As I have mentioned before, I was unable to take part in the Vancouver by-election earlier this month. However, that hasn’t stopped me thinking about it and now sharing some thoughts. It was an odd election, and the eventual success of the NPA’s snake oil salesman was perhaps a fitting end.
It was an election in which the ruling party didn’t bother to compete nor make any attempt at a serious campaign. They put out the least suitable candidate they could find and offered him no support of any kind. It was almost as if he were being hazed. I suspect that only a few die-hard Vision voters, unaware of the program, saved him from finishing with less votes than any of the independents.
It seems that Vision’s entire plan was to ensure that Jean Swanson — who swamped social media in a textbook manner — did not make it to Council; and they did that primarily through their surrogates at One City. On paper, Judy Graves should have been a decent candidate but in reality she turned out to be terrible. No matter; she did exactly what her candidacy was designed to do and that was to take just enough votes away from Swanson in DTES to ensure the latter wouldn’t succeed.
And then there were the Greens. What on earth were they doing? They wasted a great resource — Pete Fry — by running what was a silent campaign. I understand from some supporters that they were diligently pounding the pavements handing out leaflets and such, but I never saw them and never heard about them. They were almost invisible on social media. They proved if nothing else that winning policy debates at all-candidates’ meetings means nothing these days. Very disappointed in their campaign overall.
I was glad to see Watermelon get a decent number of votes, and I was rather sad that well-respected housing advocate Damian Murphy got so few.
With Vision not competing, I guess it should be no surprise that the NPA’s get-out-the-vote folks managed to squeeze a victory for Hector Bremner. I was shocked, though, that such an obvious tool could be elected above candidates such as Swanson and Fry. The turnout, or lack of it, clearly had a lot to do with that.
Does this by-election say much for the real thing in 2018? I doubt it as I am sure Vision will be fully engaged next fall. I do hope that it teaches the Greens they need to run a rowdier noisier and more impactful campaign next time or be forever consigned to wishing and hoping.