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