If you’ve been following the amazing race for mayor in the City of Vancouver, you will be aware of the latest candidate to throw his hat in the ring — Ian Campbell, hereditary chief of the Squamish Nation and friend of Mayor Gregor Robertson.
Much has been said about the fact that if Mr. Campbell is successful in obtaining Vision Vancouver’s nomination for mayor we will have a First Nations’ candidate running for the office.
Those with good memories, however, will remember it was COPE that was the first municipal party to run an indigenous person for mayor in Vancouver. In 1972, Angie Dennis ran for mayor under the COPE banner — the first Indigenous woman to run for a major party.
Leaving aside which political party was first in this regard, I have to ask why Ian Campbell is seeking the Vision nomination.
The housing affordability crisis here in Vancouver has disproportionately affected First Nations — a crisis that could have been addressed by Vision Vancouver during its previous 10 years in office. It was not. Developers were given free rein throughout the city, and were not required to set aside a certain percentage of their projects for affordable housing.
I also have to raise the awkward fact that Ian Campbell’s Squamish Nation has traditional land claims to some of the land in large parcels in the city slated for massive, high-density redevelopment: the 52-acre Jericho lands in Point Grey; and the 21-acre site of former RCMP headquarters on 33rd Ave. (alone slated for as many as 2,000 residents). B.C. Liquor’s soon-to-be-gone distribution plant on Rupert Street is also part of the mix. Mr. Campbell helped to convince the Musqueam, the Squamish and the Tsleil-Waututh to work together on the redevelopment of these three parcels.
I predict that once again Vision Vancouver, if it is still in power when these redevelopments come before council, will fail to make it a requirement that 30% of the units developed are earmarked as rentals with rent set at 30% of a person’s income.
I wish Ian Campbell all the best. But he will certainly not get my vote at the ballot box should he be successful in getting Vision Vancouver’s nomination for mayor.