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Robertson refuses mayoral debate with developer group over sponsorship and more

September 22nd, 2014 · 34 Comments

This letter from Mayor Gregor Robertson’s people, saying he won’t participate in the Oct. 7 UDI breakfast debate,  is going around in various circles.

They say the Urban Development Institute, which represents the region’s builders and developers, gave his office only two days to answer an invitation before putting out publicity suggesting the mayor hadn’t accepted, and they questioned having the debate sponsored by someone who has been out slagging the mayor.

I haven’t heard from the UDI their version on how this came about or whether they think their debate notice was offensive.

NOTE: I should add that the mayor’s people and the UDI have been on the outs for several years. The mayor’s office basically doesn’t respond to any invitations from the UDI and I know for a fact the mayor’s staff a long time ago decided they weren’t going to do the UDI any favours. I understand the UDI started inviting the mayor as of July 10 to come and, not debate, but present his main message along with other mayoral candidates. The only response came when the UDI put out preliminary information for a lunch meeting Sept. 18, at which point the mayor’s staff said it was his birthday. Then nothing more after that except for this letter when a new Oct. 7 date was announced.

By the way, as far as I’ve heard, Robertson has so far committed to three other debates and is in talks about dates/timing with three others at least. Many debate organizers seem to be including COPE’s Meena Wong in their line-up, judging from those she’s accepted so far. No word on whether organizers will now include Bob Kasting, the candidate of the very loosely affiliated parties and independents running as a kind of anti-developer-money-and-influence coalition.

The letter: RobertsonUDI

The UDI’s original info about the debate sent to members

Dear UDI Members:

With municipal elections approaching in mid-November, join us to hear from the candidates running for the top job in the City of Vancouver.

UDI recently invited the mayoral candidates for the three major parties (Vision Vancouver, NPA and COPE) to speak and so far, two have accepted.

UDI President Anne McMullin will moderate the discussion, posing relevant industry-related questions to NPA Candidate Kirk LaPointe and COPE Candidate Meena Wong.

What are their thoughts on affordability, transit, CACs and density? Take this opportunity to ask your questions as well!


The UDI’s debate info that’s on their website:


Categories: 2014 Vancouver Civic Election