Predicting the Vancouver Municipal Election

Though the polls seem to indicate a clear choice for mayor, the council race could be tight.

October 18, 2018

By Nathan Caddell / Photo: Kennedy Stewart on Twitter

The Vancouver civic election takes place on Saturday, as reporters and political pundits mourn the end of one of the most interesting municipal contests in recent memory. Everyone else, mind you, can’t wait until this thing is finally over.

We’re almost there. The debates have concluded. The polls have reported.

At this point, even with 21 mayoral candidates and 71 people running for council, there is no more time for platforms or platitudes. It’s time for predictions. Here’s who we see taking the jobs at Cambie and 12th on Monday morning.

Kennedy Stewart
Credit: Kennedy Stewart on Twitter

Mayor

Kennedy Stewart (Independent)

It’s been a hotly contested race to take over the mayor’s chair from Gregor Robertson (and it should be pretty warm, given that he’s been sitting in it for 10 years). In most cases like this one, the rival party would feast on Vision Vancouver’s discarded carcass. But that hasn’t really happened.

Make no mistake, Vision’s brand is in tatters, but the Non-Partisan Association (NPA) hasn’t exactly taken the ball and run with it. In fact, it seems as though the NPA’s usual base has split into three warring factions, with Yes Vancouver’s Hector Bremner and Coalition Vancouver’s Wai Young garnering some support with their mostly right-of-centre platforms.

Enter former NDP MP Stewart. Though his rivals claim that he’s going to do pretty much exactly what Vision intended to do (at least in regard to the most important issue in the election, housing), Stewart has managed to separate himself from the pack, at least according to recent polls.

While the NPA machine should never be in doubt when it comes to its ability to bring people to the polls, it seems like Stewart has momentum and should be able to stave off fellow progressive Shauna Sylvester as left-minded voters worry about splitting the vote.

municipal election
Credit: Adriane Carr on Twitter

Council

Adriane Carr (Green)
Pete Fry (Green)
Michael Wiebe (Green)

The Greens seem to have emerged from the election campaign with a relatively untarnished reputation and seem poised to add to their current seat on council (Carr is one of only three incumbent candidates running again).

Fry has a fairly big profile, given his federal election campaigns and his Liberal MP mother, Hedy. Wiebe also has a strong standing in the community, due to his work on the parks board and status as a Mount Pleasant business owner.

municipal election
Credit: Melissa De Genova on Twitter

Melissa De Genova (NPA)
Sarah Kirby-Yung (NPA)

De Genova is an incumbent councillor and remains popular in NPA circles. Does she constantly interrupt council meetings to make points of order? Yes. Does she engage in petty Twitter fights? Definitely. But many voting in this election are doing so having never watched a council meeting, so that’s unlikely to apply.

Kirby-Yung was elected to the parks board in 2014 and, thanks to her work on sites like the Marpole Oakridge Community Centre, will likely have enough backing for council.

municipal election
Credit: Jean Swanson on Twitter

Jean Swanson (COPE)
Derrick O’Keefe (COPE)

After coming second in last year’s by-election to replace Geoff Meggs, Swanson and the Coalition of Progressive Electors have galvanized support around a platform calling for a mansion tax, a rent freeze and, ultimately, the end of capitalism.

Activist O’Keefe has also reaped a lot of attention and seems primed to join Swanson on council.

municipal election
Credit: Christine Boyle on Twitter

Christine Boyle (OneCity)
Brandon Yan (OneCity)

OneCity has run a particularly strong campaign, and its small slate of two council candidates was a smart choice. Anyone voting for Stewart (who has publicly endorsed OneCity) or Sylvester will cast votes for Boyle and Yan. Expect them to gain council seats without much trouble.

Plus, this is pretty adorable.

municipal election

Heather Deal (Vision Vancouver)

We had a tough time with this one, but it’s hard to doubt Deal, who has been on council since 2005 and is the one incumbent Vision councillor in the race. During her time at city hall she’s emerged as a strong supporter of the arts, as well as an ally for the LGBTQ community. Vision will likely burn, but Deal should be able to fan the flames. 

Other Possibilities

A third COPE candidate, Anne Roberts, hasn’t garnered quite the same amount of support as her running mates, but will still be very much in contention. We think she’ll be narrowly edged out of the race.

Similarly, David HT Wong, a fourth Green candidate, hasn’t gotten as much press as his Green counterparts. It’s very possible he could ride a Green wave into council, but with left-leaning voters having many options, lack of name recognition could hurt him.

Independent Sarah Blyth has received a lot of support and is a respected voice in the Downtown Eastside. It’s hard to see her getting votes outside that community, though, and her status as an independent could hurt her (no independents have been elected to Vancouver City Council in the last 30 years).

Who do you think is going to win? Let us know in the comments below!

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