Category Archives: NPA

Why Vancouver’s NPA Lost Badly Today

Because I like to make electoral predictions, I guessed that the NPA would elect 5 people to various councils in Vancouver. It turns out I was generous. They got 4 in, unless more official results in the coming days alter that.

This doesn’t really prove that the NPA is dead. Corporate donations will keep the NPA or some future clone alive forever, regardless of the fact that the 4 NPAs elected will likely never cast a meaningful vote in the next 3 years. This is good because I’m quite tired of Ken Denike. But that’s another story. Ask me over a beer at the Public Lounge some time. Even if Kennedy Stewart were right and they were totally wiped off all councils, they’d still be back, strong as ever with their corporate cash.

Here are some of the stories that made for today’s COPE/Vision/Green win, in their order of significance:

Populism!

North American politics are populist right now. Obama, the rise in the federal NDP, the federal Liberals’ inability to raise more funds from more people than the federal NDP, and the mobilization of people rejecting apathy to join Vision Vancouver–all these show that citizens matter. The NPA is like the federal Conservatives and Liberals: complacent, corporate-friendly parties that have never felt the need to <irony>pander</irony> to human beings for money and volunteer support, while relying on corporate cash to use the media to encourage enough voters to drink their Kool-aid.

The progressive win in Vancouver is a testament to grassroots mobilization. And as much as the Republicans demeaned Obama as being a community organizer, that’s exactly what got him ahead of Hillary Clinton and into the White House, and what got the NPA machine out of Vancouver city hall.

This is also why the BC Liberals’ recent Whistler convention was demonizing the NDP all day, all the time: they’re afraid of being tied in the polls, they’re fiscal neoliberal Milton Friedman worshippers during the biggest global economic crisis in capitalism in a century, they watched Obama get elected and Harper not win a majority [despite calling the election for before the US election, knowing he’ll never get a majority after Obama wins], and they know that even with the soft fascist censorship of Bill 42, they are screwed because they are as unable to mobilize human beings to vote them into a third term in May as the NPA was in recent weeks. [Exhale. Sorry for the long sentence!]

The right always loses to mobilized progressives who get out the vote by shedding the apathy we’re lured into by the cynical right wing. And the provincial NDP just successfully ran its third dress rehearsal for the May 2009 election [working on the federal election, the 2 Vancouver by-elections and the munis]. Obama has a database of 3 million contributors. He will not be throwing that away now that he’s elected. He’ll mobilize it. The NPA and the BC and federal Liberals and Conservatives will never have that. But progressives do.

Red States, Blue States

The map of mayoral votes: can you say red states, blue states?

mayorrace2008f

OK, even with no guarantee of data quality and with some oversimplifications, if you know anything about the rich and poor in Vancouver, this map makes perfect sense. Where do the rich and/or conservative live? Yaletown, Point Grey, south of 16th and west of Main, the bedroom community/pseudo-suburb of southeast Vancouver. No surprise, all red for the NPA. Coal Harbour would go NPA if it weren’t largely filled with empty condos owned by thousands foreigners needing a Vancouver home.

Where do the not so rich or conservative, and/or working class and/or immigrants who didn’t buy their citizenship and/or young and/or single live? Everywhere else, where people outnumber the NPA voters and voted Gregor green.

The $100 Million Olympic Village Elephant

Peter Ladner and so many others commenting on the $100 million problem with loaning the Olympic Village development with our cash still don’t get it. It’s not about how certain things happen in-camera. It’s not about whether councilors were fully informed before voting. It’s not about the privacy of businesses. “It’s the economy, stupid!”

Here’s how. Stephen Harper’s sweater vest didn’t save him from demonstrating how out of touch he is with most Canadians when he said the global economic meltdown is a good time to invest in some bargains in the stock market. Heck, even the CanWest toxic waste machine is laying off 560 workers in part because of the global meltdown and their share price dropping 90% this year. They’re sure a bargain, but the better bargain will be in watching them implode so that we can dilute the corporate concentration of media in Vancouver and Canada with more competition and less autocratic control of news…and, frankly, better jobs for the journalists forced to work for the Aspers.

