The Straight Slate for the 2011 municipal elections across Metro Vancouver
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Vancouver Park Board
Donalda Greenwell-Baker (COPE)
She has worked in several East Vancouver community centres, and is well-acquainted with the challenges facing Vancouver’s low-income residents. Greenwell-Baker is intelligent and articulate, and you won’t have to worry about her being pushed around by senior bureaucrats. As a long-time CUPE Local 15 secretary-treasurer, she’s also extremely knowledgeable about city finances. And she has supported the greening of Hastings Park.
Brent Granby (COPE)
Granby has worked for many years on neighbourhood issues in the West End, including the campaign to keep St. Paul’s Hospital on Burrard Street. He walks the talk on environmental issues, and as an adviser to outgoing COPE commissioner Loretta Woodcock, he’s already up to speed on the issues. COPE opposed the imposition of recreational fees on young children.
Jamie Lee Hamilton (IDEA)
The veteran community activist is the only candidate who has devised a solution for the constant problem of council cutbacks to parks and recreation—giving the park board full autonomy to fund its programs and finance its capital projects. Yes, Jamie Lee Hamilton is a park-board separatist. She’s also a passionate advocate for equal rights and for low-income people. That’s why she’s so vehemently opposed to the Vision-controlled board’s decision to impose fees on kids under six years old at local pools and skating rinks.
Melissa De Genova (NPA)
Her father, Al De Genova, was an energetic and independent-minded park commissioner for many years, and we believe that she will follow in his footsteps. She’s worked hard to get young people involved in electoral politics. And at a recent park candidates’ debate at the Douglas Park Community Centre, she demonstrated humility by acknowledging that she didn’t fully appreciate how much Mount Pleasant residents valued their outdoor pool when she ran in 2008. De Genova knows the challenges facing the park board and nobody can question her work ethic.
Dave Pasin (NPA)
Pasin, a long-time director of the West End Community Centre, has spoken out against Vision Vancouver politicians’ desire to grab surpluses from community-centre associations and redistribute these funds. He’s a forceful and knowledgeable debater who has pledged to eliminate recreational fees for children under six years old. He has also called for a ban on shark-fin soup, which reflects his interest in environmental issues. If Pasin is elected, he’ll shake things up at the park board.
Constance Barnes (Vision Vancouver)
She was the only Vision commissioner to vote against fees for young kids. A single mother, she has also advocated for safe spaces for children in park-board facilities. Barnes is on the left side of the Vision spectrum. Some won’t vote for her because she got behind the wheel after having too many drinks, and then drove her car into a house. To them, we say that the voters didn’t disqualify Gordon Campbell from political office for impaired driving. The same standard should apply to Barnes, who has admitted her error and sought treatment.
Niki Sharma (Vision Vancouver)
She’s a bright young lawyer specializing in aboriginal legal issues. Sharma also has a degree in environmental biology, which would serve her well as a park commissioner. She values diversity and has a good understanding of women’s issues, having served on the board of Battered Women’s Support Services. Over time, we believe she has the potential to emerge as a fiery advocate who will battle on the side of low-income people against entrenched interests. The park board has been a launching pad for the careers of some of the city’s most influential politicians over the years. Sharma just might follow in that tradition.
Vancouver Board of Education
Please see this page for our candidate recommendations.
There’s no race for mayor in West Vancouver, where Coun. Michael Smith is running unopposed. Council watchdog Carolanne Reynolds would be a good addition to West Van council. Trish Panz deserves to be reelected for shepherding forward a progressive climate-change plan. Former B.C. Green party candidate Damian Kettlewell is also worth supporting. In the District of North Vancouver, Richard Walton is one of the region’s most competent mayors, and deserves another term. Lisa Muri has been one of the district’s more progressive politicians over the years. Roger Bassam, who works in information technology, and former police officer Doug Mackay-Dunn have also demonstrated intelligence in the district council chamber. In the nearby City of North Vancouver, we’re recommending the reelection of Mayor Darrell Mussatto, who is one of the greenest politicians in the region, along with his most important supporter on council, Craig Keating. Newcomers Juliana Buitenhuis, Yashar Khalighi, and Michael Charrois would bring progressive voices to the chamber and are all worth supporting.
