I want to congratulate Hector Bremner on his election to City Council, and for running a campaign focussed on ideas about affordable housing, the biggest challenge we face as a city.
We knew this by-election would be difficult, and last night's results were not what we hoped for.
Our city faces real challenges. Vancouverites are frustrated — particularly around housing affordability — and they expect more from us. We’re working hard to deliver solutions, but tonight’s results show us there’s much more work to do.
I heard that message loud and clear, and our party heard that message loud and clear.
Diego Cardona is an impressive individual, and we were honoured to have him as a candidate. He embodies the values of Vancouverites: progressive, forward-looking, and committed to building a city for everyone. Diego’s candidacy also represents where Vision Vancouver is headed. He worked tirelessly on this campaign, and he’s got a bright future ahead.
Our School Board team ran an exceptional and principled campaign, and I want to congratulate Joy Alexander, Ken Clement, and Allan Wong, along with the other newly-elected trustees. While the results were not what we hoped for, it appears that we now have a progressive majority on the Vancouver School Board, and we look forward to working with our newly-elected trustees to stand up for public education in Vancouver.
Vision Vancouver's candidate for City Council
On Saturday October 14, Vancouver voters have a choice between the kind of Vancouver we want to build — a city that is progressive, inclusive, and welcoming — or a city where the NPA has more power on Council.
My name is Diego Cardona, and I’m asking for your vote because I’m a new voice who wants to move our city forward on the issues that matter — housing affordability, renters’ rights, and better transit.
I came to Canada as a refugee after losing my father to civil war in Colombia. My sister and I lost our mother to leukemia shortly after, and we were placed into the foster care system. It’s because of these experiences that I have dedicated my career to working with marginalized communities, and helping to give voice to those who don’t normally have a seat at the decision-making table.
Throughout this campaign, I have been inspired by the folks I talk to: from the renters in Kits starting their careers, to the mothers on Commerical Drive looking for affordable childcare, to seniors in the West End trying to make ends meet. Our city is changing, but I believe in our ability to rise to the challenges together.
This election is going to be close, and I would be honoured if you would vote for me and the Vision Vancouver Education team. I’m running a campaign that’s about the new Vancouver, and I hope to be your next representative on City Council. I invite you to read my platform, which covers the important issues we face; please visit VoteVision.ca.
Please vote for me, Diego Cardona, on Saturday.
This is an excerpt from an article that first appeared on MetroNews.ca on October 11, 2017. You can read the entire article here, and read more about Diego Cardona here. The by-election takes place this Saturday, October 14 — click here to find your nearest polling station, or sign up to volunteer to help get Diego and your Vision Vancouver education team elected.
Expanding municipal right to vote will build inclusion, stronger neighborhoods says Vision Vancouver candidate
It's time that permanent residents in Vancouver are granted the right to vote in civic elections, says Vision Vancouver by-election candidate Diego Cardona, who will champion the issue if elected to city council.
“There are about 60,000 permanent residents living in the City of Vancouver. There is a growing conversation across Canada about the importance of expanding the right to vote in municipal elections to permanent residents,” said Cardona. “It would be an important step to help include and strengthen ties with newcomers, and build more connected neighborhoods. At a time when Donald Trump and others are trying to build walls and tell people they are not welcome, we can send a strong signal that Vancouver is an inclusive, progressive place to live by granting the right to vote for permanent residents for City Council, Park Board, and School Board.”
Permanent residents work, pay taxes, send their kids to schools, and can join provincial and federal political parties to vote in leadership races — but they cannot vote in municipal elections. Currently 11 other municipalities across Canada are working to expand the right to vote to permanent residents, including the City of Toronto, which asked the Ontario government to take action.
Vancouver's Engaged City Task Force advocated for expanding voting rights to permanent residents as a key recommendation of their report. The province of British Columbia would need to enact legislation to enable permanent residents to vote in local elections.
Vancouver’s by-election for one City Councillor and nine School Board trustees takes place on October 14. Advance voting is open on October 10. Diego Cardona is Vision Vancouver’s candidate, while the NPA are running a former oil and gas lobbyist and failed BC Liberal candidate.
Diego Cardona is Vision Vancouver's candidate for City Council in the October 14 by-election. You can learn more about Diego, his colleagues on the Vision Vancouver education team here.
Diego Cardona has an immediate plan for action on affordable housing
Vision Vancouver candidate Diego Cardona has a five-point plan for new housing supply in Vancouver, contrasting with unrealistic policy ideas from other by-election candidates that rely on the provincial government instead of taking action right away.