But the $100 million problem is about how the International Olympic Committee and VANOC are not transparent organizations. They are secret, above democracy, and the IOC is even above countries. They’re designed to be unaccountable to us even though they are spending billions of dollars of our tax money while people die in the streets and on surgery waiting lists. Shameful.

Ladner is so out of touch: “It’s completely irresponsible and ridiculous to think that we could do all this in public and still protect the taxpayer….Why would the Olympics be different? The scope is bigger but the framework of the deal is the same. The city does this stuff all the time — it has done this for years.” But when you mix this repulsion with the secrecy of the Olympics oligarchy, you get one pissed off electorate. Whoops.

And he doesn’t even get the irony about how little the taxpayer is being protected in any of this Olympics deal anyway. The solution would have been to explain how in-camera works, then come out and say that when it’s out of in-camera, they’ll explain to people all the details. No, wait. They can’t do that because of all the Olympics secrecy. That’s the bigger whoops. Like it or not, the city is symbiotically embroiled in the grand, global secrecy regime of the Olympics. Watch your wallets, folks.

Plumping

Ellen Woodsworth was elected in a very small part from plumping. Plumping works. Some COPE supporters who were frustrated by the nature of the deal with Vision and Green–and others–voted for only COPE members and not for others on the slate from Vision. Ellen Woodsworth got elected to the last city council spot by 1023 votes over Kashmir Dhaliwal [the only Vision candidate for any council to not get elected] as of 10:24pm Saturday night. I doubt all those votes were from people voting for her and avoiding voting for Vision candidates to keep one or more of them from getting more votes than her. But with not too different arithmetic, the plumpers would have made the difference.

Privatized Police

Korina Houghton didn’t get elected to city council for the NPA even though she had a full-page ad in 24hrs on Friday. Part of her plan was to “combat crime through continued support of the ambassador program” meaning the Downtown Ambassadors, the partially city-funded, private pretend cops designed to criminalize the <irony>unsightly</irony> people from business areas. If 11,300 more voters actually wanted a private police force created by business owners and not transparently accountable to the public despite their public funding, she would have beaten Ellen Woodsworth for the 10th spot on council. Thankfully those 11,300 people don’t exist. And while we’re at it, let’s de-fang the Ambassadors and get them back to helping tourists get from the art gallery back to the cruise ship terminal. And I’ll leave out all that business about Kanman Wong’s campaign literature saying one thing in Chinese and another in English. He’s had his political career maimed enough already…remember David Emerson?

Challenging the Myth of Non-Partisanship and the NPA’s Stability

Two nights ago during dinner, one of the candidates for the Vancouver Park Board phoned me. He is running with the Non-Partisan Association, the NPA…a group that I have written before [see “The Lie of Non-Partisanship” from July 8, 2005 at http://PoliticsReSpun.org]. In fact, the NPA is anything but non-partisan, being all conservative and neoliberal. And it turns out that partisanship is the theme of this article.

Now, I won’t go into who from the NPA ranks phoned me the other night, mostly because I block out trauma, explaining to him that I would never in a million years vote for the NPA. He was jovial, wanting to engage with me despite our differences of opinion: a total waste of time.

He said he phoned me because my sister gave him my number and that I would consider voting for him, so he should call me. Right. I have no sister. Maybe the woman he said who came into his store and gave him a phone number wrote it down incorrectly and this hapless fellow phoned me. Or maybe the NPA candidates are cold-calling people in the phone book because that’s where they’re at now.

The phone book seems to me to be the best explanation. It reflects how desperate the NPA is, poised to lose all their seats on city, school and parks boards as they are, what with the COPE-Vision-Green coordinated slate. Well done Mayor Sam Sullivan, destroying the NPA brand in but one term.

But the synchronicity arrived this evening at dinner time when a pollster phoned. It was Innovative Research Group, another group I’ve written about before [see “Racist Survey Questions on a Survey about Multi-Culturalism” from October 15, 2007 at http://PoliticsReSpun.org]. A year ago I wrote about one of their omnibus online polls that asked me many things, including to rank how I felt about a variety of racial groups living in our multi-cultural Canada, on a scale of 0-10 on whether I have a favourable or unfavourable impression of each race. I included a screenshot of those poll questions in my article last year.

