Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Premier Christy Clark rejects BC Legislature Raid inquiry again - and claims no questions remain to be answered!

"Move along, nothing to see here, move along."

Railgate questions? Asked and Answered, Says Premier Christy Clark

Premier calls me out as she rejects Basi-Virk inquiry. Yet questions do persist.

Bill Tieleman's 24 hours/The Tyee column 

Tuesday November 29, 2011

By Bill Tieleman
"I think it would probably come up with some conclusions that would clear up a lot of myths that people like Bill Tieleman might like to perpetuate." 
- Premier Christy Clark on a B.C. Legislature Raid inquiry
Christy Clark still rejects holding an inquiry into the biggest political scandal in recent B.C. history -- about two ex-BC Liberal ministerial aides passing confidential government information on the $1-billion sale of BC Rail to lobbyists for one bidder.

The premier claimed Thursday there are no questions to be answered after last year's surprise guilty pleas of ex-government aides David Basi and Bob Virk.

And Clark says an inquiry wouldn't embarrass her, but would actually clear up myths that I'm allegedly spreading.

Clark was deputy premier at the time of the deal, when police raided the B.C. legislature in December 2003 with an unprecedented search warrant to obtain evidence -- and her own brother Bruce's home was also searched by police, because of his links to Basi and Virk.

The BC Liberal government paid Basi and Virk's $6-million legal fees despite their admission of guilt, as part of the plea bargain deal that ended their trial after just two of an estimated 40 witnesses -- including possibly Christy Clark herself -- had testified.

But in response to a question I posed for Shaw Cable's Voice Of B.C. last Thursday, Clark told host Vaughn Palmer it would be "really expensive" to hold an inquiry to get to the truth -- so she won't.

The idea that there are no questions to be answered is absurd.
Instead of "myths," we actually have some cold, hard facts that many people would likely wish to see further examined.

Statements of fact

For example, a joint "Statement of Facts" entered in B.C. Supreme Court by special prosecutor Bill Berardino and defence lawyers for Basi and Virk says the police search of Bruce Clark's home found confidential government bidding information about a related BC Rail privatization effort.

Basi and Virk pled guilty to breach of trust and fraud in part because of their role in illegally passing information to Bruce Clark -- who was never charged -- about the proposed $70 million sale of the BC Rail Port Subdivision in Roberts Bank.

The Statement of Facts reads: "With respect to Count 10 of the Indictment and in relation to the Port Subdivision bidding process, the RCMP seized a number of documents from Bruce Clark's office and residence, which Basi and Virk disclosed to Bruce Clark between Jan. 1, 2003 and Dec. 28, 2003."

"Two examples of the documents that Basi and Virk improperly disclosed to Clark are:

"a) The draft Request for Proposals for the Port Subdivision bidding process, which was received by Clark prior to the RFP being finalized by the Evaluation Committee; and

"b) A 'confidential presentation' made by TD Securities to the Evaluation Committee dated Oct. 14, 2003 containing a detailed economic analysis of what BC Rail considered to be the value of the Port Subdivision."

Christy Clark has acknowledged Bruce Clark played an undetermined role in her BC Liberal leadership campaign, but has declined requests from The Tyee to explain his duties, which weren't mythical.

Bruce Clark has not spoken to media at any point about his role in either the BC Rail situation or his sister's campaign.

Clark points to Toope report

Christy Clark has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing in the BC Rail case and police have said no cabinet ministers were investigated.

In a 2004 police interview with Erik Bornmann -- a lobbyist for losing BC Rail bidder OmniTRAX who turned into the key Crown witness against Basi and Virk -- he claims he discussed his client's bid with Christy Clark and other cabinet ministers.

"We were very interested to see what cabinet ministers we could count on as being allies for our bid. We've expected Gary Collins, Christy Clark, Rick Thorpe to be supportive simply on account at the meetings that we had with them and some follow-up, some follow-up conversations," Bornmann says in the police transcript that was released by the courts after a media disclosure application filed by the Globe and Mail newspaper and CTV. Collins was then-finance minister and Thorpe competition minister.

Later, Bornmann elaborates.

"I had a conversation with Christy Clark and with Bobby Virk and Dave Basi separately and Dwight was, Dwight Johnson [OmniTRAX executive] was in the regular habit of wanting information on the BC Rail process," Bornmann said.

