Many feel that 2018 is going to be a change election in Vancouver.
Transgender activist Morgane Oger is one of those who sense that voters will seek out new choices, especially independent candidates for mayor.
According to Oger, residents are disgruntled with established parties like the ruling Vision Vancouver.
“This is not a good year for putting forward a mayoral candidate who’s a member of a party,” Oger told the Georgia Straight in a phone interview. “I think that there’s too much baggage.”
Oger said that there is a “sentiment that they [traditional parties] may have acted more in the interest of their financial sponsors than the electorate”.
“This is the primary reason why I feel that there is so much anger about what’s happening in Vancouver today,” Oger said. “And so, people who are members of these parties, who run for parties, run the risk of… that sentiment.”
“That sentiment has been made very clear to me a number of times when…some people felt that I might be running for Vision,” Oger continued.
Oger’s name has been mentioned in the past as among those exploring the idea of running as a common candidate by progressive parties or those on the left side of the political spectrum, which include Vision.
Oger announced her intention to study this option through social media on April 17.
This was several days after SFU academic and former Vision board member Shauna Sylvester declared that she is running as an independent candidate for mayor.
“I decided to run even though Shauna Sylvester had come forward because…I’m aware of the perception that she’s too close to Vision,” Oger said.
Vision has run the city since 2008. In the 2014 election campaign, the party pulled in more than $2.9 million in contributions. Its main rival, the Non-Partisan Association, received at least $2.4 million in contributions from supporters.
The other declared independent candidate so far is Burnaby South NDP MP Kennedy Stewart
“I think that a candidate that’s not attached to a municipal party has a significant advantage,” Oger said.
In addition to Vision and NPA, the other established parties include the Green Party of Vancouver, OneCity, and Coalition of Progressive Electors.
Councillor Hector Bremner is widely expected to launch a new party after the NPA rejected his application to stand for nomination as the NPA’s candidate for mayor.
A new party called ProVancouver launched in April this year, with financial planner David Chen as mayoral candidate.
It doesn’t look like Oger is going to actually join the race for mayor.
“If [progressive] parties run candidates against each other and then independents run as well, it’s going to make…a dumpster fire, and I don’t think I want to add to that,” Oger said.