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Civic candidates hunt desperately for alliances

August 15th, 2008 · No Comments

Will you endorse me/support me/help me in any way? That seems to be the cry these days among Vancouver’s civic candidates, who are all looking for ways to get votes for their nomination meetings.

The whole issue of how to campaign is a difficult one for both sides. As both Vision and NPA candidates have told me, they have no access to their party’s membership lists and they frequently don’t know if the people they’ve signed up have ultimately become members because those people often send their money and application directly to the party office.

So these poor hopefuls are wandering around out there, trying to figure out how to connect with the masses and/or connect with another candidate who has a collection of known sign-ups with whom they can combine forces. (Tragically, this puts them at the mercy of anyone they believe has access to an audience — me, CanWest, any blogger who doesn’t appear to be actually insane.)

That’s particularly true for Vision candidates, whose numbers are now up to the low three figures I believe (WARNING: JOKE), as they try to distinguish themselves among the masses. Existing councillors are feeling a lot of pressure to endorse newcomers. But Tim Stevenson and Heather Deal tell me that they’re not going to endorse anyone, because it’s just too problematic and there are just too many good candidates.

Raymond Louie, however, has decided on a different policy. Louie, who got a lot of help from various sectors during his run for the mayoral nomination against Gregor Robertson, is endorsing the following people: Ross Street temple leader Kashmir Dhaliwal, if he runs (as all the political buzz indicates he’s going to do); his fellow councillor George Chow; Geoff Meggs, Larry Campbell’s former aide who was part of the original band that decamped from COPE; Kerry Jang, who’s been working with Vision since the start; and Heather Harrison, the only Vision candidate who wasn’t elected in 2005. Louie also said that, depending on how many council spots Vision decides to field, he will support Filipino candidate Rey Umlas.

Notable by their absence from his list are Heather Deal, Tim Stevenson and Andrea Reimer, who all worked on Gregor’s campaign. Maybe it’s because they’re high-profile enough that he figures they don’t need his help.

But Andrea gets a secondary boost anyway, because she and Kerry Jang have joined forces (I trade you 1,000 Greenie voters for 1,000 Chinese from southeast Vancouver.) Most recently, they got quite a smack of publicity over their call for regular citizens to apply to be on the TransLink board. Clever piece of political theatre that tapped into a lot of public disgruntlement over the current imperial-seeming TransLink appointment system. I’m sure others candidates are wondering if they should form their own doubles’ teams to try to maximize their vote-getting ability.

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