After 16 years on Vancouver council, Raymond Louie is not running for mayor

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      One of Vancouver's longest-serving civic politicians has decided against going for the top job this year.

      Vision Vancouver councillor Raymond Louie revealed on his Facebook page that he will not seek his party's mayoral nomination.

      "I am humbled and honoured by how many of you have called, written and reached out to encourage me to seek the nomination to run for Mayor," he wrote. "It is out of respect for all of you that I have given it deep consideration."

      In April, the Straight  reported that Louie "made an expression of interest" in becoming the mayoral candidate, according to party vice chair Michael Haack. But his name won't be put before Vision Vancouver members when they choose their standard bearer.

      Louie was first elected to council in 2002 with the Coalition of Progressive Electors.

      In 2005 the former union organizer moved over to a new party called Vision Vancouver along with two other COPE councillors, Jim Green and Tim Stevenson. Green ended up running for mayor, losing narrowly to the NPA's Sam Sullivan.

      A much younger Raymond Louie (far right) joined Jim Green (left) and Tim Stevenson in bolting from COPE in 2005 for a new party called Vision Vancouver.
      Charlie Smith

      In 2008 Louie ran a strong campaign for the Vision Vancouver mayoral nomination, coming in second behind Gregor Robertson.

      In the process, Louie attracted the support of many new Canadians, which helped Vision Vancouver enormously in subsequent elections.

      In recent years, Louie has served as vice chair of Metro Vancouver, chair of the PNE board of directors, and president of the Canadian Federation of Municipalities while sitting as a city councillor.

      Raymond Louie is a regular at Vancouver's Vaisakhi parade. In 2017, he showed up to help his friend George Chow, who was running for the NDP in Vancouver-Fraserview.
      Charlie Smith

      "One of the things I know after serving 5 terms on council, is that it is often difficult to find a balance between serving our city and having time for my family," Louie stated on Facebook. "Ultimately, the kind of Mayor I want to be would require more time than I could give while still maintaining that critical balance."

      He added that he's "pleased to know that there are some good candidates coming forward to seek a Vision Vancouver nomination, and I encourage you to continue to be engaged in the lead up to the October 20th election".

      One of those candidates is expected to be Squamish hereditary chief and band councillor Ian Campbell.

      In 2012, Raymond Louie appeared on the cover of the Straight alongside broadcaster Sophie Lui.

      Louie and Stevenson are the only two Vancouver politicians who've served on council since 2002.

      A third Vision Vancouver councillor, Heather Deal, was elected to the park board in 2002 before winning her first council election in 2005.

      In some respects, Louie bears similarities to George Puil, a long-serving NPA councillor. Like Louie, Puil was a regional power broker, chairing the Metro Vancouver and TransLink boards. And like Puil, Louie has been the undisputed king of finance on Vancouver city council.

      Both have been major players at the Canadian Federation of Municipalities.

      Puil was never given an opportunity to run for mayor by his party. In 1986, he was rebuffed in favour of a younger NPA councillor named Gordon Campbell. And in 1993, it was a less experienced politician, Philip Owen, who emerged as the NPA mayoral candidate rather than Puil.