This article by Ian Young appeared in the South China Morning Post (Hong Kong).
Gregor Robertson survives challenge from Meena Wong in Vancouver poll
Gregor Robertson keeps top job after a tough campaign that saw rival from Hong Kong Meena Wong question his left-wing credentials
Wong was still in a fighting mood after the results were declared on Saturday night. She said she had no regrets about running against Robertson, that he was no longer a true progressive, and that she had felt “disrespected” by his plea last week for would-be Cope voters to support him instead of Wong. He had claimed only he could defeat LaPointe, former managing editor of The Vancouver Sun.
Cope had sat out the last two civic elections, allowing Robertson to romp home.
“Begging for another party’s supporters to vote for him… what had he done to earn their support?” Wong said. “He has sold his soul to developers,” she said, claiming that Robertson had done little to promote affordable housing.
Robertson’s campaign was heavily funded by the real estate industry. Vancouver has attracted waves of wealthy Hong Kong and mainland Chinese immigrants, raising questions about their impact on the city’s sky-high real estate market, which is the second-most unaffordable in the world behind Hong Kong’s.
Affordability was the single most important issue for Vancouver voters, according to a survey last week by pollsters Insights West. Wong’s pledge to levy a vacancy tax on rich absentee homeowners who left their homes empty was among the most popular policies of the campaign, supported by 72 per cent of voters, Insights West said.
Wong said she was “impressed and honoured” to have received as many votes as she did, considering that Cope’s tiny campaign budget of around C$70,000 (HK$480,000) was dwarfed by Vision’s multimillion-dollar campaign. “But we would not change Cope’s position: No corporate agenda, no corporate money.”
Wong said she spoke to LaPointe just before he conceded, telling him he would have needed a “bucket of disinfectant” for City Hall, if he had won.