Vancouver mayoral candidates clash with just over 2 weeks until election day


For the third time in a week, Vancouver’s top mayoral candidates have come face to face as the fight intensifies for the city’s top political office.

The all-candidates forum was held Wednesday at the SFU Harbor Center, hosted by the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association.

Although the event generated many strong opinions from all sides, it was incumbent mayor and Forward Together candidate Kennedy Stewart who most often found himself in the crosshairs of challengers Ken Sim of ABC, Colleen Hardwick of TEAM, Fred Harding of the NPA and Mark Marrissen of Progress Vancouver on crime and affordability issues in the city.

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« We’re looking for a complete change in the way we run the city because right now it’s not working, » Sim told the forum at one point.

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Throughout the event, Stewart fired back, repeatedly claiming his opponents were unqualified for the job.

“What you hear on that stage is a bunch of repeated gimmicks,” Stewart said. « The only way to help people is to use our main power to build housing and these people have no idea how to do that. »

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BC municipal election: Metro Vancouver candidates question developer money

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This angle of attack drew its own reprimand at one point, in one of the forum’s spicier moments.

« I agree with you, » Harding joked.

« I have no idea how you take a city like Vancouver and turn it into the travesty it has for the past four years. »

Candidates also used Wednesday’s forum to present some of their flagship policy proposals.

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Hardwick pledged to repeal the recently approved Broadway and Vancouver development plans, launch a core services review to cut hundreds of millions of dollars from the city’s spending on provincial and federal responsibilities, and appoint a Commissioner of the Downtown Eastside.

“We need someone overseeing a process, and we need to audit all ongoing spending in the DTES to eliminate duplication and efficiency. We need boots on the pitch,” she said.

Click to play video: 'Kennedy Stewart promises to speed up SkyTrain 'Vancouver Loop' extension

Kennedy Stewart promises to speed up SkyTrain ‘Vancouver Loop’ extension

Kennedy Stewart promises to speed up SkyTrain ‘Vancouver Loop’ extension

Harding said he wanted to freeze taxes, but not before a thorough review of the budget and basic services, link harm reduction to drug treatment and crack down on violent criminals.

“I shut down an area because of the issues it was facing, rampant hate crimes, drug addiction,” the former police officer said.

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Marissen said the best way to solve some of the cities’ problems was to create a thriving downtown, which he said he would accomplish through the appointment of a night economy commissioner, or « mayor. » de nuit », which could clean Granville Street. .

Stewart said his top priority will remain building new housing, continuing the city’s shift in focus from condominium condos to purpose-built rentals, as envisioned in the Broadway and Vancouver plans.

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« All levels of this city need housing, and that’s what your companies tell me over and over again, I don’t have housing for my employees, so that’s what we’re doing, » he said. -he declares.

Sim said he is also focusing on crime and mental health, reiterating his pledge to hire 100 police officers and mental health nurses upon taking office.

« Serious assaults up 36%, anti-Asian hate crimes up 500%, four random assaults in the city every day, » he said. « Property crime, we don’t have the stats anymore because people don’t report them. »

A recent poll shows that the most important issues for Vancouver voters remain housing, followed by drug overdoses and crime.

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Voters will head to the polls in just over two weeks on October 15. The candidates have two more debates scheduled between now and then.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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