Only time will tell how far to the right mayor-elect Sim’s governing will be.
For me, the takeaway is that anything in politics is possible — even the seemingly impossible — if one is prepared to work hard enough. Vancouver’s progressive forces can learn a lot from mayor-elect Sim’s victory.
Also recognizing that the NPA was a spent force and that it had been taken over by the alt-right, Mr. Sim set about to do the impossible – to create a brand-new party from the ground up and to lead it to a decisive victory in less than two years.
At its beginning, ABC party membership could be counted on one hand. These individuals did not content themselves with creating yet another chat circle but instead rolled up their sleeves and got to work.
In fairly short order, they recruited dozens, and then hundreds of volunteers. These volunteers began door knocking, eventually contacting literally thousands of Vancouver households.
Do not misunderstand me. I do not support the platform or policies of ABC Vancouver. What I do respect is their willingness to put their noses to the grindstone.
I say all of the above as a lifetime progressive activist who has witnessed in frustration the number of self-described leftists who engage in endless procedural and policy debates during meetings but are never prepared to do any work between meetings.
Sadly, too many of the left believe that if a party self-describes as progressive, then it will automatically attract progressive voters.
So, what’s next for Vancouver’s progressives?
Firstly, a couple of predictions: Vision Vancouver, a coalition of Vancouver’s largest developers and Vancouver’s labour aristocracy, and Kennedy Stewart’s Forward Together will very shortly be as extinct as the dodo bird.
It took 10 years – 2008 to 2018 — for Vision to be exposed for what it was, nothing much more than the NPA with bicycle lanes.
Forward Together is a party in name only. It is a fiction wrapped up in a veneer disguised as a party. In fact, it was so desperate to find Council candidates that it lassoed some of Stewart’s staff and even his wife.
With Vision Vancouver and Forward Together out of the equation, it is more important than ever that Vancouver’s progressive forces bring their heads together — I am talking about COPE and OneCity. They differ on remarkably few if any policies. They both drink from the same well. A new “COPE/OneCity” or “OneCity/COPE” could then form an electoral alliance with the Vancouver Green Party.
A merger of some sort is an absolute necessity if the centre-left is to enter the 2026 municipal election united. As always, the devil will be in the details.
My favourite choice for a centre-left/green mayoral candidate will be Dr. Melissa Lem. She is a weekly guest on CBC’s Early Edition, hosted by Stephen Quinn. She is the president-elect of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment. She is able to effortlessly summarize complex environmental issues into relatable anecdotes. She is both persuasive and immediately likable. If elected, she would be Vancouver’s first woman mayor.
Shortly before he died in 1915, labour activist and songwriter Joe Hill wrote, “Do not waste time mourning. Organize!” This advice has never been more crucial for Vancouver’s progressive and green activists. We must start today. Four years will go by in the blink of an eye.
If Ken Sim can do it, so can we.
Daily atmospheric CO2 [Courtesy of CO2.Earth]
Latest daily total (Oct 21, 2022): 416.06ppm
One year ago (Oct 21, 2021): 413.67ppm
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