The Vancouver Scrum

On the move!

Agh! You’re still here? My new site and weblog, is now up and running; new posts are building up over there, never to be mirrored here. Go! What are you waiting for? All the stuff worth keeping has been migrated over to the new server, and I don’t anticipate making any more posts here.

Bloggers and webmasters: Update your links! Simply replace with in your blogrolls or bookmarks to point to the new site. Old posts will remain on this server for as long as the people at Blogger/Google allow them to remain; unfortunately, I’m not going to bother to come up with any way of converting permalinks on this blog to their corresponding posts on the new site. Yes, I plead laziness. I also realize the irony of switching away from Blogger just it starts to add features that the demanding blog nerds insist upon.

Thanks for reading and linking, and see you over at!

—Ian King, December 13, 2004

Thursday, November 28, 2002

Unparliamentary language alert!

From the National Post...

Jim Pankiw, a controversial independent MP, has been banned from addressing the House of Commons until he apologizes for calling Members of Parliament who support bilingualism "modern-day Klansmen."

Just in case you were wondering why even the Canadian Alliance didn't want this guy back in caucus. Pankiw, who has made several inflammatory comments about the federal government's bilingualism policy during his time in Parliament, was one of 13 Alliance MPs who left the party temporarily during the Stockwell Day leadership follies last year. All of the dissident Alliance members were allowed back into the fold following new party leader Stephen Harper's election last year, with the exception of Inky Mark, who decided to join the Progressive Conservatives, and Pankiw. Alliance leader Harper said back in July that it would not be in the best interest of his party to allow Pankiw back into caucus. There's more proof as to why...
Former NDP leader Ed Broadbent, who led the party to its best-ever election results, explains why he has endorsed Jack Layton's bid for the leadership of the federal NDP.

Wednesday, November 27, 2002

Richmond Squirms

Claude "the Fraud" Richmond, B.C's esteemed Speaker of the Legislature, is continuing to insist that Terminal City weekly journalists tow the party line when it comes to covering the provincial Legislature. Richmond has refused to accredit the two to cover the Legislature for fear that to do so might enable them to write articles that bring the Legislature into disrepute.

From today's Vancouver Sun story linked above:

Richmond said Tuesday he will allow a reporter from an alternative Vancouver newspaper into the press gallery only if he agrees not to denigrate parliament.

And it goes on...

"All I'm getting at is that even reporters should have some respect for this institution, and decency," Richmond said, acknowledging he may not have the legal power to ban specific reporters based on their writings. "I might seek legal advice."

Here's some advice, Claude, or is that Mr. Speaker: Let 'em in. The Legislature has been in operation since British Columbia was established as a British colony in 1858, and has survived the of the likes of Amor De Cosmos, Bill Vander Zalm, and Glen Clark running/ruining the place. It can surely survive the probing journalism of Brian "Godzilla" Salmi. Keeping him out just makes you, and your boss Gordon Campbell, look like petty, insecure little bastards.

Of course, many observers aqre unimpressed with Richmond's antics...

Donna Logan, of the University of B.C. School of Journalism, said it is inappropriate for the Speaker to insist the writings of journalists are respectful of parliament.

"It's ridiculous. The speaker has gone overboard," she said.

"For the speaker to set himself as judge and jury of which journalists can come in [to the legislature] is contrary to the democratic principles we believe in."

While the freedom of the press is a basic principle in a free society, there are limits established by the courts, she said.

John Waterfield, manager of the National Press Gallery in Ottawa, was shocked that any parliament would attempt to direct what a journalist writes.

"What happened to freedom of the press?," Waterfield asked. "I can't believe any Speaker would say that.

"That's never happened in the 25 years I have been here."
Free the Press Gallery Prisoners!

(Okay, they're out of jail, but they're still barred from the "ledge")

B.C.'s Speaker of the Legislature, Claude Richmond, has decided that it is he, and he alone, who shall decide who may report on the proceedings of the Legislative Assembly.

Rickmond ordered Terminal City weekly publisher Darren Atwater and columnist Brian Salmi arrested and detained on Monday following the pair's second unsuccessful attempt in two weeks to get accrediation for the Legislative Press Gallery. Richmond has questioned the pair's, especiall Salmi's, attire, and he has requested that Salmi write reports that are "respectful of parliament."

Well, what if Parliament (in this case the Assembly) and its members aren't conducting themselves in a respectful manner? SHould journalists not be able to write hinestly about how trhings work in government?

And please don't give me any of that crap about journalists being fair and objective. Yes, you might want that in your reporters (well, some papers, anyway; others might prefer even their humble reporters to act as press secretaries for one party or another), but opinion-mongers like Mike Smyth or Vaughn Palmer aren't denied access to the Legislature becuase they write what are presumably theirt own opinions... What this gets down to is that Salmi takes no prisoners, is a thorn in the side of every politician, and treats them all with contempt. Claude Richmond, a notorious control freak (just like his boss, premier Gordon Campbell) wants to make sure that the Legislative press gallery stays demure and docile.

Well, fuck him.

If the Legislature is so fragile that it needs to be protected from the likes of Brian Salmi, what the hell does that say about it? I don't think that that's the case. If it's not the case, then why is the Legislature, and its Speaker, so damn worried about a Vancouver gadfly coming down and covering its proceedings? Simple: The legislature, and those who really control it (it's really Premier Campbell) are petty about who they will alow the privilege of press accreditation. If they don't like you, or your media organization, for whatever reason, they'll tell you to cover the Legislature by flipping on Channel 68 and watching the proceedings on television.

Pissed off about it? I am. What if yours truly wants to report from Victoria, either as a freelancer, or with one of the publications that I write for occasionally? Or what if it's you who wants to cover the provincial government in action? Should the only ones allowed to cover the Legislature be those dressed in shirts and ties, and drawing a regular paycheque from a large-cireculation publication, or a broadcaster with a large audience? Or should the legislature be open to anyopne who produces reports to be distributed to a wider audience, whether that's a few thousand or a few hundred thousand?

I side with the latter. If you want to give Speaker Claude Richmond a piece of your mind, write to him!

Telephone: (250) 387-3952
Fax: (250) 387-2813
Toll free number: 1-866-387-3952
Office of the Speaker
Parliament Buildings
Victoria, BC V8V 1X4
Free the Press Gallery Prisoners!

(Okay, they're out of jail, but they're still barred from the "ledge")

B.C.'s Speaker of the Legislature, Claude Richmond, has decided that it is he, and he alone, who shall decide who may report on the proceedings of the Legislative Assemble.

Rickmond ordered Terminal City weekly publisher Darren Atwater and columnist Brian Salmi arrested and detained on Monday following the pair's second unsuccessful attempt in two weeks to get accrediation for the Legislative Press Gallery. Richmond has questioned the pair's, especiall Salmi's, attire, and he has requested that Salmi write reports that are "respectful of parliament."

Well, what if Parliament (in this case the Assembly) and its members aren't conducting themselves in a respectful manner? SHould journalists not be able to write hinestly about how trhings work in government?

And please don't give me any of that crap about journalists being fair and objective. Yes, you might want that in your reporters (well, some papers, anyway; others might prefer even their humble reporters to act as press secretaries for one party or another), but opinion-mongers like Mike Smyth or Vaughn Palmer aren't denied access to the Legislature becuase they write what are presumably theirt own opinions... What this gets down to is that Salmi takes no prisoners, and is a thorn in the side of every politician, and treats them all with contempt. Claude Richmond, a notorious control freak (just like his boss, premier Gordon Campbell) wants to make sure that the Legislative press gallery stays demure and docile, and that no-one takes it too seriously to task.

Well, fuck him.