Tonight’s IRG poll asked about my awareness and voting intentions in the Vancouver election. And while the poll wasn’t as offensive as last year’s, it did ask one question that bothered me: was I concerned about the number of Vision and COPE school board candidates who have been education union members.

The poll didn’t at all ask how I felt about the number of business owners or candidates with corporate connections in any of the parties. This reflects an ongoing, ingrained mentality in our society that there is a “normal” group of people, and then there are the special interest groups, like unions. This is the same mythology that the NPA has perpetuated for decades, pretending that they are neutral, objective or somehow not beholden to any ideology or group. This is nonsense. Everyone has a bias. Pretending you don’t is a lie.

And while it was far from clear that the NPA commissioned tonight’s IRG poll and loaded it up with that union question, the presence of the question indicates a mindset that special interest groups are treated as marginalized.

Now with the global economic meltdown in full swing and former US Federal Reserve Bank Alan Greenspan testifying before Congress this week that deregulated, neoliberal capitalism doesn’t work, I think that questioning people with corporate connections should be fair game.

An interesting twist came this evening when I swung by the website of Innovative Research Group: http://InnovativeResearch.ca. It turns out they’ve gone off the radar. Here’s a screenshot of their website tonight:

When you click on the image you can see that their entire website consists of one page saying “Welcome to the future home of www.innovativeresearch.ca. This Page is currently under construction.”

Maybe it’s semantics, but honestly, they used to have a full website functioning at that location. Thanks to the marvels of the Way Back Machine, you can see various incarnations of their past websites at http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://innovativeresearch.ca. There could be lots of reasons why they’ve gone under the radar, no longer promoting the coverage of their polls or letting people easily contact them. But their lack of presence, especially because they used to have one, just looks fishy to me.

Pitying the Conservatives in Vancouver and Nationally, But Not Really

So now I’m thinking NDP-Bloc coalition federally. More on that below, but first…

The Vancouver NPA, multi-generational vanguard of pretend non-partisanship has finished nominating its candidates.

One significant note here: Kanman Wong is the final NPA council candidate. Remember Kanman? He ran a modestly respectable campaign for the January 2006 federal election as the Conservative party candidate for Vancouver-Kingsway. He got a famous 18% of the vote while David Emerson won the riding and within hours of his victory was fielding calls from John Reynolds to cross the floor to Harper’s side.

So here’s Kanman again, working up the public service thing. And strangely Wendy Yuan, who was displaced from her candidacy in Vancouver-Kingsway when Prime Minister Paul Martin parachuted in his star candidate in 2004–one David Emerson–is now again running as the federal Liberal candidate in Kingsway, though she still owns her house in Richmond while renting a place in Collingwood.

It’s quite surreal. It’s almost as if the David Emerson Experience [with apologies to Jimi Hendrix] has hit an unfathomable pause button on the lives of two would-be politicians, who are now free again to pursue office after their trip to the electoral Twilight Zone.

So back to civic politics again, the Green/Vision/COPE coalition is in shape with COPE’s solid endorsement of its deal with Vision. The campaign will be odd, with common themes, yet distinct wedging for competition among the endorsed candidates. But it will also mean cut-throat jockeying for getting those coveted rationed candidacy positions.

And once the election ends with the hated, anti-social NPA unlikely to have any majority on the councils or boards, the coalition will have to live its three years through its own growing pains, like Blade Runner replicants trying to build up a lifetime of emotional experiences in but a few years. Depending on the flavour of which Vision candidates get nominated, and then elected, we will see Vision function in office as a centre-left bloc or a centre/centre-right bloc of opportunism over intent. Time will tell. And if it drifts rightward, expect a fair amount of defections back COPEward over the next 3 years.

But back on the federal side of the things, Layton being ahead of Dion in the leadership preference polls has serious traction. The NDP have been the de facto opposition for 2.5 years especially as Dion’s gang has abstained their way to greener electoral pastures that never emerged. In fact about a year ago, federal parties were polling almost identically to their results in the federal election 18 months earlier. It’s no different last month.

