Back to Civic Politics
While the teachers were out of the classrooms, it was impossible for anyone to really focus on the municipal election campaign.
Speaking with activists from both Vision Vancouver and the NPA revealed the same, sad truth – people just weren’t paying attention to the important issues that are decided at the municipal level.
Or, to put it another way, they were paying even less attention that they usually do.
When asking about key issues facing Vancouver, one party’s polling received responses dominated by the province-wide teacher’s strike, as good a lesson as one would ever want on the futility of polling while another major issue dominates the headlines and talk show lines.
However, with both the BCTF and the BC Government accepting Vince Ready’s recommendations, campaigners are hopeful that now local voters’ minds will turn to the vital, but sometimes less exciting, issues like development, crime, community centres and green space.
NPA Vancouver rolled out its platform last week with emphasis on personal safety, fiscal prudence and general livability, including a transportation plan that doesn’t put ideology ahead of practicality. They also want to restore Vancouver’s AAA credit rating – a key element in the city’s ability to invest in infrastructure.
COPE and Vision Vancouver haven’t yet released their platforms, but expect them to embrace the same unbending and hard-left positions that have been the hallmark of the extremist group that drove Larry Campbell to the brink of insanity and finally, with no place left to go, into the Federal Senate last spring.
During their watch, remember, they proposed converting car/bus lanes on the Burrard Bridge for bike only use, refused to bend on big-box stores, passed resolutions dealing with the Iraq war and raided the Property Endowment Fund to pay for outrageous increases in spending well beyond that of inflation. Another three years? Only if you want this year’s 6% property tax increase to be repeated.
All parties are grappling with the right ways to deal with addiction and crime although, besides the funding of police and some community health services, both are responsibilities of more senior governments.
Of course, we can’t forget those various independent mayoral candidates who are talking about their pet issues. Let’s be brutally frank, though, Vancouver civic races tend to be dominated by the major parties and only rarely, in the last fifty years or so, do independents get elected. Shake-ups usually only occur when a party totally screws up and loses popular support, like what happened to the NPA in 2002.
Soon there will be no shortage of paper in the mail box extolling the virtues of this candidate or that - there are 75 candidates for running 27 spots on school board, parks board and city council this round. Expect lawn signs to sprout like mushrooms on front lawns across the city. People you’ve never heard of will be asking for your precious vote.
With average turnouts in Vancouver in the 35% range, every single vote counts on election day. The party that can capture your imagination – or, scare you less than the other guy – will, in all likelihood, carry the day.
In sports parlance: game on!
As seen today in 24 Hours Daily.