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.

Metro Canada (Vancouver) - - FRONT PAGE -

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.”

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