Tag Archives: Election

CNV elections: meet the new boss, same as the old boss

Opinion piece by Fred Dawkins, Voices spokesperson and published by The Global Canadian (Nov 2018)

CNV elections: meet the new boss, same as the old boss

So…what to make of the 2018 municipal election in the City of North Vancouver?

While voters in neighbouring municipalities opted for slow-growth advocates, CNV voters returned majority control of their city council to the pro-development slate led by former councillor Linda Buchanan. She will be supported by three new pro-development councillors, all relative unknowns.

How did this happen? And what does it mean?

First, let’s look at the big picture. In recent years CNV has seen an unprecedented building boom, far surpassing development targets that were debated and established just four years ago. Time after time, high-rise condo proposals that exceeded the city’s Official Community Plan have come before a city council dominated by a slate that was elected with the help of developer money and union “volunteers”. And time after time, those proposals were approved by a 4-3 vote.

The result? All this condo building has done nothing to improve housing affordability. In fact it’s getting worse as big new market rental buildings replace affordable older apartments, leading to a rise in “renovictions”. Meanwhile, predictably, traffic has spiked, with the approaches to both North Shore bridges gridlocked at almost every rush hour. Commuters have been grousing about the traffic tie-ups. Long-time residents have been complaining about the density explosion, urging their neighbours to get out and vote for the slower-growth side in 2018. Surely it was time for a change, no?

As it turned out…no. Only 34 per cent of eligible voters came out in 2018 – a little better than the 30 per cent who voted in 2014, but far short of a wave for change. And those who did vote opted for the same developer-backed slate that facilitated the condo explosion and traffic nightmares we see today.

It could easily have been different. In the mayor’s race, Buchanan – a two-term CNV councillor mentored by outgoing mayor Darrell Mussatto – outpolled former councillor Guy Heywood by a mere 400 votes.*

Vote splitting was a big factor here. Buchanan enjoyed the unified support of the real estate industry, while those residents who want to put the brakes on the condo boom had to choose among three experienced, high-profile independent candidates in Heywood, Rod Clark and Kerry Morris. Combined, those three garnered 64 per cent of the vote, against Buchanan’s 30 per cent.

In hindsight, it seems clear that if just one of the three had stayed out of the race, the mayoralty would have gone to an independent and the entire complexion of CNV government would have changed. Did egos and personal grudges get in the way of a unified front? Possibly. But hindsight is always 20-20, and I don’t begrudge any candidate who runs because they sincerely believe they have the right vision for the city.

On the other hand, the power of slate voting in municipal elections has never been more evident. Among the 24 candidates for CNV council were several experienced former office holders with considerable local name recognition. Yet thanks to being endorsed as part of a five-candidate slate, three relative unknowns with virtually zero experience in CNV civic affairs – Tina Hu, Angela Girard and Jessica McIlroy – received more votes than their better-known opponents.

(One thing I can say for Buchanan’s new team – according to their campaign materials, they share a common attribute: all say they are “passionate”… so I guess we can expect more stirring oratory at future council meetings.)

Many veteran council watchers were surprised by this outcome. They shouldn’t have been. Remember this is municipal politics, where low turnouts magnify the impact of bloc voting. Without an organized front by citizens who want a rational, slow-growth approach to development, the one faction that is organized and funded will win every time, no matter who the candidates are.

In any case, don’t expect much in the way of collaboration with the District. And I predict the Harry Jerome rec centre plan is due for a rethink, shrinkage, and more delay.

In the meantime, the slate holding the reins at CNV city hall plans to continue the strategy of making housing more affordable by building a whole lot more of it. It has never worked before, but hey, maybe this time. 

*comment:  Mayor Buchanan received 9.9% of the votes (3800) from eligible voters (38,163) and 29.7% of the votes cast for Mayor = 70% of the votes were for others


EDITORIAL: Change of office

from the North Shore News:

The District of North Vancouver has seen the biggest shift in the balance of power where candidates with more conservative platforms essentially ran the table.

In the City of North Vancouver, mayor-elect Linda Buchanan certainly benefited from vote splitting with three high-profile opponents all running on a similar message. But when you look at the rest of council, there is no question that urbanism has a mandate in the city.

We have been pleased to see this peaceful transfer of power oiled, for the most part, by clean and positive campaigns.

And we commend as well the roughly 35 per cent of North Shore residents who found their way to a ballot box. In reality, it is a pitifully low number but it’s a huge increase from the last election.

Surely there are a handful of West Vancouver folks who couldn’t shut off Netflix for an hour now wishing they had. The mayoral race there was decided by just 21 votes, as if we needed any more reminders that every vote counts.

With the well of democracy refreshed, we are eager to see all our new councils sworn in on Nov. 5.

Whether you campaigned on bringing about change or making things more like they used to be, there is a lot of work to be done and those bylaws aren’t going to pass themselves.

