Independent Vancouver mayoral contender Kennedy Stewart eyes teamwork with progressive candidates

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      Kennedy Stewart is moving to assemble a more united front on the left for the Vancouver municipal election.

      What that line may look is quite early to tell, except that the independent candidate for mayor has started discussions with so-called progressive electoral organizations.

      “We have to have discussions with all of the parties to see where they are at this point,” Stewart told the Georgia Straight in a phone interview Tuesday (August 7).

      These include Vision Vancouver, the ruling party that is fielding its own candidate for mayor, Ian Campbell.

      In addition to Vision, Stewart said that he is also talking with the Green Party, Coalition of Progressive Electors (COPE), and OneCity.

      “We don’t have to make any decisions for a while yet, so I think these early conversations are really important,” Stewart said.

      Last July, Stewart won the endorsement of the influential Vancouver and District Labour Council (VDLC), which boasts of having 50,000 members in the city.

      The labour council also endorsed 10 candidates for council, nine for school board, and seven for park board from among the representatives of Vision, Greens, COPE, and OneCity.

      Except for OneCity, the three parties are running other candidates in addition to those endorsed by the VDLC for the October 20 election.

      Aside from Stewart and Campbell, the other candidate for mayor included in the progressive roster is SFU academic Shauna Sylvester.

      Like Stewart, Sylvester is running as an independent.

      Based on a recent survey by Research Co., Stewart is running neck and neck with frontrunner Ken Sim, mayoral nominee of the right-of-centre Non-Partisan Association. Campbell and Sylvester came in at third and fourth places, respectively.

      It has yet to be seen if either or both Campbell and Sylvester will drop out of the race to give Stewart a better chance to win as mayor.

      In the interview, Stewart said that he has been approached to endorse certain candidates.

      “I’m considering it,” he said.

      Stewart added that he is also looking into the possibility of doing joint advertising with parties and candidates.

      “We really need to explore joint advertising options. So that would be part of discussions with parties and candidates,” he said.

      Stewart will mark his last day as NDP Burnaby South MP on September 14.

      Stewart expects his platform to be out around that time.

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