Stuart Mackinnon becomes second park commissioner to join Vision Vancouver in advance of fall election

The former Green politician hopes to win a seat on council in October

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      Vision Vancouver appears to be rising from the ashes after a humiliating defeat in the 2018 election.

      Today, the civic party announced that the chair of the Vancouver park board, Stuart Mackinnon, has become a member.

      The retired Killarney secondary teacher was elected as a Green commissioner three times.

      He plans to seek a Vision Vancouver nomination for council in advance of the October election.

      “Vision Vancouver has a strong track record and experience moving quickly and responsibly on the issues that matter in our city," Mackinnon said in a Vision news release. "As a part of the Vision team, I know we can build a stronger, more compassionate city.”

      Earlier this year, former Coalition of Progressive Electors commissioner John Irwin abandoned his party and joined Vision Vancouver.

      The only Vision Vancouver politician elected in 2018 was veteran school trustee Allan Wong.

      From 2008 to 2018, Vision Vancouver had a majority on city council when Gregor Robertson was mayor. During that period, the party launched many environmental initiatives, including the Greenest City Action Plan and separated bike lanes on the Burrard Bridge and in downtown Vancouver.

      Vision Vancouver also tried to advance reconciliation with First Nations in some innovative ways, including through the Canada 150+ celebrations and by giving Indigenous names to two city squares and a public library branch.

      Mackinnon and Irwin have both been keen environmentalists and vocal advocates for reconciliation as members of the park board. They are also among the few elected officials in Vancouver who don't have Twitter accounts.

      John Irwin was elected to park board on the COPE slate in 2018 but now he's a member of the Vision Vancouver caucus.

      Former Vision Vancouver councillor Andrea Reimer is quoted in the news release announcing Mackinnon's defection to her party.

      “With Stuart and a diverse team of candidates for nomination, we can ensure that people’s priorities are represented, and real action is taken, at all levels of our city government," Reimer said.

      She made no mention in the news release of the sometimes stormy relationship between Mackinnon and the Vision caucus during Mackinnon's first term as commissioner from 2008 to 2011. 

      In 2010, for example, Vision took exception to Mackinnon, as a Green commissioner, introducing a motion seeking a referendum on keeping cetaceans in captivity.

      Contributing to the ill will were blog posts on a rabidly pro-Vision Vancouver blog called civicscene, which skewered Mackinnon and other commissioners who were not on the Vision slate.

      This site also took potshots at the Georgia Straight after it ran articles quoting people critical of Vision Vancouver in its first term, including this gem: "I wonder what will happen to the Georgia Straight’s political coverage if Charlie Smith gets hit by a bus and dies. I highly doubt that there will be much nostalgia. In fact, I speculate that the quality of the content will definitely improve."

      At the time, Robertson's chief of staff, Mike Magee, said that the mayor's office had nothing to do with any of the posts on civicscene.