“We’re hearing a lot of talk about a rent freeze during this by-election,” said Cardona. “A rent freeze doesn’t go far enough, and is far too reliant on another level of government. I’m proposing actual solutions that are achievable, and will make a difference right away. We need a big boost in new rental housing right now. As a young person, and a renter, I’m uniquely positioned to be a champion for renters and aspiring owners on city council.”
If elected, Diego Cardona will be a fresh new voice at city council for these five policies:
- 1,000 new co-op homes: there is a shortage of accessible co-ops in Vancouver, and with Council set to approve a new 10-year housing strategy at the end of November, Cardona will advocate for the City to deliver 1,000 new co-ops as part of the plan. Under Mayor Robertson and Vision Vancouver, Vancouver saw its first Co-op housing established in more than a decade, first in the Olympic Village and most recently through the new Community Land Trust. “We can use city land and through the Vancouver Affordable Housing Agency, deliver a big boost of co-op housing. The city is already doing it and I want to take it to the next level,” explained Cardona.
- A Vancouver Special for 2017: if elected, Cardona will introduce a motion to have staff bring forward a ‘Vancouver Special’ for 2017 - a new building type that could go immediately in all single-family neighborhoods but double the number homes. “Currently up to three units - a single-family home, a basement suite, and laneway house - are allowed on a single-family lot, but that's not enough. We could easily increase that to 6. Let's develop a new kind of Vancouver Special for 2017 that can double the number of homes in our single-family neighborhoods and give a new generation of Vancouverites an opportunity to live in our city.”
- A solid vote for cohousing: the city's first cohousing project opened last year on East 33rd near Victoria, providing a community-oriented housing development that blends in with a single-family neighborhood. The project was opposed by the NPA, but Cardona will be a strong champion for co-housing projects throughout Vancouver.
- Incentives for rental with deeper affordability: in July, Mayor Robertson announced a new program in the Oakridge area whereby buildings offering 100% rental homes can get extra density provided they offer 20% of the homes at rents affordable to people on low and modest incomes. “This policy is an important step from the Mayor and I want to see it expanded City-wide,” said Cardona.
- More resources to speed up permits: Vancouver is approving a record amount of new housing supply, and as a result is facing permit requests far above normal. “Our economy and construction sectors are booming, and I'm prepared to support more resources in next year's budget to help speed up permit approvals and deliver better customer service,” said Cardona. With Council set to approve the 2018 budget in December, Cardona will champion additional funding to hire more staff to address the record volumes of permits.
“As somebody who came to Canada as a refugee and spent time in the foster care system, I understand the urgency that so many people face struggling to find a place to live in Vancouver,” says Diego. “The NPA candidate says he supports housing supply, but he himself came to City Council in July to oppose more than 300 new homes because they were being built across the street from him. While I have tremendous respect for candidates like Jean Swanson and Judy Graves, their housing ideas do nothing to help people right away and merely consist of writing letters and motions to the province. Vancouver renters deserve better and I will be a voice at the city council table who truly represents a new generation of Vancouverites.”
Diego Cardona is Vision Vancouver's candidate in the October 14 by-election for one City Council seat and nine Vancouver School Board seats. You can learn more about him here.
VISION VANCOUVER’S EDUCATION TEAM RELEASES PLATFORM
Ten-point plan builds on Vision’s legacy of advocacy and results
Vision Vancouver’s candidates for Vancouver School Board today released their ten-point plan for public education, which includes advocacy for students and a renewed commitment to seismically-safe schools.
“Vision Vancouver has a proven track record of getting results,” explained Theodora Lamb, a first-time candidate and new mother. “Under the Vision-led Vancouver School Board, trustees delivered hundreds of millions of dollars from the provincial government for seismic upgrades — and we need to keep advocating until every child in Vancouver is in a seismically-safe classroom.”
Vision’s platform also includes reversing cuts to important initiatives like the Band and Strings programs, which the NPA trustees voted to cut.
“The NPA have proven time and time again that they’ll say anything to get elected,” continued Lamb. “In 2014, they held flashy press conferences and pledged that they would never close schools. Immediately after being elected, they voted to close schools. We can’t risk an NPA majority on the Vancouver School Board.”
Vision Vancouver Education Platform
- Vision trustees will build on our proven track record of advocacy for increased public education funding, with a focus on ensuring that every student can succeed.
