The sand may slowly be shifting underneath the feet of some Vancouver politicians
It’s only been a couple of days since the news broke that veteran COPE city councillor David Cadman was rejected by his political party. As the dust begins to settle, the political pundits are slowly weighing in on exactly what went wrong and what the ramifications will be in the upcoming civic election.
If you don’t already know, Cadman was the primary architect of the deal struck with Vision Vancouver to restrict COPE to only three council candidates on the ballot. The Cadman Accord also prevented COPE from running their own mayoral candidate for the second civic election in a row.
When the nomination results were read out on Sunday, Cadman landed in fourth spot and suddenly found out he's out of a job. Yet despite his political misfortune, Cadman steadfastly continues to praise the flawed political arrangement that resulted in his early retirement from politics. As they say…fool me once…shame on you…fool me twice…
I’ve talked to a number of key politicos and media over the last 48 hours and they all agree that COPE’s decision to select Tim Louis over Cadman will have an impact on the final result.
Firstly, I'm advised that Cadman was consistently polling in the top five preferences of Vancouver voters - regardless of who was doing the polling. His sudden departure means COPE has given up a “secure” seat.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean it will end up hurting their political fortunes in the long run. Barring a major gaffe, I’m suspect both Louis and Woodsworth will make it into the top 10.
Rookie COPE candidate R.J. Aquino also stands a relatively good chance of getting elected. He will be placed high up on the ballot by virtue of his last name starting with an “A”. That always counts for something when a majority of the elected politicians in Vancouver usually have last names beginning with the letters A, B or C.
Aquino also benefits from the fact that many COPE voters may “plump” their ballot and strictly vote for their three candidates and nobody else.
Sticking to the left side of the political spectrum, you also have the Green Party who are throwing everything they have into electing Adriane Carr to council. I suspect Carr’s popularity and media profile may well translate into her garnering support from NPA, Vision and COPE supporters.
If Carr wins, and I think she stands a good chance of doing so, expect it to be a squeaker for the enviro-friendly candidate. She may well take the 10th and last spot on council.
On the centre-right the NPA are doing everything humanly possible to regain a few seats this year. God bless them for trying. They clearly want to expand their current seat total from one to something that resembles more like a caucus. But with Suzanne Anton running for mayor, the NPA doesn’t have a single incumbent on their slate. That means their campaign is clearly behind the eight ball.
However, the NPA is well financed, running a united campaign and appears to have a bit of wind in their sails. It’s highly unlikely they’ll form government this fall, but winning 3-4 seats is within reach if they play their cards right.
So where does this all leave the governing Vision Vancouver and Mayor Gregor Robertson? If COPE and the Greens win 4 seats and the NPA secures a similar amount, the “mushy” middle could well be squeezed out of the equation.
If Mayor Gregor wants to avoid going cap in hand to the opposition parties in order get approval to hire staff and run his office, he better secure the victory of at least five Vision politicians. At only 37% (and dropping) in the opinion polls, this is starting to look rather doubtful.
The nightmare scenario for Robertson is having politicians like his arch-memesis Tim Louis or the NPA’s “effin hack” Michael Klassen hold the balance of power. It’s something the Mayor’s political strategists will do anything to avoid. In other words, they’ll pull out the nukes if necessary.
With Cadman getting the boot and George Chow abandoning Vision Vancouver, the stage is now set for a major shakeup of the current players at 12th and Cambie.
That’s because regardless of what happens to the seven incumbents, there will be at least three new politicians elected to a council seat on November 19th. If a few of the veterans like Geoff Meggs and Andrea Reimer (I’m told both are not polling very well) lose, Vancouverites will wake up to find a wholesale change in the makeup of their council – again.
On another note, I previously indicated that no political pundit had predicted the demise of David Cadman’s career. Well, I stand corrected. Former Vision Vancouver mayoral candidate and CKNW civic affairs panelist Jim Green called it back in November 2009. Here is what he said on air:
You have a lot of new young energetic environmentalists that have taken over the COPE executive. I am hearing rumours that David Cadman is not going to win the nomination next time with COPE.
Whether Green really had the inside scoop or this was just wishful thinking on his part, is yet to be determined. But nonetheless, give credit where credit is due. I have no doubt the Jim Green I know will be sleeping a bit more restfully these days knowing that his former COPE colleague has finally been put out to pasture.