So now the Conservatives have announced that they’re campaigning against the NDP and the Greens. This means they will preemptively concede a majority by not trying to defeat the Bloc in Quebec, as if the Reform Party [ok, called the Conservatives now] can actually get Quebecers to vote for them without moving to the oil patch first. It also means that by announcing they aren’t competing against the Liberals, that the barely cohesive Liberals should become wary of 1992 when the Progressive Conservatives [remember that party that existed before the Reform Party took over?] were decimated to 2 seats.

But it’s all game theory. Whatever the Conservatives say is designed to cause ripples that they can then surf.

But wait, there’s more. In trying to figure out who is even running for David Emerson’s “Conservative” seat, I’ve finally discovered that it is Solomon Rayek, or Salomon Rayek, depending on who you check with. The Conservative Party website lists the candidate as Solomon, whereas the fellow at SalomonRayek.ca spells his name with an “a.”

Maybe it’s a typo, maybe it’s an irrelevancy. Whatever the case, you’d think they’d try to keep their story straight. And even though they may address this inconsistency some time soon, I wonder how it will be spelled on the ballot. In the end, it presents the feel of this being a throw-away riding, though for the life of me I can’t figure out why the Conservatives would think they have no chance of keeping this riding. Oh ya, David Emerson.

And that brings me back to Kanman Wong…right, he’s running municipally.

But as much as Wendy Yuan is more at home in Richmond, Salomon Rayek is reported as president of the Conservative Party’s Delta-Richmond East constituency association, a position he is still holding according to their website, he is the president of Jewish Advocacy for the Conservative Party, he has also sought the party’s nomination in Burnaby-Douglas, it seems for this election as well. So it appears that he is a candidate in name only in Vancouver-Kingsway as he doesn’t seem to stuck on location. I wonder if he’ll rent an apartment in the same Collingwood building as Wendy Yuan. He owns a home in Capistrano townhouses in Richmond. That would be awkward elevator conversations.

So it seems that we have the Liberals running someone from Richmond who rented an apartment in the riding, against someone for the Conservatives deeply involved in a Richmond riding as well, but who calls Kingsway his home, perhaps only because his youngest son was “born and raised” there. I wonder how much the Vancouver-Kingsway voters will feel like theirs is a proxy riding for a Richmond turf war.

Oh, and some of Salomon Rayek’s published letters to various newspaper editors are here.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, the Georgia Strait reports that Ryan Windsor is running for the Green Party though its website says this today of Vancouver Kingsway. Maybe they actually have a candidate but wish to keep it a secret:

Vancouver Kingsway


Nominated Candidate – Candidat(e) nominé(e)

If you would like to be a candidate or volunteer for this riding, please contact the Electoral District Association listed below. If there is no Electoral District Association in your riding contact your Provincial Organizer, Rob Hines, Office: 604-689-9200, Cell: 778-689-6666, rob.hines@greenparty.ca

There are many ways to contact us, from e-mail and snail mail to simply walking into our office at Get Connected

And in case you care about recent history, I received this email below as part of a mass mailout on July 9, 2008, showing that the Greens were at least looking to begin setting up an electoral presence in the riding then. And as of today, the website says there are still about a dozen BC ridings without Green Party candidates, including a bunch without constituency associations yet. Unless of course their website is hiding them too. But in the end, they’ll run a candidate even without a constituency association…wild!

The Green Party of Canada is currently seeking to engage individuals in your riding. We support local grassroots democracy and there is no better way to become involved than at a local level. We’re trying to start a local association of the Green Party of Canada in Vancouver Kingsway! The local association, called an EDA (Electoral District Association) has the power to raise funds, issue tax receipts, hold events, elect officers, nominate candidates, and so much more. In fact, the Green Party of Canada is the only national political party that allows EDA’s to have fundraising capabilities.

The local association is the vehicle through which party members organize. The GPC office in Vancouver provides assistance to EDA’s to help organize them. Contact us for any questions regarding what to do next.Once an EDA is registered the GPC automatically starts sharing funds. It is an excellent way to start saving and investing for the next election. Setting up an EDA is easy!

We’re also looking for a candidate to step forward in the riding. The Green Party has run a full slate of candidates in the last two federal elections and intends to do the same for the next election. Even if there is no local association we will have a candidate running.

