Is Adriane Carr the best the Greens can offer up for Vancouver city council?

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      I spent many years covering Vancouver city council. And in that time, I saw countless thoughtful citizens show up at City Hall to offer their views on a wide range of municipal issues.

      Sometimes, they would wait for hours to speak for five minutes at a council committee meeting or a public hearing on something that concerned them.

      They often spent a great deal of time preparing their remarks. This was to ensure they could make the most of those opportunities to speak to elected politicians.

      To me, these folks are the true warriors for democracy in our city. And some of them have had ties to the Green party over the years.

      Cycling advocate Richard Campbell, for example, has regularly provided intelligent comments on transportation.

      Another one, John Whistler, has a deep understanding of neighbourhood democracy and the importance of campaign-finance reform. Both Campbell and Whistler have run as Green candidates at the municipal level.

      Another former Green candidate, Bev Ballantyne, has been an outspoken advocate for pedestrians and animals in her presentations to council over the years.

      Scott Nelson, another person who has had ties with the party, has demonstrated a keen interest in civic issues over the years.

      But in all that time, I never saw Green Party of Canada deputy leader Adriane Carr show up in the Vancouver council chamber on a municipal issue of concern. (To be fair, I also never saw Mayor Gregor Robertson's face inside City Hall before he was elected mayor in 2008.)

      Carr might have spoken at events I didn't cover. But I don't recall seeing her over the years—and I attended a lot of committee meetings.

      The only time Carr demonstrated much interest to me in Vancouver municipal politics was in 2003 when she opposed the city hosting the Winter Olympics. In those days, she was leading the B.C. Greens.

      Yet the Greens have indicated that Carr—and not regular council watchers such as Campbell, Whistler, Ballantyne, or Nelson—could be the only person running for the party for city council in the November election.

      To me, it smacks of bringing in the most famous name, but not necessarily the most qualified candidate.

      I'm not denigrating Carr's accomplishments in other areas. When she worked for the Wilderness Committee, she played a significant role in saving old-growth forests from the chainsaw. She also spent a great deal of time trying to warn people about the downside of hosting the Olympics.

      I just haven't seen much evidence that she shares the same level of passion for local land-use planning, municipal garbage collection, and myriad other issues that a city council has to address.

      Follow Charlie Smith on Twitter at



      Save Vancouver

      Aug 18, 2011 at 7:04pm

      As you pointed out, look how far Gregor got just for being a pretty face.

      Ken Long

      Aug 18, 2011 at 9:40pm

      Well, I certainly enjoyed Mr. Smith's well written article. However, as I am typing from Oak Bay, I will not offer a comment other than to Mr.Smith is Mr.Right.


      Aug 19, 2011 at 8:48am

      I do like Adrian Carr, and not meaning any disrespect to her, But in my mind's eye, I see her as a stand up comedian.


      Aug 19, 2011 at 10:21am

      I agree that Richard Campbell and John Whistler would make good Councillors. I really appreciate all the times I have heard both of these men present at Council. To be fair, I have seen Ms. Carr at Council speaking in support of St. Paul's Hospital and development issues in the West End.

      I think if you check the past speaker list you will see this.


      Aug 19, 2011 at 11:00am

      Ok maybe you are right Mr. Smith. I just searched the CoV website and no items came up for Ms. Carr.

      When I searched for Mr. Whistler and and Mr. Campbell there are a pages of items noted.


      Aug 19, 2011 at 4:11pm

      s Carr has not the intellectual capacity for politics. If she did she would have been active all these past years. now it seems she's just looking for a job. And remember that the Green policies look a lot like Liberal policies.


      Aug 21, 2011 at 4:32pm

      I was surprised reading Charlie's Smith's comments on the suitability of Adriane Carr running as a Green Party candidate for Council. I am well acquainted with her, and I know she will make an incredibly effective alderperson, who comes with an intense passion for, and wide-ranging expertise in, the environment. She is extremely knowledgeable, brilliant, and caring and we would be really fortunate to have her on Council, and particularly if we're serious about making Vancouver one of the greenest cities in the world.
      I recently spent a couple of days with Adriane in her former hometown of Gibson's (her current main home has been the West End for many years). I was amazed at the number of people who kept coming up to her, while we were out and about in the community, showing great admiration and respect for her and her work. One store manager even volunteered that Adriane is "the most respected woman in Canada."
      I can't understand Mr. Smith's denigrating comments about Adriane running for City Council, equating her attendance record at Council meetings as an indicator of her suitability for the job. She will serve with equal dedication and smarts for issues the job entails at the municipal level as she has shown in work at the senior levels of government and non-profit sectors. Let's not "look a gift horse in the mouth," and let's do get her elected to take advantage of harnessing her formidable talents in service of the City of Vancouver.