If the Legislature is so fragile that it needs to be protected from the likes of Brian Salmi, what the hell does that say about it? I don't think that that's the case. If it's not the case, then why is the Legislature, and its Speaker, so damn worried about a Vancouver gadfly coming down and covering its proceedings> Simple: The legislature,a nd those who really control it (Claude Richmond, but more importantly Premier Campbell) are petty about who they will alow the privilege of press accreditation. If they don't like you, or your media organization, for whatever reason, they'll tell you to cover the Legislature by flipping on Channel 68 and watching the proceedings on television.

Pissed off about it? I am. What if yours truly wants to report from Victoria, either as a freelancer, or with one of the publications that I write for occasionally? Or what if it's you who wants to cover the provincial government in action? Should the only ones allowed to cover the Legislature be those dressed in shirts and ties, and drawing a regular paycheque from a large-cireculation publication, or a broadcaster with a large audience? Or should the legislature be open to anyopne who produces reports to be distributed to a wider audience, whether that's a few thousand or a few hundred thousand?

I side with the latter. If you want to give Speaker Claude Richmond a piece of your mind, write to him!

Telephone: (250) 387-3952
Fax: (250) 387-2813
Toll free number: 1-866-387-3952
Office of the Speaker
Parliament Buildings
Victoria, BC V8V 1X4.
Business challenges other businesses to help Woodward's squat

Coquitlam car dealership Brian Jessel BMW has offered three thousand dollars towards renovating a vacant 100-room hotel...

The effort is a chalenge to other businesses to fund the renovation of the Stanley hotel in order to find accomodation for the 100 or so homeless squatters camped outside the Woodward's building, which has been sitting vancant since 1993. Social-housing activists have seen the building as a home for hundreds of new low-income housing units in Vancouyver's poorest neighbourhood.

Link: Friends of the Woodward's Squat
Is our children learning?

(It was an actual quote of George W. Bush, later used by Paul Begala as the title of a book vritical of Bush.)

Well, on one scale, the answer's more likely "yes in places like Canada, Finland, or Japan than if they're in the U.S., Germany, or Greece. Hmmm.

Tuesday, November 26, 2002

Klein adviser calls Bush 'idiot'

And, as a bonus, Francine Ducros leaves job as Prime Minister's director of communications.

...whiich just goes to show you that loose lips, and pejorative comments about the American president are not just a disease of Liberal hacks, or the now-departed Francie Ducros.

Jean Chrétien's interim director of communications is former CTV Ottawa reporter Jim Munson, who joined the Prime Minister's Office as a consultant earlier this year. Expect relations between Munson and the Parliamentry press corps to be a lot smoother than they were ander the abrasive and combative Ducros.

Monday, November 25, 2002

The Marsden File

Okay, it's pretty damned obvious that a lot of Scrum readers are coming here for dope and dirt on the case of Rachel Marsden, the Vancouver-area woman who is up on a charge of criminal harassment against her ex-boyfriend. We shall oblige.

Rachel Marsden, 28, first gained prominence in 1997 when she accused Simon Fraser University head swimming coach Liam Donnelly of sexual harassment. An SFU harassment panel, whose members remain nameless and whose proceedings were held in secret, found Donnelly guilty. The panel recommended that the coach be fired and that Marsden be given $12,000 in compensation. Donnelly, who had cut Marsden from the university's swim team the previous year, was fired on May 23, 1997.

Donnelly did not attend the harassment panel hearing on what he would later admit was bad legal advice. He countered the allegations against him in public with electronic and recorded evidence that it was Marsden who was harassing him, not the other way around. Marsden had sent him provocative pictures of herself to Donnelly, and had left several messages on his voicemail threatening him with a harassment complaint.

From the mediator's recommendations on the Marsden-Donnelly case, and how it was handled.

4. The University acknowledges that there were flaws in the procedures that led to Mr. Donnelly's dismissal.

5. The findings of the harassment panel were based on Ms. Marsden's credibility. Inconsistencies between her statements before the panel and her response to Mr. Donnelly's harassment complaint cast doubt on her credibility.

6. These recommendations do not constitute criticism of the panel members, whose report was based on the evidence and material placed before them.

7. There is no intent to disturb the remedies which the University has committed to Ms. Marsden.

8. Mr. Donnelly is reinstated in his position as Head Varsity Swim Coach effective immediately.

The controversy over the case led to the resignation of then-SFU president John Stubbs, who had defended the university's harassment policy and procedures, which were seen by others as being biased towards the accuser, and lacking in transparency. The university's harassment policy was formally changed some three years later.

Eventually, Marsden's credibility was called into question, and Donnelly was given his job back with back pay and $35,000 compensation for his expenses. Marsden was also on the receiving end of criticism of former SFU harassment counsellor Patricia O'Hagan, who had initially been supportive of Marsden through the harassment complaint process. O'Hagan later publicly complained that Marsden would then not stop phoning her, and that Marsden, on several occasions, asked O'Hagan to go out for nights on the town with her. O'Hagan revealed that Marsden had telephoned her over 400 times in one year.

Marsden went on to graduate from SFU and entered the B.C. Institute of Technology's broadcasting program. In 1999, while Marsden was still at BCIT, one of her former professors, SFU criminologist Neil Boyd, complained that Marsden had been stalking him and complained to the police about it. No charges were laid, and Marsden agreed to quit bothering Boyd after Burnaby RCMP warned her that her conduct could get her into legal trouble.

Since that time, Marsden has set about reinventing herself as a journalist and commentator. She worked as an assistant to Connie Chung in 2000, and also had a stint at BCTV/Global Television in Vancouver. In the last two years, she has written extensively for various (mostly American) right-wing web sites like, WorldNetDaily, and Political USA, expressing views that the Province newspaper described as being "somewhat to the right of George W. Bush." Marsden has said that her role models included Ann Coulter, Barbara Amiel, and the late Barbara Olson.

Ironic, then that she attempted to exploit a harassment complaints process at SFU that was engineered by feminist thinkers, most with a very "left-wing" political philopsophy. In fact, the process that Marsden used -- or is it abused -- was defended most vigourously by the likes of Judy Rebick and Marjorie Griffin Cohen, who saw the old SFU process as being fairer to women and minorities.

Marsden was working in Washington, D.C., earlier this year as a production assistant for conservative radio talk show host Blanquita Cullum. She had not been back in Vancouver for long before she was arrested on the evening of November 20, after Vancouver police received complaints from her former boyfriend that she had been harassing him

The ex-boyfriend's name is subject to a publication ban, so we cannot release many details about him. He is a 52-year-old former Vancouver radio personality who today works as a communications consultant in Vancouver. The man had been in a "very informal," on-again, off-again sexual relationship with Marsden for over a year before the relationship ended earlier this year. The ex-boyfriend recieved a series of e-mail messages and phone calls that Vancouver police describe as being "of a harassing and threatening nature" between October 2nd and November 12th of this year. Does any of this sound familiar; perhaps reminiscent of the Marsden stories of 1997 and 1999?

Marsden appeared in court on November 21st, where she was granted bail on $10,000 cash and several conditions. She is not allowed to contact her former boyfriend or eight of his associates. Marsden is also not allowed to speak to the media, nor may she comment on her current case on her personal web site. She is only allowed to send electronic messages in her own name. However, Marsden is allowed to leave the Vancouver area on business between now and her next court date on december 3rd.

Media coverage

Vancouver Sun: Woman in SFU sex scandal jailed
The Province: Rachel Marsden accused of harassing former lover
Southam News: Sex scandal centrepiece accused of harassment by ex-radio personality
CNEWS: Woman in university scandal faces charges
Coquitlam Now: Marsden faces harassment charge

Other Articles

The Fraser Institute, as one might suspect, was not impressed with the process that SFU used to hear harassment complaints, and provided this report on the subject.

