Top mayoral candidates emphasize leadership in first Vancouver debate

NPA's Anton accuses Vision's Robertson of "wishy-washy" agenda, he charges her with inconsistency

Vancouver mayoral candidates Suzanne Anton of the NPA and Gregor Robertson of Vision Vancouver met for their first debate of the civic election campaign Friday morning to reiterate their platform promises, defend their records and level accusations against one another.

The candidates took questions from Courier reporter Mike Howell and answered a few submitted by readers before they put questions to one another in an open segment of the debate.

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Both declared a commitment to leadership.

Non-Partisan Association candidate and two-term councillor Anton promised decisive leadership from a common-sense team and accused the incumbent mayor of inconsistency and jumping on an economic and environmental freight train established by the previous NPA government.

Thats why Gregor can boast about being the greenest city because its decades of good decisions made by NPA councils. It is not a wishy-washy green plan, she said, dismissing Visions green initiatives as wacky and goofy.

Robertson, whos seeking a second term as mayor with Vision Vancouver, argued his majority council clearly laid out its housing and environmental agendas, as opposed to the NPA and Antons current platform, which he implied lacks foresight.

I know where I stand on bike lanes, I know where I stand on mega casinos, I know where I stand on homelessness and taking action on it, he said during the open debate. I dont know where Suzanne stands on these.

He said Anton was disingenuous and guilty of revisionist history.

Anton vowed to build a streetcar in the city, to create a red tape commissioner at city hall and she pressured Robertson to disclose the cost of the Olympic Village.

The debate, which lasted just under an hour, was held at the Mount Pleasant Community Centre before Courier cameras, journalists and representatives from the NPA and Vision Vancouver. The proceedings were followed live on Twitter with heavy interest from readers.

Videos of the debate will be posted on the Courier site by Monday.

Twitter: @MHStewart

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