ELECTION ROYAL RUMBLE
Metro asked six Vancouver council candidates to pen the reasons why you should vote for them in Saturday’s civic byelection. Some responses were trimmed for length. Please check out the candidates’ full text at metronews.ca/vancouver.
Vancouver council byelection candidates on why they deserve your vote
Judy Graves, One City
The city needs class collaboration, not class war. When I was born back in 1949, I lived with my parents in a single attic room they rented, but not for long. Because my father had fought in WWII, we qualified for a newly built two-bedroom house. It was veterans’ housing, built by the Canadian government.
At the time, elected officials scrambled to help that generation find secure, decent housing.
Vancouver city council could be scrambling to solve this generation’s housing crisis, too. It hasn’t.
Average one-bedroom rentals are now $2,000 a month, homelessness has doubled, seniors are terrified of being reno-victed, young families are fleeing to the suburbs and beyond. This is a problem from the West End to Marpole, and Renfrew Heights to West Point Grey.
It doesn’t have to be this way. But fixing housing will take courage and common sense. As a long-time city staffer (I am now retired), I understand how real change happens: though building relationships, and implementing achievable solutions.
Simply put, we will build thousands of new rental apartments in Vancouver, on land the city already owns. To pay for it, I plan to put a surtax on the top five per cent of Vancouver’s most expensive homes.
I raised my daughter in rentals in this city; she and her young family have left because governments are not scrambling for her the way they did for my own parents. It’s time to build a Vancouver for everyone.
Hector Bremner, Non-Partisan Association
Our ability to live in this city, to have our kids live in this city, is in real jeopardy and we need to come together to solve this housing crisis. For the past nine years, this government has avoided making tough decisions on housing and you can see the results on the DTES and in house and rental prices at every level across our city. Every month that goes by without addressing this problem together is a month in which we dig deeper into this hole.
Other candidates in this race are talking about backwardlooking solutions on the housing crisis while they ignore our supply crisis. They talk about rent controls, taxes or basement suites and shipping containers to house people. They are also pitting rich against poor, renter against owner. They are actually making the supply crisis worse. The reality is more than 30,000 people move here every year. We would have to build housing equivalent to the size of Killarney neighbourhood every five years just to keep up with that demand, let alone improve the price and rental crisis.
That is the scale of housing supply we need to be adding to our city; I want to do this in a way that brings us together to build all the types of housing we need. I want to put away the blaming, division and pointing fingers and instead figure out how we do this.
Make a plan to vote this Saturday, and bring a friend to the polls, too.
Mary Jean Dunsdon, Independent
I’m running for city council to be a fresh voice for the people and ideas currently being ignored at city hall.
I am a small business owner who runs The Licorice Parlour, which has two storefronts in the city. I love Vancouver, and I want our city to be as fun, healthy and beautiful as it can be!
To make it easier to get around town, I want to end Vancouver’s ban on ridesharing apps, and even explore creating our own local ride-share system, much like Edmonton’s successful Tappcar program.
I also want to give out more taxi licenses, something current city council has refused to do. Further, I believe Vancouver should look into offering some free local bus service to selected parts of the city.
I want to help solve the deadly overdose crisis, which is killing good people in our city every single day. We need free stations and maybe a mobile van where anyone can get street drugs tested for potency, purity and the presence of fentanyl.
I am the only candidate who is standing up for dispensaries, and pledging to protect our local cannabis economy during the transition to legalization. I believe that cannabis dispensaries aren’t a problem, and are actually a big part of the solution to some of our social and economic issues.
I also believe Vancouver’s ban on indoor vaping needs to be modified, to allow licensed indoor lounges where people can vaporize, or use cannabis, in a social setting.
Jean Swanson, Independent
This campaign for city council is about winning a rent freeze — a zero per cent increase for four years. It’s about using a mansion tax to build modular homes for every homeless person in one year, and truly affordable co-op and social housing and giving land back to Indigenous people in subsequent years.
These policies meet the actual needs of Vancouverites — of the 2,100 people sleeping on the streets and the 18,000 people paying more than 50 per cent of their income on rent.
You won’t hear this from the developer-funded parties. Our campaign is funded by smaller donations from more individuals than any other campaign that’s released their financials in this election. That’s part of why I’m completely free to call for the things that people need.
And what we need is to strengthen our democracy by registering all voters, extending the vote to permanent residents, and finally bringing in a ward system and fair voting.
We need a real Sanctuary City policy where everyone without immigration status is truly free to access essential services without fear of detention and deportation.
And we need to put an end to the judgment that’s keeping us from really fighting this opioid crisis. We need clean and safe drugs and treatment on demand to save lives now. These policies have resonated with young and old, lower-income and middle-class. That’s why people are coming up to me all the time saying they’ll vote for a rent freeze, a mansion tax, and for a truly livable city.
Pete Fry, Green
I’m a lover and a fighter. I’m running for city council because I love this place. This has been my hometown for better and for worse since immigrating here as a child. I care deeply about this city and the people who live here.
It’s no secret we have big problems: housing un-affordability, people living on the streets, near zero vacancy and crippling rents. Neither Vision Vancouver nor the NPA are offering any real change — both are bankrolled by the same developer donors that have been driving our growing housing disparity; building for speculator profits instead of local need. Greens are the only elected party that don’t take donations from the development industry.
Electing me to join Adriane Carr as another Green councillor means we can second each other’s motions: introducing policy for public debate and challenging the two developer-backed parties to put public interest first.
We have a good platform with achievable action items to address some of our city’s most pressing issues: better government and governance, people as a priority, protection for small business and arts, building a smart sustainable city, and a new fair deal on housing. No more empty promises that rely on senior levels of government to enact.
Diego Cardona, Vision Vancouver
Vision Vancouver council candidate Diego Cardona did not submit his response by Metro deadline.
His official biography on the party’s website calls him a “fresh new voice” on the political scene.
“Diego is the spokesperson for the Vancouver Foundation’s Fresh Voices initiative, a youth-led group of immigrants and refugees making British Columbia a better place for young newcomers. He also works in his community as the Programs Coordinator for Kiwassa Neighbourhood House where he manages services for marginalized youth, Indigenous youth, and young mothers. He has also worked with the Federation of BC Youth In Care Networks, the BC Poverty Reduction Coalition, and Immigrant Services Society of BC. In 2016, he was named one of BC’s Top 10 under 20 by the Globe and Mail.”