If Our Mayoral Candidates Were NHL Teams (Because Politics Isn’t Disappointing Enough)
Let’s get to know who’s running in the most Canadian way possible.
August 20, 2018
“Who are you voting for?”
Get ready to hear that question repeatedly from your politically inclined friends as we creep toward the October 20 municipal election. In Vancouver, the civic contest is being billed as the most hotly contested in recent memory, as Gregor Robertson departs from the mayoral chair after 10 years.
It’s a wide-open race, so we thought we’d introduce some of the candidates to take over from Robertson in a way that’s more accessible to a certain demographic.
Because there are only seven Canadian NHL teams that unfortunately means some candidates will have to be excluded. The last recorded poll (a.k.a. the last one we could find through some half-assed internet research) had seven candidates listed, so let’s go with that group.
From the Research Co. survey:
Ken Sim (Non-Partisan Association): 26 percent
Kennedy Stewart (Independent): 25 percent
Ian Campbell (Vision Vancouver): 20 percent
Shauna Sylvester (Independent): 11 percent
Wai Young (Coalition Vancouver): 8 percent
Hector Bremner (Yes Vancouver): 5 percent
David Chen (ProVancouver): 4 percent
Apologies to John Boychuk, Angela Dawson, Steffan Ileman and Fred Harding, but the NHL is really the one to blame here. More Canadian teams please!
Hector Bremner – Edmonton Oilers
Once seen as the rising star of the Vancouver political scene and a potential shoo-in for the NPA’s mayoral nomination, Hector Bremner was more or less ostracized from his own party (for which he kinda still serves as a councillor). So he started Yes Vancouver with his own slate of council candidates.
Connor McDavid is seen as one of, if not the best, player in the NHL. But his Edmonton Oilers have seen some hard times of late, missing the playoffs last year after it appeared their dark years were finally over. Can both former bright lights bring their organizations glory?
Some would argue that management has hindered the young Oiler, as Edmonton hasn’t been able to surround McDavid with enough talent. If the NPA can’t get it done in this election, some might wonder if the party didn’t take advantage of its young talent.
Ian Campbell – Montreal Canadiens
The once-proud Montreal Canadiens are in a bit of a hole. The team seemingly doesn’t know whether it should be rebuilding or making a playoff run. Trading Alex Galchenyuk for a lesser player in Max Domi was a gamble. And the recent announcement that Shea Weber will have to undergo knee surgery, coupled with goaltender Carey Price’s spotty injury history, doesn’t bode well for the team.
The currently ruling Vision Vancouver has suffered some setbacks as well. All but one of the party’s six members of city council won’t be running again, with Heather Deal as the lone holdover.
While the Canadiens haven’t fired general manager Marc Bergevin (yet), it’s probably a matter of time before they opt for a new face of the franchise the way Vision has turned to hereditary chief of the Squamish Nation Ian Campbell.
It’s easy to see both organizations having rough Octobers.
David Chen – Calgary Flames
Both David Chen and the Flames kind of slip under the radar these days. The Flames are a solid club that should be playoff-bound this year, and Chen is a reliable candidate with some ideas—flat transit fares, for instance—that Vancouverites would no doubt be drawn to—if they knew about them.
It’s hard to see Chen and ProVancouver separating themselves from the pack in any meaningful way. And while the Flames could generate some buzz with young stars Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan, they’re most likely to be another also-ran. Doesn’t mean they’re bad. Just means they’re kind of middle of the road.
Ken Sim – Toronto Maple Leafs
The NPA were always going to come into this election with the advantage of being able to rally against a whole host of Vision Vancouver policies implemented in their decade in power.
Similarly, after a few rough years it seems like the Toronto Maple Leafs are finally ready to really make a run for the Cup, especially with superstar John Tavares in the fold.
The expectations are there for both camps. Both have a history of under-delivering. Both will be worth watching.
Kennedy Stewart – Winnipeg Jets
Everything seems to be going Kennedy Stewart’s way these days. The former Burnaby South NDP MP has generated a ton of buzz for an independent candidate and seems like the person to beat on the left-leaning side of the spectrum.
The Winnipeg Jets are an absolute juggernaut at this point and will enter the 2018-19 season as one of the favourites to win the Stanley Cup. Though Sim is ahead in the polls, it seems like there’s more room for Stewart to pull votes from the left-leaning candidates when vote splitting inevitably becomes a thing.
Teams will be in tough against the Jets this year, just as Stewart is starting to break away from the pack.
Shauna Sylvester – Vancouver Canucks
Shauna Sylvester’s resume is impeccable. She’s the director of SFU’s Centre for Dialogue and has hosted public discussions on housing, transportation, renewable energy, the economy and other issues. She also helped found both Carbon Talks and Renewable Cities, in a bid to help cities make the transition to a low-carbon economy.
So maybe she’s the exact opposite of what the Canucks are right now. But one can hope that Vancouver’s rebuild finally starts to propel the club back to respectability. The pieces are there for Vancouver, and they’re there for the independent candidate as well. Neither is likely to win in the fall, but both have the potential for runs that start to turn a couple heads and set the stage for something more down the line.
What that means for Sylvester we don’t know, but it’s hard to see this being the last stop in her political career.
Wai Young – Ottawa Senators
The Senators are an absolute mess. Erik Karlsson, the team’s star defenceman, is an unrestricted free agent next summer and it’s a virtual certainty he won’t be back in Ottawa. Mark Stone is also free to leave next June and it’s become very obvious he’s going to exercise that right as well. And, the worst news: the team doesn’t have a first-round pick in the upcoming draft because they dealt it to Colorado in the Matt Duchene trade.
The team desperately needs to rebuild, and that’s very hard to do without draft picks. It’s not quite clear what the Sens are doing.
And um, the same could be said for Wai Young. Her plan to rip out existing bike lanes isn’t only archaic thinking of the highest order, it’s actively harmful.