"I'd met Christy, I'm, as you know, friends and acquaintances with Christy's husband [now ex-husband Mark Marissen] and I'd a, I'd sort of broached the topic I mean, just trying to recall, I broached the topic or I promised Brian [Bornmann lobbyist partner Brian Kieran] that I'd broach the topic of BC Rail with Christy but I didn't receive, didn't receive anything terribly useful from her just a, Basi and Virk would have obviously have a, provided me with information on whatever was taking place, but Christy wasn't providing any information beyond what politicians tell people," Bornmann told police.

Clark says she is proud of a "great report" she requested by University of B.C. president 

Stephen Toope into her government's payment of legal fees to Basi and Virk without any effort to recover those funds when they pled guilty.

The report, Clark says, will "make the process better" in dealing with public servants facing criminal charges in the future.

But regardless of Toope's esteemed role as a senior professor of law and well-deserved reputation, there is also the fact that UBC receives hundreds of millions of dollars from the provincial budget each year. If Clark had wanted to pick a person with no ties to government spending, she could have done so.

Clark also could have asked Toope to investigate why Basi and Virk's legal fees were exempted from repayment when they pled guilty. But she didn't.

Questions not yet answered

B.C. auditor general John Doyle -- who is independent of government -- is also investigating the Basi-Virk payments and has been forced to go to court to gain access to government documents.

Doyle's report may eventually provide some limited answers, but is more likely to raise new questions about what happened.

A key one is why the defence alleged for years that a "consolation prize" -- the Roberts Bank port-subdivision rail line -- was to be offered by the government to OmniTRAX in exchange for the company staying in the bidding after CP Rail and Burlington Northern Sante Fe Railroad both quit,saying the process was tainted?

The reality for Clark is that unless and until some independent inquiry is held to address such questions that a full trial may have answered, the BC Legislature Raid case will continue to smell like bad cheese in the fridge.

David Basi has called for a public inquiry, in an exclusive interview with 24 Hours and The Tyee in February.

"I want everything released, all the transcripts of the wiretaps -- not just snippets -- let's get it all out," Basi told. "I have consistently called for all documents in this case to be released and for a public inquiry, which I will fully cooperate with."

But the one person who could call an inquiry isn't going to do so.

Here's Clark's exchange with Vaughn Palmer after my question was posed to her.

Palmer: "But the difference between your party and the NDP at the moment is -- Adrian Dix was on the show just recently, he says there still needs to be a public inquiry into BC Rail and your position is we don't need one."

Clark: "Yeah, my position is two people were convicted and I think people want to move on. It was a hugely expensive process and I think people want to move on from it because I don't know that there's a whole lot more to learn in the thing -- you know, two people were found guilty, by the courts. And so, you know, let's not throw any more good money after bad on this.

"We are struggling to try and find resources for all the things that we need to do already in British Columbia so you know, we're in really tough financial times, the world is in economic turmoil. We have to make sure we are lookin' after people in British Columbia and frankly I think that if, you know..."

Palmer: "You don't think that a public inquiry in this case would embarrass you?"

Clark: "Well, no I don't! Absolutely not! Absolutely not! And in fact I think it would probably come up with some conclusions that would clear up a lot of myths that people like Bill Tieleman might like to perpetuate.

"But the thing is it would be really expensive and I don't know that there are any more answers to be found out there."

When Clark says Basi and Virk were "found guilty by the courts," a more precise way to say it is that they pled guilty by their own admission in a deal negotiated by their lawyers with the Crown.

But the larger point is that finding out what really happened is not throwing good money after bad -- it is an essential part of democratic accountability.

If you believe an inquiry is needed, join my Basi-Virk Public Inquiry page on Facebook.


Peter Ladner blasts Non-Partisan Association, City Caucus blog in new Business In Vancouver column

Peter Ladner
Former Non-Partisan Association mayoralty candidate and Vancouver city councilor Peter Ladner is blasting his former party and the blog City Caucus over the results of the last municipal election, saying the "NPA falls on its own sword of tired tactics".

In his November 29 column in Business In Vancouver - available online only by subscription - Ladner fires both barrels:

"It’s time for the NPA to get out a huge vacuum and suck up all the people who think every political opponent is evil, and that job No. 1 is to eliminate them," Ladner writes.

"It’s a tiresome, downer strategy borne of three years of citycaucus.com blog’s partisan putdowns – hilarious to family and friends, but tedious and irritating to anyone who cares more about the city than about hating Vision and COPE (RIP). (Was that blog really funded by former mayor Sam Sullivan’s 2008 election war chest?)"

