My prediction: This won’t be the last we hear from Jean Swanson


The byelection results for the one seat open on Vancouver’s city council are in. As feared, the NPA candidate, Hector Bremner, won as a result of the progressive vote being split. To my disappointment, this means that my favourite city councillor, Adriane Carr, must continue without anyone on council to second her motions so they can be debated. But to my pleasant surprise, Jean Swanson did very well, coming in second.

COPE decided not to run a candidate and, instead, endorsed Jean as a unity candidate. Had either Vision Vancouver or One City done the same and stood behind Jean, she would have won. Jean obtained 10,263 votes, placing her short of victory. The One City candidate obtained 6,327 votes, well ahead of the Vision candidate, who only obtained 5,411 votes. Add either of these vote totals to Jean’s and she would have comfortably defeated Hector.

What lessons can we learn from this byelection? Clearly, Jean’s campaign was the most energetic. By speaking directly to the issue of housing she was able to mobilize a volunteer base throughout the entire city. I was particularly attracted to her mansion tax proposal.

The last time an independent candidate did better than Jean did and actually won an election in Vancouver was when Carole Taylor was successful in 1986. My crystal ball tells me that this byelection will not be the last time we will hear from Jean. Perhaps she will run again in one year in the 2018 general election; perhaps she and her supporters will create a new party.

Only time will tell.


This entry was posted in affordable housing, City Hall, COPE, Green Party, homelessness, NPA, People Power, social justice, Vancouver, Vancouver election, Vision Vancouver and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to My prediction: This won’t be the last we hear from Jean Swanson

  1. Anita Romaniuk says:

    The only reason Carole Taylor won as an Independent in 1986 is because (1) She and her husband, Art Phillips, had personal wealth and (2) the NPA was tacitly behind her. She had tried for an NPA nomination and lost, having been last on the alphabetic ballot at the NPA nomination meeting, and being out-organized by Gim Huey, who annoyed the movers and shakers in the NPA by doing so. Carole Taylor won a Council seat, and Gim Huey did not.

  2. Anita Romaniuk says:

    In 1984, Tom Alsbury, a former NPA mayor of Vancouver (1959-62), ran as an Independent for School Board and won. The other eight school trustees were split between COPE and the NPA, and Alsbury was often the deciding vote. This is the School Board that was fired by the Social Credit government when they refused to submit a budget according to the provincial government’s funding limit. In the subsequent by-election, COPE won all 9 seats, and that was the last time Alsbury ran.

  3. J Miller says:

    Jean, Judy and Pete all together next time! How nice would that be…

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