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The bar to run for mayor in Vancouver, it turns out, is so low you might accidentally step over it and then look around and realize you’ve been elected. You’ve just got to be older than 18, a Canadian citizen and have lived in B.C. for at least six months. Oh, and you can’t be a judge or a current City of Vancouver employee or regional board employee. Then, you just send in 25 signatures and a $100 deposit and that’s it—you’re a contender for Gregor’s still-warm seat.Twenty-one Vancouverites made it through this rigorous screening process to get themselves on your ballot for the October 20 election. Last time around, there were only nine contenders, so there’s more than double the number of characters to sift through before you can put in your vote for Vancouver’s Next Top Mayor.When Gregor decided not to run again, it left Vision Vancouver hunting for options, and ultimately the party decided to not run a candidate, worried that a half-hearted choice would just split the leftie vote and allow the more right-leaning NPA to swoop in to victory. (Vision Vancouver is, however, running candidates for council, school board and park board.)So with no incumbent mayor, no clear front-runners and less than a month to go before election day, we decided it was time to do a little homework to gather at least some first impressions.
While some candidates have clearly been putting time and thought into reaching voters, explaining their platforms and sharing their qualifications, others have…oh, what’s the word?…not.Listen, we’re not saying you need to have an official URL or website to be a great mayor, or that you need big developers to buy you swanky billboards, or even that you need to have a job (in fact, only nine candidates listed anything under the “income” category of their financial disclosure statements). We would suggest, however, that if you are running for mayor, maybe change your Twitter bio from “Im the LEADEROfEarth 4.5 Billion humans use my invention the wheel.” (Call us old-fashioned.)Without further ado…please welcome to the ballot, your mayoral candidates for the 2018 Vancouver municipal election:
Maynard Aubichon Maybe you won’t be bothered that he was charged with assaulting a bus driver in 2016? Maybe his unhinged Twitter diatribes will strike you as refreshing and fun?Hector Bremner (Yes Vancouver) Bremner is a current city councillor focused on “fixing the city’s broken housing market” with the new Yes Vancouver party he started this past June. He’s collected a few fans already, it seems: a series of billboards sponsored by a mysterious third-party group turned out to be the work of developer Peter Wall.Gölök Zoltán Buday This is the sixth run for mayor for this “philosophical libertarian,” who jotted down “N/A” on every part of his financial disclosure statement.Sean Cassidy On his website, Cassidy says the outgoing mayor and council “decimated” his hometown and proposes that his experience working for the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation on national housing policy and his work with the Economic Development Corporation makes him a better candidate.Ping Chan Chan is the director for Canada Summit College, but not much other info is floating around out there. But perhaps a quiet, humble mayor who avoids the spotlight is exactly the type of person you want running your city? Introverts, rise up!David Chen (ProVancouver) Chen is a real Renaissance man (a Renaissance man in favour of affordable homes, responsive government and small businesses). He’s got a degree from McGill in human physiology, and two more from UBC in biopsychology and social psychology. He works as a professional consultant on aging and is a financial planner for families with disabilities, but past jobs include scuba diver trainer, first aid trainer and an amateur radio operator. Will being the mayor maybe be too boring for a man with so many diverse interests? Maybe he can keep up the scuba gig on the side.Angela “Rollergirl” Dawson You’ve likely seen Rollergirl directing traffic against the police’s wishes and cruising down the Drive in her pink tutu and wheels, but perhaps you haven’t seen her prolific Youtube channel that documents her life in the city and now, her run for office. Will she put as much dedication into civic politics as her Rollergirl brand?Connie Fogal (IDEA Vancouver) Fogal’s late husband was former COPE councillor Harry Rankin, but she has plenty of her own street cred, as a retired lawyer, former parks commissioner, former leader of the Canadian Action Party and an owner/investor of numerous ventures. IDEA’s platform pushes for “zoning for people, not