October 25, 2017
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.
October 12, 2017
For reasons discussed in the previous post, I have not been as involved in the Council by-election as I wanted to be or expected to be. In fact, I have had to watch it from afar, and mostly online. My viewpoint is therefore somewhat warped, but these are my impressions as we come down to the wire.
- Independent/COPE candidate Jean Swanson has swamped the social media channels that I follow. From my Twitter feed, you would barely think that anyone else was running;
- OneCity’s Judy Graves wins the email challenge; they have sent me five or six emails full of information. I have received one from the NPA, and nothing from anyone else;
- In Grandview, at least, Pete Fry of the Greens is winning the lawn sign battle. Reports from all-candidates’ meetings also score him highly.
Had I not bothered to read reports from meetings (or read Watermelon‘s posters on her shop window), I probably would not know anything about the other candidates.
I am still supporting Pete Fry because I have worked with him on civic issues over the years and trust his opinions, and I know Adriane Carr will welcome his support in what has been her lonely battles against the Vision behemoth. However, I do wish the Greens had been a bit noisier in their campaigning.
September 1, 2017
This evening I attended the soft launch of Pete Fry’s campaign for the City Council by-election in October, running for the Greens to work with Adriane Carr. Tonight’s event was a crowded and loud party at the Emerald on Gore. The joint was packed and it was great to be surrounded by the banter of civic politics once again.
Pete gave a speech of suitably moderate length but in which he hit all the right points. He showed that he understands we have been building the wrong kind of housing in Vancouver, and that the secret backdoor CAC negotiations with developers need to end and be bathed in transparency for the benefit of all. He noted that, with Geoff Meggs gone, there is a chance to make a genuine contribution to the City with the issue of the viaducts. And he mentioned that he and his team are working on an imaginative scheme for redevelopment of the Hogan’s Alley heritage area.
Most of all, Pete stressed that he is willing to listen — a quality sorely lacking in much of Vancouver politics for a decade or more; that this is “our City” and that “together we can make changes.”
It was a good speech and was well received. My only concern is that, as we don’t have wards, his message needs to reach out beyond the issues facing DTES and Strathcona. I will be looking for him to be broader in his messaging as the campaign rolls out.
Pete Fry for City Council!