Transcript of a July 20,1997 debate from CBC Television's Sunday Report over the Marsden/Donnelly affair and how it was handled.

Judy Rebick, former head of the National Action Comittee on the Status of Women, laments the media's coverage of the 1997 dispute.
Head Girl down but not out?

Let's make this much clear: when referring to "Head Girl," I refer not to repeat stalker/harasser Rachel Marsden (see above or below), but to defeated Vancouver mayoral candidate Jennifer Clarke, who earned the uncomplimentary nickname from City Hall staffers who had to deal with Clarke through her nine-year stint on Vancouver city council.

In a story in this week's Vancouver Courier, Clarke admits that she knew that her run for the mayor's race was doomed some time before the election. She had prepared her concession speech a few days in advance, after public and private polls showed that COPE candidate Larry Campbell had amassed an strong lead over Clarke, whose NPA political party had controlled City Hall since 1986.

Clarke is saying that, while she will decide her future in the next month, she has not ruled out a return to politics in the future. She says that she'll be available to advise the two reamining NPA city councillors, newcomer Peter Ladner and three-term incumbent Sam Sullivan, if they need any guidance.

Where did the "Head Girl" nickname come from? Clarke was a private school girl, and she has a reputation for being demanding and bossy.
How to win a civic election (part 357 1/2)

Allen Garr on how the Coalition of Progressive Electors broke from tradition in running its 2002 election campaign, and how the move paid off big-time. The new strategy and approach got COPE a near-sweep in last week's civic elections.
A profile of Vancouver city councillor-elect Jim Green

The longtime Downtown Eastside activist has finally won elected office after failed bids for the Vancouver mayor's chair in 1990 and for the provincial legislature in 1996. Incidentally, Green's chief rival in both races was current B.C. premier Gordon Campbell.

Vancouver Sun reporter Doug Ward looks at Green's long and varied career, from his childhood in the Deep South to his days as a labourer, then as an advocate for Vancouver's inner-city residents.

Green will formally take office on December 2, when the new city government is sworn in. However, he's not twiddling his thumbs in the week until he takes office; Green has been working to find more suitable shelter for the Woodward's squatters, and working with his new councilmates to firm up the new council's agenda for their first few weeks in office.

Saturday, November 23, 2002


Contributed by James Sherman via USENET

(We take you now to the Oval Office.)

George: Condi! Nice to see you. What's happening?
Condi: Sir, I have the report here about the new leader of China.
George: Great. Lay it on me.
Condi: Hu is the new leader of China.
George: That's what I want to know.
Condi: That's what I'm telIing you.
George: That's what I'm asking you. Who is the new leader of China?
Condi: Yes.
George: I mean the fellow's name.
Condi: Hu.
George: The guy in China.
Condi: Hu.
George: The new leader of China.
Condi: Hu.
George: The @&#!!
Condi: Hu is leading China.
George: Now whaddya' asking me for?
Condi: I'm telling you Hu is leading China.
George: Well, I'm asking you. Who is leading China?
Condi: That's the man's name.
George: That's who's name?
Condi: Yes.
George: Will you or will you not tell me the name of the new leader of
Condi: Yes, sir.
George: Yassir? Yassir Arafat is in China? I thought he was in the
Middle East.
Condi: That's correct.
George: Then who is in China?
Condi: Yes, sir.
George: Yassir is in China?
Condi: No, sir.
George: Then who is?
Condi: Yes, sir.
George: Yassir?
Condi: No, sir.
George: Look, Condi. I need to know the name of the new leader of
China. Get me the Secretary General of the U.N. on the phone.
Condi: Kofi?
George: No, thanks.
Condi: You want Kofi?
George: No.
Condi: You don't want Kofi.
George: No. But now that you mention it, I could use a glass of milk.
And then get me the U.N.
Condi: Yes, sir.
George: Not Yassir! The guy at the U.N.
Condi: Kofi?
George: Milk! Will you please make the call?
Condi: And call who?
George: Who is the guy at the U.N?
Condt: Hu is the guy in China.
George: Will you stay out of China?!
Condi: Yes, sir.
George: And stay out of the Middle Eastl Just get me the guy at the
Condi: Kofi.
George: All right! With cream and two sugars. Now get on the phone.

(Condi picks up the phone.)

Condi: Rice, here.
George: Rice? Good idea. And a couple of egg rolls, too. Maybe we
should send some to the guy in China. And the Middle East. Can you get
Chinese food in the Middle East?

- Hu Jintao, China's new leader
- Condoleezza Rice, US National Security Advisor

Friday, November 22, 2002

Obligatory Nitpicking

This morning's Province screamed:

"Woman, 24, charged with harassing ex-boyfriend, 52"

on the front page. The story was, of course, that of Rachel Marsden being arrested and subsequently charged with criminal harassment -- the part about the 52-year-old ex was correct; but they screwed up on Marsden's age. She is actually 28 years old. I wonder if whoever let that error get onto the front page got a talking-to today. In any case, they can't use the excuse of being rushed; the story actually broke on Wednesday night, and her court appearance was at mid-day yesterday, well before the paper's deadline.

More on the Marsden story from the National Post, and a longer report from the Vancouver Sun.
A curious set of questions...

Georgia Straight political columnist Bill Tieleman reports on a poll done by the B.C. Liberal Party to measure the public's view of party leader and Premier Gordon Campbell. Tieleman lucked upon the story; the polling company (Western Opinion Resarch, the party's pollster of record) randomly dialed his home and asked a series of questions about Campbell, including this doozy:

Which of the following statements do you most agree with?

1. Gordon Campbell is doing a good job in trying times and deserves to be reelected.

2. Gordon Campbell is doing a good job but it's time for someone else to have a chance to lead.

3. Gordon Campbell is doing a poor job but he is still the best choice we have.

4. Gordon Campbell is doing a poor job and should be replaced.

Now, in truth, there's little wrong with a poliical party asking those kinds of questions, especially as they're 18 months into a 4-year mandate, and the effects of the government's policies are being felt acros the province. But wouldn't you love to get a peek at the results?

Thursday, November 21, 2002

Marsden steps in it again!

Media whore extraordinaire Rachel Marsden is allegedly back in the stalking and harassment game. Her latest alleged target is a 52-year-old man (name censored due to publication ban), a communications consultant and former Vancouver radio personality with whom she had had what Vancouver police describe as an "informal" relationship. According to police, the relationship between Marsden and Morgan had ended earlier this year.

Vancouver Police spokesperson Constable Sarah Bloor said that Marsden had been sending Morgan "e-mails and phone messages of a harassing nature" from early October to early November.

Rachel Marsden spent last night in jail after being arrested by Vancouver police. She was granted bail when she appeared in court earlier this morning. Her bail conditions include an order that she have no contact with the alleged victim and that she must not speak to the media. For somene who has tried to keep in the spotlight for the past several years, that last condition must be rather a tough one for her. According to the police department, the ban on contact with the media is justified in order to keep her from torturing her alleged victim over and over again.

Marsden first gained public attention in 1997 when she alleged that Simon Fraser University swim coach Liam Donnelly had been sexually harassing her. Donnelly was brought before the university's secret harassment tribunal and summarily fired.

Donnelly, however, fought back against the charges in public. He responded with evidence that it had been Marsden who was stalking him and sending him revealing photos of herself by e-mail. Eventually, Donnelly was reinstated to his position as SFU swim coach, and financially compensated for his trouble. The incident led to the resignation of the university's then-president, John Stubbs, over the university's harassment procedures, which were seen as being neither transparent nor fair towards the accused.

