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Mike Howell: Here’s why Adriane Carr will not run for Vancouver mayor

Green Party veteran will seek fourth term as a councillor
Adriane Carr decided over the weekend not to run for mayor with the Green Party and instead seek a fourth term as a councillor.

Got an answer to the question I posed last week to Adriane Carr about whether she was going to run for mayor this year.

Maybe you heard the news over the weekend — it’s a definite no.


“It was a tough decision, and I think in the end what made the difference is really focusing on how do we move things forward [as a party] at council,” said the Green Party veteran, who will instead be seeking her fourth term as a councillor in the Oct. 15 election.

“You don't need to be mayor to make sure that we tackle the big issues at the city level.”

Those issues include fighting climate change and housing affordability, which were planks in Carr’s successful campaign in 2011 to become the first Green party member to be elected to Vancouver council.

Carr’s party nominated her Saturday for another run. She will join council incumbents Michael Wiebe and Pete Fry, along with newcomers Dr. Devyani Singh, a climate scientist, and Stephanie Smith, a labour and social justice activist.

Up until last weekend, Carr had seriously considered challenging Mayor Kennedy Stewart in his re-election bid. That consideration was elevated by the mayor’s vote last October against a $45-a-year permit to allow car owners to park their vehicles on city streets.

The fee would have raised about $20 million a year to fight climate change, according to Carr.

69,730 votes

Carr’s name also circulated in the 2018 election campaign as a possible nominee, with opinion polls suggesting she could have had a legitimate shot at victory. Topping the council polls with 69,730 votes in 2018 proved her popularity.

Still, that history was not enough to convince her that a mayoral run this year was in her best interest or that of the Greens, whose gains at the Vancouver civic level would have taken a huge blow had Carr run and lost.

After all, Carr co-founded the Green Party of BC and led the provincial wing for several years.

Such a loss would have likely not come because of her profile, but because of a vote split with Stewart, who shares many of the same voters as the Greens. That scenario also played out in Carr’s decision not to run, she said Monday.

“Lots of people said to me, ‘Do you really want to be the one that ensures Kennedy doesn't get elected?’” she said. “That wouldn't be the point of running. The point of running would be to get elected myself.”

The party has not run a mayoral candidate since Carr was elected in 2011. The Greens have also been reticent to endorse a mayoral candidate, and will continue that strategy this year.

'A big issue for them'

Meanwhile, Carr said she has spoken to councillors Christine Boyle (OneCity) and Jean Swanson (COPE) about supporting policies related to fighting climate change — and both are on side, she said, as they have been since elected in 2018.

“They reassured me — it’s a big issue for both of them,” Carr said.

Of course, the Greens would have to re-elect Carr, Wiebe and Fry and elect at least one of their new candidates to be in a position where votes from Boyle and Swanson — assuming they are re-elected — would matter in an 11-member council.

At the same time, OneCity is also running Matthew Norris of the Urban Native Youth Association, city transportation planner Iona Bonamis and Ian Cromwell, a health economist and musician.

COPE is to decide April 10 on its council candidates.

The party’s executive is expected to bring forward a motion at the meeting on the number of candidates it will run, with Swanson sure to be one of them.

The others vying for a spot or spots are lawyer Breen Ouellette, former Canadian immigration consultant Nancy Trigueros and Tanya Webking, co-chair of the city’s renters’ advisory committee and Indigenous health promotion case manager at AIDS Vancouver.

Vision Vancouver will then hold its nomination meeting May 1.

Stewart has also organized a party and will run council candidates.

While concerns of vote-splitting at the mayoral level on the centre-left were erased with Carr’s decision — Stewart is the only candidate on that side of the spectrum — what happens to the glut of centre-left council candidates come election day is a story for another day.

Council incumbents seek re-election

Presently, the Greens — with Carr, Wiebe and Fry — have the most seats on the current 11-member council.

That occurred not because of the election results in 2018, but because the NPA all but imploded over this term, with four of the five elected councillors quitting the party.

Rebecca Bligh was the first to resign and was followed by Lisa Dominato, Sarah Kirby-Yung and Colleen Hardwick, who is now the mayoral candidate for TEAM for a Livable Vancouver.

Melissa De Genova is the lone NPA councillor.

All 11 incumbents are seeking re-election.


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