Best of Vancouver: Politics

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      Best investigative journalism by a politician

      Vancouver East NDP MP Jenny Kwan discovered that B.C. only received 0.5 percent of the National Housing Co-Investment Fund expenditures over two fiscal years under the national housing strategy. Ontario gobbled up $1.39 billion to fund 59,228 units, whereas B.C. only received $7.3 million to fund 66 units.

      In light of this, is it any wonder that there have been so many tent cities popping up in Kwan’s riding?

      Best Machiavellian move of the year

      Snap election

      John Horgan’s decision to call a snap election in the midst of a pandemic was widely condemned as an assault on democracy. It violated the tradition of fixed election dates in this province and an agreement between the B.C. Green and NDP caucuses not to go to the polls until next year.

      Horgan also exploited the goodwill shown by the B.C. Liberals and B.C. Greens in supporting the provincial response to the pandemic. But this sneaky trick worked wonders for the premier, delivering the largest NDP majority in B.C. history. That’s because his opponents were so ill-prepared for the campaign. And their claims that Horgan was a scoundrel didn’t resonate with the voters on election day.

      Best impersonation of an early 20th-century political party

      B.C. Liberals

      Someone needed to tell the B.C. Liberals that the recent election campaign was taking place in 2020, not 1920. That’s because the party led by Andrew Wilkinson didn’t nominate a single woman in any of Vancouver’s 11 constituencies. Unbelievable but true. Under Wilkinson’s leadership, the party also nominated only one woman in all of the nine Surrey constituencies. This came more than 102 years after women obtained the right to vote in Canada. Jeepers creepers, as they used to say almost a century ago.

      Best indication that the B.C. Liberals need to clean house

      It wasn’t the defeat of a former Vancouver mayor, Sam Sullivan, in Vancouver–False Creek. Nor was it the downfall of another long-time B.C. Liberal, Jane Thornthwaite, in North Vancouver–Seymour. No, the biggest political upset in Vancouver and its inner suburbs in the past provincial election came in the former B.C. Liberal fortress of Richmond. That’s where the NDP captured three—count ’em, three—of the city’s four seats, marking the first NDP victories in this city since 1972.

      Best place to learn about councillors’ expenses

      City of Vancouver Open Data Portal

      Here you’ll find out which councillors charged taxpayers for Toronto Star subscriptions (Melissa De Genova and Pete Fry), who attended the Leadership Prayer Breakfast on the taxpayers’ dime (De Genova and Lisa Dominato), who submitted expense forms for Remembrance Day wreaths (Adriane Carr, Sarah Kirby-Yung, and Jean Swanson), who is getting the public to pay for their Compass card (Swanson) and their Zoom account (Christine Boyle), and who charged the city to participate in the Canucks Autism Network Pro-Am Hockey Tournament (Michael Wiebe).

      It’s all on available here.

      Best antidote to unemployment

      Justin Trudeau’s wage subsidy

      One can only imagine how many of us would be without a job had the feds not stepped up to cover 75 percent of the pay of workers at so many companies in this region.

      Best sign that land use is disconnected from incomes

      Earlier this year, Liveable City Planning Ltd. prepared a chart showing that 63 percent of the land across Metro Vancouver is zoned for detached homes. Here’s the problem: fewer than five percent of families in Metro Vancouver can afford to buy a detached home.

      That’s because even with a 25-year mortgage and a 15 percent down payment, they would need an annual family income of $299,486. No wonder city council recently approved a four-storey, 81-unit rental building in Shaughnessy and another rental project in a single-family strip along Dunbar Street.

      Best bluntly worded tweet by a politician

      Vancouver Centre Liberal MP Hedy Fry issued this message to her constituents on April 26: “There’s a group of COVID-19 ‘deniers’ gathering in my constituency today. Keep your distance from these idiots. They are endangering lives. Last week, I wrote to the @VancouverPD warning about these walking public health hazards. Stay home. Stay well.”