I’m sure all of you municipal politics junkies might have overdosed on the amount of stories written and broadcast Thursday about Shauna Sylvester announcing that she’s running as an independent for mayor of Vancouver.
Well, I’ve got another one.
It’s about Sylvester deciding not to run for mayor.
That’s right, Sylvester told a couple of reporters after her official launch that she would shut down her campaign if someone else stepped up who can “unify this city in a way that I cannot.”
I asked: Would that someone be Green Party Coun. Adriane Carr, who still hasn’t ruled out a mayoral run?
“I think Adriane has made a decision to only run as a Green candidate,” she said. “So I think that would suggest that she can’t unify this city, if she’s only going to run as a Green candidate.”
Well, well, well…Carr can’t unify the city?
I called up Carr and read her that exact quote.
“It’s true that I’ve indicated that I’m ready and willing to run, but as a Green,” she said, pointing out her long history with the party. “It’s about transparency for me, it’s about being genuine, it’s about being honest. The public knows I’m a Green.”
She continued: “Where Shauna is wrong is that being Green doesn’t mean you can’t unify. I am working all the time at the council table to unify council. Greens, actually, in many circumstances around the world are a unifying force—collaborative in the style of politics, eschewing hyper partisanship.”
Carr said Sylvester’s entry into the mayoral race doesn’t change her plan to meet with OneCity, COPE and Vision Vancouver to gauge whether those parties would endorse her as a mayoral candidate. Sylvester, for the record, doesn’t yet have the support of any of those parties.
“If I’m the candidate that the other parties say, ‘Yep, she’s got the best chance to win, she’s got that experience and the collaborative style that we’re looking for,’ then I’ll run for mayor,” Carr said. “If I don’t get that support, then my chances to win go way down.”
Interestingly, Carr said she and Sylvester had telephone conversations leading up to Sylvester’s announcement Thursday. Carr’s understanding from those conversations was that Sylvester would step aside if Carr were to run for mayor as a Green, which is not what Sylvester said in Thursday’s scrum.
“She indicated to me that if I stepped forward, and if I declare as the mayoral candidate, she wouldn’t run,” Carr said. “I don’t know how she’s interpreting when I say ‘running.’ So I’m clear with you, I’ve never changed my position since the AGM of the Green Party, which is I’m ready and willing to run [as a Green].”
Carr was clear that she does not want to have her and Sylvester battle it out at the ballot box. That competition for centre-left votes, she said, would give rise to the Non-Partisan Association.
Carr does not want a repeat of last October’s byelection, where four candidates on the left siphoned off each other’s votes and gave the NPA’s Hector Bremner a clear path to victory.
Carr couldn’t say when she’ll make a decision on a mayoral run, but expects it be sooner than later.
“I’m not foolish enough to run, if I don’t think I have a good chance to win,” she said of the fight for the mayor's seat, which will be left vacant by the retiring Mayor Gregor Robertson.
When I spoke to Sylvester earlier in the week, I suggested it was a gamble to announce her candidacy for mayor without confirming support from OneCity, COPE, the Greens and Vision Vancouver.
Her response: “And that is a gamble I’m willing to take.”
The election is Oct. 20.