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Civic election starts with attack ad, promises of accountability, Green Party scuffling, more

September 14th, 2011 · 59 Comments

Civic election campaigns don’t usually get going until after the Thanksgiving weekend, so as not to bore us to tears and cause candidates to drop from exhaustion like overworked horses.

This year is different. The Non-Partisan Association is fighting like mad to get more than one seat on council, which they were reduced to in 2008. It looks as though they’ve got a budget to do some damage.

Word among the party is that campaign chair Peter Armstrong is doing a phenomenal job of raising money from people who think the Vision council is out of control, with help from developer Rob Macdonald (who has donated the office space the NPA is working in, an office in the SkyTrain concourse underneath his Shore Club as part of his contribution to the effort).

That’s allowed them to start buying ads early and hire Campaign Research Inc., the company that helped Rob Ford win in Toronto through its extremely effective and aggressive strategies for identifying likely voters.

My story on the campaign start is here.

The NPA’s chicken-attack ad: NPA Ad-1

Details of Suzanne Anton’s promises on accountability below.

NPA Previews Accountability Accord

Vancouver, BC – NPA Mayoral Candidate Suzanne Anton today unveiled a series of specific actions she will implement as Mayor to open up the public’s access to City Hall, restore Vancouver’s tradition of a non-partisan civil service and ensure more efficient use of tax-dollars.

These measures will be part of an “Accountability Accord” that will be included in a full campaign platform Anton will release in October.

“The measures I am announcing today represent a first step in restoring transparency to City Hall,” said Anton.  “After three years of Gregor Robertson, City Hall is less accountable to taxpayers now than ever.  Tax dollars are being wasted, a gag-order has been imposed on city staff and special interests come first.”

As Mayor, Suzanne Anton and the NPA will:

  • lift the current media gag order on Vancouver civil servants and senior manager
  • support the provincial proposal to establish an Auditor General for BC municipalities
  • freeze the Mayor’s Office budget for three years
  • cut the budget for Councillors attending international meetings and national conventions
  • enshrine the ban on soliciting and accepting foreign donations into the Vancouver Charter
  • restore the ability for Councillors to debate at City Hall
  • provide full disclosure of all successful municipal grant application
  • increase the availability of internal city documents to help relieve pressure on City Hall Freedom of Information Office – including more detailed posting of expense accounts
  • restore and uphold the principle of a non-partisan public service at City Hall
  • amend the city’s record retention policy to restrict deletion of emails
  • make the annual budget documents more comprehensive

Anton’s “Accountability Accord” also makes it clear that as Mayor of Vancouver and Chair of the Police Board, she will accept responsibility and be accountable for future Stanley Cup Playoffs celebrations.

NPA Council Candidate Sean Bickerton said, “Maintaining public safety is a core responsibility of the city’s Mayor, and Mr. Robertson failed in that basic duty. Unfortunately, instead of stepping up and being accountable for that failure in June, he has repeatedly tried to deflect blame about the riot to others. Our city deserves stronger leadership.”

In the coming days and weeks, Anton will be announcing additional elements of the NPA platform focusing on the two other campaign themes – prosperity and neighbourhoods. More accountability measures are likely to be included in the platform.

“Citizens deserve to know where their tax dollars are being spent,” concluded NPA Council Candidate Ken Charko.  “I am very proud of the initiatives we are presenting to voters today and look forward to announcing additional measures in the platform next month.”

Over the summer, Suzanne Anton and the NPA Team launched a community platform consultation focused on renewing City Hall’s relationship with neighbourhoods and promoting economic prosperity for all of Vancouver. The results of this outreach process will form the basis of additional platform announcements from the NPA in the coming days and weeks.


Categories: 2011 Vancouver Civic Election