The Green Party of Vancouver made significant inroads in the 2014 election. The Greens ended up electing 4 candidates, and now have representation on City Council, Park Board and School Board. Adriane Carr was re-elected with 74,077 votes, the most votes of any Council candidate. This was a full 5,658 votes in front of second place, and 17,246 votes above the final (10th) place on Council. A packed campaign celebration at Creekside Community Centre on November 15th was mostly upbeat about the Green Party’s election results.
Janet Fraser was elected as a School Trustee. The 9 member school board will be composed of one Green Party, 4 Vision and 4 NPA trustees. In areas where Vision and the NPA don’t agree (assuming a block voting pattern), the Green Party potentially holds the balance of power.
The biggest breakthrough for the Green Party was on Park Board. For the first time, two Park Board Commissioners were elected. Stuart Mackinnon (a former commissioner from 2008-2011) was elected, and joined by newcomer Michael Wiebe. Motions that are brought forward at Park Board by Mackinnon or Wiebe will have a seconder, thus allowing for debate. The NPA will have the majority on Park Board with 4 Commissioners, Vision will fill out the board with 1 Commissioner.
Elections prior to 2011, a few Greens were elected over the years, but in a coalition agreements with other parties. The Vancouver Greens did not form an alliance in 2011 when Adriane Carr was elected, or in 2014. It’s worth noting that recent legislation (Bill 20 & 21 passed in 2014) effectively prohibits parties from endorsing candidates from other slates. Alliances are no longer permitted.
There are only three parties with representation in Vancouver at the municipal level. Vision Vancouver elected 12 out of 22 candidates, the NPA 11 out of 20, and the Vancouver Greens elected 4 out of 7. The gains by the Greens are impressive, in light of the fact that they spent around $60,000 on the entire campaign. Their donation policy caps contributions at $5,000 maximum per donor; campaign contributions from real estate developers or from fossil fuel companies are not accepted. Both Vision and the NPA accepted over $2 million each; the final results will be reported 90 days after the election.
The Green Party ran a smart campaign and platform (http://vote.vangreens.ca/platform) that relied heavily on many committed volunteers and made efficient use of the resources that were offered. If effective rules for campaign finance reform are passed in time for the 2018, the Greens may be able to run a larger slate and compete on a more level playing field with Vision and the NPA. In the meantime, the Greens are the third force in civic politics in Vancouver.