Mayor Gregor Robertson has called for an amendment to the Vancouver Charter to prevent a nonresident from ever running for mayor in the future.
Robertson made the comment in Shaw’s downtown Vancouver studio on October 27 after a televised mayoral debate against three other candidates, including the NPA’s Kirk LaPointe, who lives outside city limits on the UBC campus.
“I hear concerns on the street about Mr. LaPointe not living in Vancouver or paying taxes or voting in Vancouver,” Robertson told journalists. “But he’s proposing changes—cuts to services—that potentially don’t even affect him because he doesn’t live here.”
One of LaPointe’s other rivals, independent mayoral candidate Bob Kasting, regularly highlights his local roots in political debates. “I live in Vancouver, I work in Vancouver, and I play in Vancouver,” Kasting said in his closing remarks in the Shaw TV debate.
In Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, and Montreal, it was illegal for nonresidents to run for mayor in those cities’ last municipal elections. Because there’s no similar law in place in B.C., Saanich resident David Shebib has been able to put his name on the mayoral ballot in 13 municipalities in the Capital Regional District.
Robertson hopes the province steps in to address this situation. “There should be an amendment to the charter to ensure it’s a resident and taxpayer of Vancouver who’s eligible to run,” the mayor said.