Kerry Jang announced the other day that he will not be seeking re-election this fall. This brings the total number of Vision Vancouver council members not running for re-election to five, including Mayor Gregor Robertson.
The only two remaining Vision members of city council, Raymond Louie and Heather Deal, have yet to announce their plans. What does this tell us?
Vision Vancouver is in big trouble. In the recent by-election, the party’s candidate, Diego Cardona, came in fifth. Its primary source of funding at election time, money from big developers, is no longer available with the new regulations brought in by the province banning donations from corporations and unions.
The decision by so many Vision Vancouver council members not to seek re-election tells us that Vision’s troubles are very real. It reminds me of an election many years ago.
In the lead up to the 1993 municipal election, COPE had five city councillors — just one short of a majority. One of the five, Libby Davies, announced she would run for mayor. All of the remaining four COPE councillors decided not to seek re-election. Libby Davie’s campaign for mayor turned out to be a disaster, partly because of all the COPE members not running. At the time, she was at the top of the polls. Philip Owen was at the bottom, but he won the mayor’s seat by a landslide.
We’ll never know whether the four COPE councillors decided not to seek re-election because they could see the writing on the wall — COPE was in trouble — or it was actually their decision not to run again that so mortally wounded the party.
But back to today. I suspect that we now have a situation where Vision Vancouver council members are deciding not to run again because they recognize the fact that Vision is going to do very poorly this fall. However, their decisions not to run make Vision’s bad situation even worse. With so few incumbents running, Vision is left even weaker.
Will Raymond Louie announce his candidacy for mayor? If so, Heather Deal will be the lone remaining Vision councillor, and even she has yet to announce her plans.
For people who watch 12th and Cambie, these are exciting times. This kind of tumult rarely occurs! It may open the door to a new and different majority on city council — a Green/COPE one.