- Vision trustees will work with the new BC government to restore funding cuts to VSB programs, including re-establishing adult education programs, funding for the arts, restoring the Band and Strings programs (which the NPA voted to cut), and investing in French immersion.
- Vision trustees will expedite seismic upgrades in collaboration with new provincial government. Your Vision education team successfully secured hundreds of millions of dollars in seismic safety funding — upgrading schools like Queen Mary Elementary and Norma Rose Point Elementary. We won’t stop until every school is safe for Vancouver’s kids.
- Vision trustees will never sell public schools.
- Vision trustees will expand efforts to green our school system, and support Vancouver's goal to be the greenest city in the world. We’ll invest in energy-efficient infrastructure, and explore creative solutions like geothermal and solar energy, and passive-house energy innovations.
- Vision trustees will support enhanced programming for vulnerable students, including access to healthier foods, and increase supports for these students. We’ll give inner-city schools the attention they deserve, and work to mitigate poverty so that all students have the opportunity to thrive. We’ll work to re-open the Downtown Eastside Adult Education Centre, and the Britannia Education Centre.
- Vision trustees are leaders who will advocate for more childcare spaces, and better supports where childcare is co-located within our schools. Vision Vancouver has a strong track record of creating successful childcare partnerships between the City of Vancouver and the Vancouver School Board, and we’ll continue this work if elected.
- Vision trustees will continue our work to make VSB a leader in Reconciliation with First Nations in our school system, and build on our work to improve education outcomes for Aboriginal students. Under Vision Vancouver’s majority on the Vancouver School Board, Aboriginal graduation rates improved, and we’re proud that Ken Clement — the first Aboriginal person elected in the City of Vancouver’s history — is a Vision candidate in this by-election. We’ll advocate for teaching of local Indigenous languages, and continue our tradition of meaningful discussion about student success between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples.
- Vision trustees championed and implemented the District’s groundbreaking Sexual Orientation and Gender Identities policy, and stood up to fearmongering by two former NPA trustees. We’ll continue to make Vancouver schools welcoming and inclusive, and will champion protections and supports for LGBTQ2+ youth in our schools.
- Vision trustees will work with the provincial government to expedite building of new schools where needed — including Olympic Village, Coal Harbour, and the River District.
Vision Vancouver candidate will champion expanded Mobi bike share to East Vancouver
Vision Vancouver’s candidate for City Council today announced that, if elected, he will be a vocal champion for expanding the Mobi bike share service to East Vancouver.
“Mobi has been an incredible success for our city,” said Cardona. “With more than one million kilometres travelled during the first year alone, it’s clear that Vancouverites are using Mobi as part of their daily transportation routine. Let’s get this service expanded to East Vancouver, so people in places like Strathcona, the new Emily Carr campus, and the busy transit hub at Commercial and Broadway can also enjoy the convenience, environmental impacts, and ease of bike sharing.”
Launched last year, Mobi has been a welcome addition to Vancouver’s active transportation network, averaging between 2,500 and 3,000 trips per day. The Mobi bike share system was introduced by the Vision Vancouver-led City Council, and was opposed by Non Partisan Association (NPA) Council members.
“I fully support Diego’s commitment to expanded bike share service in the city,” explained Mayor Gregor Robertson. “Bike sharing makes life easier — and healthier — for Vancouver commuters, and it’s these kind of forward-looking policies that separate Diego from the NPA’s candidate in this campaign.”
Mobi, Vancouver’s public bike share system, currently extends from Arbutus Street to Main Street. An update to City Council on potential next steps for Mobi is expected before the end of the year.
Today’s announcement follows Cardona’s four-point plan to stand up for renters released last week.
The NPA’s candidate for the October 14 by-election is a former oil and gas lobbyist, BC Liberal staffer, and failed BC Liberal candidate in New Westminster.
Supply-side advocate fought against new housing across his street
NPA by-election candidate Hector Bremner wants more housing supply in Vancouver — just as long as it's nowhere near him.
In an interview with Metro News published this week, Bremner says there's only one solution to Vancouver's housing challenges, and that is to “build, build, build.” He goes on to add “there are two things that experts agree on: climate change and the supply crisis in Vancouver. It's time to end this pretending we can solve it with basement suites and laneway homes.”
