By Ajay Puri
For the people of Vancouver it seems the world is becoming a more progressive place. In late October two key Provincial ridings had by-elections where the NDP won both seats. Then on November 4th, Obama was elected as the next President of the United States. And on November 15, 2008 the people of Vancouver voted for CHANGE. Sam Sullivan and his NPA-led council were taken over by the progressive VISION and COPE parties. Gregor Robertson, who was recently the NDP MLA for Vancouver-Fairview, will become our newly elected Mayor. In addition, City Council has 9 of its 10 seats filled by VISION and COPE members; Parks Board and School Board also are dominated by VISION, COPE and also one Green party candidate.
On Saturday night all of Vision and COPE supporters celebrated across the city, but the biggest and loudest party was hosted by Vision at the Hotel Vancouver. All the players were there and it was definitely a night to remember. Gregor gave a very touch speech and actually mentioned his key areas of emphasis including housing and homelessness.
This is great news for the city - as we are now able to have a group of dedicated people tackle the City's growing problems of homelessness, lack of affordable housing and bike/non-car infrastructure, and the outsourcing and neglect of core city services such as police, libraries, parks and community centres - all of which Gregor and his team have been long advocating to change for the better.
In terms of contracting out the Georgia Straight makes a great point:
Gregor Robertson, promises not to contract out civic services. NPA mayoral candidate Peter Ladner has said he is open to the idea of contracting out services if this provides a better deal for taxpayers. The NPA has already supported an $800,000 expansion of the Downtown Ambassadors program; this is, in effect, contracting out security to business-improvement associations.
One of the sad news of the night, particularly for the South Asian community, one of it's prominent leaders, Kashmir Dhaliwal, was not elected to city council despite the hard work of his campaign. For more on this check out Frances Bula's blog story.
There are many questions left to be answered:
- So how did this win happen?
- What does this mean for the people of City?
- What does it mean for the Olympics?
- What does the data look like by voting poll station and for each candidate?
- And what does this mean for the people East of Main?
Over the coming days, East of Main will be providing in-depth analysis on these and many other questions (e.g., Some theories and important historical events - Vision pack with COPE, Gregor being wooed by key Vision people to run, map of Vancouver to show East/West divide, ethnic votes etc).
For now we'll report on Voter Turnout and the Electoral Map. According to the City of Vancouver's unofficial results -
Out of the 403663 Registered Voters, 124285 voted.
That's a turnout of 30.8%.This was the lowest turnout since 1956 (which had 26%).
City MAP [courtesy of City of Vancouver)
As one can see there is a clear division between east of main voters (Gregor supporters) and west of main voters (Ladner supporters). This will be discussed in great depths in the coming posts with income analysis by districts to show how people's wealth (or lack of it) is correlated to their voting behaviour.