Archives – November, 2014

Gregor Robertson holds off Kirk LaPointe to win tough battle in Vancouver

Proud to have once again been the pollster and one of strategists for Gregor Robertson and Vision Vancouver’s third win as Mayor of Vancouver.   It was harder this time, and we needed a great campaign to do it. Below some articles about the campaign, and Vision:

Gregor Robertson secured his third term as Vancouver’s mayor in a decisive victory

Mayor Gregor Robertson overcame adversity in the toughest campaign of his career to win a third term at Vancouver City Hall.

It was a gruelling fight for Robertson, who held off surging NPA challenger Kirk LaPointe but lost one Vision seat on council, with a Green and three NPA councillors topping the polls. With only mail-in votes left to count, Robertson, who had about 54 per cent of the vote in the prior two elections, had 83,281 votes and LaPointe trailed with 72,966.

“I am so humbled and honoured to have been re-elected as your mayor,” Robertson said in his victory speech. “We have a wider diversity of opinions at council … We will continue to build a green, inclusive city. There are things we can do better.”

Vision’s Tony Tang, who was first elected in 2011, was defeated, and Geoff Meggs won the 10th spot in a tight race with the NPA’s Ian Robertson. The NPA looked set to gain one seat on council with Vision retaining a reduced majority. NPA Couns. George Affleck and Elizabeth Ball were in the top three of councillors in polls, joined by Melissa De Genova in fourth place.

Vision lost control of the parks board, whose seven commissioners now include four from the NPA. Vision and NPA secured four seats each on the school board, where Green trustee Janet Fraser will hold the balance of power.

Viewed as a long shot at the start of the campaign, LaPointe worked his way up through the polls from a double-digit deficit to just a four-point spread with one week to go.

At 11 p.m., LaPointe appeared before supporters to offer a concession speech and congratulations to Robertson.

“It was a great, hard-fought campaign,” LaPointe said. “Our city appears stronger (with) three NPA members on council. There are brighter days ahead for the NPA.”

Green Party Coun. Adriane Carr topped the polls, butfellow candidates Pete Fry, a graphic designer, and Cleta Brown, a lawyer, failed to earn a spot.

“I think people are unhappy. That’s why you get more people out to vote,” said Carr of the large voter turnout Saturday and lack of Vision councillors atop the council polls. “I think they want to see public interest at their councillor’s top of mind.”

Robertson — who has been criticized for arrogance in pressing Vision’s green agenda and turning a deaf ear to opponents of neighbourhood densification — offered a stunning mea culpa to Vancouver citizens Wednesday in a humbling move that may have saved the election for Vision Vancouver.

Arguably, with a desire for change seen in pre-election polls in Vancouver, the NPA could have won what campaigners call the “air war” — messages in ads, and political discussions across the city. Both parties raised over $2 million in campaign donations. But Vision was widely seen as a having the bigger, better organized and more tech-savvy electoral machine on the ground, and apparently beat the NPA in the nitty-gritty work of cultivating voter lists and getting supporters to the polls Saturday.

Throughout the campaign Robertson and Vision colleagues argued that LaPointe was politically inexperienced, and an NPA-controlled city hall would roll back Vision’s progress on making Vancouver the “greenest city” by 2020. Robertson, helped by environmental activist and vote-organizing groups, also strongly advocated his opposition to the Kinder Morgan pipeline. But in the end, the message that seemed to put Robertson over the top was that an experienced Vision council and a mayor now willing to listen to criticism was a safer choice than LaPointe and the NPA. The NPA promised change but lacked detailed plans of how to govern.

Robertson’s bid for re-election got off to a rough start in July, when rumours circulated about problems in his marriage. Over the past six years, at his best, he has come across as an earnest politician, rather than a high-energy one. But from the day in July when Robertson stood in front of reporters outside council chambers and rejected rumours about his personal life, it seemed that his energy for the job was at an all-time low.

However, with a late apology to voters and a rejigged positive campaign — TV ads had Robertson saying he would be “honoured” to be re-elected — the mayor regained enough of his stride to cross the line ahead of LaPointe

Leave a Comment November 17, 2014

What now for Gregor Robertson and Vision Vancouver?


The music that piped Gregor Robertson onto the stage for his victory speech on Saturday night after a securing his third term as Vancouver’s mayor said it all.

The mega-hit Happy by Pharrell Williams speaks to a boundless, simple joy despite the challenges ahead:

Here come bad news talking this and that
Yeah, give me all you got, don’t hold back
Yeah, well I should probably warn you I’ll be just fine
Yeah, no offence to you don’t waste your time

Make no mistake, there is certainly a lot Robertson and his Vision Vancouver team should be happy about.

