By his own standard, Gregor Robertson has "failed" the people of Vancouver

Post by Sean Bickerton in


Will Mayor Gregor apply the same standard to himself he has others? Photo: Vancouver Sun

In February of 2008, when the homeless count in Vancouver stood at 1,580 people, Gregor Robertson declared he was running for Mayor. As the Province reported then:

Robertson said yesterday he wants to be mayor of Vancouver because homelessness has reached "a state of emergency" and he can "no longer stand by in good conscience."

Speaking to more than 100 cheering supporters at the Vancouver Museum, Robertson accused Mayor Sam Sullivan of "failing" the people of Vancouver.

This morning Metro Vancouver announced the results from the 2011 homeless count and compared it to their count in 2008. Their press release states that, after three years of Mayor Robertson's tenure, "statistically, the number of homeless remains virtually the same."

In Vancouver proper, homelessness has actually increased, up from 1,580 in 2008 to 1,605 in 2011, according to Metro Vancouver's detailed preliminary report.

The Mayor is entitled to take credit for convincing the Province to fund emergency shelters that have helped save lives and connect some people to badly needed services.

But if Mr. Robertson honestly believed in 2008 that the Mayor had failed the people of Vancouver when the homeless count in our city stood at 1,580 people, then he must admit he too has failed the people of Vancouver now that it stands higher, at 1,605.

Unable to admit the facts he once politicized to get into office, Mayor Robertson states on the City's website today that: “It's great news to see a decrease in the number of homeless people in Vancouver ..." despite the fact that there has been no decrease.

Tragically, under Mr. Robertson, the "state of emergency" he decried just three years ago has only gotten worse. And unfortunately for the homeless he once championed, today he calls that sad reality "Great News!"

- Post by Sean Bickerton. Sean is a city council candidate for the Vancouver Non-Partisan Association (NPA). If you're an elected official or candidate seeking a nomination and want to write about urban issues, please send your 450-500 word submission to

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The Thought of The Day

''With a little bit of luck'...
What's that Gregor?
'With a little bit of luck, With a little bit of luck,someone else'll do the blinkin' work!'...
What's that Robbie?
'With a little bit...with a little bit of luck you'll never work!''

Ladies and Gents I give you...The Mayor who preached the end of Street Somnolence by 2015.

Still related...after Harold Campaign, the Californian preacher that predicted the end of the World on the 21st of May 2011...failed miserably, Gregor was heard mumbling to his staffers:
'Buggers, I was counting on that. Those Christian Hacks, so not reliable, Geez. All I asked for was... for a bit of luck!'

Love to stay, but have to go. :-)

We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.

Why politicians (of all parties) need to stop politicking and figure out a way to help people who need help!!

Treatment beds for addiction, more help for mental health problems.

And yes, if someone refuses all help, incarceration of some kind.

The hot air in this province is NOT helping anybody get well.

Holy cow, what a sad sack of partisan hacks.

The changing of facts and truth to (and spinning them) to enhance one's own agenda is disgusting.

The authors of these articles are self-serving, selling their koolaid to whomever will drink it.

Really guys, at the roots of your heart - do you ACTUALLY believe what you're selling to the people? OF course not, but whatever to enhance your political career right? What's next, selling your grandma for a dime?

Please. Bring intelligent debate to the table or us a favour and stay home

The Thought of The Evening

'I look at this picture of Gregor, I look at the picture of Kermit...the resemblance is uncanny. It's not easy being Green.'

Martin, a few things:

I'm not fact I have a sunny forehead.

I am not a partisan hack. Actually, I have nothing to do, what-so-ever, with any party you can name or spell.
For your disgust I recommend Gravol followed by a colon cleansing.

I am self serving. True. I cook, I clean, I shop, I work. I serve myself.

Koolaid. That's a better drink, and more fairly priced than the ripoff you call Happy Planet Juice.

What political career?

My grandma is dead, so piss off!

I put 'Intelligence' on the menu, though you won't be able to find it if would hit you in the head.

I am home!

BTW, Martin, did I tell you the good news? I upped my income 5% this year. Now it's time to Up Yours!

We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.

You gotta love kermit green on the outside but red on the inside,just like a watermelon LOL.

Regarding surfacing claims that Gregor was not generally reported as talking about homelessness rather than street homelessness, I picked this up,

and from his own mouth, this;

You know, I've been a consistent NPA / COPE supporter as long as I've lived in Vancouver, but there is something about this man and his party that really gets to me. The opportunism, the ineptitude, the entitlement... I feel like going off on a rant every time I see their self satisfied faces! Instead I'll go to bed and watch a relaxing episode of 'Six Feet Under.'

