Vision Vancouver councillor Tim Stevenson jokes that the timing of his departure from the civic scene is “impeccable”.
“Well, because there isn’t any one Vision person left,” Stevenson explains in a phone interview with the Georgia Straight.
The five-term councillor was referring to the near wipeout of his party in the election last Saturday (October 20).
Except for Allan Wong, who took the last spot in school board, no other Vision Vancouver candidate in the three civic levels managed to survive.
Other than Heather Deal, other incumbent Vision councillors, including Stevenson, did not seek new terms in the last election. Deal lost.
Vision has always prided itself as a big-tent party for business, labour, and environmentalists.
With its virtual annihilation, one question that may be asked is which party is going to take its place.
Based on backing from labour, it looks like OneCity may be emerging as the new Vision.
In the 2017 by-election, it was OneCity’s candidate for council and not Vision’s, who received the endorsement of the influential Vancouver and District Labour Council.
In this last election, VDLC supported independent candidate Kennedy Stewart for mayor over Vision’s Ian Campbell. Campbell later withdrew from the race.
During the election campaign, OneCity announced that it is supporting Stewart, who eventually prevailed in the mayoralty race.
The VDLC also endorsed all five OneCity candidates for council and school board. Two won: Christine Boyle for council, and Jennifer Reddy for school board.
It’s quite a feat for OneCity, which was established in 2014 and whose founders include people who have always regarded Vision as a progressive party.
As Stevenson himself noted, OneCity is “closely aligned to the values of Vision Vancouver”.
Whether OneCity is going to become a substitute for Vision is something that Stevenson doesn’t see happening anytime soon.
“I do think highly of Christine Boyle who was elected and that’s excellent, but I don’t see OneCity taking Vision’s place,” Stevenson said. “I think that we had 15 years of a very strong party and strong base, and I think that will continue.”
Stevenson believes that Boyle was elected “much more on the basis of who she is personally”.
“She’s well known for her work, particularly her environmental work,” Stevenson said.”I think that it was Christine Boyle that was elected, and that people voted for her rather than OneCity.”
As for Vision, Stevenson said that the party is “going to go through some tough times”.
“We’ve been in for 10 years, and when you’ve been in power for 10 years, that’s a long time,” Stevenson said of his party that has ruled the city since 2008.More