Do you remember when local government used to work hard to make our lives better, more convenient and easier—rather than impose ideological beliefs that make our lives harder, more expensive and less convenient?
We have been conditioned to believe that this election is only about housing, primarily because it is a messy election with many candidates and that seems like a convenient way to simplify it. But that is far too narrow a lens through which to assess the challenges ahead and the issues that plague our city.
Let’s ignore political posturing on housing, or who has the best theorical plan. In fact, about 70 percent of the housing platforms across the top five mayoral candidates are similar. The differences between the promises are marginal and at the end of the day; the solution to our affordability crisis relies on the effective execution of these promises. We must not only ask ourselves “which” solutions but also “who” is most equipped to deliver such solutions.
Issues such as housing (or the lack thereof) do not exist in isolation. They are interconnected with other economic and social problems that we Vancouverites face each and every day.
Let’s take for example our roads. For better or worse, they are the heartbeat to our city, the conduits to our lives and to our commerce. Yet for a decade they have been under attack by a city hall ideologically bent on socially engineering us into riding a bike; a city hall that has tried to create congestion in order to force you to think differently about transportation.
Artificially congested roads make the entire city more expensive and in turn, your life more expensive. If it takes the plumber an extra 20 minutes to get to your home, and an extra 20 to leave it—that cost is passed on to you. Similarly, if you are a real estate builder or developer, you pass on added costs incurred by traffic congestion to the price of a finished unit to the purchaser.
Common sense suggests that smart bike lanes are a great idea. Ideological ones designed to pinch traffic and drive up costs are a bad idea.
Destroying the viaducts is just another part of this same ideology bent on robbing Vancouver of key transportation routes. Simply put, it’s wrong.
As Mayor, those viaducts will stay up and in doing so I will save billions in unnecessary costs. Those dollars can be spent on social housing and our new Care House Plan to dramatically reduce addiction and homelessness.
But we face other problems as well. Overflowing public garbage cans, needles in parks, the normalization of vagrancy, and open opioid drug use. These are new problems created by the policies of a broken city hall.
Vancouver welcomes 10 million visitors a year who support over 70,000 jobs in the region and those jobs need to be protected. We created our Clean City Plan because Vancouver needs to be cleaned up.
Finally, addressing addiction and homelessness is at the core of many of our city’s problems. I spent more than a decade working in the Downtown Eastside, and recently lost a foster child there. I fully understand the complexity of the problem, but the $1,000,000,000 (yes, $1 billion) in unaccountable tax dollars flowing to the Downtown Eastside clearly isn’t having the impact it is supposed to. It is not a lack of money that is the problem, it is the lack of political backbone to address the issue with a real solution.
I developed Care House Plan, which will change the paradigm from entitling vagrants with free housing and drugs, to transition them toward empowerment and health.
Besides our campaign, no other party or candidate has had the strength to speak about these critical issues. We need real leadership, and we need real change.
Real change is about moving away from ideological leadership to common sense leadership, and seeking honest solutions to make your life easier.