Governance & Politics
June 8, 2018

0.2%Mageddon in Vancouver and the Fourth Estate

The well-connected and prolific Gary Mason wonders in the Globe and Mail just why in heaven we are paying any attention to the howling from those who’ve won Vancouver’s home lottery.

Sarcasm drips from the page, as he calls them “. . . these poor, poor multi-millionaires“.

People sitting on massive, sweat-free and tax-free capital gains don’t seem to merit a whole lot of compassion and sympathy. They’re certainly getting all the coverage.

But is it the coverage they really want? 

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For years, Vancouver seems to have elected a surprisingly high number of public officials with surnames starting with letters at the top of the alphabet.

This could be due in no small part, of course, to candidates being sorted in alphabetical order on the ballots themselves.

But thanks to a motion by Clr. Andrea Reimer, moved earlier this spring and voted on this morning, this will change for future civic elections.

Except for the Vancouver School Board.

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With summer almost upon us, Vancouver’s civic election campaign is now officially rife with a mesmerizing swirl of maneuvering.

Yesterday, the Vancouver & District Labour Council, one of the oldest labour organizations in the country (est. 1889), representing 60,000 union members, appeared on the verge of ratifying cooperation agreements with COPE, the Green Party of Vancouver, Jean Swanson for Council, OneCity, and Vision Vancouver.

The idea is to ensure that the number of progressive candidates (sort of) matches the number of seats available. The mayoral situation is still . . . ahem . . . to be determined.

Many thanks to Justin McElroy and Mike Howell of the Vancouver Courier.

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There’s no question that the City of Vancouver’s civic election will pivot on two factors: affordability and accessibility.

People need affordable places to live. And if they can’t afford to live in Vancouver, they must be able to get in and out of the city. In his work on skyrocketing housing costs,  ‘Duke of Data’ Andy Yan has demonstrated that wages have not kept pace.

That’s why the discussion of who will enter council chambers in the fall — and who will lead as mayor — is so important.

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Vancouver’s Non-Partisan Association (NPA) party has nominated Ken Sim as its mayoral candidate for the 2018 civic election. Mr. Sim earned around 50% of the 1,960 votes cast, beating out Park Board commissioner John Coupar (31%) and professional gadabout Glen (Muscle Cars) Chernen (19%).

This, despite having been alphabetically-challenged (“S”) by comparison.

Sim’s a CPA and a grad of the Faculty of Commerce at UBC (now Sauder School of Business), with two successful start-ups to his credit.

And he’s a newcomer to politics. So where did all the support come from?

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In Vancouver, the 2018 civic election is taking an expansionary turn, as existing party structures appear unable to provide a home for rising constituencies concerned over housing.
It’s drifting towards the possibility that only candidates who defy traditional left-right pigeonholes and party structures may experience electoral success.
It’s certainly not getting any easier to forecast.

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As of last week, this is what Vancouver’s upgraded 10th Avenue Bikeway looked like in the hospital precinct near Oak Street — still incomplete, but already being used.

This is the one that prospective NPA mayoral candidate Glen Chernen promised to take out with heavy equipment if elected.
Whether 10th Ave, Point Grey Road, Hornby Street, or any other piece of the network, it’s not going to happen — for at least four reasons.

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