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Vancouver civic election 2014: Meet the independents

11/12/2014 08:00 EST | Updated 01/12/2015 05:59 EST
Vision’s Gregor Robertson, the NPA’s Kirk LaPointe and COPE’s Meena Wong are the best-known names in Vancouver’s 2014 mayoral election, but they aren’t alone.

There are also six independent candidates seeking the mayor’s chair.

Meynard Aubichon, Mike Hansen, Jeff Hill, Cherryse Kaur Kaiser, Tim Ly and Colin Shandler don’t have the fundraising ability or media spotlight that the three party-backed candidates do, but they still hope they can be a factor in this year’s election.

Tim Ly: refugee wants to bring some change

Tim Ly came to Canada from Vietnam as a boat person in the 1980s. Now, he wants to participate in the democratic process.

“Democracy is more for the top people in power, it doesn’t flow down to ordinary people. That’s the problem. I want to change that.”

He says the top problem facing Vancouver is homelessness.

“Every time I go downtown, it’s painful. I don’t know why a country like Canada has homelessness,” he said. “It’s worse than many third world countries.”

He says that as mayor he would lobby the federal and provincial government for more support for the homeless.

Colin Shandler: City hall needs to start working as a team

Restaurateur Colin Shandler decided to run for mayor after one too many bad experiences with city hall.

He went to the City for help with a business problem, “and at the end of it, I realized city hall needs help.”

“Each department doesn’t talk to each other. The information you get from one department is different from another department. The final straw was the feeling of disdain from the senior leadership.”

He thinks that teamwork among the new council is going to be the way to affect change at city hall, and if elected, he’s even willing to offer advisory jobs to all other mayoral candidates.

“I’d be willing to bring these people on board to make sure we have the strongest team possible, focusing on each person’s strengths. Everyone’s included in my world.”

Jeff Hill: Vancouver ready to party

Jeff Hill says housing is the number one issue facing Vancouver right now. He thinks absentee owners and owners who are using their properties as investment properties should pay fines.

“I want to see these houses being rented out. People who work in this city should be able to live in this city,” he said.

Hill thinks Vancouver could help businesses by working harder to attract festivals and events. He says that city hall has been too timid in their efforts on this matter since the Stanley Cup riots in 2011.

“There’s kind of been a pull back on events in this town which is really unfortunate because we had a bit of a heyday there with the Olympics and the run up to the Stanley Cup and the Grey Cup in town," he said. 

"People still to this day talk about losing the Indy car race.The people who live in the city just want more events. [They] bring profit to the city.”

Mike Hansen: “only in Vancouver” fundraising

Mike Hansen isn’t letting his small campaign budget handicap him. He’s started selling pot to keep his coffers full.

“You gotta be creative when you’re playing against big money,” he said.

Hansen says the biggest problems the city face are related to drug crime.

He says that if the city started regulating and taxing weed they could put that money towards social programs and education.

When it comes to the issue of housing, he feels his experience in construction would be an asset when it comes to getting new low-income housing built.

“I know how well things get done if somebody’s taking the lead. You don’t put a high-rise together unless you have a site supervisor,” he said. “As mayor, I’ll supervise.”

Meynard Aubichon: time to fight terrorism

Meynard Aubichon is listed as being affiliated with the Stop Party. However, he is the only candidate from that party running for either mayor or council.

Aubichon thinks Vancouver needs more police to fight terroism. To help pay for the fight he says it’s time for the city to legalize and tax pot.

He also would raise taxes on businesses opposed to legalization and use the funds to lower taxes for businesses that are supportive of it.

Cherysse Kaur Kaiser: plenty to digest

CherryseKaur Kaiser describes herself as a “child cherubim in the 13 vibrations of the purest living organic vortex enjoyment.” 

Kaiser insists that she is in fact a serious candidate, and says that the most important issue in the election is the brain cells in our digestive system.

She declined to elaborate on her position on housing as to do so, she said, would fragment the consciousness.

Long odds, expert says

SFU urban studies professor Patrick Smith says the 2014 independent candidates are pretty typical for a Vancouver election.

Some have good ideas; others are more “quirky;” and because of the huge funding disadvantage they face, they have poor prospects for getting elected.

“The two parties that will be first and second in Vancouver are the ones that spend the most money,” he said, referring to the well-funded Vision and NPA campaigns.

“And so independents… they’ll be less able to advertise, so they’re not going to be well known unless they do something outlandish to get themselves in the news.”

However, Smith added that the other way to get name recognition is a little more straightforward—add some good ideas to the conversation.

“If somebody comes up with a better idea for a mousetrap they will get attention.”

CBC Radio One and SFU Urban Studies are presenting a Vancouver mayoral debate at 7:30 a.m. today in CBC's Studio 700.

Gregor Robertson, Kirk LaPointe and Meena Wong will be taking part. The event is sold out but will be live cast on CBC Radio One, and on our website, cbc.ca/bc

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