Lamenting the End of the Independent Candidate in North Van City

The following submission is the view of one candidate and is not necessarily the view of North Van City Voices.
This is the perspective from the inside of the local campaign by an independent candidate for Council. 

By Dorothy Bell
Independent Candidate for North Vancouver City Council
(There has never been a party system in municipal campaigns in North Vancouver City. That old revered system is now in a state of collapse.)

If you asked my opinion why North Vancouver City Council appears so very dysfunctional, you would get a very simple answer. The Party System is alive and well in North Van City and that system breeds divisiveness.

Party system you say? There are no parties …Well no one except Unite North Van Mayoralty candidate George Pringle has declared a true political party, but there are very clear lines drawn in the sand by Mayor Darrell Mussatto and Councilor Craig Keating. As New Democrats you would think that their team would be made up of union or NDP supporters. It’s not.

The Keating-Mussatto Team has selected candidates that they feel will win a particular segment of the population. Their goal is to have 7 pairs of boots on the ground to rally their own particular audiences. Buchanan was elected last time and has been a perfect yes woman for that team supporting every overdevelopment placed before council. She has voiced support in the past for the sale of School Lands.
And because that Team’s only goal is to get elected, they really haven’t screened their candidates well. Witness contender Iani Makris’ who has a propensity to use vulgar profanity, the “C” word, that Wikipedia calls a “terms of abuse against women.” Mussatto says he supports Iani as he does with all first time candidates.
Not likely. I am a first time City Council candidate and Team Keating-Mussatto is not supporting me!
The Keating-Mussatto (Team KM) team has selected a business woman who lives in the District and says “her heart is in the district.” Holly Back has always represented or run in the District. Doesn’t the City have good candidates? I think we need to have representation that lives here and whose heart is in the city. Someone who will fight for City School Lands instead of promoting the sale of them to developers.
Team KM’s Matt Clark was selected primarily because Clark will be confused with Rod Clark – a long term councilor with an extensive background. Cute play TEAM KM.

What does this team have in common? Well they all believe that it is ethical to take developers’ money during the election. They all put out their hands for that dirty money. They all support Mussatto’s vision of more density, more density and more density. Traffic? (What traffic?) Parking? (Tisk tisk. You own a car…) Growth? (1% a year….) Come on tell the truth.
So Team KM is forcing true independents to form an alliance. They are pushing us to join forces. 

The last great Mayor of the City Jack Loucks brought diverse views to the table to ensure that the best decisions were made for the community. He made everyone – all councilors at the table – feel welcome to express their views. He didn’t support slates or municipal parties. Darrell always has.

From the get-go Mussatto has had teams and slates. Because of the new election rules he is hiding the slate. Gone are the big ads of Mussatto’s picks but rest assured that behind the scenes in the dark backrooms of the campaign, there are people working to get seven people elected. Even a phone bank for our tiny city.

So I lament. Gone are the days of a council that respects and supports one another. Gone. The only goal for the current Mayor and Team KM is to have a well-oiled and financed team; one unified pro-developer vote. Kick off every dissenting vote or alternate point of view. 


3 responses to “Lamenting the End of the Independent Candidate in North Van City

  1. Dorothy Bell
    Thanks for your post although I am not so sure you disagree that much.

    I am an independent candidate and I lament and despise the bully tactics that have been used this election. It is different than previous times I have run. I applaud you for focusing on the positive dialogue however not all is positive in the magic kingdom.

    For example, I have received an email that I find very offensive and threatening. Not just with what it said but where it came from. I have never encountered this before. They didn’t even have the guts to stand up and say who they are and hid behind a false name. I gave this email to a tech guy and he came back with a location for the IP address. Yes I am threatened.

    I have also never run into developer donations that skew the opportunity to reach out to the public. I am at an unfair advantage if I don’t take the dirty money. Like you I have determined that it is unethical to vote for a project or take a trip if sponsored by someone who is likely to be asking for extras at the council table,
    I have never seen a candidate use misogynist language on Facebook before. I find it disturbing that the Mayor condones this language. His big defense of Gay Pride doesn’t ring true with me when he can’t even scold someone on his team for insulting half the population. So I find all these changes quite disturbing changes.

    There has always been the smut-rakers who scroll through the garbage with a fine tooth comb. Par for the course.

    I signed up to run on my record of environmental and community work. I have a stellar history and one that I am proud. I am running on my own record not my fathers or husbands. I live in this city.

    So yes I lament for different times. How many of 18 candidates for council are truly independent?

    Anyway best of luck. I would be proud to serve next to you.
    Dorothy Bell
    Independent Candidate for North Vancouver City Council

    • Thanks Dorothy. It is tough and there is no doubt about that. But there is still some independent flame burning…I guess that’s the point I felt necessary to make. My intent was not to knock your note, but just to say that there are still a few of us out there. I acknowledge there are few.

      Thank you for continuing this dialogue. It is something our community desperately needs more of.

      Best of luck to you and Bill too.



  2. Hello Dorothy,

    I believe that rumours of the demise of the independent candidate are greatly exaggerated.

    I am an independent candidate.

    I have not and will not swear allegiance to or kowtow to a Mayoral candidate. I will continue to run my campaign focusing on what I will bring to our City Council. There is not enough time to focus on anything else besides attempting creating an atmosphere of positive dialogue in this city, something that has been missing for a long time.

    Independent candidates take abuse, they have their motives questioned, and they are treated as outcasts. I willingly accepted this price when I submitted my nomination papers.

    As an elected councillor, I will continue to advance the agenda that I have outlined in my brochure:
    – Balancing Growth
    – Advancing Public Space
    – Controlling Tax Increases
    – Creating an Environment where Businesses and Residents Succeed Together

    I will vote on each issue on its merit and not based on which Councillor or Mayor it came from. I will do this by weighing the facts, listening to my constituents and my conscience, and doing what is in the best interests of our city.


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