SFU criminology professor Neil Boyd also alleged that Marsden was stalking him in 1999. Marsden was a student at the B.C. Institute of Technology's broadcasting school at the time.

Since that time, Marsden has worked in the media in various capacities, including political commentator. The self-described "future Barbara Amiel" earned herself a reputation as a fiercely conservative pundit and her work appeared on several right-wing web sites.
Marsden is next expected to appear in provincial court in the first week in December, where she will face charges on one count of criminal harassment. Crown Counsel has requested a psychiatric evaluation of Marsden's mental state before any trial.

More coverage of this in a CBC British Columbia story.

... And in a loosely related story...

Liam Donnelly's brother, Fin Donnelly, did win election to Coquitlam city council in last week's civic elections. Donnelly, an environmental advocate known for his marathon swims of the Fraser River, won 7,307 votes, good enough for a fifth-place finish.

Wednesday, November 20, 2002

Owen slams drug czar's visit

Outgoing Vancouver Mayor Philip Owen is critical of today's visit by John Walters, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy to a Vacouver Board of Trade luncheon. Owen, who spearheaded the change of Vancouver's drug policy from a law-enforcement to a public-health model, is concerned that Walters's visit to Vancouver may be more than just a fact-finding mission.

Walters is known as a supporter of the American drug policies initiated by the Reagan administration in the 1980's. He is known for being a strong supporter of overseas interdiction activities, and for the use of massive law-enforcement resources on the domestic front. Any emphasis on treatment of drug addiction is an afterthought for Walters.

Owen's concern is that Walters may use his visit to Vancouver as an opportunity to attack the drug reform plan in Vancouver, and the man who will soon be the one shepherding the plan to completion, Mayor-elect Larry Campbell.

Elsewhere, Owen criticized Canadian Alliance MPs James Moore and Randy White's claims that Vancouver was about to open "shooting galleries" as being "outrageous and misleading."
Are we ready for Larrymania?

Globe and Mail western-affairs writer Paul Sullivan comments on the buzz surrounding Vancouver's Mayor-elect Larry Campbell. He chalks it up to what he calls the "Jesse Ventura Syndrome," that of a minor celebrity unburdened by political baggage, and a reaction by Vancouverites to the excesses of the provincial government's cutbacks.

Tuesday, November 19, 2002

Comments from the Peanut Gallery

It's been only 3 days since the Vancouver election, but the critics of the city's new mayor, Larry Campbell, and the new city council, are already out in force. This time it's not just conservative newspaper columnists like Jon Ferry of The Province or the Vancouver Sun's Pete McMartin, who have been bad-mouthing Campbell since he announced his mayoral candidacy earlier this year, and continued to try to paint him as unsuitable for the mayor's job throughout the campaign.

No, now some federal Members of Parliament are screaming bloody murder over Campbell's plans to implement harm-reduction measures as part of the city's overall drug strategy. And, just like the aformentioned two cranky columinsts, neither of these MP's are from Vancouver. Instead, they are two of the Canadian Alliance's biggest self-promoters, Randy White and James Moore.

Neither Moore nor White's constituencies are near the city of Vancouver: Moore represents the northeastern suburbs, while White's constituency is even further away; it's in the central Fraser Valley. That, of course, has not kept either man from seeing fit to tell Vancouver, and the voters who voted in Larry Campbell, to tell them what's best for them.

Both men are hard-liners on the issue of drugs: they seem to agree that the approach championed by Ronald Reagan in the United States 20 years ago is the model to pursue. Never mind that the so-called war on drugs has been an expensive failure that has, in the United States resulted in little more than a blooming prison population. Of course, to Randy White, a booming prison industry is a sign of progress.

The reaction from White and Moore was predictable. They're both ultra-conservative, and neither man met a microphone that he didn't like. Their objection to Vancouver's drug strategy isn't based on evidence that it would aggravate a bad situation, or that there are alternatives that would mean fewer deaths, or less crime, health costs, or what-have-you. It's all ideological. They are of the school of thought that has informed the last 20-30 years of failed drug policy in North America.

They claim that Vancouver will be stting up "shooting galleries." Wrong. There are plenty of shooting galleries of Vancouver already -- they're nothing new. The conditions of those shooting galleries are awful, unsanitary, and unsafe. Randy White claims that Vancouver will be giving away free heroin under the drug strategy already adopted by Vancouver city council. Nowhere in the document (PDF file) is there any mention of free heroin. However, White has never let the truth get in the way of his talking points. Neither has Moore, who once said that the $24 airport security charge was "going to line the pockets of federal Liberals," as if airline security was some sort of political fundraiser.

Moor says that his constituents are telling him that Vancouver's plans to aggressively implement a safe-injection site in downtown Vancouver and to increase detox and drug treatment facilities are a bad idea. That's interesting. A politician who claims that people are telling him that he's right, and those other guys are wrong. When the hell has any politician ever admitted that his/her constituents disagree with his or her views? Give me a break.

Furthermore, Moore's constituents (or White's) aren't the ones who have to deal directly with Vancouver's problems. The people of Vancouver do, and they've made the choice of who will tackle them. The people of Vancouver are also will have to live with the results, and you can bet that voters considered that before they made that choice.

And if, in three years, Vancouverites aren't satisfied that Larry Campbell and his council have tackled the Downtown Eastside, the drug problem, transit problems or the red tape at city hall, they'll toss them out, just as they tossed the NPA council on Saturday.

Sunday, November 17, 2002

Welcome to the New Vancouver

That might be a little dramatic, but the fact reamins that the face of Vancouver's civic government changed dramatically today. The ruling Non-Partisan Association, which had held a majority on Vancouver's city council since 1986, was tossed in Saturday's civic election.

The city's centre-left civic party, the Coalition of Progressive Electors (COPE) scored as close to a sweep of all civic offices as it could. Every one of the party's candidates for the mayoralty, city council, school board, and parks board won, and the party's candidates topped the polls in every race.

As expected, Larry Campbell won the mayor's chair with a handsome majority, Campbell defeated incumbent councillor and mayoral nominee Jennifer Clarke by a margin of 80,772 to 41,936 with all polls reporting. Campbell's share of the popular vote was 57.8%, compared to Clarke's 30%. Campbell won in 119 of the city's 144 polling divisions; Clarke won 24, with one poll reporting a tie.

Elsewhere, COPE city council candidates Fred Bass, Jim Green, David Cadman, Tim Louis, Tim Stevenson, Anne Roberts, Raymond Louie, and Ellen Woodsworth won seats. NPA rookie candidate Peter Ladner and incumbent Sam Sullivan were the other two candidates elected; they finished ninth and tenth. respectively. Bass and Louis were COPE's two incumbent councillors.

Full election results can be found on the City of Vancouver's web site.

Saturday, November 16, 2002

In case you were wondering...

Here's the New York Times story on the Vancouver mayoral race that ran in yesterday's Times. You may need to register with to access the story.

One correction to the story: Larry Campbell's old police beat was not on Hastings Street; Campbell was never a member of the Vancouver Police Department. Campbell's policing career was with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Election Day

The Vancouver Sun is reporting heavy voter turnout today in B.C.'s municipal elections. Turnout in Vancouver is expected to exceed 40% of registered voters, and the city's electoral officer had previously announced that he would have 20% more staf at this year's polls than there were in 1999.

Keenedy Stewart, a political scientist at Simon Fraser University, said that he'd be very surprised if the turnout exceeded 50%, hewever. The last time that turnout was that high was in 1990, when current B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell defeated COPE's Jim Green, who is running for a council seat this year.

