It goes from bad to worse for NPA mayoral candidate Peter Ladner

NPA mayoral candidate Peter Ladner probably wanted to fight an election on fiscal probity. But his campaign has been derailed by his inability to recognize the public mood.

That's the problem with being born into a wealthy family.  You  don't always know how the average guy with a lunchbucket is going to react because you haven't spent enough time in their company.

Ladner's mayoral ambitions have probably been in place for many, many years. During his first term, he probably likened then-mayor Larry Campbell to a comet who would inevitably burn out by the end of his second term.

Ladner would be well-situated to be mayor during the 2010 Olympics, which is like catnip to any municipal politician.

However, fate got in the way when Campbell developed heart trouble in 2005 and unexpectedly decided not to seek reelection. That cleared the way for then-NPA councillor Sam Sullivan to snatch the mayor's gavel.

So what was Ladner to do? Sullivan had the support of almost all of the NPA caucus. He was developing deeper connections with Vancouver's nonwhite communities.

This year, we saw what transpired. Ladner launched his bloodless coup at the NPA nomination meeting with the support of  folks like him: successful, white, well-educated  business people and urban professionals.

He became  his party's  mayoral candidate, and he appeared well on his way to victory -- especially after it was revealed that bumbling Vision Vancouver mayoral candidate Gregor Robertson was challenging a transit ticket.  

Then the approval of the $100-million loan for the Olympic Village burst into the news. Ladner, as chair of the city services and budgets committee, had to wear this.

He compounded his problems by defending the secrecy. That's the thing about Ladner. He is not a very intuitive politician, and he failed to see how the public and the talk-show hosts might react to this.

The public doesn't care about the niceties of the Vancouver Charter or the history of the Property Endowment Fund. Or the City's legal obligations because of a stupid deal it signed with the Vancouver 2010 Bid Corporation back in 2002.

The public only knows that Ladner secretly agreed to put up $100 million of their money for a developer when Ladner won't support using taxpayers' funds to  build a single shelter for homeless people.

Because of that, the public may turn out to vote in large numbers  on Saturday (November 15). People suddenly care about this election. And a high voter turnout is usually deadly for the NPA.

I'm expecting Robertson to be the next mayor of Vancouver, setting up a showdown with NPA councillor Suzanne Anton in 2011.

Because of the Olympic Village loan, Ladner may have to settle for a consolation prize--a safe B.C. Liberal seat in the 2009 provincial election.

There are far worse things to do in life than sitting in the B.C. legislature. Ladner, as a former editor of Monday magazine in Victoria, might enjoy returning to  the city  to  hang around with  his old pal, restaurateur Howie Siegal.  

But for Ladner,  it won't  quite match being on stage  in front of  the world in 2010.




Nov 11, 2008 at 11:51am

Grumpy sees a joker in the deck and for Ladner and Anton, it may mean a fold! It's called RAV and RAV is full of dirty little secrets, that Ladner and Anton might be forced to wear around their necks like an Albatross.

Oh dear, what happens if RAV doesn't take 100,000 cars a day (Anton recently said 200,000) and the metro limps along with minimal ridership and maximum complaint from city residents along Oak St., Cambie.St., and Main St. because of reduced bus services because city hall believe these people will trudge a km. or more to take RAV rather waiting a fews steps away for a bus.

Oh yes, RAV's cost escalated to such a point that station platforms are only 50 metres Long, affectively reducing capacity of the metro to well under 15,000 pphpd. To increase capacity, the whole cut and cover thing has to be done again on Cambie.

Susan Heyes impending lawsuit may also add some very voter unfriendly tales that will send shivers down all RAV/NPA supporters.

RAV may determine provincial and civic politics for a generation.


Nov 11, 2008 at 1:08pm

Hmmm..all the juicy things I could relate about Ladner and his short temper...but then I wouldn't be able to hide behind my pseudonym. I borrowed it from a relatively obscure Neil Young song...not from where the paranoid "law & order" types are thinking.
Back to Ladner's mayoral wet dream...if he were to succeed, it would not be long before his temper became an issue. He sure wouldn't set any precedents in that department as virtually every mayor this city has endured in the modern era have been narcissistic ego maniacs who have all been way too close to the development lobby which begs the question: What would we find if we trained even one quarter of the scrutiny that went into Glen Clark's modest wooden deck on the back room deals between NPA politicians and cash rich developers?
I'm pretty sure the local voting public doesn't believe that the tradition of envelopes full of cash passed to politicians in hotel rooms ended after Mulroney was sent off to promote "a pasta enterprise"...I'm pretty sure the voting public is slowly but surely becoming aware that right of center politicians have a propensity for penetrating the public with cannelloni..sans sauce.


