In time honoured fashion the media, candidates (successful and not), political parties, and bloggers (like me) are all putting their spin on the recent Vancouver election results. The media of course looks for most sensational way to portray the results, candidate reactions are as varied as the results and their respective personalities, and political parties tend to be more strategic in responding to the results. As for us bloggers, our spin usually seeks to validate pre-election predictions, reflect deeply rooted bias, and the passion we bring to our blogs.
Vancouver’s civic elections are so uniquely complex, that there are boundless opportunities for spin. Unlike other cities, we have three separate civic bodies and enough candidates to fill a good size hall. And Vancouver has such a turbulent political history that some observers characterize Vancouver Politics as a blood sport. Of course there are others who see it as more akin to a soap opera, and I see it as a bit of all of the above.
With this not so brief introduction, and acknowledgement of my obvious bias as a co-chair of the COPE election planning and campaign committees, here is my personal spin on the election results.
Voter turnout increased, progressive majorities returned to School Board, Council and Park Board, Capital plans approved, and a clear mandate given on the important issues of housing the homeless, creating more affordable housing, improving transit, giving neighbourhoods a stronger voice in civic matters, and making Vancouver a greener more sustainable city. Yes, in spite of running a strong campaign, increasing its support base, greatly expanding its voter contacts, and increasing its vote, COPE only succeeded in electing one of its nine candidates, and that was Allan Wong to School Board.
While COPE’s failure to elect anyone to council has lead to some pundits predicting of the demise of COPE, such predictions are in my opinion nothing more than wishful thinking, and ignore the fact that COPE is not simply an electoral machine. A fact that I believe will be abundantly clear in the days, months and years ahead as COPE continues its tradition of speaking out on important issues and advocating progressive solutions for the serious challenges facing Vancouver.