What is happening to Vision Vancouver?
Since 2008, Mayor Gregor Robertson and his majority have ruled city hall. That’s three terms – three terms where no other challenging party has been able to reverse Vision’s course. The mayor and his councillors all seem to get along, seem to work well as a council.
Over the years, however, there has been some evidence that not all of the Vision crew wanted to continue their political voyage on the good ship Gregor.
It began several years ago with Coun. Tim Stevenson’s failed run to return to provincial politics. Geoff Meggs tried the same thing, but failed to get a nomination from the NDP. Then George Chow decided not to seek another term, only to end up this year winning a seat in the B.C. legislature.
This summer, though, was a turning point.
Meggs resigned in July to take a job as chief of staff to Premier John Horgan. That forced a byelection and led to a disastrous fifth place finish for Vision’s candidate, 21-year-old Diego Cardona. The NPA’s Hector Bremner won the race.
Now, as I write this, I’ve just learned that Andrea Reimer announced that she won’t seek re-election in next October’s municipal election. She announced her decision on Facebook, where she did not indicate what comes next for the three-term councillor.
“I don’t know and that’s exciting, if not a bit scary,” said Reimer, who previously served as a school trustee with the Green Party. “The trend in politics and public discourse towards iconoclasts is terrifying to me. History has shown us that this type of leader is devastating to social and economic justice, the environment, civil liberties and human rights.”
Reimer also indicated there is a “movement of young, Indigenous and racialized Vancouverites who have struggled to be seen and heard on their own terms by traditional political movements but who now have a platform to move forward within the city and within Vision Vancouver.”
So there goes Reimer…
That leaves Stevenson, who likely won’t run again, Kerry Jang, Raymond Louie, Heather Deal and Robertson. The only one of that group who has publicly committed – repeatedly – to run again in 2018 is the mayor.
For a couple of years now, the best rumour was that Robertson wouldn’t seek another term and allow Louie and Reimer to battle it out to be Vision’s mayoral candidate. Louie, some of you may recall, lost to Robertson when the party held a mayoral nomination race in 2008. Reimer supported Robertson, Jang supported Louie.
So maybe Robertson’s decision to seek a fourth term is what led to Reimer’s decision. I expect to speak to her soon about this. Louie, on the other hand, remains coy about his future with the party. The party’s longtime executive director, Stepan Vdovine, also left this year, taking a job in Victoria.
Meanwhile, the NPA, which was the power party prior to Vision forming in the mid-2000s, has got to be pleased with some of Vision’s heavy hitters being left off the ballot in 2018. The same reaction, no doubt, will come for those candidates and parties that fared better than Vision’s Cardona in the byelection.
Additional good news for the underfunded candidates and parties is that Reimer promised in her Facebook post that she is “determined to finally be successful in my 15-year effort to get campaign finance reform rules from the provincial government that ban corporate, union and large individual contributions in Vancouver elections.”
If that happens, Vision and the NPA won’t be allowed to run multi-million dollar campaigns.
What that will do to Vision’s re-election chances is an open question.
For now, the party holds on to its slim majority.