developers” and saving middle-class homes, gardens and basement suites. (Are basement suites in danger? We’re learning a lot today.)Mike Hansen With no platforms posted anywhere online, it’s tough to discern what Mike Hansen stands for. One Georgia Straight article reported that his 2014 mayoral application promised he wouldn’t travel outside of the Vancouver area—so the one thing we do know, if Hansen wins, is where to find him.Fred Harding (Vancouver 1st) Former police officer Fred Harding is the leader of the pack for new party Vancouver 1st. The party website is less than informative (They have a newsletter! About what? Unclear.), but if you like the idea of using fun nicknames like “Detective Mayor,” he might be the candidate for you.Sophia Cherryse Kaur Kaiser Kaiser identified herself as a “macrocosm” on her financial statements and declared her only property as “my body which is not chattel.”Jason Lamarche Hot off the presses is this fun news story about Lamarche shaving off a “problematic stache” after being accused of racism. He ran for the NPA in 2011, but is returning as an independent candidate this time around (with the advantage of being at the top of the ballot list this year, which was determined by random draw rather than the traditional alphabetic layout).Katy Le Rougetel This candidate is currently employed as a cashier at Walmart, but has been making her way across Canada over the past decades with various other mayoral attempts (Montreal, Calgary) under a communist platform. On the Civic Info BC website, her website link is listed as theMilitant.com.Satie Shottha Shottha seems like a tell-it-like-it-is kind of candidate. Her financial disclosure statement says simply, “I own a home, a car and another condo.” Her Twitter account reveals that she’s running for “the top job” because she says she’s been “threatened, harassed and blackmailed” by the City of Vancouver and CUPE Local 15. Her main platform appears to be that she “needs a job” and wants to “stop bullying at the City of Vancouver”—to be fair, there are plenty of worse reasons to run for mayor.Tim Ly Like Rollergirl, Ly also has a YouTube channel, though his five videos are all from three years ago and feature pretty meagre view counts. With no other web presence, these are all we have for clues of the man he is today—a man who maybe still lives in a house with a fireplace and owns at least a pink shirt and a blue shirt.Lawrence Massey Another mystery man. Sometimes it’s thrilling not to know what you’re going to get—the element of surprise!—so we suppose he has that advantage?Ken Sim (NPA) The Vancouver-born owner of Rosemary Rocksalt and Nurse Next Door is naturally keen to boost the local economy and support independent businesses, with plans to do so via consistent taxing and simplified business applications. Housing, too, is part of his (and the NPA’s) platform, with promises to allow two secondary suites in detached homes, fast-track housing for low-income Vancouverites and stop “sweetheart deals” with developers.Kennedy Stewart The author and former SFU prof was elected as an NDP MP in 2011 and is one of the only candidates who lists “taking action on opioids” as a major platform point in addition to affordable housing and democratic reform.Shauna Sylvester The SFU professor and director of the Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue has a robust biography to say the least, featuring a rich history of activism (helping with AIDS education in the ’80s, environmental development in the ’90s, leading the Mayor’s Task Force on Affordable Housing more recently) and business acumen. Her goals centre around housing (surprise!) but also supporting creativity, innovation and “happy cities.”Wai Young (Coalition Vancouver) Young has experience working in the DTES and with social housing projects, but her recent populist and conservative rhetoric seems to swerve from her history of do-goodery. Also, her policy is VERY anti-bike lane—what did bike lanes do to Wai Young?John Yano Though he’s a former member of the executive of the B.C. NDP and apparently current member of the executive of COPE, Yano is running as an Independent. His focus is on affordable housing and “leadership that will not only listen but will act based on the feedback of residents.”Twenty-one candidates later, it’s clear that not all applications are created equal—though they all seem to agree that we’ve got to change something about the housing here. Nevertheless, regardless of experience, or even proof of existence (Massey? Are you out there?) you’ll find them all on that ballot October 20. We’re wishing you good luck in that voting booth… and even more luck to City Hall.