If you're looking for a really quick takeaway from the Vancouver election, here are 10 things to consider:
1. Organized labour won the mayoral race for Kennedy Stewart, so it's going to want a strong union sympathizer occupying a very key position in his office. My bet? Campaign manager and long-time labour activist Neil Monckton will become Stewart's chief of staff.
2. Monckton will be an even more important figure at city hall than another chief of staff, Mike Magee, was in the first two terms of Gregor Robertson's three-term mayoralty. That's because Stewart doesn't have control over council through a single political party. Monckton's father-in-law, long-time SFU public policy prof Doug McArthur, will be a behind-the-scenes adviser to the new mayor, particularly on housing issues and in obtaining benefits from the provincial government.
3. Green councillor Michael Wiebe will be the most likely member of council to support NPA motions. He will likely emerge as a swing vote on council, particularly with regard to issues pertaining to small businesses. Stewart can try to keep him in line by making him a heavyweight at the regional level, just as Gregor Robertson did with a potential rival within his tent, Raymond Louie. There's nothing like the fat per diems at Metro Vancouver to bolster loyalty.
4. It's hard to predict whether the progressive majority will give a seat on Metro Vancouver to any NPA councillors. This will be an early sign whether Stewart is truly interested in extending a welcoming hand to his chief opponents. I'm betting that the Greens and OneCity's Christine Boyle will join Stewart on the Metro Vancouver board. COPE's Jean Swanson will be placated with a position on the regional housing committee. And the NPA contingent will be shut out, leaving it to wait for a by-election to try to reverse this.
5. NPA councillor George Affleck probably would have defeated Stewart, given that Affleck received 69,410 votes in the 2014 election. Stewart received 49,812 votes this year. Affleck could still emerge as a mayoral opponent to Stewart in four years if he decides it's worth trying to take over the NPA board. If Affleck maintains a high public profile post-election, it's a sign that he's thinking about the 2022 election.
6. The NPA failed to win control of council, park board, or school board. Despite its beefed-up council presence, it lost its fourth straight election, and third in which businessman Peter Armstrong was the party's eminence grise.
7. Armstrong's choice for mayor this year, Sim, received only two-thirds as many votes as the 2014 NPA mayoral candidate, Kirk LaPointe. Sim received only 30 more votes than Peter Ladner collected as the NPA candidate in 2008 in the first Vision Vancouver landslide.
8. Stewart believes that the at-large voting system discriminates against concentrated visible minorities. This year, candidates of colour fared especially poorly, with not a single person of Chinese, Punjabi, or Philippine descent being elected to council. Watch for a legal challenge to the at-large system in Stewart's first term of office if the provincial government doesn't give a green light to a ward system. And after the court strikes down the at-large system for being racist, the Greens can fight it out with COPE, OneCity, and Stewart over whether to replace it with wards or proportional representation.
9. A motion fails if there's a tie vote in the council chamber. This will make it very difficult for Stewart to advance his agenda, given the number of times that councillors miss votes because of conflicts of interest, travel, health concerns, family issues, et cetera.
10. COPE plans to hold demonstrations outside Vancouver City Hall before bringing motions before council. But they can't be debated in the chamber unless they have a seconder. I expect NPA councillors will second Jean Swanson's motions if they have the potential to sow divisions among the progressive majority.