October 10, 2018

#VanElxn2018: Price Tags Editor Slate — Ken

The 2018 civic election in Vancouver will ask voters to pick from a daunting list of candidates — 1 Mayor (from 21 candidates), 10 Councillors (from 71), 7 Park Board Commissioners (from 33), and 9 School Board Trustees (from 33), a grand total of 158 candidates.

Price Tags editors Ken Ohrn and Colin Stein have decided to share their personal slates and selection rationales; look for Gordon Price as he plays objective pundit on a screen near you on election night.

I did the first rough cut based on simple criteria. Several parties seem to stand for the wrong things, so all their candidates are out.

In particular, the NPA’s major disqualifier is their insistence on a quasi-veto for neighbourhoods when it comes to new affordable housing, more density and renters as new neighbours. Coalition Vancouver’s Trump-lite mayoral candidate just seems ridiculous, what with the facts-optional approach to policy decisions, and the blinkered view of issues’ importance.

The second cut was to eliminate no-hopers and the frivolous. This is a small group.

For those remaining, I chose weighted criteria and scored the candidates on each one. The criteria and scores are mine alone, and yours may differ considerably.

I think the incoming council will not be party dominated, unlike most of recent past councils, so major decisions and directions will not come from a single partisan back room.  These will arise from the thinking of individual councillors, the informal coalitions they may form, and their circles of advisors and confidantes.

Mayor: Leadership, trust, transportation (bike lanes, UBC subway).  A mayor, as figurehead, should be non-partisan, and willing and able to pull together a disparate group and get it moving in a useful direction. Without a strong leader, we face the distinct possibility of a council of chaos and dysfunction.

Councillor: History of service, partisan or cooperative nature, focus on housing, transportation (bike lanes, UBC subway). Given the turnover, I want a few councillors with experience of what is involved.  Council experience is preferred, but there are so few incumbents in the race.  Otherwise, I looked for evidence of a history of working with disparate groups, boards, councils and so on. Those in parties with a possibility of partisan leanings lost points on cooperativeness — as did those with apparent single-issue focus. I’d prefer council members that can learn to work together.

Park and School: Experience, focus on the business of parks or education, potential as a future councillor or leader.

As things evolve, I may evolve my thinking too (it’s been known to happen).  I reserve the right to change any or all of my slate.

5 – Shauna Sylvester

Honourable mentions: Kennedy Stewart

6 – Crook, Adrian
7 – Fry, Pete – Green
16 – Roberts, Anne – COPE
20 – Evans, Catherine – Vision
36 – Paz, Tanya – Vision
43 – Grant, Wade
45 – Swanson, Jean – COPE
66 – Carr, Adriane – Green
68 – Weibe, Michael – Green
71 – Deal, Heather – Vision

Honourable mentions: Brandon Yan, Sarah Blyth, Diego Cardona, Derrick O’Keefe

5 – Rossetti, Massimo – Vancouver First
7 – Fuoco, Chris – Vancouver First
19 – Goldenchild, Ray – Vancouver First
25 – Zubco, Cameron – Vision
26 – Giesbrecht, Gwen – COPE
27 – Irwin, John – COPE
31 – MacKinnon, Stuart – GREEN

Honourable mentions: Camil Dumont, Jennifer Yeung, Shamim Shivji.

2 – Reddy, Jennifer – OneCity
6 – Fraser, Janet – Green
7 – Carrie Bercic – OneCity
11 – Gill, Pratpal Kaur – Vancouver First
12 – Gonzalez, Estrellita – Green
15 – Jaaf, Erica – OneCity
26 – Wong, Allan – Vision
31 – Arnold, Erin – Vision
32 – Oger, Morgane

Honourable mentions: Aaron Leung, Diana Day, Stephanie Descoteaux


Independents – 4
COPE – 4
Green – 6
OneCity – 3
Vision – 6
Vancouver First – 4

Posted in


If you love this region and have a view to its future please subscribe, donate, or become a Patron.

Share on


  1. Thank you for this shortlist, Ken. I’m sure readers will have their own preferences even within the centre-left range, but will appreciate lists like yours as a guideline.

    I am curious about why you recommend Vancouver 1st candidates. My read of their website indicates they support continuing exclusionary zoning to “protect neighbourhoods,” kinda like a fancy buzzphrase for NIMBYism. They will also review transit options for “cost effectiveness” while not according road expenditures the same treatment. In fact, they also highlight free parking which as most readers here know will increase car use and dependency. They will also freeze business taxes and do not elaborate on how that will affect residential taxes in the context of an affordability crisis.

    I, too, favour Shauna Sylvester for her superior and well thought-out platform. However, we in this country and province suffer with the tyranny of the majority under the first-past-the-post system where vote splitting is a fact of life. With recent polling indicating a 35-27 split between Kennedy Stewart and Shauna Sylvester, third party candidate Ken Sim (NPA) could very well squeak between these center-left candidates who could be hiving votes from each other. I am now leaning toward Stewart for this reason in order to solidify his lead.

    In our current system cold, hard math outweighs conscience. Just ask Stephen Harper about the phenomenon of strategic voting.

    1. Vancouver 1st has also pledged to end the empty homes tax, build a “world class” basketball stadium and mental health care facility, get us to host the 2026 World Cup,and build a giant canopy over downtown Granville.

      In other words, they’re throwing paint at the wall to see what sticks. They shouldn’t even be on the Park Board.

  2. Thank you, Ken, very useful addition to the discussion. I’ve been away and was only able to attend one candidate meeting before I left. I was so impressed by the One City candidates for councillor, Christine Boyle and Brandon Yan, so curious why they didn’t make your list, especially above Adrienne Carr who has been not very green at all when it comes to either cycling or housing density. Not sure about other Green candidates (hope they are truer to their moniker).

  3. Hi Ken, I’m curious about 11 – Gill, Pratpal Kaur – Vancouver First

    I’ve also heard good things about her push for tech curriculum but what about her party’s recent anti-SOGI stance?