Now Is The Time To Choose

November 4, 2014

Voting started today in the Vancouver municipal election, so it is time to choose one’s candidates.

First I want to repeat what I have written before, that you don’t have to vote for all positions on the ballot. Other than the mayoralty, there are 26 positions available: 10 for Council, 7 for Parks Board, 9 for School Board. You can vote for only one or three or whatever or none in each of those categories.  I would argue that voting for candidates you are not sure of just to fill up the ballot is likely to help elect people you do not want.

I am planning to attend the Mayoral Debate tonight, so that final choice can wait another day.  But for City Councillors, I have already made up my mind.  I will be voting for the following:

  • Adriane Carr (Green)
  • Pete Fry (Green)
  • Cleta Brown (Green)
  • R.J. Aquino (OneCity)
  • Nicholas Chernen (Cedar)
  • Glen Chernen (Cedar)
  • Lisa Barrett (COPE)
  • Tim Louis (COPE)
  • Ian Robertson (NPA)
  • Rob McDowell (NPA)

As I have said many times before, a Council composed of four or more parties prevents the kind of majority-dictatorship we have suffered under for the last six years.  This is even more important this year because Vision worked with the BC Liberals to extend City Council terms to four years.

Vision has made it quite clear — through Mayor Robertson, and Councillors Meggs and Reimer — that the election is the only consultation they feel obliged to go through.  If Vision wins another majority, they won’t bother to ask your opinion on anything else until 2018.  In stark contrast, each of the other parties have made community engagement centrepieces of their platforms.

I haven’t followed the Parks or School Board elections too closely. However, I have been impressed with James Buckshon and John Coupar for Parks, with Jane Boeuy, Gwen Giesbrecht and Mischa Oak for School Board.

Whether you agree with my choices or not, please make sure you vote.  This is important stuff!

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Please Get Out And Vote!

November 4, 2014

Advance polls for the Vancouver election open today.  From now on, election terms are for four years rather than three, so this election is at least 33% more important than the last.   I was going to write a piece encouraging everyone to get out and vote, but my respected colleague Judy McGuire has already done such a good job that, with her permission, I have decided to reprint her own excellent exhortation:

I want to encourage you to vote in the upcoming civic election. I want you to encourage your friends and colleagues to vote as well.

Most of us have been involved over the past years in dealing with community issues — many of which have been under the control of city government. Cities control most of the issues that matter to our day-to-day life — neighbourhood development, garbage, traffic, community centres, parks, schools (to a great extent), police, firefighters, zoning, and of course property & business taxes. How the city has done business over the past years has changed. We all have various opinions and concerns about how these issues should be handled. Now is the time to act.

Talking about issues is not enough. You have to vote.

If you want change, vote for new representation. If you want the status quo, vote for that. I’m not going to tell you how I think you should vote, although of course I have my opinions. Read up on the parties and the candidates. Read more than the info put out by each party. It’s useful to know what others say about them as well as what they say about themselves. Talk to the political junkies you know and share your opinions and experiences with others who have less time to keep up with politics. Encourage them to be involved, even if only for a couple of weeks.

Go Vote!!

The only thing I would add is to remind everyone that you do NOT have to vote for all 27 position on offer. You don’t even have to vote for 10 Councillors.  You should only vote for the people you are sure of. Giving votes just to fill up the ballot is likely to help people you may not really want.