Mike Klassen is a Vancouver public affairs and government relations professional focused on health, urban growth, and economic development. He is known for his exemplary relationships across business, government and news media organizations.
In addition to contributing to Huffington Post, he is a civic affairs columnist with Vancouver Courier, the city’s leading community publication.
Mike is President of the board of trustees for PAL Vancouver, a non-market housing development for members of the arts community. At PAL, he is spearheading the launch of a second housing development in Metro Vancouver. Other board positions held by Mike include as a director on the B.C. Small Business Roundtable, and as Vice-Chair of the Vancouver City Planning Commission.
In 2015, Mike received a Terry Biggar Award for his work leading a nine-member business coalition advocacy campaign.
Mike is an avid runner, a dedicated community volunteer, husband, and parent.
The B.C. Liberals' re-election strategy was to campaign, as they say, "from the right," by touting their record on jobs and economic prosperity. Party stalwarts I spoke to on election night agree that sticking to their tried-and-true economic message box may have cost the B.C. Liberals their majority in the Legislature.
With so many issues commanding headlines at the start of the provincial election campaign, it is easy to understand how caring for frail and elderly citizens can drop off the public's radar. For many British Columbians, however, there can be no more important issue than the availability of care for their elderly loved one.
It will irk NDP partisans seeing their newly crowned Alberta premier mingling with those they traditionally oppose. But Notley's speech made it clear she plans to work closely with other provinces and the PM, in addition to First Nations, union and local government leaders to benefit her province.
Why do I think the Yes side can win? Of the dozens of conversations I have had about the congestion tax, the opposition to voting yes is surprisingly soft. I am convinced that most voters are seeking a reason to back the tax.
Anyone who construed Robertson's margin of victory over Kirk LaPointe and his council majority as a decisive win needs to look under the hood to appreciate how the wheels just about fell off the Vision Vancouver election machine.
It has become clear to me that public opinion has swung hard against Gregor Robertson's team. If their opponents could match Vision's base of volunteers and manpower provided by labour groups, it is most likely there would be a change in government. Alas, that is a big "if."
So what will 10 years of Robertson's Vision government have brought to our city? To understand what lies ahead for Vancouver between now and 2018, one needs to look back at the mayor's unfulfilled political promises.
Christy Clark told the audience that to ensure economic growth in B.C. they had to help elect the "right kind of leaders" in the upcoming municipal elections. It was a message clearly meant to infuse the campaigns currently happening in Vancouver.
It has been over two decades since B.C.'s wineries first received international gold medals for producing premium wines, yet most Canadian consumers still struggle to get their hands on a bottle. To make matters worse, FedEx has recently given notice it will no longer ship B.C. wine products without provincial regulations that allow for it.
Small businesses that are already getting greener and cleaner could be responsible for thousands of dollars of fees that they must pass on to their customers. If you like to shop or eat in B.C., get ready to be walloped by new hidden taxes on everything from clothing to groceries.
Presumptive political victories are sometimes vulnerable to the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune -- or internal squabbling. This is probably why Vision Vancouver is taking some of the most extraordinary measures lately seen in Canadian municipal politics to hang onto city hall.
According to our monthly Business Barometer survey, B.C. small business confidence grew substantially this year. In February, B.C. ranked in sixth place among Canada's 10 provinces -- but by the end of November, we were sitting solidly in second place. With the New Year almost upon us, it is worthwhile to take a moment to reflect upon 2013's high and low points for small business.
These days Vancouver city hall is twisting itself into pretzels trying to figure out why citizens have stopped engaging with the political process. In my view, Philip Owen was the last mayor to really make a personal effort to get to know the city he led. He wasn't in a bubble created by political aides -- his staff was tiny in comparison to those in office today. Often regarded as a "mayor's mayor," he made himself available to citizens, media, and through a primetime cable TV call-in show.
Last September, while swimming against a tidal wave of negative public opinion, I predicted the BC Liberal Party led by Premier Christy Clark would win the May 2013 election. Understandably, most readers scoffed. I can assure you that I am no Nostradamus. Don't bother asking me which stock to pick or what the 649 Lottery numbers will be. Rather, I relish being a contrarian. It is my nature to question the prevailing view on a range of topics - politics in particular - and to hopefully stir intelligent debate.
It was crisp and gloriously bright day in early January in Vancouver — the perfect conditions for outdoor chores like taking down Christmas lights. Or, in my case, it also meant grabbing tongs and a pail to scour my block for coffee cups, bus tickets, plastic packaging, as well as used condoms and discarded bags of dog feces.
Losing the Waldorf Hotel is a big setback for Vancouver's arts, music and culture scene, and many people are rightly disappointed about this. But it is just the latest of a long list of coveted cultural venues to wither away, and it will certainly not be the city's last.
If B.C. politics has really changed as some suggest, then Andrew Weaver of the Green Party should have been hailed for his integrity. Instead, he was shrugged off as a newbie. So what are we looking for from the women and men we elect to public office in B.C.? Is it the kind of credentials we need to face the great economic, environmental and social challenges of the 21st century, or is it merely a thick skin?
Too many of us are showing our indifference about local government by not voting. If Vancouver's mayor aspires to increase public engagement, he should take on the problem of low voter turnout head on. These 10 recommendations are a good place to start.