Kennedy Stewart’s name appears eight times on the Vancouver civic election ballot instead of once in the list of mayoral candidates.
According to Elections BC, it is perfectly legal to include the mayoral candidate’s name beside the names of other candidates in the same party.
Stewart formed his Team Kennedy Stewart Vancouver Society for the 2022 election, after winning as an independent in 2018. The society registered six other names with Elections BC: Forward Together, Forward Together Vancouver, Forward Vancouver, Forward with Kennedy Stewart, FTKS and FTV.
A spokesman for Stewart said the new party originally planned to use Forward Together with Kennedy Stewart on the ballot. “As that was too long to fit on the ballot, Forward with Kennedy Stewart was written instead,” said Kyle Krawchuk.
Elections BC said a candidate’s name can also be part of an elector organization’s full name, usual name or ballot name.
“Elector organizations file their full name, usual name, and ballot name as part of their registration with Elections BC,” said Elections BC spokesman Andrew Watson. “Elections BC reviews elector organization names for compliance with Local Elections Campaign Financing Act.”
Watson said the law prohibits an elector organization name that is likely to be confused with another elector organization in the same jurisdiction and names that were registered in the same jurisdiction at any time during the previous 10 years. The Local Government Act also prohibits a candidate’s occupation, title, honour or degree from appearing on a ballot.
According to a marketing expert, Stewart has made a shrewd, but risky, move.
“They've obviously got some polling data indicating this guy looks like the well-known, frontrunner name that looks like it has a reasonably positive identification in the community,” said Lindsay Meredith, a retired professor of marketing at Simon Fraser University. “So that's what you're going to mark it under. Because what you're afraid of is, all those other individual names are going to get lost in the shuffle.”
Stewart is one of 15 candidates for mayor and his party is running six candidates against 53 others for the 10 seats on council.
“So what do you do?” Meredith said. “You go with the name that's got the most cachet and tie all your horses to that star. You better damn well hope that’s the lucky horse.”
The fate of all the other candidates relies on the success of the leader. If the strategy works, expect others to adopt it for 2026.
“If you're trying to get a slate established, and especially if that slate is known by the position the leader takes, because he's the guy who gets all the airtime and all the media coverage, then yeah, you wind up saying, well, let's take the easy way out. Remember, it's an easy way out, alright,” Meredith said. “But it's also a dangerous way out.”
One need only look south to Donald Trump, who remains the face of the Republican Party despite losing the 2020 election and has an ever-expanding list of scandals.
Stewart’s full name is Edward Charles Kennedy Stewart, but goes by Kennedy, which is synonymous with the American political dynasty. Ironically, Forward Together was the slogan made famous in President Richard Nixon’s 1969 inaugural address.
Meanwhile, a video shot by a citizen shows on the last day of nominations shows several members of Stewart’s Forward Together jaywalking together.
A witness recorded a group of four city council candidates and another person diagonally crossing the intersection of West 8th Avenue and Alberta Street toward the civic election office. The group included Dulcy Anderson, Hilary Brown, Tessica Truong and Russil Wvong. They were also photographed outside the civic election office with Stewart and his wife, Jeanette Ashe, the party’s star candidate.
Jaywalking is illegal according to the city’s Street and Traffic bylaw and carries a $100 fine.
When they handed in their papers, the documents included the names of people who had been arrested for blocking roadways. Stewart’s includes endorsement from Hisao Ichikawa, a Save Old Growth protester sentenced to 21 days house arrest and 12 months probation for blocking the Upper Levels Highway and chaining his neck to an RBC bank door. Ichikawa was sentenced in August 2018 to seven days in jail for breaching the Trans Mountain Pipeline construction site injunction on Burnaby Mountain. Stewart also violated the injunction, but pleaded guilty to criminal contempt and was fined $500.
Singh’s endorsers include Deborah Sherry Janet Tin Tun, who is scheduled to appear Nov. 21 in Vancouver Provincial Court on charges of mischief and breach of undertaking for her role in Save Old Growth protests that blocked the Ironworkers Memorial Second Narrows Bridge.