We haven’t always been thrilled with Mayor Wayne Wright, who initially resisted city involvement in saving the Massey Theatre. But under his tenure, the city has seen improvements to the Uptown area and along Columbia Street. Wright deserves credit for New Westminster being the first city in Canada to apologize for its treatment of Chinese pioneers. His opponent, James Crosty, has promised to boost the arts. Early in the campaign, Wright stupidly referred to Crosty’s “lifestyle”—Crosty is gay—making us wonder if the mayor realizes it’s the 21st century. On balance, we’ll tip our hat to Crosty, who has tried to engage young voters. We recommend reelecting councillors Jonathan Cote, Bill Harper, Jaimie McEvoy, and Lorrie Williams, who supported a living wage. Also, save a vote for council for Paul Mulangu, who has been a great advocate for African immigrants, and for former NDP MLA Chuck Puchmayr.
Mayor Derek Corrigan and his Burnaby Citizens Association team deserve to be reelected, given their prudent oversight of city finances, sensitive approach to development, and appreciation for the environment. The City of Burnaby could be doing more to address homelessness, but deserves credit for paying attention to the looming Canada–EU trade deal. BCA candidates for the board of education provided teachers with material to counter homophobic bullying, despite intense opposition from the Christian right.
We can’t recommend the reelection of Mayor Dianne Watts after her defence of former president George W. Bush’s recent visit to her city. Watts has also sent conflicting signals over whether she wants Metro Vancouver to build a waste incinerator in Surrey, whereas one of her opponents, Ross Buchanan, has been unequivocally opposed. Another mayoral candidate, Vikram Bajwa, has tried to find out how much Surrey taxpayers ended up forking out on the Bush visit. We say vote for him if you don’t like people who start illegal wars of aggression visiting your city. For council, we like lots of the progressive Surrey Civic Coalition candidates, notably incumbent Bob Bose, Stephanie Ryan, Rina Gill, and former councillor Gary Robinson. They all know their stuff. If you have to vote for members of the Watts gang, the best choices are incumbents Judy Villeneuve and Barinder Rasode, who’ve been associated with progressive causes in the past.
Coquitlam voters are lucky in that they have two good candidates for mayor: incumbent Richard Stewart and veteran councillor Barrie Lynch. The unions are backing Lynch. Stewart, a former B.C. Liberal MLA, has displayed a progressive side as mayor, even showing up to participate in an antiracist demonstration. He has worked hard to bring the Evergreen Line to his community, and persuaded other mayors to support more funding for TransLink. On balance, we’ll give him the nod. In Port Moody, Coun. Mike Clay has the experience to move into the mayor’s chair, having served six years on council. We like his support for a more transparent municipal government. In Port Coquitlam, Greg Moore deserves to be reelected, notwithstanding his ardent support for incinerating more garbage. PoCo has an impressive curbside recycling program and it remains livable and affordable. In Pitt Meadows, we’re backing Coun. Deb Walters for mayor because residents deserve someone who sees this as a full-time job. In Maple Ridge, Ernie Daykin has been an upbeat mayor who, despite his right-wing history, probably deserves to be reelected based on his knowledge of local and regional issues. His challenger, Craig Ruthven, wants to speed up the handling of applications to the planning department, even though Maple Ridge is one of the fastest-growing municipalities.
Metro Vancouver chair Lois Jackson has focused a great deal of attention to regional issues, sometimes to the detriment of Delta residents. It’s time for a full-time mayor, which is why we’re recommending former councillor Krista Engelland. She’s in an uphill race because her criticism of the proposed Southlands development won’t generate many campaign contributions. We’re also recommending Sylvia Bishop and Anne Peterson for council.
Mayor Malcolm Brodie will probably be reelected, but we’re supporting lawyer Richard Lee, even though he opposed the supervised-injection site in Vancouver many years ago. Lee is calling for more democratic governance, and he questions the mayor’s opposition to more funding for TransLink. Brodie’s political career received a boost when the Canada Line was built, and after this, it seems mean-spirited to deny more transit to other communities. Lee will also be able to communicate better with Richmond’s growing Chinese population.