It's no secret that Ladner took on City Caucus founders Daniel Fontaine - Sullivan's former chief of staff - and Mike Klassen - another NPA-Sullivan stalwart - when he challenged the sitting mayor for the 2008 NPA nomination and won but lost the election.

Ladner also supports failed NPA council candidate Sean Bickerton's criticism of the campaign run by manager Norman Stowe and chair Peter Armstrong and bankrolled by developer Rob McDonald.

Ladner discretely criticized the NPA before the election for attacking urban agriculture issues promoted by Vision Vancouver and Mayor Gregor Robertson - Ladner being the author of a great new book on the trend titled The Urban Food Revolution - but it appears the gardening gloves have come off and the brass knuckles on.

I have asked Fontaine and Klassen if they have a response to Ladner's column and will be happy to provide it here.

Bill Tieleman reaches 1,000 posts on this blog!

Cheers to my readers!
It is fitting that my 1,000 post on this blog was a tribute to my late father-in-law Fred Cave - but totally coincidental.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank my many, many readers since the Bill Tieleman blog was set up on October 12, 2006!

The blog has had over 825,000 visits and over 1 million page views from nearly 300,000 unique visitors since that time and is averaging about 20,000 visits a month from about 8,000 unique visitors currently.  [Those figures from Google Analytics.]

The website measurement service Alexa.com ranks the Bill Tieleman blog at a lofty 1,057,433 in the world - where the top website is ranked #1.  Yes, it's Google, followed by Facebook and YouTube!

So that leaves me lots of room to grow!  [The Tyee.ca is ranked 101,672 globally, for a reference point - and that's excellent.]

But it's not about building a huge readership here - otherwise this site would be full of Lady Gaga, Michael Jackson's convicted doctor, and that sort of confection "news".

I appreciate the readers who come here looking for analysis and commentary from my perspective on BC, federal and municipal politics as well as many other topic  - balanced or augmented by the views of many posters from every conceivable perspective.

This blog has extensively covered the BC Legislature Raid case - from the pre-trial hearings for David Basi and Bob Virk through to the surprise guilty plea bargain and beyond - including a new column coming up next today.

All my columns and stories from 24 hours Vancouver newspaper and The Tyee are here - with my thanks for their strong support of my work over the past many years.

And thanks also to the advertisers on my blog - who appear here through Google Ads.

So thank each and every reader very much for your strong support and I look forward to continuing this blog for many years to come.


Bill Tieleman


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

My father-in-law Fred Cave has passed away - a great father, grandfather, partner and patriot who served Canada at war

Erin Ross Coward with grandpa Fred
I am deeply saddened to report that my father-in-law Fred Cave has passed away this evening in Winnipeg at the age of 89.

Fred was a wonderful man - he fought for Canada in the fields of France in the Second World War, worked hard all his life, met, fell in love with and married Fran - Shirley's mother, and took Shirley to be his daughter when she was 20 for the rest of his life.  Since Shirley's own father had died tragically when she was just 9, this was an amazing and welcome experience.

Fred also adored Shirley's daughter Erin Ross Coward when she was born in 1984 and together they spent many fabulous time together - just the two of them at the zoo or on adventures around Winnipeg.

Fred also was an amazingly patient and devoted care aid to Fran when she fell victim to chronic illness, never complaining about his additional and considerable duties.

There are men you meet in life where the one thing you say above all is - "He's a hell of a nice guy."  I was fortunate indeed to have such a man as my father-in-law.

Like my own father, Fred survived the Second World War only to face a deadly enemy much later in life - Alzheimers Disease.

Shirley, Erin and I are very grateful to Fred's son Jeff and his wife Suzanne for the loving support they give Fred in his last years.  Our deep condolences go out to them and to all of Fred's family and friends.

Fred's memory will live on in our hearts forever.


Bob Rosen - a strong voice silenced too soon

Bob Rosen - centre - playing with the Gram Partisans - June 2010 - Bill Tieleman photo 
I was shocked and saddened to learn this evening that Bob Rosen had suddenly passed away Tuesday morning at the age of 64.

Bob was a teacher, a musician, an activist for social justice and one of the nicest guys you could meet.

I didn't know Bob as a close friend but we met and talked many times over the past 20 years and I was pleased to hear him play with his friends in the wonderfully named Gram Partisans -  a group that played both politically progressive tunes and the country works of Gram Parsons.

Bob had a wonderful voice, was a fine guitar player and played from the heart.

My wife Shirley Ross and I give our deep condolences to his wife Eva, son Michael and all his many, many friends and family.

