At Vancouver’s last municipal election only 35% of eligible voters cast a ballot, according to CBC. Without voters, how can we have a democracy? So, for all you voters, here is what you need to know before you cast your ballot. For those of you not planning on voting, maybe some of these candidates’ ideas can convince you otherwise.
The Three Main Candidates:
Mayor Gregor Robertson (Vision Party)
Previous work: Gregor Robertson has a strong political background as he was elected Mayor of Vancouver in 2008 and 2011, and was elected MLA for the Vancouver-Fairview riding in 2005. As well, he co-founded Happy Planet.
Ideas and plans: He does not support Kinder Morgan’s proposal to increase the number of oil tankers in Vancouver’s ports by 340 tankers. He adamantly supports green initiatives like improved bicycle routes and the development of the Broadway subway line. He understands the need for more affordable housing and has plans to reduce homelessness.
During debate: He states clear plans and expresses the need for action. He knows many Vancouverites hate the bike lanes, but also respects that Vancouver needs to reduce carbon emissions.
Kirk LaPointe (NPA: Non-Partisan Association)
Previous work: Kirk LaPointe has experience in politics, though his primary background is in journalism. He has been the senior editor at many Canadian news agencies, like the Vancouver Sun, The National Post and CTV.
Ideas: He promises greater government transparency, a more active and inclusive city hall, and stronger community involvement in decisions. He supports the Broadway subway line as a means to make Vancouver more affordable and wants to create more affordable housing. He has declined to state his standing on Kinder Morgan or environment related topics.
During debate: He explains what is wrong with Vancouver and makes frequent use of anti-Gregor Robertson advertisements. Though his ideas are very much for the people, he does not offer concrete answers and plans to support his ideas.
Meena Wong – COPE (Coalition of progressive electors)
Previous work: Meena Wong was a mental-health worker and is strongly involved in the mental-health community. From 1999 to 2002 she was the assistant of Olivia Chow, who is now running for Mayor of Toronto.
Ideas: She plans to increase the minimum wage from $10.25/hour to $15.00/hour in order to make living in Vancouver more affordable. As well, she promises to reduce the cost of public transit passes to $30/month. She plans to implement a duty on homes that are vacant to fund these improvements and affordable housing.
During debate: She makes big promises that will make everyone happy, but does not provide much evidence that all of these ideas are attainable. She uses her ideas to improve her chances, rather than attacking the opposition.
Meynard Aubichon (Stop Party): His main efforts are toward the legalization of marijuana and an increased police presence to reduce terrorism. He believes Vancouver should tax businesses that do not support the legalization of marijuana more heavily than those who do support it and that these taxes should go toward affordable housing.
Mike Hansen (Independent): He thinks Vancouver’s biggest problems are related to drug crimes and that we should legalize and tax marijuana. To raise funds for this campaign he sells marijuana.
Jeff Hill (Independent): He believes Vancouver should have more major festivals and events to improve the city’s spirits and make more money for affordable housing. He also supports the movement to tax vacant homes.
Cherryse Kaur Kaiser (Independent): She describes herself as a “child cherubim in the 13 vibrations of the purest living organic vortex enjoyment”. Affordable housing is her main goal, but won’t explain her plans further until she is elected.
Bob Kasting (Independent): He is well versed in justice, law, business and land claims. In the Munich 1972 Olympics, he won a Bronze medal for swimming. His primary focus is on Vancouver locals, not people who earn money through Vancouver and live elsewhere.
Tim Ly (Independent): His main concern is Vancouver’s homeless and wants to get more government funding to help the homeless. He also plans to create a more democratic system for ordinary people.
Colin Shandler (Independent): His main concern is City Hall’s lack of teamwork among departments and will improve their communication. He is also willing to offer other mayoral candidates advisory positions.
Written by: Savannah Duggan
Photo credit: Vancourier