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If you’ve read the title and clicked on this article, you’ve come here to read me bash the mayor of Vancouver. And while I intend to deliver on the headline, I need to get a few things straight.
First, no matter what some of the Twitter comments on our Power 50 article would have you believe, Vancouver magazine isn’t tied to any political party.
And second, though you’ll have to work through the back catalogue of some of my articles to pinpoint my political leanings, I will say that I voted for an independent candidate for mayor in 2018’s municipal election (was it Roller Girl? I’ll never tell).
With that out of the way, yes, Vancouver mayor Kennedy Stewart is throwing a holiday fundraising event online, with money seemingly going to his own re-election campaign. You read that right: A sitting politician is attempting to raise money for his own campaign in two years.
Instead of gearing the fundraiser to, I don’t know, organizations tackling Black or Indigenous discrimination or the opioid crisis or supporting small businesses or housing or any number of issues that have been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, Stewart thinks now is a good time to grease the wheels of his dormant campaign bus.
The event will be hosted by NDP MLA Katrina Chen and will feature “special guests, a musical performance and an invitation for everyone to share their resolutions and hopes for next year.”
Of course, you’re only “invited” to do so by spending some dough. Donors of $50 get into the Supporter Circle (comes with a free sticker!), but you’ll have to cough up $250 to join the Friends of Kennedy Stewart Circle, and an oddly specific $1,224 to gain access to the Leadership Circle.
I’m definitely going to try “Hey man, love being buddies with you and everything but I’m going to need $250 to keep this thing going, no big deal or anything,” on all my friends. Think they’d really appreciate it.
Also “sharing resolutions and hopes for next year” sure sounds like “lobbying on the sly” but hey, what do I know? There are also probably better ways to spend those dollars if you’re trying to make change happen, since the mayor has repeatedly been stymied by a divided council during his term.
I will give him credit for making progress on decriminalizing drugs, tripling the empty homes tax and advocating for an actually progressive transportation plan (even if the latter might mean the re-emergence of the NPA in two years).
I’d tell him all that at Kennedy’s Holiday Social (hoped this was just the working title, doesn’t look like it) but, um, did I mention we hate the idea of it?