In exactly 40 weeks’ time, a new Vancouver City Council will be hatched. And just like any pregnancy, while it may start off in a quiet way, we all know — or should know — that the more preparation we can do before the fast-breaking activities on the big day, the more likely the event itself will be a joyful experience.
Vision seems in disarray with Robertson, Meggs, Reimer, and Vdovine no longer available, a terrible by-election result behind them, and the big promises of homelessness and affordability shoved aside by the greed of their financiers. But they are a real full time party with more than a decade of dark money behind their operation. I’m sure that Joel Solomon and his big money buddies will do their best to attract what Solomon calls “extraordinary world class candidates” and, with an established GOTV operation in place, with a more than friendly Meggs-driven NDP government in Victoria, and helpful nods from Trudeau looking for Vancouver votes, Vision could pull off another victory, but …
The NPA seem likely favourites going in this time. Although popular George Affleck is stepping down, they have the new found weight of BC Liberal organizers, and the renewed interest of businessmen such as Peter Armstrong behind them this year. The newly drafted electoral financing rules might cause some dismay but, with the blatant third-party spending loopholes, I’m sure their Postmedia buddies will make sure their message gets through. And what will their message be? George Affleck laid out one line of attack — an end to “excessive” taxation due to “wasteful” spending. Meanwhile the progressive-minded Glen Chernen is running a far more attractive platform, though it is doubtful that Armstrong et al would be happy to see him as their candidate. On the other hand, I’m sure we will see and hear a lot more of newly-elected snake oil salesman Hector Bremner pushing some supply-side trickle-down Reaganism as the panacea for all our ills. That could be enough.
And what of the Greens? I would love to see the Vancouver Greens hammer out an agreement with Jean Swanson, COPE, and perhaps some other independents and go for broke, seeking both the Mayoralty and control of Council. Unfortunately, the history of progressives working together has shallow roots in Vancouver municipal politics, though, and in 2018 I am guessing the best they could achieve would be a controlling three-way split on Council; but that would be infinitely better than either a Vision or NPA majority.
The real point to this is that if we want to ensure the developers and businessmen have their control of Vancouver City Council ended, we need to get organised NOW.