NPA candidate Hector Bremner wins Vancouver city council seat
Vision Vancouver's candidate Diego Cardona came in a dismal fifth place, while voters chose a mix of parties for school board
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In a setback for Vision Vancouver, the NPA’s Hector Bremner has won a seat on Vancouver city council, while voters chose a mix of parties for the Vancouver School Board.
Vision, the party that has held a majority since 2008, finished a dismal fifth place with candidate Diego Cardona. Jean Swanson, an independent candidate, ended up in second place.
The council by-election was held to fill a seat left vacant after Vision Coun. Geoff Meggs left to take a job with the B.C. NDP. A full municipal election is just one year away, in October 2018. Vision still holds the majority on council, with six out of 11 votes, but the NPA has bolstered its ranks from three to four seats.
Bremner, a public relations professional and former civil servant with close ties to the B.C. Liberals, ran on a “supply, supply, supply” platform that emphasized allowing denser forms of housing in all Vancouver neighbourhoods, including low-density single family zones.
Bremner opposes the empty homes tax as being unfair to secondary homeowners.
Swanson, a long-time Downtown Eastside activist, ran an energetic and visible campaign, proposing a four-year rent freeze and a “mansion tax” to fund social housing.
The Green Party of Vancouver ended up in third place. The party had hoped to secure a second seat on council, which would have allowed the party to make and second motions.
OneCity, a party formed in 2013 to provide an alternative to centre-left Vision and the left-wing Coalition of Progressive Electors, took fourth place.
Voters also chose to send the NPA and Vision a message when it came to the school board. Vancouver has been without an elected school board for one year: the previous board was fired after failing to pass a balanced budget and after allegations that some trustees bullied and harassed school board staff.
The previous board was split along sharp partisan lines between Vision and the NPA, with a sole Green candidate often casting the deciding vote.
In this by-election the three Green candidates garnered the most votes. Three Vision, two NPA and one OneCity candidates make up the rest of the board.