Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Slate Voting is for Dummies

Since the advanced polls open today, at the urging of my wife whose friends often ask "who's Michael going to vote for?", over the next ten days I plan to share the names of the muncipal candidates that I'm planning to support in Vancouver. In later posts I will complete my list of preferred candidates.

As will be evident from the heading to this post, although I am a failed NPA candidate from the 2008 election, and am assumed by some to wear red, white and blue underwear, in fact I don't feel a particularly strong allegiance to the NPA at all. Indeed, I will be supporting candidates from a number of parties, as well as at least one independent candidate. I believe it is smart to vote for the best candidates in terms of their intelligence, life experience, and willingness to make tough decisions. While some might question why I would support someone with whom I don't always agree, I think it's important to have a balance of views represented on Council. For this reason, I think 'slate voting', especially when the slate tends to vote together on most issues, is for dummies.

So here are some of the candidates I really want to see elected to Vancouver Council, School and Park Board. There are others, who I'll save for a later post.

Park Board:

1. Stuart Mackinnon-Green Party I met Stuart during the last election, and while I don't know him really well, and certainly don't always agree with his positions, I think he's the most decent and dedicated person I know running for public office. He has a challenge, since he hasn't raised much money, and the Greens have been somewhat shunned by Vision. However, I would like to think that people who know him will support him, and his name recognition will help him get elected. Moreover, running for the Park Board under the Green banner seems a natural, doesn't it?

2. John Coupar-NPA I met John during his campaign to save the Bloedel Conservatory. He was very effective and he strikes me as a bright guy with a head on his shoulders who would be a good addition to Park Board.

There are some other very good candidates for Park Board who I'll write about in my next election posts.

School Board:

1. Ken Denike-NPA: It would be a tragedy if Ken did not win. He's a very smart, thoughtful person who brings a great deal of experience to the Board. Given that he survived the 2008 NPA wipe-out, one might assume he's a safe seat. But, nothing should be taken for granted.

2. Sophia Woo and Sandy Sharma-NPA I put these two ladies together since they are both representatives of the 'non-caucasian' population seeking election for the first time. I got to know Sophia last election, and she's a very intelligent person. While she's sometimes difficult to understand at first, don't let that put you off. I have met Sandy on a few occasions and frankly, I would like to see her win because she is an intelligent, South Asian woman who can represent a growing segment of the population with oftentimes particular educational needs.


1. Geoff Meggs-Vision I think Geoff is the smartest person on Council who's running for re-election. While we've had some heated debates and differences, it would be a shame if he didn't win again. I disagreed with him over his handling of the Olympic Village file, and am not as enthusiastic as he is about removal of the viaducts. However, he has extensive experience in government and politics and I will truly be sad, as a taxpayer, if he doesn't win.

2. Sean Bickerton-NPA I met Sean during the last election, and he's a very intelligent and decent person. He represents a number of constituencies that should have a voice on council, most notably the arts and culture community. While we don't always agree on different issues, we can easily respect our differences. He knows that he has much to learn about many of the matters that come before Council, and politics; I hope he'll get an opportunity to learn on the job!

3. Mike Klassen-NPA I first met Mike when I returned from my Sabbatical and gave a talk on lessons for Vancouver from around the world. He somehow encapsulated what I said, and tried to say very well, and I instantly developed a respect for him. As a co-author of he was for all intent and purposes, along with Daniel Fontaine, the 'official opposition' during the past three years. While I often find Mike a bit too partisan and intense, and enjoy him most when he can 'lighten up,' he would be a great addition to Council. And as one former Cabinet Minister recently said to me, he deserves a seat on Council for the excellent job he did leading up to the Olympics on letting people know what was happening around the city. A very community spirited guy.

4. Sandy Garossino-Independent Sandy Garossino, along with Sean Bickerton played a major role in stopping the expanded casino in Vancouver. While I didn't necessarily agree with this at the end, I couldn't help but admire her during the campaign. She's now raising some questions that are uncomfortable for many of us about the role of Asian investment in Vancouver's housing market. She has also proposed a more cautious approach than me with respect to Occupy Vancouver. Anyone who has listened to her will know she's a very intelligent, articulate person with an understanding of the law and business. We don't really know each other well, but people I know who have worked with her think very highly of her. I am hoping she'll be the first independent to be elected to Council in a very long time.

So ...Apologies to any candidate who might lose votes as a result of my 'endorsement'. However, I truly believe you are all very worthy candidates and I hope you will have the support of a sufficent number of voters to win a place on Park and School Board and Council.

In a few days, I'll add a few more names to my list.


Julian Christians said...

Thanks! However, I think describing yourself as a "failed NPA candidate" is horrific. Rather, you successfully established a nonpartisan coalition of those who wonder what might have been.

Anonymous said...

Geoff Meggs may be smart, but he's the one who helped ram through the STIR program with NO public consultation, saying "the election is the consultation and this is the delivery." He also supported the Metro Vancouver Regional Growth Strategy, a powerful bylaw with a 30-year timeline. As with STIR, there was a huge failure to consult Vancouver citizens on the real implications of the RGS. I hope people feel they have consulted with him adequately before voting this time, or they're in for his style for 3 more years, to 2014!

Anonymous said...

Mr Meggs alleged intelligence is easily eclipsed by his arrogance. Not at all tolerable.

Anonymous said...

I like some of your picks, but UGH. Sophia Woo? Seriously? Sophia Woo is famous only for her homophobic rants in the Chinese media. She talks out of both sides of her mouth on every issue and breaks promises at the speed of light.

Glen Arthur said...

Meggs should run for mayor, if anything. He has stood up when Gregor has been too scared to stand up and say anything, but he has been terrible as an advocate for the people, simply standing to ram his own ideas down the throats of everyone.

I agree with Julian's comment... non-partisan was the founding premise of the NPA, and you stood greatly thus. There are several great candidates out there (more than I could possibly vote for), which makes it extremely difficult. Hope that others take your comments to heart and vote for the individual candidates to ensure that we have a truly representative council. Personally voting for Garossino, Bickerton, Reimer, Woodsworth, Carr, Klassen, Affleck. The final 3 I'm undecided!

Wendy said...

Thanks for your thoughts Michael. Helpful.

Also helpful was Anonymous #1's comment. I didn't know Geoff felt so strongly about STIR or MVRGS--another reason to vote for him!

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