Today, October 4, is the first of two advance voting days for the Vancouver by-election October 14 to elect one new council member and nine school board members. The second advance poll will be held October 10. Both advance polls are located at City Hall. Of course, regular voting day is Saturday, October 14 and you’ll have to check where your nearest polling station is.
The by-election for a new council member was caused by the resignation of Vision Vancouver councillor Geoff Meggs, who accepted a position with the newly elected provincial NDP.
Many may wonder why it’s important to vote in this by-election. I am reminded of longtime city councillor, Harry Rankin. At one point in his 12th run for a seat on council, he was declared elected. He went to bed not realizing there was still one more poll yet to be counted. The poll happened to be in a conservative area of the city.
As Harry was sleeping, he flipped from being just barely elected to runner-up. He lost the election by a mere handful of votes! If just a few more Harry supporters had come out to vote he would have been elected. In the end, all turned out well as Harry was finally elected in his next try, but the moral of the story of the story is that every vote counts.
In this by-election, I see two strong contenders: Jean Swanson, who is running as an independent with the support of COPE, and Pete Fry with the Green Party.
Hopefully, Vision Vancouver will not secure another seat on council. The current Vision-dominated council has been very pro-developer. They have given the developers pretty much everything they asked for while little has been done to address the housing crisis. A defeat of Vision would send a very strong message to 12th and Cambie.
Both Jean Swanson and Pete Fry have offered creative planks in their election platform to address the housing crisis. I am particularly attracted to Jean’s proposal for a mansion tax, which would see property taxes increased on properties worth more than $5 million and the monies raised used for much-needed affordable housing.
It’s a beautiful day today. Get out and vote!
Visit COPE for more information on COPE candidate Diana Day (for School Board) and COPE-endorsed Independent candidate Jean Swanson (for City Council).