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There are 15 candidates running for Vancouver mayor, and you get one vote—here's your first glance at all the contenders.
The Vancouver municipal election is this Saturday, October 15, so if you haven’t already planned out your votes, you should probably hit pause on your busy weeknight plans of watching all the back episodes of Taskmaster and do some homework…. or, you could just skim this article.
There’s a lot of ground to cover, between voting for city council and school board and parks board, too, but the most contentious (and glamorous) position, as always, is the run for mayor.
But here’s the thing about our glorious democracy, though: almost anyone can run for mayor. You just have to be over 18, a Canadian citizen, and have lived in B.C. for at least six months. (You also can’t be a judge or a current City of Vancouver employee or regional board employee). If you check all those boxes, you just send in 25 signatures of endorsement and a $100 deposit and you’re off to the races.
There are only 15 candidates who leapt over that low, low bar this time around, a handful fewer than the 2018 race to fill Gregor Robinson’s empty seat. And while one is an incumbent, you could also argue that current Mayor Kennedy Stewart made a historically un-notable impression on the general public during the last four years and probably has no more of a reputation than any of these other hopefuls. Is he sitting next to me as I write this in a coffee shop right now? I literally do not know. (Perhaps a signature moustache or some sort of statement headwear would be a good marketing move if he gets in for another term?)
You can read the candidates’ full platforms and bios here, but with less than a week to go, we thought it was about time to gather some first impressions. And though some candidates have clear goals and care about making their community a better place, others have, um, other priorities (like creating a TikTok account, or trying to get the nickname “The Black Joker” going). So, without further ado: your 2022 Vancouver mayoral candidates. Happy voting.
Satwant Shottha (Independant) alleges she was bullied as a City of Vancouver employee, and the experience inspired her to pursue local politics herself… though her platform seems mostly concerned with preventing developers from buying land and less about stopping meanies at city hall.
Kennedy Stewart (Forward With Kennedy Stewart), our enigmatic current mayor, focuses his platform on affordable housing, a sustainable economy, and mental health and addiction. He’s using a lot of feel-good words in his write-up (equitable! reconciliation! harm reduction!) but seems a little weird there’s no proof of what he’s already done as mayor here. (Though, granted, the pandemic threw a bit of a wrench into any best-laid plans at city hall.)
Imtiaz Popat (Independant) is ambitious, if vague: “We must work to have a city free of hate,” says Popat. A noble goal, from what seems like a sweetheart of a guy.
Colleen Hardwick (TEAM) is a current city council member and is gunning for Stewart’s spot on a platform of “restoring balance.” She wants to “keep our kids in Vancouver, without massive concrete towers everywhere”,” which is either anti-density or just anti-Brutalist-architecture, depending on how you take it.
Leona Brown (Independant) is focusing her campaign on Indigenous reconciliation and sovereignty. She’s asking for “reconcilliACTION” and it’s pretty hard to argue with that an important sentiment with strong a catch-phrase, whether or not you agree with her, er, memorable candidate photo.
Françoise Raunet (Independent) is one of the few independent candidates who actually made a website: she means business, people. Does the website ominously say, “My moral compass is clear”? Yes.
Lewis Villegas (Independant) has included in his top three priorities “Win the Olympic Bid!” so if hosting another Olympic Games is also on your list of concerns, he’s your guy.
Ping Chan’s biography is big on impressive buzzwords but low on the actual biographical information. (His Twitter account? A real “less is more” vibe.) However, if you need someone to “admit to addressing the homelessness and safety issues by bringing in considerable new revenue through innovative energy approach with Geothermal Energy for Electricity and land reclamation using the Via Ducts remnants now,” I can’t think of anyone better to recommend.
Fred Harding (NPA) is a former police officer and a current police lover, if his public safety plan (to paraphrase: more police!) is any indication. Fun fact: he’s also one of the rare candidates wearing a tie in their photo.
Mike Hansen has provided neither a candidate photo nor a platform nor a biography. He is the Mystery Box of mayors, but maybe you live for the thrill of a surprise?
Ryan Charmley (Independant): If you’re looking for a candidate who is so transparent he wants to share his 23andMe results, you found him: in his bio he notes that, biologically, he is First Nations and “carries the X2A haplogroup.” His website is packed with ideas, including a chillingly vague promise to “empower the police to enforce civility.” A lot to unpack here, but he lists his next three priorities for his website are to “study the budget, create a TikTok, and create a quotes section” so I don’t know if we’ll get more details on his idea for police-state manners any time soon?
Gölök Budan lists their pronouns as “I, Me, Myself, Individual,” so we’re off to a spicy start here. Their first priority is to “ban the feds” which I guess would make Vancouver its own country? And Golok would be the… president? Or perhaps, according to their Instagram, “#TheBlackJester.”
Dante Teti did not get it together in time to share his top priorities or biography or platform with the City of Vancouver Candidates page but he did share a nice photo of himself so we can confirm that he does have kind eyes and owns a hat, at least?
Ken Sim (ABC Vancouver) seems to be the most likely front-runner at this point… or at least the candidate with the biggest marketing budget, given the amount of posters and community-fair booths we’ve spotted around town. As founder of Rosemary Rocksalt and a volunteer on the hospital board and on the downtown Eastside, he’s obviously got a soft spot for both harm reduction and carbs.
Mark Marissen (Progress Vancouver) is obsessed with housing, as any true Vancouverite is. His platform with Progress Vancouver lists an impressive 12 specific ideas for improving affordable housing in the city, and his personal experience as an entrepreneur and advisor includes launching the Millennium, Evergreen and Canada Line Skytrain routes. Choo choooo!
Now that you have a general idea of either who to vote for or who to wincingly roll your eyes at from the mayor candidate pool, it’s time to do your research for the rest of the categories before voting day. Explore the City of Vancouver’s voting guide here… and we’ll see you at the polls on Saturday.