Last Dance, Last Chance: Jennifer Clarke gets chilly reception on West Side

Last Dance, Last Chance: Larry Campbell gets cold shoulder in Chinatown, does better in Downtown Eastside

City of Vancouver Election 2002 information including who can vote and where to vote. After 8 p.m., the city will be uploading results to the city web site as they come in.
Dhaliwal loses control of his riding executive to Martin supporters

Score another one for Paul Martin. His supporters have taken over the riding association executive of Natural Resources minister Herb Dhaliwal (Vancouver South-Burnaby.) Dhaliwal is an ally of Prime Minister Jean Chretien, and is contemplating a bid for the Liberal Party leadership next year. One thing was sure: Dhaliwal wouldn't be backing front-runner Paul Martin's bid for the Liberal leadership.

27 of B.C.'s 34 Liberal riding associations are now controlled by Paul Martin supporters, further solidifying Martin's grip on Liberal convention delegates from British Columbia.

Friday, November 15, 2002

In case you'd forgotten why some people are voting on Novermber 16th...

The Georgia Straight has re-published Martin Dunphy's scathing "Kill the Careers of the Bus-Strike Politicians," which first ran in July 2001, as the city's bus strike entered its fourth month. The strike left tens of thousands of Vancouverites (and hundreds of thousands of people throughout the Lower Mainland) without their main mode of transportation for 112 days. Within a few weeks of the strike's beginning, special mediator Vince Ready, one of Canada's top labour mediators, had issued a report that, if accepted by both parties, would have ended the strike. The Canadian Auto Workers accepted the recommenations; TransLink, the transportation authority, refused to do so. Three Vancouver city councillors were on the TransLink board at the time. One, Gordon Price, has decided not to seek a fourth term. The others are running in this election: NPA mayoral candidate Jennifer Clarke, and NPA city councillor George Puil.

It was an angry, vitriolic rant, fuelled by anger at a city council who, with the exception of COPE councillors Fred Bass and Tim Louis, did little other than twiddle their thumbs and mouth platitudes during the strike.

Okay, that's not fair. The NPA-dominated council did take some initiative to deal with the strike, and the protests of angry bus riders. They held council meetings at 8 a.m., hoping that the riff-raff wouldn't show up at such an early hour. They also barred any "suspicious-looking" members of the public from attending city council meetings; City Hall security even tried to keep the late Harry Rankin away from one council meeting. Harry Rankin! A guy who served on council for 25 years, barred from attending a supposedly public meeting of Vancouver city council!

However, they never once addressed the labour dispute. They claimed that the city "couldn't legally do anything." Not once did they call on TransLink to get back to the bargaining table, or to agree to the mediator's report, a report that was eventually legislated on the parties by the provincial government.

Dunphy urges Vancouver voters to give those politicians, Puil and Clarke, a kick in the ass... right out the door.

I'm inclined to agree.
More from the Campbell-Campbell fight

... and let it be said that we're dealing with a fight that didn't actually happen -- rather, last Saturday's incident where NPA city council candidate Vern Campbell stormed the campaign office of mayoral hopeful Larry Campbell's COPE party. Vern Campbell wanted to ask Larry Campbell some "tough questions" about just where Larry Campbell stands on some issues. The stunt failed -- Larry Campbell was off at a mayoral candidates' debate (did Vern actually bother to check the calendar before he planned this stunt?), and instead, ended up being shouted down by COPE staffers who did, after all, have a campaign to work on.

So, in the spirit of fairness, we present you with Vern Campbell's questions that he never did get to ask Larry Campbell. Now, it's interesting to note that, according to longtime city councillor George Puil, it is a custom in Vancouver that civic candidates to not question other civic candidates in front of the media. Or, at least that's what Puil told Dance Party Party candidate Ryan Millar when Millar tried to scrum Puil at the NPA's nomination meeting in October. Perhaps that custom has disappeared in what has become a particularly nasty campaign.

Now, there will be plenty of other Campbell-Campbell fights in the future, you can be sure. If Larry Campbell is elected mayor (as seems almost certain), you can expect face-offs with Premier Gordon Campbell (no relation, natch) over provincial government cuts to social spending, the possible offloading of provincial government responsibilities (and expenses) to city governments, and on funding for addiction treatment as part of Vancouver's drug strategy. If Vern Campbell gets a seat on city council (not impossible by any stretch of the imagination), then you can expect a few verbal dust-ups in council chambers over the next three years, if the last weeek's events are any indication.
Predictions: Charles Campbell

The Vancouver Sun editoral board member fearlessly (foolishly?) predicts how tomorrow's city coucil election will go. He's not only predicting who will win (6 COPE and 4 NPA candidates), but in what order the top 20 or so will finish.

Christalmighty, election prediction is a tough game -- especially predicting the winners of a 10-member council in an election where there are 31 slate candidates and a couple of high-profile independents. I won't hold it against him if he gets it wrong.
NPA delivers different message in Chinese

In a last-ditch attempt to garner some extra votes in Vancouver's Chinese-speaking community, the Non-Partisan Association has resorted to taking out advertisements in the city's Chinese media that say that the party will not introduce safe-injection sites for drug addicts in Vancouver.

This contradicts the message that the NPA has been giving the city's English-language media. NPA candidates, including mayoral candidate Jennifer Clarke, tell the gwailo press that they are in favour of harm reduction strategies, including the trial of a safe drug consumption facility, for Vancouver's drug addicts, although it wants to proceed with caution. For the Chinese community, which is seen by most political strategists as being much more conservative and more supportive of a "get tough" approach, the NPA gives them a different message; one that the NPA thinks will apeal to the community. Never mind that the two policies are contradictory.

What the hell were they thinking?

No politician, or political operative, should even try to think of trying to send one message to one linguistic community, and a conflicting one to another. It is no different than flip-flopping on policies and promises from one day to the next; at the very least, it causes votters to wonder where a candidate or party really stands, and at worst, makes those who try and pull the trick off to look deceitful.

It's also guaranteed to get caught. There are plenty of bilingual English-Cantonese speakers in Vancouver, and you can bet that any serious political capaign will get translations of everything that their opponents say in the Chinese-language media, and of any ads that they run. Why bothed doing it at all if you're going to get caught?

Desperation, that's why.

Addendum: There was a full page advertisement in the Sing Tao daily paper today that endorsed Jennifer Clarke and the NPA, saying that they would crack down on drug use. The $9,000 ad was not paid for by the NPA, nor was it endorsed by the NPA. It was paid for by an anonymous group calling itself "People concerned about our citizens." The ad featured a "no needles" symbol, and insinuated that COPE and mayoral front-runner Larry Campbell would set up a safe injection site, "possibly near you."

Thursday, November 14, 2002

Jim Green Sues NPA

COPE city council candidate Jim Green has filed suit in B.C. Supreme Court against the Non-Partisan Association over an NPA campaign advertisement that alleges that Green pocketed "hundreds of thousands of dollars" from the troubled Four Corners Community Savings Bank. The bank, which was set up in 1996 by the former NDP government to serve residents of the Downtown Eastside who had no access to financial services through regular institutions, lost $4.2-million in its first five years of operation.

Green, along with NPA city councillor Sam Sullivan, was on the board of directors of the bank until the provincial government fired the board earlier this year.

Earlier this week, Green's political party, COPE, demanded that the NPA stop running the ad. The NPA has refused; their campaign coordinator, Grant Longhurst, maintains that the ad is factual and not defamatory; Green disagrees. Longhurst, along with the NPA, are named as defendants in the lawsuit.

Link to COPE press release and to the lawsuit filed against the NPA.
Q&A with Vancouver city council candidates

The candidates from the NPA, COPE, Green, and vcaTEAM parties -- 32 in all --try to slel you on their respective merits.
What the hell happened?!??

