|Vision Vancouver election night party with re-elected Mayor Gregor Robertson & team|
It is quite phenomenal to win every seat you contest in a municipal election at every level - and that's what Vision Vancouver did last night, winning mayor, 7 council seats, 5 school board seats and 4 park board seats - a majority on each body.
Congratulations to Gregor and all the re-elected and newly- elected VV councilors, school trustees and park board commissioners! You have a mandate to be envied!
And I want to add a big congrats to the folks behind the scenes who worked so hard for so long for this Vision victory and don't get mentioned - Vision campaign manager Mike Magee - my friend and former Toronto housemate; Ian Baillie - Vision executive director; Strategic Communications and Vision pollster Bob Penner - another old friend from my Toronto days; Vision communications director Marcella Munro; communications officer Kevin Quinlan, staffers Lora Honrado, Rita Ko, Braeden Caley, Stepan Vodine, Carolyn Askew, Matt Smith and so many others - apologies to those I miss in this list.
Sadly, the Coalition Of Progressive Electors - COPE, which I also supported, had a devastating evening, re-electing only Allan Wong on the Vancouver Board of Education. I am particularly sorry to see the loss of Ellen Woodsworth on Council - although I understand mail-in votes have yet to be counted [not Advance Polls however] and a recount is expected with Ellen trailing by just 92 votes!
I am personally also sorry to lose two dedicated school trustees - Al Blakey and Jane Bouey of COPE - who have made real contributions to public service on behalf of students, parents, teachers and staff over many years - you will be missed.
The lesson for COPE is not completely clear but there is no question that the bitter comments of Tim Louis, who failed in his bid to return to Council, indicate yet another divisive debate will consume COPE in the year ahead. I supported Tim despite some misgivings but many I spoke with simply could not.
I do support something Vision and COPE agree on completely - the need for the provincial government to eliminate corporate and union financing in municipal elections - leaving personal donations the only source of funding. This election, which likely cost $2 million plus for both Vision and the NPA, is evidence of the need for reform - something we also must demand on the provincial level to match federal restrictions on corporate and labour donations.
Congratulations - conditional on the final result - are due to Adriane Carr of the Vancouver Green Party, who won the 10th and last seat on Council - her first electoral victory in over 25 years of trying at the provincial and federal level! Like Harry Rankin in the past, who lost 13 times before joining Vancouver City Council, persistence pays off.
I didn't support Adriane but I wish her well. Now the Greens will be forced to put some content into what has been an "empty box" product for years - shiny and green with "new and improved" on the outside but nothing inside in terms of political record.
The Non-Partisan Association is no doubt feeling downcast today - but has some reason for modest self-congratulation when their situation is rationally analyzed.
I never felt Gregor Robertson could be challenged successfully as mayor, and certainly not by NPA Councilor Suzanne Anton. But give Anton and campaign manager Norman Stowe credit for a tough-minded, expensive campaign and for exploiting the difficult Occupy Vancouver situation for all it was worth.
If anyone doubts that negative attack ads work, the NPA proved that once again.
The NPA has doubled its council contingent without running a single incumbent nor any candidate whose name was a household word - no small accomplishment. And for much of the night it appeared the NPA could have won 3 or even 4 seats, with Bill Yuen and Mike Klassen of the NPA-loving City Caucus blog - which may now shut down - finishing in 12th and 13th spot - just under 1,000 votes from making council. And three other NPA challengers followed them as well. The NPA is far from planning its funeral.
Occupy Vancouver was Robertson's biggest challenge and a lose-lose proposition - early intervention would hurt him with his base of support and potentially cause an Oakland-like violent riot; moving slowly hurt him with more centrist voters who wanted the encampment gone yesterday. Robertson's decision to seek a court injunction and enforce fire and safety rules while supporting Occupy's right to free speech and ability to raise important issues was the correct one - as last night's results proved.
I will have lots more to say and detailed analysis of the results in my 24 hours/The Tyee column on Tuesday November 22 - which is always reproduced on this blog in its full length version - stay tuned!
And lastly, regardless of your politics or the results, thanks to everyone who put their name forward to serve their community in the municipal elections across BC. It's not easy to do and you are to be congratulated.