Four people consider becoming Vision Vancouver’s mayoral candidate

Vision Coun. Raymond Louie says he is still mulling a run for mayor in this year’s campaign

12th and Cambie

Here’s another twist to the municipal election campaign: I’ve heard that four people are considering seeking the mayoral nomination with Vision Vancouver.

You probably have some questions about that bit of news.

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I thought Vision wasn’t running a mayoral candidate?

Not true. The party has given anyone interested in taking over for the retiring Gregor Robertson until Monday, April 16 to “express their interest” in a mayoral run.

Which means the party will see who's interested and then discuss whether it would be wise to run a candidate.

Who are the four potential candidates?

One is Vision Coun. Raymond Louie, who told me Friday that he still hadn’t made up his mind whether he will take the next step to tell the party he’s in. He’s the one who told me three others are interested but he wouldn’t give names, gender, etc.

“It’s up to them to make their announcements and such,” said Louie, who has been a city councillor since first elected with COPE in 2002; he later helped form Vision and ran with the party in the 2005 race.

Louie was careful to say that even if he tells the party he’s in, readers should not conclude that it’s his final decision. Still a lot to consider, he said, with all that is going on with other centre-left parties and who they want to be their mayoral candidate.

Still, four possible candidates for Vision—that’s interesting on several levels.

Here’s why…

You’ve probably heard that longtime Vision supporter and former board member Shauna Sylvester announced last week that she is running for mayor as an independent. You also probably heard that Green Party Coun. Adriane Carr is still mulling a run with her party, buoyed by a recent poll suggesting she would win.

But, as many of us on the beat have reported, the centre-left does not want to compete against each other in the race for mayor in the Oct. 20 election. As Carr told me last week, she still has to gauge whether the so-called progressive parties, including Vision, would endorse her run.

Sylvester has said she would step aside, if another person steps up who could better unify the city than her; she told me that person wasn’t Carr, as long as she stays with the Green Party. I wrote about this spat between the two last week. You can read it here.

I asked Louie if he would support Sylvester—that’s, of course, if he doesn’t run for mayor, or his party decides not to run a mayoral candidate.

“I may in the end,” he said. “I think that she’s a fine candidate that has taken the step, and I applaud her for taking that step in putting herself up for consideration.”

He said he has spoken to Sylvester since she announced her run.

“I congratulated her in putting her name forward, and thanked her,” Louie said. “She’s certainly working hard in the community. I know that she has a good record of working in the community for a number of years, and I think she’s a strong candidate.”

After hearing his reaction to Sylvester’s run, hard to believe Louie would be interested in a mayoral run, although he told me it was “an understatement” to suggest there was a crowd of people wanting him to run. He told me a “significant” number of people want him to run and they believe he has the skill sets to lead the city.

OK, but let’s say you didn’t run for mayor. Would you support Carr in a bid for the mayor’s chair?

Louie didn’t really say.

Instead, he said that…well…I’ll just quote him here so you can decipher where his support lies:

“I’ve worked closely with Adriane, as well. I can say quite positively that I think I can work with Adriane on an ongoing basis—whether she’s on council, or ends up as the mayor of the City of Vancouver. I’ve always had a good working relationship with Adriane, and I think she would say the same for myself.”

The bottom line for Louie is that he doesn’t want the Non-Partisan Association to win back city hall. He and his Vision mates have been in power since 2008. If you count his three years as a COPE councillor, Louie has been part of a majority government for almost 13 years.

He was only in opposition for three years, when Sam Sullivan’s NPA ruled city hall from 2005 to 2008. Some history about Louie’s mayoral ambitions: In 2008, he battled Robertson and Al De Genova in Vision’s mayoral race and finished second.

Anyway, I’ll leave you with this quote from Louie, who has a masterful way of answering a question without directly answering a question when asked five or six different ways whether he’s in, or out.

“The time will be right when the time is right.”

Kind of reminded me of former prime minister Jean Chretien’s response to a reporter’s question back in my Richmond days. The reporter asked a “what if” question. I forget the topic, but I remember Chretien’s answer.

“If, if, if…if my grandmother was born with wheels, she could have been a bus.”

Not exactly sure what Chretien meant, but it was kind of funny.

Have a good weekend, everybody.

mhowell@vancourier.com

@Howellings

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