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Vancouver begins voting as B.C. civic election arrives

11/15/2014 08:00 EST | Updated 01/15/2015 05:59 EST
Vancouver voters will have their say today after a civic election campaign that has taken several turns, including an apology and a lawsuit.

The three main challengers in B.C.'s most high profile mayoral race are the incumbent Gregor Robertson​ (Vision Vancouver), Kirk LaPointe​ (Non Partisan Association) and Meena Wong​ (Coalition of Progressive Electors).

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​.

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The major issues have been development, transit and affordability. But campaign financing, attack ads and a potential splitting of the vote have also come to the fore.

For the first time, civic parties voluntarily also revealed their donor lists, providing a valuable tool to see where electoral organizations get their money from.

Meanwhile, incumbents Robertson filed a defamation lawsuit against fellow candidate LaPointe, claiming he and the NPA had been running attack ads that contain false and defamatory words.

LaPointe's political party responded by calling the lawsuit an attempt to stop the party's criticism of Vision's record and behaviour.

The candidates later discussed a range of issues at the CBC's mayoral debate on Nov. 12.

That debate saw a surprising move from incumbent Robertson, who embarking on an apparently new strategy, began the discussion with an unprompted apology to voters for any past failures.

He later appealed directly to anyone considering voting for COPE and urged them to support him instead, sparking exclamations of disbelief from COPE candidate Wong.

Robertson's plea prompted concerns over whether left-leaning voters will split the "progressive" vote between Vision Vancouver and COPE.

The debate also saw LaPointe questioned over his leadership experience and Wong compare Vancouver developers to slumlords.

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