Oct 27, 1999
Vancouver Votes: Prologue - THE COMMENTARY
By Joseph Planta
In less than a month, municipalities across the province will head to the polls to cast their civic government ballots. In the City of Vancouver, NPA incumbent Philip Owen will do battle with COPE/Green candidate David Cadman. In 1996, Owen easily beat Carmela Allevato, and in doing so, paved the way for an NPA sweep on city council, school board and parks board. This time around Cadman and the coalition are set to do battle and claim at least one seat. The NPA stands for Non-Partisan Association, some may say the right-wing in this town, but I think they represent the status quo. The other day, Mayor Owen and the NPA team unveiled their campaign slogan, which says something like, ‘Elect responsible government’. Well, I must admit they’ve been responsible, because for one, they haven’t had many big issues to decide on, nor have their activities been so sweeping in which they’d have the voter up in arms.
Speaking of voters, voting turnout is at an all-time low. 32% of eligible voters voted 3 years ago. That figure is disappointing, but more importantly it’s embarrassing. Low voter turnout always means that a segment, in this case a large segment, of the population isn’t represented in the outcome of the result. In the case of the Mayor’s race, Mayor Owen shouldn’t bother moving his stuff out of his office. Although Cadman is tough and looks like he can do the job, he won’t win. Vancouverites in their grandest are always willing to embracing the status quo.
One of the most chilling showdowns, has already taken place. And that was at the NPA’s nominating meeting, where they dubiously dumped two incumbent councillors Alan Herbert and Nancy Chivario. It all stemmed from councils controversial decision to grant a licence to a gay bar, and for Mr. Herbert and Ms. Chivario’s opposition to towing the party line. They have both decide to seek re-election, but without a party banner to run under, both will run as independents. This situation only reinforces my opinion, because Herbert and Chivario represented points of view that strayed from the centre. And for holding such opinions, they got punished.
It’s all up to the civic populous to decide who’ll top the polls. It’ll be an NPA majority, and the real test from now to voting day is how good the other parties will be at campaigning and inevitably in how they can get elected.
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