From now until the Oct. 20 municipal election, it’s probably best that I begin every piece about this wacky election season with a lead sentence that goes something like this: “Boy, what a wacky election season.”
So wacky that in the space of five days, this is what happened:
- Mayoral nominee Taleeb Noormohamed dropped out of Vision Vancouver’s leadership race May 31 after he suffered “a sudden cardiac event.” The 41-year-old tech entrepreneur was the only competition to Ian Campbell of the Squamish Nation. Campbell will now likely be acclaimed as Vision’s mayoral candidate (story here).
- Political outsider Ken Sim won the NPA’s mayoral nomination contest Sunday, defeating park board commissioner John Coupar and self-described financial analyst Glen Chernen. Sim won 977 votes to 602 for Coupar and 379 for Chernen (story here).
- The Vancouver and District Labour Council announced Monday it brokered tentative agreements with Vision Vancouver, the Green Party of Vancouver, OneCity, COPE and Jean Swanson, who was the runner-up in last fall’s council byelection. The agreement, I’ve been told, was struck to avoid a pile of candidates vying for limited spots on council, school board and park board (more on this below).
- Hector Bremner, the NPA city councillor who was ousted as his party’s mayoral nominee, hosted a meeting Monday night at a bar at the Woodward’s building to further discuss plans to create a new party in which he will compete to be the mayoral nominee (see Q&A here).
- Former Conservative MP Wai Young, who is reportedly running for mayor with an organization called Coalition Vancouver, issued her first news release to the Courier Monday after repeated requests over the past couple of months for an interview. (The moment I finish this piece, I’ll make another request for a chat).
The deal with Vancouver and District Labour Council, which represents 50,000 union members in Vancouver, was all the chatter Monday on Twitter. The “deal,” by the way, still has to be ratified by parties and should not be viewed as creating a coalition, but to avoid vote-splitting on the centre-left of the political spectrum.
That’s what I was told by VDLC president Stephen von Sychowski and Vision spokesperson Michael Haack. Pete Fry of the Greens has also chimed in on Twitter, saying “there is no deal to work together.”
Though VDLC’s release didn’t say how many spots each party agreed to, I did some power calling and emailing late Monday afternoon to find out. By the way, the agreement is not related to separate talks to endorse a single mayoral candidate.
The Greens will run three for council, three for park board and three for school board. OneCity will run two for council and three for school board. COPE will run two for school board, two for park board and two for council “plus Jean Swanson, should she also seek a COPE nomination,” according to COPE.
Swanson told me she will make an announcement Saturday.
Meanwhile, Vision said it will run five for council, three for school board and two for park board.
Running five for council is interesting because the VDLC agreement clearly states that after each party declares its nominees, it will “then determine endorsement for each of the five organizations in accordance with its recommendation process, and its decisions not to endorse any more candidates than the seats available, or to endorse a majority for any party at any level.”
The VDLC defines a majority as a maximum of four candidates if a party is running a mayoral candidate, and a maximum of five if it is not. With Vision running a mayoral candidate, that brings the total to six people hoping to fill the 11 spots at city hall.
What’s up with that?
Haack told me Vision wasn’t willing to run fewer candidates and recognizes the maximum the VDLC could endorse is four council candidates. The VDLC’s von Sychowski’s response to Vision’s decision to go beyond the maximum number of candidates: “In this election, we want to have everybody at the table, we want to include everybody in our process and in our discussions and our endorsements. But we don’t see any one group having dominance in that space, or having a majority position in that space.”
VDLC delegates are expected to vote July 17 on which candidates they want to endorse.
More wackiness, undoubtedly, to come.