Gregor Robertson has pulled off a civic hat trick, becoming mayor of Vancouver for the third time.
The centre-left Vision Vancouver candidate’s main opponent, academic and former Vancouver Sun journalist Kirk LaPointe of the right-wing Non-Partisan Association (NPA), conceded defeat at 10:50 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 15.
Robertson led all evening after the polls closed. With all 129 polls reporting, Robertson had taken 83,529 votes to LaPointe’s 73,443 votes.
Meena Wong, the mayoral candidate for the progressive party COPE, came third with 16,791 votes.
When it looked like his win would not be a shoe-in, Robertson attempted to draw COPE votes in the days leading to the election, asking them to help him keep the NPA out of power. He had also apologized to voters for not meeting their “expectations” in the previous term.
While Robertson retook the mayor’s chair, Vision Vancouver also returned six councillors in the 10-seat council, compared with NPA’s three, losing one seat to NPA. The Green Party’s Adriane Carr also kept her council seat.
But it wasn’t a perfect night for Vision. The party lost control of the Park Board and School Board to NPA.
Robertson told supporters who gathered at the Sheraton Wall Centre that Vision Vancouver had heard voters’ wishes and promised to do better over the next four-year term.
In her concession speech, Wong said that while she had not believed in miracles, she did believe in hard work and good policies.
“We put COPE back into the political map in Vancouver,” she said.
“The results tonight are disappointing, but let’s look at the whole campaign… we succeeded in putting forward the most progressive policies… we listened to the neighbourhoods, the communities, and we actually consulted them, unlike some parties out there.”
She added that just two months ago, doubters would not have expected the result COPE got from the electorate, stating that COPE’s “platform shaped the whole discussion through the whole campaign.”
Her platform included a comprehensive housing strategy with a plan to tax vacant properties and new subsidized housing.
Voter turnout in Vancouver was larger than expected, with some polls staying open late to accommodate. Voter turnout at the last election, in 2011, was 35 per cent.
The mainstream media had toyed with the idea of a Robertson-less Vancouver. The day before the election, Maclean’s Magazine threw out an op-ed called “Could Gregor be a Goner?” complete with the speculation that the election had gone from being a “boring, done deal to one of the tightest and ugliest civic fights in years.”
Georgia Straight ripped into the Vision Vancouver campaign, too, listing 10 points on why Robertson and company invited the ire of voters. This included promiscuous political relationships, bringing both federal and B.C. liberals into the party fold, a condescending attitude towards COPE and COPE supporters, a lawsuit filed by Robertson and Vision councillor Geoff Meggs against LaPointe (leading to claims of bullying from the latter), and blundering and contrary positions on development in the city.
Cathryn Atkinson was the editor of rabble.ca from 2010 to 2012.
Photo: flickr/Evan Leeson
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