Nov 11, 2008 at 4:27pm

Charlie Smith:

This entry glows like a golden piece of dung.

"That's the problem with being born into a wealthy family. You don't always know how the average guy with a lunchbucket is going to react because you haven't spent enough time in their company."

Isn't saying this just like saying poor people don't understand business because they did not grow up with it?

I'm not hearing anyone out there saying that despite your spun inference that this is happening.

Why are you, Vision, and Gregor patronizing the voters with garbage like this?

What happened to journalism at The Straight anyway?

Charlie Smith

Nov 11, 2008 at 5:00pm

Hey Paul,
I'm glad you like my work. I'm always amused by how emotional people get before elections. I get these thoughts from time to time, and then I post them on our site. I see that you do the same. But there is a serious issue here -- Ladner misread the reaction of his party when he supported the bicycle trial on the Burrard Bridge in 2005, then he flipped the other way. He believed the Canada Line promoters when they said the project would come in between $1.5 billion to $1.7 billion, with the implication being it would be a bored tunnel. As I said, he's not the most intuitive politician. He's not stupid. He's actually quite intelligent. But I don't think he's intuitive in the manner of, say, Ralph Klein or Jean Chretien, who had a knack for understanding the public mood. The proof is in his reaction to the approval of a $100-million loan. I laugh as I see the NPA trot out Philip Owen to defend this, and then I hear George Puil talking about it on the radio. Puil and Owen were in charge of the city when the secret deal was signed two days before the 2002 election that got us into this mess in the first place. If Ladner recognized the public mood, he would say, "Hey, you know what? I understand your concerns about this secret arrangement. I would be bothered by it too if I was a taxpayer. But before I was even on council, some boneheads agreed to take on the entire liability of completing the Olympic Village on time for a mere $30 million from the Vancouver 2010 Bid Corporation. I made a mistake when I believed the city staff who said there would be no liability for Vancouver taxpayers in connection with hosting the Olympics. I and every other member of council were hoodwinked, and that's why I cowrote a motion in 2002 making a false claim that the city taxpayers weren't on the hook for Olympic cost overruns. I apologize. I'm human. But I'm a hardworking, honest city councillor who will faithfully uphold my oath of office. And I'll make sure that I guard every penny that we spend in hard economic times because that's what we might be in store for because of the credit crunch. Gregor Robertson is just not up to the job, whereas I am. So let's move forward and do the best we can to contain costs for our taxpayers on this Olympic imbroglio. I also wasn't responsible for the Vancouver Convention and Exhibition Centre cost overruns, either."


Nov 11, 2008 at 6:27pm

Vision has done a good job at pinning this whole "scandal" on the NPA and Peter Ladner considering they have also been caught with their hands in the cookie jar AND were the original architects of this deal with Millenium. It's interesting how the media has barely questioned Vision's involvement in this, or the timing of this leak. The claim that Vision voted YES for this without knowing all the details is just bizarre and raises so many red flags on it's own.

But, it looks like Vision will be successful in their coordinated and well-funded smear campaign, and with the media's cooperation, they will probably be elected to run the city of Vancouver for the next 3 crucial years.

Common Sense

Nov 13, 2008 at 7:37pm

Has anyone asked perennial politician Tim Stevenson (currently Vision gladhander) why HE voted for the $100 million developer bailout? Oh yeah, he voted for gambling when the community was against it, but this time it was a "sure thing" - more taxpayer money handed on a platter to the poor down-and-out Olympics' developers. Maybe this time Ol' Timbo will get what's coming to him. Then he can go on to do what all of his BC NDP cohorts end up doing - cosying up to the trough of the federal government gravy train.
As for Ladner, he really believes that he did no wrong by hiding this gross misuse of taxpayers' money, whereas Ol' Timmy should know better. He just doesn't care because he's still getting the paycheque.


Nov 13, 2008 at 10:28pm

The whole problem is Partisan politics at the civic level. It would be best if civic parties were abolished. There should be a council comprised of individuals of all different stripes elected and accountable independently to the people. Not a lefty-righty council locking the doors to each other and holding "In-Camera" meetings to pay back their friends who keep the cash flowing in their direction. Partisan politics at the civic level allows special interest groups (such as the developers) to write one cheque, and that covers an entire slate. If the tide turns, it's only one more cheque to the other party to cover their bet. This never comes up, it seems, and I wonder why this corrupt system doesn't seem to be a problem to the citizens of Vancouver.