“A historical breakthrough.”
That’s how the Green Party’s Adriane Carr described her win to the Courier Saturday night after a nail biter of an evening that saw the candidate waffle between 10th and 11th place for the 10th seat on Vancouver city council until the last poll had closed.
Carr, deputy leader of the federal Green Party, told the Courier her win was the result of her hard work and that of her team members, who celebrated her win with tears and cheers Saturday night. The small crowd gathered in the Dominion Building ran the gamut from jubilation to despair to jubilation as Carr’s numbers poured in. And it came down to the last poll before Carr was announced as winning the 10th seat on council after a long, emotionally fraught evening.
This win for Carr was pivotal. In 2000, Carr was elected leader of the Green Party of B.C., which she co-founded and led in the early 1980s. Carr became the first Green Party leader in Canada to participate in televised Leader’s debates and in 2001 led the party to its best ever electoral results. But her failed attempts in previous elections are numerous.
Carr’s previous (unsuccessful) election history include two bids in Vancouver Point Grey in 1983, a run for a school board seat in Vancouver in 1984, two attempts in Powell River-Sunshine Coast in 2001 and 2005, a byelection in Surrey-Panorama Ridge in 2004 and two federal elections in Vancouver-Centre in 2008 and 2011. Carr’s closest bid for office was the one in Powell River-Sunshine Coast in 2001 when she placed 33 votes behind second place finisher Gordon Wilson of the NDP.
It wasn’t all good news for the Greens Saturday night. At about 9:30 p.m., Stuart Mackinnon, the Green Party incumbent for park board told the Courier, “I’m toast,” after polls clearly showed him falling further behind what looked at 9:45 p.m. like another Vision Vancouver majority. Mackinnon told the Courier he’s proud of the work he did in his three-year term in keeping Vision’s “feet to the fire.”
“And especially around community flower gardens and keeping washrooms on the agenda,” said Mackinnon. “What I most regret is not being able to stop Vision from imposing fees for preschoolers.”
With the exception of Mackinnon, the Green Party’s election success in Vancouver has been varied. Roslyn Cassells won a park board seat as a Green Party member in 1999, but was later expelled from the party. Returning Vision Vancouver Coun. Andrea Reimer was initially elected to school board in 2002 as a Green Party member.
Green Party school board candidate Louise Boutin also clearly didn’t stand a chance as early results showed her trailing the pack of candidates.
Carr told the Courier she was proud to have run this campaign with Mackinnon and Boutin at her side.
“It was Stuart who inspired me to run,” said Carr.
Mackinnon also had some final words.
“They thought I was trouble at the park board? Just wait until Adriane starts on council,” he said with a laugh.