Bob's music, commitment to the fight for social change and his humanity will be deeply missed.

We will not hear that strong voice again on this earth.

Charlie Smith of the Georgia Straight has posted an article on Bob's passing that I encourage you to read.

Also more on Bob here, including a video of the Gram Partisans playing "Home" - so nice to hear Bob's voice there.

Celebration of Life:
We will celebrate Bob’s life  on Saturday, January 21st 2012 at 7:30pm at
the Peretz Centre 6184 Ash St., Vancouver.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

9 clear lessons from the 2011 Vancouver election - centrist government, attacks ads, good names and sore losers all addressed

Sean Bickerton
Gregor Robertson debates Suzanne Anton

TIm Louis

Reading Vancouver Voters' Minds

City's voters teach all parties lessons about what matters in elections.

Bill Tieleman's 24 hours/The Tyee column
Tuesday November 22, 2011
By Bill Tieleman
"You will expect me to discuss the late election. Well, as nearly as I can learn, we did not have enough votes on our side." 
- U.S. President Herbert Hoover, 1874-1964
Every election provides lessons for parties and candidates -- sometimes very painful ones.

Saturday's Vancouver city election was particularly educational.

First lesson. Vancouver voters like centrist government that works.

Mayor Gregor Robertson and Vision Vancouver received an enormous vote of confidence in sweeping every seat they contested -- mayor, council, school and park board. It doesn't get better than 100 per cent success.

Robertson, who I support, continues a tradition of centre-left mayors, following Larry Campbell and Mike Harcourt.

The Non-Partisan Association's mayoralty candidate Suzanne Anton ignored that fact and ran a right-wing "common sense" campaign, which obviously wasn't sensible.

Second lesson. Your good name, and its rank in the alphabet, really matters.

The NPA won two seats, with George Affleck -- the very first name on the lengthy council ballot -- and Elizabeth Ball getting the nod.

No matter how illogical it appears, voters definitely favour those with last names near the top of the alphabet.

Third lesson. Name recognition counts.

Green Party of Vancouver council winner Adrianne Carr has a more familiar name to voters than some current councilors, thanks to running eight times, including as provincial Green Party leader and a federal deputy Green leader.

Conversely -- or perversely -- Coalition of Progressive Electors (COPE) members gave up their safest seat by refusing to nominate sitting councillor David Cadman.
Instead they narrowly put hard-left former councillor Tim Louis on their ticket along with promising but unknown newcomer R. J. Aquino and incumbent Ellen Woodsworth, who came in 92 votes behind Carr in 11th.

Louis and Aquino finished far back, in 17th and 20th, respectively.

Fourth lesson. Party name matters, and it doesn't.

Carr's Green teammates, Park Board incumbent Stuart Mackinnon and school board candidate Louise Boutin, both fared poorly despite Carr's win.

Mackinnon, who was the only Green allied with Vision and the COPE in 2008 but not 2011, dropped from sixth place then to 12th this time.

But Vision was the magic word that helped elect unknowns Tony Tang to council, Cherie Payne and Rob Wynen to school board, and Niki Sharma and Trevor Loke to park board.

However, COPE sadly discovered its name was nearly synonymous with defeat.

COPE incumbent councillor Ellen Woodsworth and school trustees Al Blakey and Jane Bouey all lost despite their alliance with Vision, and new COPE candidates were told by voters to keep their day jobs.

Only veteran COPE school trustee Allan Wong survived the purge of a party that has contested elections for over 40 years.

Fifth lesson. Attack ads work.

While the NPA was severely criticized by some for a nasty, U.S.-style election campaign, the reality was that it had no incumbents running for council under a weak mayoral candidate and with no burning civic issues.

Incumbency is a huge advantage in civic elections, so that meant negative advertising and a relentless focus on the Occupy Vancouver camp was the NPA's best hope at winning seats.

And while voters always say they hate this kind of politics, as usual it worked.

The NPA secured two councilors, three school board trustees and two park board commissioners and the party was in contention all night to possibly add two more councillors. In a tough fight against a popular incumbent, that's not bad.

Sixth lesson. Money talks and money doesn't matter.

Another contradiction that makes political strategists go crazy.
COPE complained that it didn't have sufficient funds to compete in a battle between Vision and the NPA that likely saw each party spend over $2 million -- a massive amount.

But COPE's $341,000 campaign combined with Vision Vancouver's extensive advertising, telephoning and 1,600-volunteer get out the vote tie-ins with COPE put their candidates' names in front of voters nonetheless.

