Vision Vancouver has a few major flip-flops of their own

Post by Daniel Fontaine in


Suzanne Anton isn't the only mayoral candidate who needs to explain policy flip flops

As each day passes we are starting to see the narratives for each campaign begin to emerge. When it comes to the NPA, they want us to believe Vision Vancouver are a bunch of left-wing idealogues who want nothing more than a flock of chickens in every backyard. They are also pushing the message that Mayor Gregor Robertson and his team don't listen to neighbourhoods and are bad stewards of our local economy in troubled times.

In response, Vision Vancouver have been trying to label NPA mayoral candidate Suzanne Anton as a big flip-flopper. They claim she has switched her position on a number of key issues including everything from bike lanes to fan zones.

It's a message that has resonated with some members of the media who appear more than eager to reprint this flip-flopper messaging. However, is it wise for Vision Vancouver's campaign to focus so heavily on Anton's so-called flip-flops when they have so many of their own?

Like any government that's been in power for three years, we can now review what Vision said they were going to do versus what they actually did. In that spirit, here are some of Vision's big flip-flops that haven't made major headlines in the mainstream media:

Commitment: Gregor Robertson said he would end homelessness in 2015

Flip-flop: Robertson changed that to "street" homelessness (a.k.a people sleeping outside) and quietly had the Vision Vancouver website changed to reflect the broken promise. The overall rate of homelessness is up slightly since Robertson took office.

Commitment: Vision Vancouver would support opening up new supervised injection sites throughout the city

Flip-flop: Subsequent to the Supreme Court decision on Insite, Gregor Robertson told the Vancouver Courier "the city’s not going to initiate more sites".

Commitment: Before the last election Vision candidates condemned the building of a privately-run restaurant at English Bay.

Flip-flop: Once elected the Vision Park Board voted to approve the project.

Commitment: Before the election Gregor Robertson condemned the cut of 2/3 non-market housing at the Olympic Village down to 20%.

Flip-flop: Once elected Robertson and Vision slashed social housing at the Olympic Village to half of what the previous NPA administration promised.

Commitment: Gregor Robertson blasted NPA for discussing sensitive negotiations on Olympic Village financing in-camera, and promised he would be open and transparent.

Flip Flop: Gregor Robertson held as many if not more in-camera meetings than the previous NPA administration. They held a series of in-camera meetings about the Olympic Village and this was subsequently leaked to the media. He also chaired an in-camera meeting where council provided a $1 million backroom bailout of the Vancouver Playhouse.

Commitment: Vision promised to create 20,000 "green jobs" by 2020.

Flip-flop: Vision moved the goal posts by altering the UN definition of green jobs, then dropped that jobs commitment by nearly half.

Commitment: Councillor Raymond Louie and Vision opposed the business tax shift saying they wouldn't implement it unless it could only be targeted to small merchants.

Flip-flop: Once they took power, Vision proceeded to provide property tax breaks to all businesses in Vancouver - including the big banks!

Commitment: Vision voted against the BC Place re-development deal between PavCo and the City of Vancouver.

Flip-flop: Vision elected officials were on-hand for the BC Place opening ceremonies.

Commitment: In 2008 Vision Park Board candidates promised to keep the Mount Pleasant pool open.

Flip-flop: Once elected they approved the demolition of that pool

As you can see, Anton doesn't have the market cornered on policy flip-flops. However, Gregor Robertson should count his blessings the NPA haven't spent much time talking about his shaky record on a number of issues. Perhaps the bigger question is why the NPA have sat idly by while Vision have been successfully branding their leader as the queen of flip flops?

- Post by Daniel. You can follow us on on Twitter @CityCaucus or you can "like" us on Facebook at


Most of these are wrong.

- the green jobs target was in a draft of the greenest city action plan, subsequently revised for the final plan.

- reducing street homelessness was listed in vision's 2008 platform.

- the city doesn't initiate safe injection sites, the health authorities do. Mayor and vision support them if vch makes case - same as 08

- the tax shift was in the vision platform, and gregor ran on it as a mayoral candidate

- on the olympic village, gregor and vision made the entire deal public in january 2009, including the fact that the NPA voted in secret to have Fortress investments, a wall street hedge fund, bankroll the project, yet have the city take on the lender of last resort.

Also, city had first-ever proactive release of in camera documents, mayor moved a motion to have council expenses posted online, and all oly village docs are posted on city's website.

nice try though

Hmmm. "not so much" sounds like he is working at the Vision campaign office. I guess Vancouver-Kid has a bit of time on his hands. He seems a tad sensitive being labeled as a flip flopper.

"they want us to believe Vision Vancouver are a bunch of left-wing idealogues who want nothing more than a flock of chickens in every backyard. They are also pushing the message that Mayor Gregor Robertson and his team don't listen to neighbourhoods and are bad stewards of our local economy in troubled times."

