Tuesday, June 03, 2008


Oldtown News
Vancouver, BC


Tonight I attended a debate for Mayoral candidate, Councillor Peter Ladner held at the Century Plaza Hotel. I arrived a few minutes late, escorted by Pride President, John Boychuk.

Quickly scanning the room I knew right away that Councillor Ladner had a full house and this was a good sign considering his competitor chose not to debate him. Essentially Councillor Ladner is up against the federal Conservative machine, yet the turn-out of NPA members who came to hear him speak was impressive.

Because I hadn't attended the Mayor's pep rally held last week at the Hotel Vancouver, I asked a number of folks who had, whether the turn-outs were comparable between the two events. They agreed they were. I know the Plaza ballroom since in the 70's and 80's, the gay community held a number of balls there that I participated in so I know the capacity is around 300 people

The Ladner debate, moderated by Frances Bula, Irwin Loy of 24 Hours, Monte Paulsen of the Tyee and KK Wan of the Chinese media was quite interesting. Mr. Wan in his questions to Councillor Ladner on a number of occasions articulated that in the conservative Chinese community there is an anybody but Sam movement at play. I hadn't heard this before and although I'm not sure whether this is true, however, I found it nevertheless interesting.

Questions posed by the media panel to Mr. Ladner were tough yet Councillor Ladner stood firm and articulated his vision for the City. No question, Councillor Ladner came off as confident and ready for the job should he succeed on Sunday at the NPA nomination. Moreover, because the Mayor chose not to debate, Councillor Ladner highlighted the differences between him and Mr. Sullivan at every opportunity.

I am a Peter Ladner supporter and heavily lobbied him to run. As did many others. I was thrilled when he made the decision to run although I knew he was up against a formidable challenge. He still is yet I feel his passion for this City is peaking at the right time.

I have watched as Councillor Ladner has had to face some really tough questions around his motives for running. Especially hurtful ones that he is destroying the party he belongs to. He has been forthright in his responses and hasn't been afraid to articulate that the current Mayor is a weak leader who has created unnecessary conflict and divisions within the City. I happen to think this is a hallmark of a true leader and good on Councillor Ladner for speaking the truth.

It probably hasn't been easy for Councillor Ladner to express his deep reservations about Mayor Sullivan, yet he has had to. This is exactly what the voters expect from our Leaders and in this regard, Peter Ladner has delivered.

I don't know who will win on Sunday, of course, my hope is that Councillor Ladner prevails and I think if Mr. Ladner can get his vote out, chances are favorable that he will become the next Mayor of Vancouver.

In the final week leading up to the critical nomination vote, what I've been observing is Councillor Ladner edging ahead with momentum. He comes across as a winner and this is what Vancouver citizens are seeing.

While a number of polls have been tossed out in the final days of the campaign, I myself don't pay a whole lot of attention to them. After all they can be spun so many different ways, however, as a political commentator what I pay attention to is what people are saying. So many are saying Sam Sullivan is not the type of leader they want for our City. I'm even hearing this from supporters of NPA Councillors who have endorsed Mayor Sullivan.

A telling sign of momentum is that these supporters have chosen Councillor Ladner as their desired choice for Mayor and not the incumbent.

The Campaign manager for Councillor Anton, the lovely, 'Rosebud' when I spoke to her tonight confirmed that many of Ms Anton's campaign team are supporting Councillor Ladner and this was interesting to hear. OK I admit it was happiness to my ears!

Tomorrow Wednesday, June 4, 2008 at 7am on Early Edition at CBC, tune in for an hour long debate between Councillor Ladner and Mayor Sullivan. You can be the judge on who has the momentum to move forward. My mind is made up and soon I hope so will be yours.

Jamie Lee Hamilton


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