Source: EDITORIAL: Change of office

Candidate honesty vs lies and ethics

Candidate honesty vs lies and ethics
Would you vote for Mayoral candidates who have shown themselves to be less than honest, trustworthy and ethical?  Two incidents in the past day showing that two candidates – Kerry Morris and Linda Buchanan fail that test.
Kerry Morris has posted a list of campaign donors on his website with the following comment on facebook: ‘ Released all my donations publicly so you can see I’m beholden to no one but our cities community (as far as I can tell currently no one else has released there’s):  http://kerrymorris4mayor.com/2018-campaign-donations/.’
Problem?  He has listed Pam Bookham with a ‘donation’ of $250, the truth is that this was not a donation. Earlier this year, Bob Heywood, Pam Bookham and Rod Clark asked Kerry Morris to remove their 2014 endorsements from his website. He refused, unless they paid to have them removed.  Pam Bookham paid for all three, he then refused to remove their pictures after the endorsements were removed.  This leaves people with the impression that he had received their endorsements.  She is not supporting him and for him to now refer the charge as a ‘donation’ is a lie.  Would you now trust this person to be a Mayor?  He says he is running on an ‘open and honest’ platform – not true.
Linda Buchanan during the Mayoral debate last night took a shot at candidate Rod Clark for ‘turning down a proposal for 10 suites at 10% below CMHC. The actual proposal at the public hearing April 23rd ‘ for 4 units – was defeated by Coun. Bell, Back, Bookham and Clark because it was throught to be an insignificant contribution for the massive development. Brought back for reconsideration  as a last minute agenda addition on May 14th by the Mayor because the developer continued negotiating after the public hearing was closed (not allowed).  This is the project she used to try to show Rod Clark as being ‘against affordable housing”.
This is a comment by a resident who attended ‘What this shows is that Linda Buchanan has no sense of what legal proceedings are.  This is an example of why the community that cares about how things are done at City Hall, is so angry and frustrated about how all the development projects are handled at City Hall.  Backroom deals are done that favour the developers and the community comes forward at Public Hearings and their input is totally ignored – the deals are already done.’
‘This shows that she supports developers above and beyond even standard legal procedures.’

Back to the Past – Get out and vote

Andrea Lebowitz, a valuable community member no longer with us (2011) and missed by many, wrote a series of articles for City of North Van community associations ten years ago in the days prior to the 2008 election.  Here’s a reminder still very relevant.

‘An eligible municipal voter is entitled to vote for Mayor and up to six councillors. Now the question is how to choose. Mayors and councillors will have a direct and immediate impact on your quality of life and it’s important to put care into local politics.


Some candidates have no party affiliations while others are part of a party or group. A voter must decide which is more important. Should we be looking for independent candidates who will respond to each issue without predetermined outcomes? Or do we want candidates who vote together and in a predictable pattern. Municipal politics have tended toward the independent model.  However, particularly in the City of North Vancouver, party politics have prevailed. Look at the records of incumbents to see how they have voted in the past and how often they voted with the same people. Have they always been in favour of increasing density? Do they underweigh the problems of gridlock on our streets and inadequare infrastructure? Or the reverse.

Once you’re done your homework, attended meetings and read the pamphlets, blogs and local papers, it’s up to you to decide if you want to go for the independent candidates. Is it time to try some new approaches to problems?

For candidates who are seeking a seat for the first time, look to their record of volunteer action in the community. Have they served on volunteer committees and organizations. Have they contributed to municipal events and groups? What is their work background? Have they volunteered for sports, arts groups, service providers. Councillors will decide matters for these groups and it is important to know how they will vote on issues of community funding as well as land use, infrastructure and transportation issues.

The challenge is to pick candidates who have demonstrated their position on community concerns and who will treat the citizens they serve with respect and dignity.


It’s important for voters to be confident about their choices when they mark their ballot. Do I have to vote for a full slate?  No, a voter can vote for fewer than the maximum – it’s wise to vote for only those candidates whose background, position on major issues, voting record and volunteer efforts coincide with your own point of view. Don’t just vote for a name, check into it. It is better to cast fewer votes than to vote because a name is vaguely familiar to you.

Exercise your right and duty as citizen. Look for those who have the commitment, volunteer record and independence to serve in this next challenging period of our civic life. We all live with the results on a daily basis.

Setting the Record Straight #3

Here we are again disputing Stache’s comic of the day – not that we want to give him any publicity but his statements today need to be refuted. There seems to be no ability on his website anymore to leave a comment. https://mystacheonline.com/2018/09/28/wannabe-mayor-councillors-buchanan-and-clark-are-ready-to-program-your-livability-whether-you-want-them-to-or-not/

He states, referring to Mayoral Candidates Buchanan and Clark: ‘Two anti NIMBY’s voicing similar sanctimonious robotic platforms that would enable either one IF elected to further deconstruct and devastate the social wellness and livability of our city… All you have to do discerning voters is look at their evidentiary pro density city council records over the last four years’.

We would strongly suggest that you DO look at their records – Councillor Clark, together with Councillors Bell and Bookham, has consistently voted against the majority slate, hence the references to the 4-3 vote approving most developments. The majority being Mussatto, Back, Buchanan and Keating.


