Vancouver has a new mayor, and in many ways his main message couldn't be more inspirational: you can't lose if you never give up.
That's something that the city's mayor elect Ken Sim repeated numerous time during his victory speach on Saturday. After losing to the now former Mayor Kenndy Stewart in 2018, Sim led the newly minted ABC Vancouver party to majority wins on not only city council, but also the school and park boards.
The ABC trifecta marks the first time one party has taken all three bodies since Vision Vancouver pulled off the sweep in 2011.
Speaking to an understandably amped crowd in South Hall in South Vancouver, Sim gave every indication that, if politics don't work out over the next four years, he might have a career in standup comedy.
Starting his speech with a simple "Wow", Sim went on to proclaim "Four-and-a-half years. The lonnggest job interview ever."
From there he mixed the serious with lines which lead to no shortage of laughter.
On the serious side of things Sim noted there's good reason that he's proud to be the city's first mayor of Chinese ancestry.
"The path to get here was incredibly long," he said. "One hundred and thirty five years after the first Chinese head tax was paid just for the right to come here and work on building a railway, Vancouver has elected its first Chinese mayor. The history of this moment isn't lost on me. The honour really goes to the shoulders of those I stand on."
Moving forward, Sim said he's looking forward to building a more inclusive Vancouver, where pulling together is going to only make the city stronger.
"For us that shared vision only came together very recently," he said. "Five hundred days ago ABC Vancouver was just an idea. Now, while being B.C.'s newest political party, tonight we are the largest municipal party in our great province."
Cleary understanding that timing is everything in comedy, Sim then followed up an extended round of applause and cheering with "The speech is going to take 47 minutes at this rate. So you might as well hit the bar right now because we're going to settle in here for a while."
He continued with: "Look, ABC Vancouver was born out of a desire for change—a desire to do politics differently. It was born out a promise that decision in government should not be made on the advice of polls, lobbyists, activists, or whatever's trending on Twitter. But instead it should be made on the advice of parents, and educators, and scientists, and healthcare providers. And what's happening in community town halls, and coffee shops, and the occasional local pub."
When that led to laughter, Sim quickly interjected with "Seriously, some of the greatest ideas come out of the pub."
After quipping, over cheers, "We're literally at an hour now", Vancouver's new mayor repeated again "you can't lose if you never give up", and then went on to map out some of ABC's immediate priorities.
"We've heard loud and clear from people that they wanted change, and people, change in Vanocuver is here," Sim said. "On day one we are going to requisition for 100 new police officers and 100 new mental health providers. We are going to stop the road tax, we're going to plant he first of 100,000 new trees...and we will work to make Vancouver the most accessible city in the world. We're going to start the work day one to reduce permit times on building new homes and starting new businesses."
To the no doubt delight of everyone who wonders why you can buy a six-pack at the corner store in Turkey, Cambodia, the US, Cuba, Mexico, England, France, Vietnam, Costa Rica, Italy, the Netherlands, Thailand, Japan and (insert favourite country here), but not Vancouver, Sim also indicated that ABC will stop treating alcohol like the devil's brew.
"We are going to expand the resonsible consumption of alcohol in our parks," he said to cheers. "And we're going to bring a renewed lens, a compassionate lens, one that's measured by outscomes in the communities that need it the most. Now we're going to do these things, and a lot of other things, and we're going to do them together. But I do want to stress that this journey is going to be really hard. There will be false starts. We will make mistakes. But we can't lose if we never give up."