Okay, that was the title of the book that chronicled the Georgia Straight's first 30 years. It also seems to be what Vancouver Sun editorial writer -- and former Straight editor -- Charles Campbell (no relation to mayoral front-runner Larry Campbell) is wondering about this year's civic election.

Elsewhere, ran a straw poll asking readers, "What do you think is the best way to increase voter turnout for municipal elections?" The vast majority say that providing free snacks at poll booths is the way. I agree, as long as the snacks are not provided by any political party.
CKNW radio is reporting that Vancouver election officials are scrambling to cope with today's B.C. Supreme Court decision that allows potential voters who do not have two pieces of identification to vote after signing a statutory declaration.

Wednesday, November 13, 2002

Patricia Coppard ruminates on the surfeit of Campbells and Clarks and Clarkes that infest Vancouver and British Columbia politics.

Coppard's column was inspired by an earlier Vancouver Courier story, "Grooming For Politics," where some of the interviewees were confusing mayoral candidate Larry Campbell with Premier Gordon Campbell, and former premier Glen Clark with mayoral hopeful Jennifer Clarke. Maybe this explains why Valerie MacLean is trailing the two front-runners...
The last word from the Sun's municipal election poll?

Another day, another story... Let it be said that paying for a public-opinion poll does give a paper some instant material to fill the pages. However, today's story on the Vancouver Sun municipal election poll correlates what qualities voters want in a mayor with who they want to be mayor. From the story:

Ipsos-Reid correlated the answers with voter preferences for mayor and found that those who think a vision for the future is paramount "strongly go for [Larry] Campbell, and those who think a good manager is most important are about evenly split between Campbell and [Jennifer] Clarke," said Kyle Braid, a vice-president with the polling firm.

Very useful, indeed. Ipsos doesn't normally provide cross-tabs on its publicly released poll results, so this does clear up some questions about just what voters were favouring which candidates.

This suggests that Clarke has not been able to get one of her key messages, that she is a good manager, across to voters. On the other hand, Campbell has articulated a strong vision for (one part of?) the city, even if he has not always been as clear on the details as has Clarke.
COPE wins one in the courts

A B.C. Supreme Court judge has sided with COPE, and has overturned a City of Vancouver rule that says that "statutory declarations" are not an acceptable alternative to government-issued ID for voters who wish to register at the polls on Election Day.

In short, this decision forces the City of Vancouver to allow those without two pieces of ID to vote after they swear that they are eligible to do so. This practice is common in other jurisdictions, including provincial elections in British Columbia.

This decision will make it possible for hundreds of homeless and poor people who do not have two pieces of "acceptable" ID to vote in this Saturday's election.

COPE had been challenging the city's October 25th decision to not allow statutory declarations. While this decision will not affect the advance polls, it will be in effect this Saturday.
Negative ad fight heats up

COPE says that it's pulled its radio ad that questions Jennifer Clarke's character. The NPA, however, is sticking with its ads that claim that COPE is just the NDP in drag.

Links to ads from the two major civic parties:

The NPA's radio ads page, including the "COPE-NDP" ad that seems to suggest that if COPE is elected, the City of Vancouver will get into the fast ferry business, as well as the ad that suggests that council candidate Jim Green pocketed "hundreds of thousands" of dollars from a money-losing bank. That ad is the target of a possible lawsuit from Green, who thinks the ad to be libelous. Did someone mention that this is a dirty campaign?

COPE's video feeds page, currently showing their TV ad, and some footage from the mayoral forum organized by From Grief to Action, a group founded by families of those vho have fallen victim to drug addiction.

As for that other civic party, vcaTEAM? Yesterday, city council candidate Art Cowie assured the public that his party would not be pulling any ads, as they can't afford broadcast ads in the first place!
COPE argues for leniency in voting eligibility

The civic party can expect a ruling today on whether or not "statutory declarations" will be enough for voters without proper identification to register and cast their ballots in Satuday's civic election.

Currently, the rules state that voters who are not on the electors' list must show two pieces of identification in order to register to vote on election day. COPE's argument is that this is discriminatory against the poor and those with no fixed address.

Of course, those who fit into the above categories will, of course, be much more likely to vote for COPE...

Tuesday, November 12, 2002

NPA hopeful tries to challenge Larry Campbell

Good ol' Vern Campbell. The ex-cop turned politician keeps on getting the headlines, but not necessarily for the right reasons. Last weekend, Campbell, who is running for city council on the conservative NPA ticket, tried to challenge COPE mayoral candidate Larry Campbell (no relation) to an unscheduled debate at Larry Campbell's campaign office.

As it was, Larry Campbell was at a previously scheduled forum, debating his main mayoral rival Jennifer Clarke (of the NPA.) So Vern Campbell, who invited the press along to watch him try to debate Larry Caqmpbell, ended up just making a scene by crashing another party's campaign office.

This isn't the first embarassing moment in this campaign for Vern Campbell. Last month, at a press event, Vern Campbell tried to demonstrate how easy it is to break in to a car. He took eight whacks with a tire iron with no success. However, that was just a stunt gone wrong.

What is more disturbing about Vern Campbell is that he has been sending different messages to the English-language and Chinese-language media in Vancouver. To the English-language press, Vern Campbell has said that he is in favour of the harm-reduction component of the city's drug strategy. He's sent quite a different message to the Chinese-language press; he says that he's dead-set against the use of safe-injection facilities as part of the drug strategy. It's an attempt to curry favour with the members of the Chinese-Canadian community, who are the core of the opposition to the so-called "four-pillar approach" to drug abuse. Which story is the truth, Vern?

But hey, he's backed by the Chinese Benevolent Society, the hospitality industry's lobbying campaign, and several prominent members of the Vancouver Police Department.
Three views on that Vancouver lifestyle

In the current issue of the Georgia Straight, two of the paper's senior writers take on the question of Vancouver's "No Fun City" reputation. Mike Usinger presents a spirited defence of boozing it up, while Martin Dunphy says the "No Fun" tag is all hype and no substance.

Meanwhile, in today's Sun, Trevor Boddy takes the long view on the quality of life in Vancouver, and opines that Vancouver's livability is critical to Vancouver's economic future as well as its social one.
Hey, is it just me, or could the first item, "Enough with Holy Owen already," in last week's rants from the WestEnder be an anonymous screed from Jennifer Clarke? Whoever wrote it has a case of sour grapes, that's for sure...
More municipal polls

While the Vancouver Sun, which commissioned this poll of Vancouver and Lower Mainland voters, focussed on support for some form of municipal amalgamation, the numbers also show what voters are looking for in a mayor.

Vancouver voters were most likely to say that "a vision for the future" was the most important quality for a potential mayor (30%), followed by "a good manager" (22%), and "a willingness to make tough decisions" (18%). Who does this benefit? Well, Larry Campbell is certainly unafraid of outlining what he thinks that he, and the next council, should do in the days following the election, and his 30-day dealine for a safe-injection facility could be interpreted as making a tough decision. On the other hand, Jennifer Clarke has been emphasizing her detailed knowledge of the city government, and has been trying to communicate the message that she and her Non-Partisan Association have been good managers.

On the "vision thing," both candidates have their vulnerabilities. Clarke, while having ideas on how to make Vancouver more attractive to business, is all too willing to defer to other levels of government on controversial issues, be it the 2010 Olympics, the city's drug policy, or public transit. Campbell has a clear vision on drug policy and revitalizing the Downtown Eastside, but his opponents question whether or not Campbell is anything more than a one- or two-issue candidate. While Campbell has made statements on everything from transit to cutting red tape at city hall (it takes an average of 350 days for a development permit to be granted in Vancouver), he is, in the mind of many, mainly associated with issues surrounding the Downtown Eastside.

