Greens drop candidate over city lawsuit

The Green Party of Vancouver has decided to drop one of its four nominees for a city council seat in November’s election because of the spectre of a lawsuit being launched against the city regarding the massive Oakridge development.

Tracey Moir, who founded the Oakridge-Langara Area Residents Association to fight the development, said she came to a mutual agreement with the party to renounce her candidacy.

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“Councillors aren’t allowed to be encouraging neighbourhood groups to litigate against the city,” Moir told the Courier after the party announced the news Sunday at its nomination meeting in a building on Richards Street. “Because I’m very supportive of the neighbourhood of Oakridge-Langara, should they decide they want to litigate against the city for the Oakridge Centre mall rezoning, that basically means I’m not able to be considered for a council position.”

In some ways, Moir said, she is disappointed not to run in the campaign. But, she added, “my neighbourhood is super important to me” and that in an ideal world she would do both.

Moir’s decision leaves the Greens with Coun. Adriane Carr and community activists Pete Fry and Cleta Brown as the party’s three council candidates, all of whom were endorsed Sunday by about 40 members.

Carr acknowledged “it was a stretch” for the party to go from running one candidate for council in 2011 to four this year. Unless “an exceptionally strong candidate” shows interest, the party will stick to three candidates for council, she said.

“I think now the chances of us electing all three are higher,” said Carr, who narrowly won the last council seat in the 2011 election. “It’s going to be tough work and we don’t have the big budgets of the other parties."

She was referring to Vision Vancouver and the NPA, which spent more than $2 million each in the 2011 race. Both parties are expected to again run expensive campaigns, heavily backed by developers and unions.

The Greens will also run candidates for school board and park board and determine the number of candidates at a June 19 meeting, followed by a nomination contest Sept. 21.

The party has yet to decide on whether it will run a mayoral candidate and it appears the Greens will not seek a coalition with other parties on the ballot.

“We haven’t voted to say we’re not going to pursue a coalition but the strong feeling expressed at the board level and by the members in meetings is to not pursue a coalition,” she said.

Members debated policy ideas Sunday that could form some of the Greens’ campaign platform. Issues included lowering the voting age, the cost of seniors’ housing, rising rents for small businesses and affordable housing for young families.

Members also requested Carr move ahead with a motion or amendment at city hall to call for a plebiscite on Kinder Morgan’s plans to almost triple the amount of oil it processes through its Burnaby terminal, where tankers load up with bitumen before navigating the waters around Vancouver.

Carr said she was buoyed by a recent poll conducted by Justason Market Intelligence that showed the Greens’ popularity continues to grow, with one in four voters (24 per cent) in favour of a Green majority.

Carr said the Greens now have more than 200 members.

Meanwhile, the election race got more crowded Monday with former COPE council candidate RJ Aquino announcing a new party called OneCity, which is backed by former Vancouver-Kensington NDP MLA David Chudnovsky and endorsed by David Eby, the NDP MLA for Vancouver-Point Grey. So far, Aquino is the party's only candidate and setting his sights on council.

“For those with greater economic means and power, Vancouver is a very different city than for the many who struggle to call the city home,” Aquino wrote on the party’s website. “OneCity speaks to our desire for a new direction — a Vancouver strengthened and united through equity, affordability and diversity.”

The election is Nov. 15.

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