There aren't many women in Vision's council caucus, but clever marketing can camouflage this reality

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      In recent months, Coun. Andrea Reimer has been a primary Vision Vancouver spokesperson on environmental issues.

      It shouldn't come as a surprise, given her previous history as executive director of the Wilderness Committee.

      Reimer is intelligent, articulate, and doesn't come across as a member of the one percent club.

      She also helps Vision with progressive voters, particularly on the East Side.

      But let's get real. The truth is that Vision's council caucus is still dominated by men.

      Reimer and Coun. Heather Deal are the only two women among eight Vision politicians in the council chamber.

      In addition, the mayor's chief of staff, Mike Magee, and the mayor's chief spin doctor, Kevin Quinlan, are male. The same is true of the party's pollster, Bob Penner, and the party's executive director, Stepan Vdovine.

      It's a boys club.

      Compounding Vision's political problem is the mayor's marital breakup, which could alienate some female voters.

      Perhaps this explains why the party chose to include quotes from a female spokesperson, lobbyist Marcella Munro, rather than Vdovine in the news release announcing the mayor's separation.

      I expect Vision will make special efforts to trumpet its female voices leading up to the November election.

      One example came in the party's response to former journalist Kirk LaPointe's announcement that he's the NPA mayoral candidate.

      Who spoke in the Vision news release? Not Mayor Gregor Robertson. Not Coun. Raymond Louie or Coun. Tim Stevenson, who are the senior members of the council caucus. Not councillors Kerry Jang, Geoff Meggs, or Tony Tang.

      Instead, the choice was to put Coun. Heather Deal forward as the voice in the news release. As a result, her name appeared in the news coverage.

      It might seem like a trifling thing to the public, but political parties put a great deal of thought into these matters.

      I expect we'll be hearing much more from councillors Reimer and Deal in the coming months in Vision's announcements.

      New council candidate Niki Sharma will also be given the spotlight—in fact, she appears alongside Robertson on the party's home page.

      Vision's trump card with female voters, however, is the chair of the board of education, Patti Bacchus.

      She collected more than 70,000 votes in the last election and remains enormously popular across the city.

      So even though Vision's council caucus lacks sufficient female representation, there are ways in which the party's marketers can hide this reality.

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      15 Comments

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      Excuse me?

      Jul 17, 2014 at 2:58pm

      "Compounding Vision's political problem is the mayor's marital breakup, which could alienate some female voters."

      What is the logic here? That women are sentimental and vote with their emotions rather than their rationality? That women are so enamoured of monogamy that they can't fathom a divorced mayor? I don't understand where you are coming from with this but there is no doubt in my mind that there is a (not-so-subtle) sexism going on.

      Charlie Smith

      Jul 17, 2014 at 3:09pm

      Is it sexist to lock up nominations to ensure that six men and two women ran for the party's positions on council in 2011, but then encourage women to run for park board, which pays one-sixth of the salary?

      Charlie Smith

      Ummmm

      Jul 17, 2014 at 3:14pm

      Yes it is sexist behaviour on the part of Vision, I agree. Its also sexist to assume that exclusively female voters vote with their emotions and will be easily alienated by Gregor's personal issues, while male voters are Too Rational To Be Worried By That Sort of Thing. Its true that Gregor's personal issues will be alienating to some voters, but gendering that causal sequence is a sexist framing.

      @Charlie

      Jul 17, 2014 at 3:29pm

      Yeah, the sexism is speculating how only female voters will be put off by a separated mayor. Pretty sure that's not a gendered thing. Weirdos who look askance at deeevorce are not exclusively female.

      The answer to your non sequiteur above is, of course, yes. Vision and the NPA are thoroughly male-dominated.

      13 6Rating: +7

      Hmmm

      Jul 17, 2014 at 4:15pm

      Their website implies that Nikki is currently a city councillor. Very odd

      16 4Rating: +12

      Trusty

      Jul 17, 2014 at 4:18pm

      @UMMMM

      Sexist? I hardly think "Sexist" is the word. You act as if they are doing it on purpose. It probably just shook out that way. Let's all get a grip. They appointed a woman to the most powerful position in the city for god's sake.

      8 10Rating: -2

      Hmmm

      Jul 17, 2014 at 4:19pm

      They'll have an even bigger gender gap once they boot Trish Kelly

      12 6Rating: +6

      Charlie Smith

      Jul 17, 2014 at 5:08pm

      Okay folks, the mayor's marital problems may also alienate male voters. But I have a hunch that inside the Vision war room, they're more worried about the potential blowback with female voters, given how important they are to Vision's success.

      Male voters particularly between 35 and 55 years of age tend to skew conservative; female voters as a group tend to vote for more progressive parties.

      If Vision is positioning itself as a progressive party, it's going to have to retain its support among females.

      @Charlie

      Jul 17, 2014 at 6:04pm

      Dude, you must stop saying male and female. It's like bio class up in here.

      7 2Rating: +5

      Vision are making money for rich white males

      Jul 17, 2014 at 7:25pm

      That is why they get so much cash from them. The social justice bunting and COPE shotgun marriage were a cheap way to dupe convenient idiots into supporting massive development. Visions developer friends know what is coming after a Vision win in November: massive citywide zoning changes. They need to get as many left idiots to vote their way as possible so people like Reimer are vital to the party. Getting left support is simple, cheap and easy when you are not the NPA. Vision represent policies that have done far more damage to the city than the NPA ever dreamed of doing and leftist with large bank accounts, like Reimer, have done their job very well.

      10 3Rating: +7
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