One poll result that won't make Clarke's, or the NPA's day: Only 4% of Vancouver voters said that "political experience" was the most important quality in a potential mayor. Clarke has attacked her two main rivals, Larry Campbell and Valerie MacLean, for their lack of political experience, and for going for the Mayor's chair without first spending time on city council. (Clarke has been on city council since 1993.)

Saturday, November 09, 2002

NPA goes negative

The long-ruling Non-Partisan Association is pulling out all the stops in the final week of Election 2002. The party is launching a slew of attack ads designed to paint mayoral frontrunner Larry Campbell, and his COPE party, as the New Democratic Party in drag.

The ads conjure up the spectre of non-functional fast ferries, backroom deals, and economic stagnation that many voters associate with the former provincial government. Voters are warned of impending disaster if they elect the "COPE-NDP."

How well will it work? Hard to say. First, and most importantly, Larry Campbell had never been a member of any political party before he joined COPE earlier this year. Campbell had previously been apolitical and not particularly left-wing; he only considered running for office (so he says) after retiring Mayor Philip Owen was pushed out of office by the... NPA.

On the other hand, one of COPE's city council candidates is Tim Stevenson, a former NDP cabinet minister. There are al lot of current and former NDP officials and staffers advising COPE. Campaign chair Neil Monckton did spend a year working in former premier Glen Clark's office. Media guy Nathan Allen used to chair the provincial Young New Democrats. Former NDP premier (and Vancouver mayor) Mike Harcourt has given Larry Campbell his endorsement.

It's an old strategy. This September, NPA mayoral candidate Jennifer Clarke, who was once the front-runner, claimed that all COPE members had to join the NDP to join COPE. That isn't true: any eligible Vancouver voter can join COPE for $10. As mentioned before, Larry Campbell is not a member of any other political party at any level, and incumbent COPE councillor Fred Bass is aq member of the provincial Greens!

However, if you're going to play the party-association game, the NPA is just as intermixed with the B.C. Liberal Party as is COPE with the NDP. Failed 2001 provincial candidates Daniel Lee and Gail Sparrow unsuccessfully sought NPA endorsement for city council this year. Duncan Wilson, making his first bid for city council this year, ran against Tim Stevenson in the 1996 provincial election. NPA Godfather J.P. Shason has been the backroom partner of Premier Gordon Campbell for over 20 years. Perhaps, to be fair, we should refer to the B.C. Liberal-NPA, if the NPA insistes on calling COPE the COPE-NDP?

And the Liberal provincial government is running record deficits, something that city governments aren not allowed by law to do.

How much fiscal vandalism could a COPE-dominated city council do? According to the city's director of financial services, not much.

"The Vancouver charter, and other municipal legislation in British Columbia . . . is very clear that municipal governments can't run a deficit"

Scratch that criticism. What it comes down to is that the NPA knows that it's behind in this campaign, and that it needs to pull out all the stops. However, municipal voters' intentions don't move too much in the last week of the campaign, and the NPA, if the polls are to be believed, have a long way to go to make up ground, including a 27-point gap in the mayor's race.

Elsewhere, the NPA did pick up a boost today when, as expected, the Vancouver Sun endorsed Jennifer Clarke for mayor, and also gave its support to 6 NPA council candidates, as well as 3 COPE hopefuls and vcaTEAM's Nancy Chiavaro.

Friday, November 08, 2002

It's time for a change: Vancouver voters

A new Vancouver Sun/Ipsos-Reid poll finds that Larry Campbell is way out in front in the Vancouver mayoral race. The poll, which is considered accurate to within +/- 5.4%, shows Campbell with the support of 56% of decided voters, with his chief rival Jennifer Clarke trailing badly at 29%, and Valerie MacLean still further behind, at 17%.

It's also not looking good for Clarke's party, the Non-Partisan Association. 72% of voters said that the current city council, which was dominated by the NPA, does not deserve to be re-elected.

Although 39% of respondents were undecided, Ipsos' Kyle Braid said that the undecided factor is not a major one in local politics. Brais notes in the story that those who haven't made up their minds at this point in a local election campaign are unlikely to vote at all.

From the poll's press release:

"The race isn't over yet, but clearly Jennifer Clarke has a lot of ground to make up" says Kyle Braid, Vice President of Ipsos-Reid in Vancouver. "There appear to be at least two things working against her in this campaign. First, Vancouverites want to see a change in their City Council and she represents the establishment much more than her competitors. Second, it has to be discouraging that despite her nine years of exposure as a City Councillor, she now trails Larry Campbell in awareness among Vancouver voters." Nevertheless Braid cautions Campbell not to celebrate yet, "With the low voter turnout in municipal elections a lot of things can happen. If Clarke's supporters are more motivated than Campbell's, or if Clarke's election-day team is better organized, we could still see a very close result."

Read the tables from the poll for yourself, and draw your own conclusions.
T minus 8 days and...

Vancouver Courier opinion-monger and newly-minted Langara College journalism instructor Allen Garr reports in his column that COPE mayoral candidate Larry Campbell may be far ahead in the race for the Mayor's chair.

Garr was reporting from Sunday's COPE campaign gala and fundraiser, where 780 people (at $100 minimum a pop) dined on roast beef and halibut at a swank downtown hotel -- proving that the city's left-leaning political party has come a long way. If Garr's sources are correct, Campbell may have more support in the city than all his other rivals combined. If so, it's an impressive feat; there are three high-profile candidates for mayor this year: Campbell, NPA nominee Jennifer Clarke, and vcaTEAM challenger Valerie MacLean. Garr says that MacLean's support is dropping linke a rock.

MacLean's support was mostly based on a dislike of the NPA's dumping of incumbent mayor Philip Owen, combined with a distrust of the "free-spending socialist hordes" of COPE, Larry Campbell's party. However, as the campaign has progressed, Campbell has stressed that his vision of city hall is one that does not grant financial favours for friends, and one that reviews spending carefully.

MacLean, a political neophyte, has also had a tough time in debates against Clarke, who, with nine years' experience on Vancouver city council, has a detailed knowledge of city government, and the media-savvy Campbell, who expresses a clear vision for the city and its troubled Downtown Eastside. Campbell's vision is usually meekly supported by MacLean, but she can't claim the issue, or match Campbell's passion.

Campbell, on the other hand, has kept his party's base of support happy throughout this election, and has reached out to those Vancouver voters who have not traditionally supported his party, but who might be ready for a change at City Hall after 16 years of NPA rule. The "sign wars" tell a tale. It's normal that COPE signs outnumber those of other parties in the areas east of Main and north of Kingsway; that's a given. But on West 10th? South Cambie? King Edward Avenue? In previous elections, COPE signs were rare on those streets; now, they outnumber those for the NPA on some stretches.

However, the campaign has a week to run. The NPA will be blitzing the airwaves, and the print media, with advertising, and a lot of it will attack Larry Campbell as inexperienced, and questioning his shoot-from-the-lip style. COPE will fire back, depicting Campbell as a decisive leader, and one with a clear direction.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, November 07, 2002

Harcourt 's COPE endorsement draws fire

... from NPA mayoral candidate Jennifer Clarke. To Clarke, the endorsement by the man who was Mayor from 1980 to 1986 is more proof that COPE, the civic party for which Larry Campbell is running, is the New Democratic Party in drag. After leaving civic politics, Mike Harcourt went on to lead the provincial NDP and serve as premier from 1991 to 1995. By the end of its reign in 2001, the NDP had become desperately unpopular in British Columbia, and the party was portrayed as having left the province in an economic shambles.

Wednesday, November 06, 2002

The Chinese Connection

The Vancouver Courier's Mike Howell reports on the evolution of politicians with Chinese-Canadian connections in Vancouver, from independent Bill Yee in the early '80's to the present.