They fought a good fight. They faced a virtually unknown challenger from political obscurity who gave them a run for their money.

They had an army that was organized, tight and focused — financed with millions of dollars from an unlikely coalition of supporters: big business, big unions, interest groups and thousands of individuals.

But this time around, it wasn’t a walk in the park.

As with any political party that’s held power for any length of time, Vision has made some enemies over the last six years.

Most notably, citizens who say there hasn’t been enough consultation as Vision pushes forward with its progressive agenda of tackling homelessness and climate change, and increasing density in neighbourhoods that used to be primarily single-family homes.

Leave a Comment November 17, 2014

Vancouver voters chose party with a ‘Vision’ for the future

Proud to have once again been the pollster and one of strategists for Gregor Robertson and Vision Vancouver’s third win as Mayor of Vancouver.   It was harder this time, and we needed a great campaign to do it. Below some articles about the campaign, and Vision:


On going into the Non-Partisan Association’s election night party at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver — and as parties go, I’ve had more people in my bathroom — I could not help but note that outside on the street, bordering either side of the hotel, were bike lanes.

Look out, reader, there’s a bad metaphor heading your way, and it would be:

The city’s new landscape was right there at curbside for the NPA and its supporters to read.

This, they either chose not to do, or if they did, they misread it completely. For this, they got to spend their election night staring into their drinks.

At the height of the NPA’s evening, which peaked as soon as the first polls came in, there might have been at most 200 to 300 people there. The crowd was largely white, mannerly and older. The mood was . . . what’s the opposite of electrifying? And that was before the results started to come in.

Down the street at the Wall Centre, Vision Vancouver was holding its election night party, and all one had to do was walk into that big ballroom to be struck by the difference between Vision and the NPA.

The room was packed. The crowd was remarkably diverse and mostly young. (Vision clearly held the lead in pork pie hats and skinny jeans.) Even before the first results came in, you could feel the energy in the room. It was an energy that felt positive, as if these people were for something rather than against it.

In a post-election interview that night, losing NPA mayoral candidate Kirk LaPointe made mention of Vision Vancouver’s campaign “machine,” and that Vision had done a better job of getting out its vote.

But that is missing the point, and deflecting what is the NPA’s biggest problem.

Vision does have a formidable campaign machine. But machines are only as good as the energy behind them.

More to the point was LaPointe’s concession speech, in which he characterized Mayor Gregor Robertson’s three-peat as “a signature accomplishment” and that his “commitment to his priorities (was) a real role model for how mayors should operate.”

Exactly. Robertson has been committed to his priorities. He may have alienated many voters over bike lanes and densification and his Green City agenda, but at least he had an agenda. He had a clear idea of what he wanted Vancouver to be, and that was to be not just a city but an expression of an idea. That idea was forward-looking, and meant to meet a future dominated by population growth and climate change. And that is why, I would suggest, that the crowd at the Vision party was so overwhelmingly young. They were the machine, because they had a big stake in the future, whereas the NPA looked mired in the past.

I had thought the race was going to be closer, and had even believed LaPointe had a good chance of squeaking in a win if COPE mayoral candidate Meena Wong could steal enough votes from Robertson to make a difference.

She didn’t. For all the press she received for her idea of a surtax on empty homes — an unworkable idea, by the way — Wong was clearly out of her depth. But by getting almost 17,000 votes, all she succeeded in doing was making LaPointe’s loss look respectably close. If she hadn’t run, and those COPE voters had drifted toward what for them would have been the more ideologically palatable Vision, there wouldn’t have been talk of it being a close result between Robertson and Lapointe but of it being an ol-fashioned ass-kicking. As it is, COPE was, and will be, a spent force relegated to the status of political irritant.

The NPA? Much was made that an unknown like LaPointe could do as well as he did.

But was anything made of the fact that the NPA had to resort to an unknown? LaPointe, whose last job in mainstream journalism was as CBC ombudsman, had nothing to lose except an election. Meanwhile, he raised his profile significantly.

The NPA will have to do better. If it is to grow, it will have to attract a younger base. It will have to start looking forward rather than back, and realize that the centre, which it once believed it represented, has shifted.

The city changed. The NPA didn’t. For that, it got kicked to the curb. Guess what it found there.

By Pete McMartin, Vancouver Sun columnist November 16, 2014

Leave a Comment November 17, 2014

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