NDP MP Kennedy Stewart, centre, is arrested by RCMP officers after joining protesters outside Kinder Morgan's facility in Burnaby, B.C., on Friday March 23, 2018. As election campaigns kick off across British Columbia its largest city is facing a race unlike any other, experts say. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

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NDP MP Kennedy Stewart, centre, is arrested by RCMP officers after becoming a member of protesters exterior Kinder Morgan’s facility in Burnaby, B.C., on Friday March 23, 2018. As election campaigns kick off throughout British Columbia its largest metropolis is dealing with a race in contrast to some other, specialists say. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

VANCOUVER – As election campaigns kick off throughout British Columbia its largest metropolis is dealing with a race in contrast to some other, specialists say.


A proliferation of recent events and unbiased candidates are crowding the Vancouver race in a widespread turnover of the present council.

“It is actually bizarre, it isn’t frequent to something I’ve ever seen,” mentioned 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 below 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 below 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 gained the mayor’s workplace and eight of 10 council seats.

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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 celebration 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 serious celebration, after which that house crammed by a ton of recent unbiased candidates in a celebration system is uncommon and noteworthy,” Moscrop mentioned.

“But it surely’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 difficulty: 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 mentioned.

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Hamish Telford, a political scientist on the College of the Fraser Valley, mentioned 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 outdated system, he mentioned candidates with identify recognition or established political events tended to absorb obtainable donations, making it tough for newcomers to interrupt in.

“What we’re seeing no less than this time round is a proliferation of events, a proliferation of candidates as a result of they do not want as many sources to compete in opposition to the established candidates and events,” he mentioned.

The turnover extends past 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, mentioned it isn’t clear why so many incumbents within the area have declined one other run. But it surely may 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 option to get ‘large cash’ out of politics, Smith mentioned it may have the unintended consequence of decreasing voter turnout. It means all candidates have much less alternative to get their messages out, he mentioned.

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“In case you’re an elector and also you’re taking a look at 11 totally different celebration teams and 71 candidates for council you would possibly simply resolve to remain house and watch a baseball recreation,” he mentioned.

This race may 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 arrange their ideas,” he mentioned.

“And if you happen to return only one election, the very best predictor of who bought elected civically not simply in Vancouver however in B.C. is incumbency. And that is thrown out the window this time,” Smith mentioned.

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 could be the primary unbiased mayor since Mike Harcourt in 1980. Different challengers for mayor within the metropolis are Ken Sim of the Non-Partisan Affiliation, unbiased candidate Shauna Sylvester, former Conservative MP Wai Younger of Coalition Vancouver and Hector Bremner of YES Vancouver.

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