A companion story by Howell takes a look at the perceived preference of Chinese-Canadians for the conservative Non-Partisan Association; the NPA have been running at least one, and sometimes more than one Chinese-Canadian council candidate since 1988, and the NPA has done well in areas like Chinatown and Strathcona in recent elections.

COPE, Vancouver's left-leaning civic party has, on the other hand, not done so well among recent Chinese immigrants, but seems to do better among second- and third-generation Chinese-Canadians...
Embattled SEC Chairman Harvey Pitt Resigns

It was only a matter of time, I suppose. No matter how qualified Pitt was, or whther or not any of the acusations levied against him were true, Pitt was an albatross for the Bushies.
In honour of yesterday's (U.S.) Election Day...
...we present you with a link to one of those stupid self-tester thingys

Which Founding Father Are You?

In other election-related news, the Scrum's pick for Illinois' 9th Congressional District, Libertarian Stephanie Sailor, will not be making her House debut next year. With 98% of all polls reporting, Sailor had accumulated 4,779 votes, or about 3% of the total. Incumbent Jan Schakowsky (D) wone easily, getting 115,669 votes, or about 70% of the total.

And the Democrats' congressional campaigns really fucked it up this year...

Tuesday, November 05, 2002

In The Northwest: Big business buys power through anonymous ads

Seattle Post-Intelligencer columnist Joel Connelly, a refreshingly independent voice, calls phoney "issue ads," funded by the business lobby, for what they are.

Okay, maybe he overstes the case when he compares those "issue ads" by such groups as Saving Alaska's Free Enterprise, the United Seniors Association, or what-have-you to the tactics employed by the Communists in the first half of the last century. But he's right on this much: Union ads, or those from the AARP, actually tell you just who is paying for the ads you're watching. So many ads from industry lobbies, though, will not tell you so much.

Right on, Joel. You fucking rock, man.
The Scrum's pick of the 2002 congressional litter

You're looking at Stephanie Sailor, Libertarian congressional candidate in Illinois' 9th District. A provocative photo? Damn Straight. A no-budget candidate has gotta do what she's gotta do, and if sex appeal and handguns get your attention, well, then, it's worth it.

Yes, she's a libertarian, which means that she's pro-gun, against social-welfare problems, er, I mean, programs, and views the less fortunate with a certain contempt. However, the Scrum thinks that it's better to have a few libertarians in Congress -- and that libertarians are preferable to conservative Republicans, who view everyone and everything with contempt, and who are in favour of even more domestic government intervention than are most liberals -- and they want that intervention in the worst places.

At the very least, your average Libertarian is in favour of real, genuine, free trade. This benefits Canada's forest industry, reeling from protectionist meansures against Canadian lumber enacted at the behest of the Southern pine lobby. She's also against agricultural subsidies -- good for Canadian farmers, who cannot expect our govcernments to subuidize their acrtivities to the extent that the Americans subsidize their farmers.

So yes, the Vancouver Scrum heartily endorses Stephanie Sailor for Illinois' 9th District, for three reasons:

1) Why not? Can she possibly make the American federal government any more messed up than it already is?

2) She supports an immediate end to the War on Drugs.

3) We don't actually have to live with the result, therefore, the Scrum can make all sort of ridiculous, dumbass endorsements of Congressional candidates with (relative) impunity.

Monday, November 04, 2002

Former Vancouver Mayor endorses Larry Campbell

COPE mayoral hopeful Larry Campbell got a boost today when Mike Harcourt, who was mayor of Vancouver from 1980 to 1986, formally endorsed Campbell. Harcourt has been largely apolitical since he resigned as Premier of B.C. in 1996, restricting his commentary to specific issues like urban planning, the environment, or the possible 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

Although Harcourt was associated with the city's political left, he was never a member of COPE, the city's left-leaning civic party. Harcourt started his political career with the centrist TEAM party in the 1970's , and ran for mayor as an independent with the support of not just COPE, but other civic political movers and shakers.

Mike Harcourt may not have been B.C.'s most popular premier, but his time as Mayor of Vancouver is fondly remembered by many in Vancouver. It's true that he was opposed to Expo '86, and to the replacement of the Cambie Street Bridge, but he now says that he's learned from his past mistakes. Expo, on balance, was good for Vancouver and spurred the redevelopment of the former industrial lands around False Creek. The Cambie Bridge is the most pedestrian- and cyclist-friendly bridge in the area. Harcourt admits that those two projects were, in the end, a good idea. Heck, he's even in favour of the 2010 Olympic games!

One more feather in Larry Campbell's cap.

Now, about that other Vancouver mayor, one Philip Owen... well, he's said that he'll remain silent, much to the chagrin of the woman who pushed him out of the Mayor's chair, NPA candidate Jennifer Clarke.
Martin to vote with opposition: adviser

The Martin adviser revealed today that the former finance minister had decided to vote in favour of the motion, tabled last week by the Canadian Alliance, which would require committee chairs be elected by secret ballot.

...which is a giant slap in the face of his longtime rival Jean Chretien, who opposes the move. It's also a sign from Martin that, just perhaps, he really is committed to Parliamentary reform after all.
Double-Crossing Campbell

... Vern Campbell, that is. The former Vancouver police officer, now running for city council on the conservative NPA slate, has been double-dealing with the English and Chinese-language media in Vancouver with regards to the question of the city's drug policy.

In the English-language press, Vern Campbell, no relation to the B.C.'s premier, one of the mayoral candidates, a former Canadian Prime Minister, or... has been telling reporters and editors that he supports the establishment of safe-injection sites for drug users, part of what's known as the "four-pillar approach to drugs.

This assertion by Vern Campbell seems shaky. He's backed by the Chinese business community, known for its opposition to any form of "harm-reduction" schemes for drug addicts. Vern Campbell is also supprted by Al Arsenault (see below) and Toby hinton, two Vancouver police officers who fantasize over a more "right-wing" approach to the problems of Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. Could either group really be expected to back a candidate who is in favour of safe-fixing facilities or methadone clinics? Or is it possible that Campbell was saying one thing to them, and another to the public?

Well, the answer seems to be the latter.

Vancouver's Chinese community is the foundation of support for a conventional "law 'n order" approach to drugs, and of the opposition to the "four pillar" approach championed by outgoing Mayor Philip Owen.. In meetings with reporters from Chinese-language papers, Vern Campbell said that he was opposed to safe-fixing facilities.

He told the World Journal, a Vancouver Chinese-language daily:

"It is not appropriate to set up safe injection sites and more social housing right next to Chinatown."

And the areas where those facilities are needed the most are...? Right next to Chinatown, that' where.

It's time to hound Vern Campbell on this. He's well-financed, popular in some quarters, has the backing of several business groups, and has a good chance of winning a council seat this November 16th. The voters of Vancouver deserve to know where he really stands.

In the next week, I'll see if I can help clear things up.

Friday, November 01, 2002

Whoops! Tory out!

Rogers Communications boss John Tory has announced that he won't run for the leadership of the Progressive Conservative party. This leaves the ferderal Tories (the party, not the family) looking at a weak field of potential successors to outgoing leader Joe Clark. All of the likely contenders for the party's leadership will probably be fairly obscure (outside of political circles) MP's from the Maritimes -- Scott Brison and Peter MacKay come to mind.

Having a leader from Atlantic Canada will do nothing to dispell the image that the Tories have, since their 1993 rout, degenerated into an Atlantic Canadian rump party with little appeal west of New Brunswick. The Canadian Alliance, who have been tring to paint the Tories as nothing but a rump, can profit from this situation; it helps the Alliance's position that they, and not their rivals on the right, are the true national conservative political party in Canada.

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