon realized the scope of possibilities for Q&A — with hundreds of candidates in 20+ municipalities — was dwarfed only by the time and effort to perform the outreach. Time to narrow the focus.

Today, the first of a six-part Q&A — on policy, politics and possibility — with four independent candidates for Vancouver City Council.

They’re each running a different kind of campaign; no logos, small budgets, and a glaring absence of infighting or intrigue. Just character, a c.v., and policies.

You may even know some of them…but what do you really know about them? Let’s find out.

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The question for all mayor and council candidates — “what would you do different” —was in itself not without some controversy. (See “Vancouver Candidate Survey on Kettle-Boffo Project: What Would You Have Done to Close the Gap?“)

Ultimately, the premise of the question was based on the idea that, as the project team stated, Kettle-Boffo “enjoys Council support”. Reliving the imminent failure of the project Groundhog Day style, we wanted to know how a prospective mayor or councillor might expect to work with staff and the applicants, and within the rules of established policy, to ensure project viability, and thus possibly a successful application.

We also felt it was a way for declared candidates to clarify their positions, especially given the degree of complexity in the topic, “the #1 issue” this election year.

Beyond positions, reasonable explanation of some of the core, underlying issues may serve voters. The presumption is some candidates have done their homework, and are figuring out how to bridge the knowledge gap with the electorate. Some at Price Tags are not too humble to admit we too can learn from the responses.

And this goes for not just the issue (“What moves housing forward in the city? What are the possible systemic problems?“), but also the candidates themselves (“Who thinks about housing the way I do? Who has ideas I’ve never considered?“)

Lastly, we were careful in our introduction to not position Kettle-Boffo as having claimed in their statement that there is something ‘broken’ in city hall, which they did not. Nor do we believe our representation of the City’s claim — that they extended every concession they felt they could to enable a successful re-submission of the development application, which ultimately Kettle-Boffo chose not to do — is not to be taken at face value.

With that, we present the first six responses submitted to our call-out; we will continue to publish submissions if and when they come in.

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You may remember the story, covered by Price Tags — and many other news outlets, some international — of a Vancouver dad who who was reported to provincial authorities for allowing his kids to use transit to get to school by themselves.
(The story stuck, by the way, well before that dad — business owner and affordable housing advocate Adrian Crook — decided to seek NPA nomination for Vancouver city council.)
Well, it happened again. But this time, the kerfuffle about childhood independence has led to the state of Utah bringing into effect the first “free-range” kids law in the U.S.

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