Bremner’s campaign comments are a far cry from when he came to speak to city council on July 25th, at a public hearing for a new development at Burrard and Nelson. Bremner opposed the project, which includes 331 new units of housing along with 61 social housing units. Stating that he lived in a building across the street, Bremner (Speaker #42) urged Council to say no to the hundreds of new housing units the project would provide, instead making a passionate plea for Council to turn it down and take more time to do further traffic studies.
“Not all development is equal, and not all of it divine,” said Bremner.
Bremner then quoted Jane Jacobs in an attempt to justify why there should not be a new condo building across the street from his condo tower.
“Without a fulsome study of the impacts of residents on the east side of Burrard and a true assessment of street life and traffic, it is hard to argue that such a significant decision is being made appropriately, or that everybody, as Jane thought, is being included.”
Later, Bremner added “we run the unnecessary risk of damaging an important neighborhood of our city for generations...unfairly impact existing residents’ quality of life.”
“There is no reason to rush this now,” he concluded.
NPA Council candidate Hector Bremner: he wants more housing supply and he wants it quickly. Unless it is across the street from where he lives, in which case, we don't need it and we should do a traffic study instead.
Video footage of the July 25th public hearing is available at http://council.vancouver.ca/20170718/phea20170718ag.htm
A message from Gregor Robertson
I couldn’t be more proud of the strong, diverse team we’re putting forward for the October 14 Vancouver School Board by-election — they’re experienced, energetic, and passionate about public education and learning.
Meet the team!
An experienced community organizer and elected member of Vancity’s Board of Directors, Theo will bring her collaborative, cooperative approach to serve students, parents, and teachers alike. You can follow Theo on Twitter here, and on Instagram here.
Ken works tirelessly to provide an opportunity for every student to succeed, regardless of where they live in the city, their income level, or cultural background. First elected in 2008, Ken made history as the first Aboriginal person elected in the City of Vancouver.
A respected psychologist and former teacher, Joy was first elected to the Vancouver School Board in 2014. For more than a decade, she helped kids with learning difficulties, and worked with teachers and parents to improve life for at-risk students. You can follow Joy on Twitter here, and Like her Facebook page here.
With more than 35 years experience as a teacher, teacher educator, and professional development expert, Mike’s unwavering advocacy makes him one of the province’s leading voices on education. Elected since 2008, he’s a champion for student leadership, and for ensuring safe and healthy neighbourhood schools for all. You can follow Mike on Twitter here, and Like his Facebook page here.
First elected in 1999, Allan is a long-time advocate for public education. His commitment to supporting ESL and special needs students, and improving aboriginal graduation rates, have earned him the trust of parents, teachers, and students. You can follow Allan on Twitter here.
Your Vision Vancouver education team is running with a spirit of cooperation and collaboration, and we’ll work with any party who shares our goals of building thriving neighbourhood schools where all students can succeed, and standing up for public education.
As you can see, we have a great team — but this by-election is going to be tough. We need all hands on deck if we’re going to keep moving our city forward together.
Will you take a moment and pledge to volunteer with us? October 14 is just around the corner, and the stakes are just too high to let the NPA take us backwards on public education.
Thank you, as always, for your continued support. We couldn’t do it without you.
Mayor of Vancouver
We want to share some exciting news with you:
On Thursday August 31, we’ll be announcing our candidates for the October 14 Vancouver School Board by-election. Mayor Gregor Robertson wants you to be the first to meet our team… so he’s going to email our supporters directly tomorrow before we make the news public.
If you want to be among the first to know, click here:
I know you’re going to be impressed with our team. Our Board of Directors, elected by our members, interviewed so many well-qualified candidates from all across our city.
We’ve recruited a strong, diverse mix of public education advocates to help move our school district forward. Vision has always stood with Vancouver’s students, parents, teachers, and staff, and we have a long track record of delivering results for our communities.
This by-election is not going to be easy. Our opponents in the NPA are well-funded, and — let’s face it — they've never stood up for public education in Vancouver.
Vision Vancouver is powered by people like you. Every single one of us is going to need to roll up our sleeves and get involved during this by-election; so if you’d like to sign up to volunteer, please click here right now.
And next week, we’ll announce Vision’s candidate for City Council: someone who will bring new energy, a new voice, and who represents the next generation of progressive leaders in Vancouver.
Thank you for being a part of the Vision Vancouver movement.
Stay tuned for more news from us tomorrow!
— Maria and Sheena
Maria Dobrinskaya and Sheena Sargeant
Co-Chairs, Vision Vancouver