Compare its budget and resources with those of the Green Party of Vancouver.

Carr's winning effort spent about $15,000 and the only evidence of her campaign were a few small newspaper ads and Adrianne Carr standing on Vancouver street corners with a lawn sign.

But Carr beat three COPE councillors nonetheless. Which brings up the...

Seventh lesson. Vote-splitting third parties and independents hurt major parties.

Neighbourhoods for a Sustainable Vancouver was like one of the city's ubiquitous pop-up stores -- here today, gone tomorrow.

Running candidates like former COPE stalwart Terry Martin and with surprising endorsements from people like former NDP and COPE candidate Mel Lehan, NSV threw a monkey wrench into the COPE machinery, not Vision their target.

NSV even issued a news release endorsing NPA candidate Bill McCreery, who actually lives in Richmond and couldn't vote for himself, along with Carr, the COPE trio and independent anti-gambling advocate Sandy Garossino.

While mayoralty candidate Randy Helten barely made a ripple in the electoral pool with his 4,007 votes, the NSV council candidates Martin, Marie Kerchum, Nicole Benson and Elizabeth Murphy took between 12,614 and 19,644 votes each. Garossino took 20,866 votes.

Ellen Woodsworth lost by 92 votes -- do the math. If even a minimal number of those voting for NSV candidates had instead supported COPE, the veteran party would still have a council seat.

Instead, what both COPE and the NPA have are evident in the...

Eighth lesson. No one likes a sore loser.

Tim Louis and Sean Bickerton, come on down!

Louis the Che Guevara fan showed notable party discipline throughout the campaign, biting his tongue because COPE had agreed to an electoral alliance with Vision Vancouver that meant neither party could criticize the other.

That discipline ended at about 8:01 p.m. Saturday, with Louis -- who I also supported -- soon lambasting both his own party and Vision for its perceived failings.

"It's very clear COPE was established many years ago to give voters an option of a party not in the pocket of developers," he told CBC Radio's Stephen Quinn Monday afternoon.

"I'm sad to say we've gone from bad to worse -- not one party controlled by developers but two," Louis said, referring to Vision Vancouver.

COPE, said Louis, has two choices: "We have to go back to our roots or go into a museum as an extinct party."

Louis predictably wants a purge of the current COPE executive so the members can "elect the right executive to be free of developers."

(Louis may not have grasped Guevara's advice that: "The desire to sacrifice an entire lifetime to the noblest of ideals serves no purpose if one works alone.")

Not to be outdone by Louis, Bickerton unloaded a broadside aimed at Anton, NPA campaign manager Norman Stowe and campaign chair Peter Armstrong.

"But the voters have spoken, decisively rejecting a mayoral campaign based on puerile, sophomoric, gotcha-style attacks and trivial wedge issues," Bickerton wrote on his personal blog after thanking supporters and campaign workers.

Bickerton ironically finished just behind Louis, leaving the two bickering candidates with less than a stellar electoral future.

The last lesson is one Bickerton and Louis could learn from, as could the NPA overall.

It's quite simple really. Doing a good job still always beats going negative.

Just ask the mayor.


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Huge win for Vision Vancouver, stinging defeat for NPA, council wipeout for COPE, first seat for Greens - all teach electoral lessons

Vision Vancouver election night party with re-elected Mayor Gregor Robertson & team
Wow!  What a fantastic, sweep - a capital V-Victory for Vision Vancouver and Mayor Gregor Robertson!

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.


Friday, November 18, 2011

Bill Tieleman's picks that click for BC municipal elections on Saturday November 19, 2011

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson and Bill Tieleman
It will come as no surprise to any of my regular readers that I am endorsing the Vision Vancouver and Coalition of Progressive Electors team in the Vancouver municipal election.

I have been a Vision/COPE supporter for a long time and unlike some bloggers and commentators who through a few token candidates into their recommendations - usually because of internal and personal politics - not policy disagreements - I will not.

I can't consider voting for a city council candidate like the Green Party's Adrianne Carr, who hasn't attended a single Vancouver council meeting till this campaign started and only moved here in the past few years from the Sunshine Coast, where she lost several provincial and other elections.

If you want to be a city councilor, not doing the time is a crime.  Adrianne is pleasant enough in person but just like Christy Clark trying to run for Vanouver's NPA mayoralty nomination in 2005 when she didn't live here, it doesn't sit right.

