Vision Supporters Expect Big Changes

Sandra Thomas, Vancouver Courier
Published: Saturday, November 15, 2008

When early results of Saturday night’s municipal election showed Vision Vancouver mayoral candidate Gregor Robertson with a strong lead, the huge crowd gathered at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver broke into thunderous cheers and applause.

It was the first indication that the close, and sometimes bitter, political race could finally be called. By the Courier’s press deadline Robertson had pushed ahead with 67,598 votes compared of NPA rival Peter Ladner with 48,794.

At 9:40 p.m. the crowd of more than 1,000 roared as Vision Vancouver’s media spokesperson Ian Bailey addressed the crowd.

“It’s been a good night for Vision Vancouver,” Bailey said. “We have the top four on school board, the top four on park board and we’re only 1,000 votes behind the 10th spot on council, which will be a clean sweep.”

No one cheered or clapped louder than Vision volunteer and business student Jeremy Ingoldby. “I have two words, ‘Gregor Robertson,’” he said when asked why as a member of the federal Liberals he supported the NDP-backed Vision Vancouver.

“He has a way of bringing people together. When I was out campaigning a lot of people thought we were young socialists, but it’s not just the NDP here tonight, there’s a lot of Liberals and even some Conservatives.”

Ingolby said he likes Robertson’s ideas on how to deal with issues such as homelessness and creating capital for the city. He believes Roberton’s platform resonated with many likeminded voters. He compared the number of young voters backing Robertson to the record number of young people who voted in droves for U.S. president-elect Barack Obama two weeks ago.

“A lot of young people are getting involved because of Gregor,” said Ingolby. “He has the potential to do for Vancouver what Obama did for the U.S.”

West End resident Brian Broster said he supports Robertson because of the commitment he made to helping renters at risk. A record number of renters across the city, and particularly the West End, are being evicted by what’s become known as eviction by renovation. Broster, who expects to soon be evicted from his building so the landlord can make renovations, and then double the rent, said Robertson was the first municipal candidate to make a commitment to work with renters.

“I challenged him to place a moratorium on ‘reno-victions,’ as we call them and he came back and said he’d closely scrutinize permits for renovations. To us, that was huge.”

At 8:30 p.m. Broster was already confident of Robertson’s victory. He said that while out campaigning for Vision the day of the election, he’d ask people if they had voted.

“And at least 70 per cent of them said, ‘Yes we have and it was for you,’ and they’d point to our Vision signs,” he said.

Another West End resident facing eviction, Melissa Mewdell, agrees Robertson was the first politician to promise help at the city level.

“The NPA kept telling us it’s a provincial issue, and that’s partly true,” said Mewdell. “But the city also the tools to help us, they just haven’t. They not only have the tools but they have a moral obligation to help us.”

Tags: ,

Leave a Reply