Traffic woes driving City of North Vancouver mayoral candidates to campaign on solutions | CBC News

Comment from Voices: we have posted the podcast already today,  also in this article. Take-away? – interruptions by one person, nasty comment by one person, and a ‘fake news’ comment by one person.

from the CBC:

Each week until election day on Oct. 20, CBC’s The Early Edition is looking at a key issue in different municipalities that voters want to see addressed.

Source: Traffic woes driving City of North Vancouver mayoral candidates to campaign on solutions | CBC News

Radio Interview – Mayoral candidates

Following is the link to the CBC Early Edition Stephen Quinn show this morning with Candidates Buchanan, Clark, Heywood and Morris. General topic was TRAFFIC. The interview starts at about the 11 minute mark https://podcast-a.akamaihd.net/mp3/podcasts/bcearlyedition-APuoDXdZ-20180914.mp3 



CNV All Candidates Meetings

From the City of North Van’s website:

All Candidates meetings give candidates an opportunity to help the public understand where they stand on local and city-wide issues and motivate people to vote. At these meetings candidates respond to questions from the public and event organizers.


School Trustee Candidates Meeting

The North Vancouver School District PAC will be hosting an All Candidates Forum for CNV School Trustee Candidates

When: Wednesday October 3rd 7:30pm
Where: Education Services Centre (5th floor), North Vancouver School District | 2121 Lonsdale Avenue, North Vancouver 

Councillor All-Candidates Meeting (Candidates for Council only)

The Grand Boulevard Residents Association will be hosting an All Candidates Forum for all candidates for Council

When: Wednesday, October 10, 2018 7:00 – 9:00 pm
Where: Ridgeway Elementary School Gym | 420 8th St E, North Vancouver 

Mayoral All-Candidates Meeting (Candidates for Mayor only)

The Court House Area Residents Association will be hosting an All Candidates Forum for all candidates for Mayor

When: Monday, October 15, 2018 7:00 – 9:00 pm
Where: Centennial Theatre | 2300 Lonsdale Ave, North Vancouver

Setting the Record Straight #2

If you received the following ‘Stache Comic  Relief‘ https://mystacheonline.com/2018/09/05/density-darrells-i-o-u-legacy-shall-hamstring-mayors-forever-after-unless/  we are again attempting to correct the ‘fake news’.  This statement in part refers to Councillors Buchanan and Clark: ‘BOTH of these wannabe mayor city councillor records readily confirm i.e. that not only are they pro density zealots; they BOTH also favoured and supported the mayor’s $22million Black Necklace for the less than 2% who bike annually to work’ is not true. While it’s true that Councillor Buchanan voted in favour of the majority of development applications, Councillor Clark clearly voted not in favour with the minority 4-3 vote on applications. 

We recall Councillor Clark consistently referring to it as the ‘black necklace’ and initially threatening to lie down in front of bulldozers .  We reached out to him for a comment and received this response:

‘Stache is way out of line in saying I supported the Green Necklace. As you well remember, I stood at the Opening Ceremony with you having dubbed it the Black Necklace. I was, I believe the only voice against for years & finally gave up after the three strips of asphalt went up Grand Blvd. I supported the last links only because it seemed pointless/futile to resist further & completing it was the best option.
I would reach out to Stache directly but cannot find an email for him.
Anything you can post to get these facts out would help.’
Comment from Voices: If you hear or read anything that causes you to wonder and would like a little fact-checking, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.




Metro Vancouver elected officials compensation (updated)

Further to this earlier post, we have received the following breakdown from a City resident,  with this comment: 

‘Two things come immediately to mind.  Look at the potential savings from a merger of the NV City and District.  Also, look at how well compensated the CNV mayor is relative to other communities with much bigger problems – like Surrey for example.’


2017 Pop Salary Per Person
Surrey 556,566 139,023  0.25
Vancouver 656,164 165,700  0.25
Burnaby 234,433 132,576  0.57
Richmond 219,273 132,426  0.60
Coquitlam 150,144 138,239  0.92
Langley, District Municipality 127,730 126,514  0.99
Maple Ridge 87,713 100,545  1.15
Delta 102,679 119,871  1.17
North Vancouver, District Municipality 85,842 101,796  1.19
New Westminster 73,928 108,592  1.47
Port Coquitlam 62,194 96,752  1.56
Port Moody 33,857 58,980  1.74
West Vancouver 43,802 84,479  1.93
North Vancouver, City of 53,816 107,185  1.99
Langley, City of 27,363 84,600  3.09
Pitt Meadows 19,580 71,000  3.63
White Rock 19,187 78,730  4.10
Bowen Island 3,623 22,920  6.33
Anmore 2,398 24,456  10.20
Lions Bay 1,319 14,085  10.68

Original post:

We ‘borrowed’ this Chart of the Week from Metro Matters (contact metromatters@cbc.ca), a CBC Vancouver newsletter:

The base salaries above do not include expenses, additional allowances for being ‘Mayor of the month’ $1350/ month served, Metro Vancouver payments etc.