Vancouver civic election shaping up to be anything but a snoozefest

Post by Daniel Fontaine in


A boring civic election would definitely benefit the incumbent Vision Vancouver party

For all of you who thought the upcoming civic election in Vancouver was going to be a snoozer, think again. While Mayor Gregor Robertson continues to play a losing battle of hide and seek, his socialist party coalition partners threw him a political grenade over the weekend.

After serving Vancouverites for three terms as a city councillor, the left-leaning COPE party surprisingly dumped David Cadman from its slate.

Ironically, it was Cadman who was the chief architect of his own demise. That’s because he supported a flawed political deal with Vision Vancouver that restricted COPE to only three council candidates in the upcoming civic election.

Unfortunately for Cadman, when the nomination results were read out he ended up placing fourth on the ballot. As a consequence, he is now being forced to retire from politics. This is despite the fact COPE could have actually run up to seven more council candidates on their slate if they had chosen to do so.24hours.jpg

Cadman’s replacement on Robertson’s 10-person coalition will be Tim Louis, the mayor’s long-time arch-nemesis and outspoken former city councillor. Rest assured COPE’s decision to select Louis was the equivalent of an 8.0 on the political Richter scale for the mayor’s office.

Earlier this year the Mayor was riding high and his Vision team were easily heading toward a second majority government. The recent loss of support from the Green Party coupled with the nomination of Louis has thrown a big monkey wrench into Robertson’s election-night party plans.

As the NPA continues to raise buckets of money and bombard the airwaves with ads about the mayor’s adoration of backyard chickens, the political sands appear to be shifting.

No longer can Robertson and his caucus colleagues take for granted that COPE voters will blindly support them at the ballot box. Those days are long gone now that Louis is in the driver’s seat.

Despite the “don’t criticize Vision Vancouver” gag clause COPE candidates were forced to sign before being nominated, I still believe Louis will speak his mind. You can expect him to be in full attack mode criticizing both NPA and Vision policies when he believes it’s warranted.

In the end, it was likely Cadman’s love for taxpayer-funded international junkets and his lack of attendance at local council meetings that was the nail in his political coffin. But now that he’s gone, it’s pretty clear the stage has been set for a very interesting election night.

- Post by Daniel. You can follow us on on Twitter @CityCaucus or you can "like" us on Facebook at This column was first published in 24 Hours Vancouver on Thursday, Sept 22, 2011.


Hopefully the city hall council meetings will be more interesting, I do not understand why anyone would sign an agreement like this, time to break it. Tim will speak out

Nice paint job

Raising buckets of money. . . . woohoo!
I think it would be great to hear about your donors and their loyal support. Any Koch brothers money in there?

I wonder how many NPA voters will secretly save a spot on their ballot for Tim Louis!

I am sure that CityCaucus will be digging out just where the NPA's 'buckets of money' are coming from and what is expected of them in return.

And lets be fair to the NPA. They did start with a sleazy attach add but they are also coming out with some real ideas, and hopefully they will come out with more.

I would like to know where they stand on (i) the casino, (ii) bike lanes, (iii) the four pillars policy (iv) building a sustainable city. It would also be nice to know if and how they would tackle homelessness, affordiability, wider transit issues (beyond the street car).

And what would be really exciting would be a clear picture of how they see the city's future, given that Ms. Clark seems to be stuck in a vision of job creaiton for the past ten years and not the next ten years.

It seems that Vision has occupied the Green/Sustainable strategy for the upcoming election. Given their records, I suspect many of the NPA candidates are strong supporters of the sustainable city strategy, it was the NPA afterall who came up with Ecodensity. So is there another forward looking position that the NPA could take up? I wonder if the Sensable City meme would serve? The 'sensable city' as I understand it is a city that layers augmented realities along it physical and social realities so that the city becomes more transparent, organic in its information flows, and provides a better foundaiton for local innovation. (I am aware of the darkside of this, in that it could degrade into surveillance and control.) The Senesable City and the Sustainable City are not in opposition. The Sensable City is one, not the only, route towards a more sustainable urban fabric. One popular example, is the Copenhagen Wheel (you can Google it).

I hope someone will start talking about Economic Sustainability rather than just Environmental Sustainability.

Which comes first, the affordable housing or the job that pays the rent in that affordable housing. Business retention is not being discussed - that is disturbing. New jobs are great, but how about efforts to keep the ones we already have.

We have 40,000 people pouring in to our city every year. Where are they going to work?

The two go together, but yes, we need to be looking for ways to grow a more diverse and wealth creating evconomy in Vancouver. One question is how do we grow local companies. In bound investment never generates a sustainable economy. Companies that relocate because of incentives will move when the next patch of incentives comes around. Looking to external companies to lead major developments or projects like casino does not create local wealth, it rather drains it out. We need to find ways for the people of Vancouver to invest in and grow business in Vancouver. I don't really think there is that much that the municiapal government can do right now, other than avoid the kinds of mega development that shut out local investors. Perhaps the province could do more. But it is really up to us as individuals and communities to create and grow local businesses. On the BCTIA LinkedIn Group I recently asked how we can increase investment in local companies 10X. The economy is going into a phase shift that will create an enormous number of new business opportunities. Let's hope people in Vancouver emerge as leaders here.

There is lots we can do. First thing, we have a closer look at how the city deals with licenses and permits. Instead of hindering, they should be helping. If we are moving to a bicycle world, why is there parking requirements tied to restaurant permits?

