A pair of politicians aligned with the federal NDP are contemplating runs for the mayor of Vancouver.
Libby Davies, a former Member of Parliament who represented Vancouver East from 1997 to 2015, and Don Davies (no relation), the current MP for Vancouver Kingsway, both recently told the Globe and Mail’s Frances Bula that a move to civic politics is something they are thinking about.
“People are hurting from struggling to live in the city,” Libby told the Globe for an article published yesterday (February 12). “Whoever runs, there's something big out there, and that person has to connect to people who are feeling lost."
The civic election is scheduled for October 2018.
Libby served as deputy leader of the NDP from 2007 to 2015 and held a seat on Vancouver city council from 1982 to 1993. She’s well respected for her record on issues that affect low-income earners and marginalized groups such as sex workers and people who struggle with addiction issues.
Vancouver is in the middle of a housing crisis, with young people leaving the city for more affordable municipalities and homelessness has reached record levels. Libby’s work on housing dates back to 1973, when she co-founded the Downtown Eastside Residents Association (DERA) alongside Bruce Eriksen and Jean Swanson.
Vancouver is also struggling with an unprecedented rise in drug-overdose deaths. Libby was involved in bringing North America’s first supervised-injection facility, Insite, to Vancouver in 2003. She’s an honorary member of the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users (VANDU). In response to today’s overdose crisis, B.C. health officials are giving increasing attention to the idea of supplying clean drugs via the country’s health-care system. Libby was advocating for prescription heroin as long ago as the mid-1990s.
Don doesn’t have as long a record as Libby. He was elected in 2008 and before that worked in Vancouver as director of legal services for Teamsters Canada. But Don has similarly earned a reputation as a progressive voice on drug policy.
Since fentanyl arrived in B.C. and sent overdose deaths soaring, he’s taken a keen interest in the Downtown Eastside and repeatedly met with activists who are on the front lines of the community’s response. On February 2, Don raised the prospect of decriminalizing illicit narcotics in the House of Commons.
“When will this government abandon the failed war on drugs and adopt a health-based approach to addiction and drug use?” he asked there.
The Globe article describes both politicians as “seriously considering” runs for Vancouver mayor.
Libby said that if she decides to run, she would do so as an independent. Don said that his team has not yet made a decision on which party he would run with, if any.