Glissando, with all my heart - bravo.

NDP / COPE, of course. That's what he does to me!


What is the point of this post? You are running for council--how does this post help your chances?


I asked myself the same question when I first read this post. What I did find is that it peaked my interest to look at other blogs, do a little more research.

It is amazing when you start looking for something, never fails you stumble across so many other things..kind of like looking for that illusive lost sock..

I found a great piece of video, that will show something else down the road.. in Gregor's own words.

That being said, if nothing else this post has everyone from all political stripes looking and listening... I think that was the point.. IMO

I think I understand the point of this post. It is to suggest that we all need to stop 'spinning' and politiking, and instead share facts.

Whether it is ending homelessness, or street homelessness, or sorting out the Olympic Village financial situation, many of us feelwe are constantly being 'spun'.

'Spinning the truth' of course is not limited to's a political reality for all parties. I know this. But somehow I suspect that many people like David Hadaway above are particularly troubled by Vision's spinning because they expected more.

I personally do not believe we will ever 'end homelessness' in Metro Vancouver. However, we should be doing as much as we can to address the problems of those on the streets. This should include programs to help people get more ways than help people get be reunified with families and friends...and yes, get into suitable accommodation whether it be an existing basement suite, supportive housing, or a conventional apartment with support services.

For two years Kerry Jang and the City Administration promised to look at the potential to use prefabricated modular housing as one solution to create more affordable housing. The city set up a display in front of the Mayor's office. Kerry had his picture on the front of the Courier newspaper and figured prominently in the accompanying story. He spoke at conferences, on the radio, and on TV. But so far...nothing...the proposal call that has been promised for months has still not materialized. But speak to Kerry and he'll tell you the city is doing everything it can with available resources. This simply isn't true.

I hate to be so negative and cynical, because I don't want to be. I, like Sean Bickerton, know that we can't afford not to house the homeless. So I would like to call on this administration to tell us what it has done to address homelessness and street homelessness, in addition to opening up more shelters. This is not a rhetorical question...nor should it be seen as a criticism. It is a genuine request to know what have we been doing to assist those on the streets find homes, employment, friends, family and live with addictions and other illnesses.

Small point but you can't say the number of homeless people have increased from 2008 to 2011.

You can say that the homeless count has counted more homeless people. However, they are the first to say that because of an increased number of people working on the count and because they are better at finding homeless people, that this is a snapshot. Useful but not accurate enough to make the claims that you are.

You also glossed over the fact that the homeless count counted less than 200 people sleeping on the street. This is a huge drop from 2008.


I agree, there were, and I use the past tense, less homeless people on the streets during the count in March.

They were staying in shelters.

But, if you were to do the count now, with 4 out 5 of the shelters closed, the number of people living on the streets would be somewhere back to what they were initially.

Just because people are sleeping in a shelter does not make them any less homeless than those sleeping on the streets.

@ Ryan
I think this is the problem being eluded too - if you count only street homeless at less than 200 when the heat shelters are open, have you really solved the structural problem of homelessness? Once the shelters close in April/May the population goes back up.

Rather than focusing on sound bites or changing the wording in his promise, it would be nice to see Gregor acknowledge the problem is bigger than he anticipated and is adjusting expectations and approach to meet the demand. In my opinion, housing the homeless won’t be solved by a single person, party or level of government. The ultimate architect of the solution, in my opinion, will be the person who can marshal all the troops at all levels in the right direction. Personally, Gregor seems to interested in poking other parties and the provincial government to be that person.

Despite the fact that I would have no hesitation in describing myself as a Socialist (meaningless though the term has probably become!) I will be breaking the habits of a lifetime at the next civic election and voting for a number of NPA candidates. My reason for this is that COPE has become a burnt out shell and its destroyer Vision has shown itself to be a party of hollow men epitomized by their matinee idol figurehead.

We don't need more histrionic speeches exploiting tragedy for political gain while promising everything to everyone. We need a city government that gets on and does its job efficiently and economically with politicians who are honest about the problems and limitations they face and are willing to take responsibility for failure as well as success. Of course that assumes an electorate rational enough to see this.

Michael Geller is certainly right to say that we will never 'end homelessness' here, too many factors are outside our control, but such a truthful statement is a hostage to fortune in the face of a well financed publicity machine. Yet I will vote for him because I believe that a realistic and pragmatic approach to the problem will produce much better results than all the posturing rhetoric and candied falsehoods that we will soon see emanating from our present 'leaders'. I can only hope others feel the same.

But he's good-looking. So back off right-wingers!

Check out!

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