Friday, March 21, 2008


Oldtown News
Vancouver, BC


With so many Men announcing they wish to be Vancouver's next Mayor, at this point Women are not yet stepping up to the plate regarding potential runs for Council, School and Parks boards, however, that could soon change as there are a number of Women and Citizens from diverse communities, exploring whether there is enough political and financial support to undertake such a run.

A number of Men have announced they are seriously considering a council run and while they are quick off the mark, there is still plenty of time for Women and members from diverse communities to step forward. Actually, Council races most likely will not emerge until September. Equally, many potential candidates want to see how these Mayoral nominations play out before committing to a campaign.

In terms of the NPA, Sam Sullivan has a significant financial advantage over Peter Ladner, his main competitor who is challenging him for the Mayoral nomination. Another NPA'r Peter Ormesher, has also announced his intentions to seek the NPA Mayoral nod. This race will be hard fought, however, what Councillor Ladner has on his side is that he stood steadfast on the side of the NPA membership, who lobbied for open contested nominations. For a number of weeks, Mayor Sullivan opposed this idea and seeing how his position was hurting himself and the NPA party, did an-about face and declared there should be open contested nominations. At this point, the NPA Mayoral race is too close to call.

Who might be candidates seeking an NPA nomination? Well for sure incumbent Councillors, Suzanne Anton, Elisabeth Ball and Kim Capri are seeking re-election. Sources claim, Councillor BC Lee, most likely will not seek re-election, however, there is strong pressure being applied for him to reconsider. The NPA has a history of running Asian candidates and they want to continue this tradition.

NPA park board Chair, Korina Houghton, is wanting to run for Council and if she does run, expect it to be in the first round of nominations set for June. Another name, Michael Geller, is definately running and expect him to announce shortly. He will be a shoo-in.

The NPA will most likely only run 8 candidates for Council and potential candidates considering a Council run are former NPA park board Chair, Laura McDiarmid and Colleen Nystedt, who ran very strong in the 2005 election. Ms Nystedt will not make up her mind until June after the Mayoral nomination. Ditto for Ms McDiarmid. Expect, another Asian or South Asian candidate to step forward.

Three contenders for Vision Mayor have stepped forward. They are Allen De Genova, Councillor Raymond Louie and MLA Gregor Robertson. I suspect the mayoral race will be between Mr. De Genova and Mr. Robertson. Mr. Louie has strong Chinese support and when he drops from the Mayoral race, if Vision doesn't engage in a first- past-the-post Mayoral nomination process, I expect Mr. Louie's mainly Chinese supporters will go to De Genova, while his labour support goes to Mr. Robertson. Chinese citizens don't tend to support the NDP provincially, which of course is the party, Mr. Robertson belongs. I'd say, Mr. De Genova chances of claiming the Mayoral nomination are strong in this regard.

Vision Council candidates will include their three incumbents, George Chow, Heather Deal and Tim Stevenson. Expect Vision to only run 7-8 council candidates. Those previously announcing their runs are Dr. Kerry Jang and Geoff Meggs. Mr. Louie would need to have a Council seat and the Vision executive can appoint Mr. Louie, if he loses, the Mayoral nod.

Expect former Green School trustee, Andrea Reimer or past Vision candidate, Heather Harrison to round out the Vision candidate spots. Ms Reimer is a strong supporter of Mr. Robertson and I expect, his support will go to her, should she decide to run.

On the COPE side of things, members in COPE, would have a hard time supporting either, Mr. De Genova or Mr. Louie as Mayor. Mr. Louie, it is believed, betrayed their party. Current executive members of COPE are hoping for Mr. Robertson to prevail and than they can run just two or three candidates for Council. Two of those of course would be current Councillor, David Cadman, and former Councillor, Ellen Woodsworth. COPE though without a Mayoral candidate or more candidates would have difficulty winning any seats, including Mr. Cadman's.

Potential COPE candidates, if the members have their way, could overrule a COPE executive decision and nominate a number of prominent candidates. These potentials include Little Sisters co-owner, Jim Deva, former Councillor, Tim Louis, police board oversight Member, Rider Cooey, prominent Youth and Child Advocate, Dr Penny Parry and perhaps, Melanie Mark, a well-respected, First Nations Youth Leader.

The GREEN party, if Andrea Reimer runs for Vision, would be extremely unhappy and most likely see this action as a betrayal. Many Green members would support other progressives running, especially those in solidarity with the COPE members in support of Tim Louis.

Lots to contemplate over this Easter long weekend and for those who love municipal politics, enjoy the post.

Jamie Lee Hamilton