Carr's failure to understand Vancouver was abundantly clear when she - a Green Party candidate - actually suggested she would favour "some bike-free routes" in an opinion piece in the Georgia Straight.  When readers rebelled, Carr reversed herself.  
No wonder the Straight's Charlie Smith had asked: "Is Adriane Carr the best the Greens can offer up for Vancouver city council?" Enough said.

With Suzanne Anton the Non-Partisan Association is running its weakest mayoral candidate since the Jack Volrich years, with a collection of no-name council candidates. One of them - Bill McCreery - actually lives in Richmond and can't even vote for himself.  Another - Jason Lamarche - has been a continual embarrassment, making national news with his online system for rating women he dated, including how they performed in bed.

And there are other NPA candidates whose names I've never heard of before - and hope not to after the election.  City Caucus co-founder Mike Klassen is a known name but that NPA cheerleading blog has been so repeatedly nasty that I can't imagine rewarding them with a vote.

The newly-formed Neighbourhoods for a Sustainable Vancouver is running former Vision Vancouver member Randy Helten for mayor and four council candidates, some with COPE backgrounds, but will only act as spoilers in this election.  [Why is it that so many Vancouver folks get mad at their party and go start their own rather than try to change it?]

So here are the candidates I'll be voting for on Saturday November 19th in alphabetical order and with party indicated - followed by some out of town candidates people in their area should consider:


MAYOR - Gregor Robertson - Vision Vancouver

  1. RJ Aquino - COPE
  2. Heather Deal - Vision Vancouver
  3. Kerry Jang - Vision Vancouver
  4. Raymond Louie - Vision Vancouver
  5. Tim Louis - COPE
  6. Geoff Meggs - Vision Vancouver
  7. Andrea Reimer - Vision Vancouver
  8. Tim Stevenson - Vision Vancouver
  9. Tony Tang - Vision Vancouver
  10. Ellen Woodsworth - COPE
Vancouver Board of Education [School Board]

  1. Patti Bacchus - Vision Vancouver

  2. Al Blakey - COPE

  3. Jane Bouey - COPE

  4. Ken Clement 
- Vision Vancouver
  5. Gwen Giesbrecht - COPE
  6. Mike Lombardi 
- Vision Vancouver
  7. Cherie Payne 
- Vision Vancouver
  8. Allan Wong - COPE
  9. Rob Wynen - Vision Vancouver
Vancouver Park Board
  1. Constance Barnes - Vision Vancouver
  2. Sarah Blyth - Vision Vancouver
  3. Donalda Greenwell-Baker - COPE
  4. Brent Granby - COPE
  5. Aaron Jasper - Vision Vancouver
  6. Trevor Loke  - Vision Vancouver
  7. Niki Sharma - Vision Vancouver
In other Metro Vancouver cities there are a couple of other ways you can figure out who to vote for municipally if you are a progressive/labour oriented voters.

First - check the Vancouver and District Labour Council list of endorsed candidates for Vancouver, North Vancouver City and District and Richmond.

And see the New Westminster and District Labour Council list of endorsed candidates for Burnaby, Surrey, Delta, Maple Ridge, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Pitt Meadows, Langley City, Port Moody and New Westminster.

Second - the Canadian Auto Workers Local 111, representing Metro Vancouver bus drivers have set up a campaign website called More Buses Now.  They asked mayoralty candidates whether they support above inflation increases in TransLink funding to improve bus service and expand rapid transit.  Those answers are also helpful.

Lastly, here are some out of Metro Vancouver municipal candidates that I know and have worked with on various issues - from the Fight HST campaign against the Harmonized Sales Tax to labour campaigns and more.  

You can check information at their linked website, as I don't know the local issues or necessarily all these candidates' positions.  Nor is this meant to say that other candidates not listed aren't fine considerations too.

But in my experience, these are good people.

Nanaimo - Darcy Olsen for city council - has both labour and business support.

Kamloops - Chad Moats for city council - a Fight HST activist.

Maple Ridge - Corisa Bell - for city council - Fight HST board member who can boast Bill Vander Zalm's endorsement!

Victoria - Michael McEvoy - for school board - currently President of the BC School Trustees Association and veteran trustee.

Surrey - Stephanie Ryan - for city council - would be a good new opposition addition with SCC veteran councilor Bob Bose.

Lastly - I welcome other candidates to contact me if they want to be added to this list or to just post a comment with their info.

But whoever you favour, please get out and vote!  With turnout as low as 30% in local elections we need to respect our democratic rights - people in Syria are dying now for that right - surely we can spend a few minutes to vote!