Talking to the two main mayoral candidates for Vancouver

Talking to the two main mayoral candidates for Vancouver
Dan Burritt/Lyle Fisher November 18, 2011

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – The two main candidates for the mayor’s chair in Vancouver are making their final pitches to voters before tomorrow’s civic election.

Vision Vancouver’s Gregor Robertson and the NPA’s Suzanne Anton spoke live on the News1130 Morning Show today and answered your questions.

Robertson says he didn’t sign the Canadian Federation of Independent Business’ pledge to hold municipal taxes to the rate of inflation because it limits the flexibility he says the city needs some years to balance its budget.

“We had a massive drop in revenue from our lack of development a couple of years ago and that meant we had to adjustm,” he says. “So some years you have to have that flexibility.”

“As a former business person, my objective is to really carefully manage taxpayer dollars and keep that property tax right around that increase of the cost of living,” he adds.

Despite appearing behind in the polls, Suzanne Anton says the NPA’s support is huge. “We started off quite a bit behind and we’ve closed the gap.”

“Tomorrow we are expecting success,” she tells us. “It is such a friendly world out there. Campaigning around South Vancouver yesterday, everybody is supportive. It is fantastic for our team.”

Both candidates grilled on housing issues

Anton says protecting rental is the province’s job and she won’t cap foreign property purchases.

“I am not going to pour your tax dollars into rental housing. The marketplace will build the rental housing for us. We have limited dollars for housing, so the NPA will put those limited dollars where it’s needed the most, for the most vulnerable.”

Gregor Robertson says the Olympic Village was never intended to house homeless people. “We’re actually building 14 other projects in partnership with the BC Government that will create 1500 units of supportive housing.”

Neighbourhoods for Sustainable Vancouuver weighs in

Meanwhile, mayoral candidate Randy Helten with Neighbourhoods for a Sustainable Vancouver says his party presents a real alternative to Vision Vancouver and the NPA and he’s not worried about splitting the vote.

“If you look at, the NPA and Vision [Vancouver], both of them are so heavily dependent on campaign contributions that we think are, in a sense, polluting the political system here and political decision-making.”

Helten says his party is funded solely by individuals, not developers. He also he wants to look into off-shore land buying in the city.

“It’s a trade-off,” he argues. “Do you want to have the city affordable for middle and lower-income families in Vancouver?”

:What we really should do is have a good look at the issues and get the facts out there and have a good public discussion. But the NPA and Vision [Vancouver] don’t want to even touch the topic,” he adds.

Political scientist makes predictions

UBC’s Richard Johnston says while Gregor Robertson will likely come out on top and win a second term in office, he thinks Suzanne Anton has run a better campaign.

“In part, that’s simply because she had to run harder,” he explains. “Robertson was the presumptive victor. All indications were that he was unbeatable, so she had to try whatever she could to close the gap.”

“Then in effect, when Occupy Vancouver gave her an issue, I think from a campaign point of view, she exploited it quite effectively,” he adds.

Join News1130 tomorrow night for the Lower Mainland’s most comprehensive civic election coverage. We’ll have reporters providing live updates from all the key municipalities in the region as the ballots are counted.

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