In cities big and small, winds of change sweep across British Columbia


A municipal election differs from a provincial or federal election in that there is not one occasion forming authorities however dozens of particular person outcomes and tales — within the case of B.C., 160 separate municipalities — occurring all over the place suddenly. 

That being mentioned, there may be one main storyline: individuals wanting change. 

People will give attention to Vancouver and Surrey sweeping apart Kennedy Stewart and Doug McCallum, the leaders of B.C.’s two largest cities failing to win re-election. 

But in Kelowna and Kamloops, West Vancouver and White Rock, Saanich and Langford, Penticton and Pouce Coupe, voters determined, because the adage goes, to “kick the bums out,” electing mayors with totally different views on crime, housing, or ethics points. 

It’ll be a pair of days earlier than we will say conclusively what number of incumbents went all the way down to defeat, although will probably be greater than the historic common. 

But this is what we will say for certain. 

Crime and dysfunctional councils 

There had been two widespread themes of the individuals who went all the way down to defeat. 

One was a notion of being “comfortable on crime.” Stewart spent your entire Vancouver marketing campaign attacked by different candidates for the state of the Downtown Eastside, and Stewart responded by accusing his rivals of “poor bashing” and saying, “The debate up to now is like ‘who can arrest essentially the most homeless individuals?'”

A voting station in Vancouver on election day. (Justine Boulin//CBC)

Whatever the deserves of Stewart’s argument, it was the problem the place he differed most from Sim — who mentioned he supported the Vancouver Plan and the final tenets of the Broadway Plan — and he grew to become the primary mayor since 1980 to lose on election night time. 

Kamloops, Kelowna and many different municipalities additionally noticed candidates win who promised to reverse the tide of crime in downtown cores, and now will probably be their multi-jurisdictional problem to attempt to clear up over the subsequent 4 years. 

But greater than that, a factor unifying dropping candidates was a propensity that they could not play nicely with others. 

Stewart and Doug McCallum in Surrey had been distinguished examples of that, of course. But White Rock’s Darryl Walker and the City of Langley’s Val van den Broek, who ceaselessly clashed with council, additionally went all the way down to defeat. 

Beyond Hope, many mayors that misplaced  — Williams Lake, Trail, Pouce Coupe and past — all obtained in scorching water with council for one purpose or one other and did not preserve the boldness of voters. Ben Isitt, who was once each the preferred and controversial councillor in Victoria, went all the way down to defeat. 

And take into account the case of Maple Ridge: Mike Morden was elected mayor 4 years in the past on a platform of regulation and order and cleansing up downtown, and crime went down in his neighborhood over the past 4 years.

But his majority additionally clashed with councillors who did not agree with them, punished those that disagreed with them — and Morden went all the way down to defeat, with Dan Ruimy and a staff that downplayed crime and talked about consensus constructing coming to energy.

What comes subsequent? 

In the weeks to come back, lots of consideration will likely be positioned on Surrey, the place mayor-elect Brenda Locke has promised to reverse the transition to an impartial police drive and convey again the RCMP. Whether she succeeds will rely upon a mix of provincial approval and her willingness to spend appreciable political capital on one thing that can take lots of time to tug again. 

In Vancouver, the primary steps of Ken Sim may even be scrutinized: whereas it is clear he’ll push to change the 2023 funds to have extra cops and nurses, what hires will he make within the mayor’s workplace? 

Will any senior managers rapidly get replaced? And will an olive department be prolonged to the three surviving non-ABC councillors — Adriane Carr, Christine Boyle, and Pete Fry — on Metro Vancouver and inside committee appointments? 

And outdoors Vancouver and Surrey, how will mayors cope with those self same points of crime and security, rising home costs and break up councils that doomed so many incumbents? 

There’s nothing like the fun of victory. 

But new mayors will rapidly be taught that fixing the issues they efficiently critiqued is perhaps simpler mentioned than carried out. 


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here