Fledgling party denounces developer donations
Andrew Fleming, Contributing writer
November 3, 2011
His name may not be familiar to some readers but Randy Helten plans on being the next mayor of Vancouver. Helten, the founder of civic watchdog websites CityHallWatch.ca and MetroVanWatch.ca and the former president of the grassroots activist group West End Neighbours, is making his political debut with the newly created Neighbourhoods for a Sustainable Vancouver (NSV), a party also running four candidates for city council.
Helten acknowledges that third-party mayoral candidates are generally considered a bit of a long shot-the last one to win more than 10,000 votes was former NPA councillor Jonathan Baker in 1996-but he believes a sense of change is in the air.
“We are at a rare moment in Canadian history right now and it relates to global movements and global financial woes and the huge dissatisfaction across the city with Vision and the old way of doing things,” the 51-year-old freelance translator told the Courier Tuesday. “Occupy Vancouver is getting a lot of attention and their core message is really to get corporate influence out of the political system. I and the others running with me with NSV also feel compelled to stand up and take action. We’re ordinary citizens but we’ve spent thousands of hours over the past few years fighting city hall and I could give you hundreds, maybe thousands of examples of systemic dysfunction there.”
He hopes to get NSV’s message to a wider audience through the use of social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, which last year helped fellow idealist Naheed Nenshi to an unexpected victory over front-runners in Calgary’s mayoral race.