Then take a serious at our attitude around property taxation. Paying your fair share is far different than being milked far beyond the regional average. Yes, there has been a shift from commercial to residential in the last five years but is it enough, and what mechanisms are in place to make sure it does not get messed up again. I suggest the minute we stop shifting taxes they will go the wrong way all over again and business (employers) in a soft economy will simply surrender and either go elsewhere or give up.

I am hearing assessments for non-downtown core commercial space is going through the roof... especially along the Cambie Corridor. What is being done to ensure those employers that occupy those retail spaces can afford to remain there and provide the jobs and services that we have come to expect?

Lot's can be done.

I am sure you are right that the permitting and zoning need to be looked at with fresh eyes. And we want to do whatever we can to support vibrant local retailers and manufacturers. But I have a larger concern that municipalities do not have enough different taxation tools available to them and thus are over reliant on property taxes. Not something that the City of Vancouver can solve on its own, but we need an overall rethink of taxation strucutre and a shift away from the Federal government and provinces to the municipalities.

Steve, I don't like the idea of hiding behind the 'download' excuse. We can't afford to wait until we get the province and the feds to rethink how they turn over resources.

We need to get a handle on budget forecasting (just like you do in your own business),a clear picture on our current and future HR obligation - including pension liabilities, and have a careful look at value of services for dollars spent. I would go even as far as zero based budgeting.

We should look at the delivery of our core services and once that is done, we can decide how much extra we are prepared to spend on the finer things in life that quite frankly we can live without if the situation dictates.

Then, start (I can't believe this is not done now)doing economic analysis on our rezoning proposals. What is the net tax revenue from the east Fraser Lands as industrial, compared to residential - factoring the cost to deliver services to both types of zoning. Take the same model and apply it to every conversion that occurs in this city and you quickly discover that the current tax model is busted! It's time to fix it.

Simple sustainable economics.

@ Steven Forth, do you really think expanding the responsibilities and scope of municipal Governments is a positive thing? The ongoing burden of the unchecked spending by civic governments is akin to a cancer not a positive thing at all. The municipal charter is in and of itself contrary to the laws of the Dominion of Canada (legal challenge to this act is about to be filed). Fiscal prudence and less government interference is the key to growing business, not more laws and layers of taxation. Businesses pay taxes Govts. spend them.

Civic taxes are the best example of taxation without representation. In Vancouver, the commercial taxpayer pays almost 50% of the bills but is not entitled to vote. Does that seam fair? Not only that, but civic taxation has absolutely nothing to do with income - it has everything to do with 'potential' value.

Julia, the commercial taxpayer has a greater power - greater than the vote. They have the ability to lobby, they have the ability to essentially buy an agenda. The commercial taxpayer tends to have the ear of municipal and provincial governments, while the lowly voter does not.

Toowoozy, let me tell you a secret, politicians are gutless. The lobby you speak of has been after the province for years for changes in the assessment act and golly - they never seem to get around to it because it will piss off their constituents- even though they agree with the need for change. At the municipal level, doing the right thing is trumped by the need to make sure they don't lose any votes in the process. an agenda... sorry, my personal experience makes me laugh out loud at your comment.

Oh Gosh Julia me tummy hurts from laughing at your naiveté.

Hasn't the whole focus of the dialogue on CC been about how commercial or special interests have the ear of council????

Partially I will agree that this process at a municipal level is not as obscene as at the provincial level (only slightly) - but at a municipal level its all done with a nod and a wink and lo and behold look at that, my neighborhood is getting new curbing.

See its like a developer. They go in asking big because they know that they won't get it, but they also know that the city needs to look like they are looking after the interest of the community, so they do a little grand-standing, make the city look good at the same time and in the end the developer gets pretty much what they had planned on all along.

Sorry Julia, my personal experience tells me a different story than yours.

I guess it depends on the type of commercial rate payer and the questions being asked.

Golden rule - never piss off a residential voter unless you are way ahead in the polls.

WARDs, the lack of them is an example of taxation without representation. Although land taxes,are an area where you can end up taxing people who do not live where they are taxed adding a new area of it.

Buday for Vancouver (Mayor - I)
Seeking signatures, Min. 16 to go.

MindFreedom Vancouver, BC
Republic UK
Gun Owners of America

Oh as for boring, so far it is. Frankly need more interesting characters.
Independents to avoid bordom. Oddly enough I realized something, signature collecting is the one thing that differs with my higher vote rating years. That and turnout. Screw the three parties of electoral fascism.

This is still an election issue. See poem:

Round Robin

Yea, hello everyone I’m an alcoholic, my name is Glen
It seem trouble follows me around every now and then
I worked hard as a delivery driver and had a good life
I also had a house and somewhat of a pretty wife

In a Round Robin to share my point of view
na, na, not to sure what I’m suppose say or do
Cops always in my face, no chance to maneuver
Everyone wants me off the streets of East Vancouver

Didn’t have a chance with the wife, cause we couldn’t have kids you see
She said it was all me with my mumps when I was three
She, my wife, left me, cleaned out the house except for one shoe
e, Excuse me for a moment I need to leave this meeting to take a poo

In a Round Robin to share my point of view
na, na, not to sure what I’m supposed to say or do
Cops always in my face, no chance to maneuver
Everyone wants me off the streets of East Vancouver

Blew my job, wrecked my car, hitch a ride to this great city
I can always find a warm bed but my skin gets a bit itchy
Best of all is my neighborhood where I got really good friends
A real down to earth place where no one ever pretends

In a Round Robin to share my point of view
e, ex, Excuse me, can you tell me what you mean by those 12-steps again?

Check out!

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