Price Tags: Now that Gregor Robertson has withdrawn from the race (and Andrea Reimer, Geoff Meggs and George Affleck – so far), who’s likely to be a candidate? Here are my thoughts (plus SFU political scienctist David Moscrop’s), as reported in the Sun. (BTW, I’m not a political scientist nor an urban planner – but thanks for the compliments).
Gordon Price, a political scientist and former director of Simon Fraser University’s city program, said he doesn’t know who Vision will run, but expects the mayoral race to attract candidates from senior levels of government.
“It would certainly be an opportunity for someone who has a sufficient degree of charisma — an overused word, but I think appropriate here,” he said.
“Can you get people’s attention in a highly fragmented world in order to establish an identity for the party that people will park their vote with?”
Price, an NPA councillor from 1986-2002, said when the NPA’s Hector Bremner won a council seat in the October byelection — and was trailed by independent Jean Swanson and the Green party’s Pete Fry, with Vision far behind — the electorate demonstrated it was willing to “entertain and understand substantial policy ideas,” particularly those related to housing.
With Robertson leaving, “all parties are now going to be confronted with a kind of existential change in Vancouver,” he said. He believes Vision recognizes its “best-by date” has come and gone.
“You just accumulate this baggage and no matter whether you have a good record, all your people are going to see are the stains or the inadequacies,” he said.
SFU political scientist David Moscrop said he’d long considered Vision councillors Reimer and Geoff Meggs to be the top contenders among its councillors. However, with Reimer not running and Meggs taking a position as Premier John Horgan’s chief of staff last year, that’s no longer the case.
“Of course, 10 months is a long time in politics,” Moscrop said. “Things could change.”
He also expects the race to attract federal and provincial politicians, along with high-profile businesspeople.
“Especially since not only is this a high-profile city — an important domestic and global city — cities are becoming increasingly important, where more and more people live,” he said. “They’re going to play a huge role in housing, transportation, climate change — even health.”
Moscrop believes Vision can survive without Robertson, buoyed by incumbency and in spite of its “battle scars” and the electorate’s frustration with other issues that “may or may not have been its fault.”
A further thought: This is a good time for a woman to run with impetus and credibility not present to the same degree in elections past. (Imagine if someone like May Brown, a remarkable alderman in the TEAM council of the 1970s, ran today.)
There is always some spillover of American trends in the Canadian scene (though often not transferable to our electoral system). But a woman who represents the new empowerment of the #MeToo movement while both retaining Vision’s progressive constituency and building support from enough of the NPA electorate could be well-positioned to become Vancouver’s first female mayor. It’s time.