Sunday night (Oct. 9), Vancouver mayoral candidate Mark Marissen of Progress Vancouver reportedly spent the night in a tent in Crab Park along with Progress Vancouver board member Melody Haskell.
In a Twitter thread detailing the experience both said they witnessed "trauma and resilience firsthand."
The visit came just a day after a man was arrested for a series of stabbings in the same park.
Haskell wrote an account of the evening and posted it to Twitlonger.com. In her account, she says that the pair were welcomed by the residents though they didn't know or care who they were. Some people who live in the encampment of around 50 tents offered them shelter upon learning that they didn't have one for the night.
They also met one of the victims of the stabbings, who recently returned from the hospital. Haskell reports that the blade narrowly avoided his heart. He was also one of the people who offered Haskell and Marissen his tent.
Other residents they encountered were "war veterans, wildfire victims, and escapees from abuse" according to Haskell who wrote the account of the evening on behalf of Marissen and the party.
Marissen is a first-time candidate focusing on issues of housing and creating a safer downtown. In his tweet sharing that he slept in Crab Park he says that he was invited but does not say by who or why. V.I.A has reached out to Marissen to ask for more information.
In a follow-up tweet, he states: "Thanksgiving is a great day to reflect on everything I saw - what we have to be grateful for and what we have to do."
As of September, a poll by Research Co. indicated that Marissen only had 13 per cent support. A full list of candidates can be found here and up-to-date 2022 Vancouver civic election reporting can be found here.