VANCOUVER – As election campaigns kick off throughout British Columbia its largest metropolis is dealing with a race not like every other, specialists say.
A proliferation of recent events and impartial candidates are crowding the Vancouver race in a widespread turnover of the prevailing council.
“It is actually bizarre, it is not frequent to something I’ve ever seen,” stated David Moscrop, a political scientist within the division of communications on the College of Ottawa who lately left British Columbia.
Town’s political system is already uncommon in Canada. It operates beneath a celebration system and voters elect council members at-large as a result of Vancouver hasn’t had wards because the 1930s.
Since 2008, centre-left Imaginative and prescient Vancouver has dominated council beneath Mayor Gregor Robertson, who isn’t working once more. Earlier than that, the centre-right Non-Partisan Affiliation had the longest ruling legacy with some notable exceptions, together with 2002 when the Coalition of Progressive Electors received the mayor’s workplace and eight of 10 council seats.
This yr, newcomers who thought of throwing their names within the hat are taking a look at a uncommon alternative. Solely 4 incumbent councillors are working and amongst them, just one is getting back from Imaginative and prescient Vancouver. The occasion additionally noticed its mayoral candidate, Ian Campbell, bow out only one week earlier than the nomination deadline.
“To have the, I would not say collapse, however have the entrenchment of a significant occasion, after which that house crammed by a ton of recent impartial candidates in a celebration system is uncommon and noteworthy,” Moscrop stated.
“Nevertheless it’s additionally a reminder that in politics when there is a house that emerges to be crammed, it will get crammed.”
The end result leaves voters within the metropolis of Vancouver to decide on between 21 mayoral and 71 council candidates vying for the mayor’s job and 10 council seats. Eleven events are working candidates.
Moscrop predicted the election will largely be fought on a single challenge: housing.
“There’s totally different events with totally different approaches to fixing it that on first look do not break down on ideological traces of left-right as a lot as they do on density, non-density, how they wish to do transportation inside growth initiatives. That is all substantive and inspiring,” Moscrop stated.
Hamish Telford, a political scientist on the College of the Fraser Valley, stated new marketing campaign finance guidelines are doubtless a part of the rationale so many new events and candidates entered the race. They prohibit company and union donations and restrict particular person contributions to $1,200.
Below the previous system, he stated candidates with identify recognition or established political events tended to absorb obtainable donations, making it troublesome for newcomers to interrupt in.
“What we’re seeing not less than this time round is a proliferation of events, a proliferation of candidates as a result of they do not want as many assets to compete towards the established candidates and events,” he stated.
The turnover extends past the town. Solely eight of the 21 mayors within the municipalities that make up Metro Vancouver are working once more.
Patrick Smith, a political science and concrete programs professor at Simon Fraser College, stated it is not clear why so many incumbents within the area have declined one other run. Nevertheless it might have one thing to do with the brand new marketing campaign spending guidelines and the extension of municipal phrases to 4 years from three.
Whereas the shift in marketing campaign spending was heralded as a solution to get ‘large cash’ out of politics, Smith stated it might have the unintended consequence of reducing voter turnout. It means all candidates have much less alternative to get their messages out, he stated.
“When you’re an elector and also you’re taking a look at 11 totally different occasion teams and 71 candidates for council you would possibly simply determine to remain house and watch a baseball recreation,” he stated.
This race can also be much less predictable than others, with the introduction of so many new events and the low variety of incumbents working.
“Since we do not have wards, we do have events. That helps folks set up their ideas,” he stated.
“And if you happen to return only one election, the perfect predictor of who acquired elected civically not simply in Vancouver however in B.C. is incumbency. And that is thrown out the window this time,” Smith stated.
Former NDP MP Kennedy Stewart is taken into account among the many frontrunners for the mayor’s seat in Vancouver. If he’s elected, he can be the primary impartial mayor since Mike Harcourt in 1980. Different challengers for mayor within the metropolis are Ken Sim of the Non-Partisan Affiliation, impartial candidate Shauna Sylvester, former Conservative MP Wai Younger of Coalition Vancouver and Hector Bremner of YES Vancouver.
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