For more information on how you can get involved today call the BC Organizer, Rob Hines at 778 689 6666 or by email at bc@greenparty.ca. I’ll help you navigate through the process of establishing an EDA, attend your inaugural meeting, and provide ongoing support and training.


Rob Hines
Organizer BC & North
Green Party of Canada

bc@greenparty.ca
F 604 689 9200
T 778 689 6666

301-207 W Hastings St
Vancouver BC V6B 1H7

So in the end, The Greens’ website reports no candidate, the Conservatives and Liberals are running folks from Richmond and the NDP have Don Davies. Whew, representation lives!

Mayor Sam: Once Again Merging His Civic and Personal Campaign Activities

Below is an email I received tonight from Mayor Sam Sullivan’s civic email address: mayor@vancouver.ca. It’s the email address that the person who is elected to be mayor uses for formal civic business.

In this email, he directs us to his personal campaign website, http://mayorsamsullivan.ca. He is clearly still more irony-free than the last time I wrote about his lack of irony. That episode ended up with the webmaster of Sam’s personal site admitting that the mayor’s office used an email list from the mayor’s personal website to send a message from his civic email address.

This time, after a few items of civic interest, his email promotes a negligibly-valuable earth-focused initiative that will make many of us feel good while leading to very little meaningful change. The kicker? We can read more about this initiative at his personal website.

Trouble viewing this mail? Click here to read it online.

Mayor’s Communiqué: Securing Support from Senior Levels of Gov’t

  • Federal Budget Update
  • Provincial Budget Update
  • Mayor welcomes IOC President to Vancouver
  • “Earth Hour” moving into high gear with new sponsors & Facebook

[The first three items are snipped.]

Earth Hour Vancouver on Facebook

Earth Hour is a global initiative put on by the World Wildlife Fund, encouraging people around the world to turn lights off for one hour, starting at 8:00pm on March 29, 2008. In addition to reducing our city’s energy consumption, Earth Hour will raise awareness about conservation among our citizens and businesses.

Our government is working with WWF, BC Hydro and the Vancouver Sun to invite all Vancouver residents and businesses to turn their lights off to mark Earth Hour. I want to personally invite you to join other Vancouver citizens ready to make a difference by searching “Earth Hour Vancouver” on Facebook’s group and event listings, or clicking the button at www.mayorsamsullivan.ca.

Join the Facebook Group

I want to thank BC Hydro, WWF and the Vancouver Sun for joining this international event. Stay tuned for more announcements in the coming weeks.

Thank you again for your ongoing interest and support on these initiatives. As always, I look forward to your ideas and feedback.

Yours truly,

Sam Sullivan

Sam Sullivan
Mayor

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Rich Coleman Has a Home; How Many Thousands Don’t?

There seems to be a debate about how many homeless people there are in BC right now. 5,000 up to 15,000?

At any rate, quite a few.

Rich Coleman, minister responsible for homelessness, however is happy to have a home. I don’t begrudge him being able to afford a home. I just wish he’d do more for the many thousands who cannot enjoy all of what he does.

Minister Coleman’s Facebook page tonight [above] has this juicy little bit [a close-up of the above page]:

In The Tyee you can read the debate about numbers. And my freedom of information requests to BC Housing about their definition of and methodology for counting the homeless may be instructive, whenever they arrive. Even if we go with Coleman’s sad, low number, we read in The Tyee that the government isn’t interested in addressing the needs of more than 1/3 of them.

I know from an ideological standpoint, the Campbell neoLiberal government doesn’t like social housing; nor does Vancouver’s NPA. That communitarian response undermines the market approach of worshiping market housing and just providing grants to some needy [and able to jump through administrative hoops] folks, leaving many of the desperate shivering under overpasses and such.

While there may be a myriad of hidden assistance programs [not that the government is interested in making it hard to apply for assistance for things!], BC Housing’s Rental Assistance Program requires you to have some income from employment to get rental assistance as well as a dependent child under 19 and be regularly filing income tax returns: not conditions that apply to everyone on the street tonight.

I wonder if Coleman’s “it won’t last” is some cosmic, karmic omen…

Happy winter, everyone!