'They'? LOL

Another 'flop'

In 2008, prior to election Robertson made promises to the renters at Seafield apartments to help curb renovictions. He gained a lot of west end votes from that promise.

Fast forward to 2011 and the article covering that same apartment building:

Thrown Out: Fight grinds on against 'Renovictions'

- not one mention of Robertson in the list of those that have stepped up to
the plate in attempts to help the problem.

And we won't even touch on STIR.

I note, Tim, you have no reply to any of NSM's points of fact, so you project your sensitivity to him...

"Revised" sounds like a flip flop to me. And if safe injection sites are purely a provincial decision, why did Larry Campbell give full credit to Phillip Owen for being the driving force behind Insite.

Good to see you haven't bothered to defend Vision's flip flop on the Mt Pleasant pool.

I would hope that any government would adjust policy in response to reality. "When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?" Keynes

The real debate should be whether the changes were warranted, what our goals should be, and what the best policies to achieve those goals might be.

Changes to goals should get much more scutiny than changes to policies.

In 2008 Robertson promised a mental health advocate- $150,000 was 'put aside' for the position.

2011 - no mental health advocate, no idea what the $150K was used for and the police are speaking out about being babysitters in the DTES.

But, Kerry Jang and Vision have put forward a plan to help the impoverished in the DTES as a direct response to having their feet held to the fire for the mess they helped create that is 120 Jackson street - where Atira who is now competing with the PHS in obtaining as much real-estate in the DTES (not so much in helping those they claim to advocate for) is placing young Aboriginal women. The worst part of Vancouver and they find this remotely suitable.

Funny, I can't help think of how the poverty and housing advocates rally against big developers coming into the DTES when the poverty pimps - PHS, Atira and other groups are collecting properties in the area like a monopoly game. I wonder how long those properties will be held onto before they become worth more re-developed, and will go to the highest bidder without anyone really noticing.

The Thought of The Night

"Flip-flops can kill you. Literally!"

Excellent point raised. Nothing I could possibly add other than... you are absolutely right!

great Vision Vancouver flip-flopping.
Didn't their sugar daddy tell them that flip-flops can kill you? 18,000 + bacteria on one pair only! At this rate they must be quarantined by now!

We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.

Agreed Stephen:

"The real debate should be whether the changes were warranted".

And, having contemplated this subject area, if one were to spend the time to delineate Vision's flip flops as compared to Suzanne's, it is clear that Vision has a far less defensible track record.

What's worse for me is that there are obvious positive, constructive solutions to most of these problems which Vision has been blind to. Good governance requires leadership and that requires the ability to creatively solve and resolve problems. Vision gets an 'F' here.

By the way, i understand 'flip flops' are bad for your posture...

Don't forget flip flop to provide compensation to Cambie Street merchants. Robertson said he was going to give $ if elected, then turned his back on them.

And how could we forget Ecodensity? He said he would kill it but Vision have put ecodensity on steroids!!!

They are just a bunch of hypocrites and need to be booted from office.

No wonder Vancouver Kid hates The Province newspaper:

This is in today's edition

Thanks to Daniel who reminded us... as per their current flag bearer Kevin Quinlan... "I'd argue that this stems from Vancouver's still-imbedded-but-painfully-outdated notion of civic government as non-partisan and being solely concerned with efficiency and delivering services. Why does the Mayor need staff when the bureaucracy makes all the policy ecisions, right? June 21, 2007"
This guy was offended by the fact that NPA was concentrated too much on administering the city.
You said:
"Good governance requires leadership..."
Now imagine that this phony advised leadership for three years!
Case closed.

What is the argument against density?

I want my City government to focus on services!

Sidewalks, sewers, city streets, light standards,parks, community centres, etc,etc,etc

I have had a big problem with what the City of Vancouver is supposed to do since signs were erected saying 'Vancouver is a nuclear free zone'
Really? As if the average citizen of Vancouver can do anything about that.

Social services have always (or were supposed to be) provincial and federal.

Why is the average Vancouver taxpayer now supposed to bear the burden of EVERYTHING.

Perhaps the argument isn't against 'density' per se but against the probably accurate perception that people are having something imposed upon them that they do not want and that is against their interest, under cover of falsehoods and in pursuit of the political or economic agendas of a self serving elite.

They weren't goals, they were campaign fluff that the electorate gobbled up like candy. Not so much this time.

The problem with density is not having the offshoot amenities to support X amount of new people arriving to one area.

Not enough schools, not enough grocery shops, not enough tranist, not enough rec centres, daycares etc ...

Banging up tower buldings without increasing the supporting necessities is a recipe for disaster down the road and will eventially place increased financial burdens on the taxpayers trying to fix it.

Personally, I don't want to live in a shoebox, overcrowded neighborhood and all the issues it brings.

Check out!

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