Sat. Jul 2nd, 2022

In Vancouver’s last election, voters were asked to choose between 71 candidates for 10 city council slots, a record number for the city and the biggest ballot for local voters in Canada.

This October, it might be even longer.

Ten political parties have announced their intention to run candidates in the Oct. 15 local elections, with the majority now having put forward their teams. Mayor Kennedy Stewart and all 10 councilors are seeking re-election.

The deadline for nominations is Sept. 9. We’ll update this story as time goes on with the names and websites of every candidate running. Parties are listed in order of candidates elected in the last election.

Non-Partisan Association (6 candidates): Coun. Melissa De Genova is seeking re-election and is joined on the ballot by Elaine Allan, Cinnamon Bhayani, Ken Charko, Mauro Francis and Arezo Zarrabian. John Coupar is the NPA’s candidate for mayor.

Green Party (5 candidates): Current councilors Adrianne Carr, Pete Fry and Michael Wiebe are all seeking re-election and have joined on the ballot by Devyani Singh and Stephanie Smith.

COPE (4 candidates): Coun. Jean Swanson is seeking re-election and is joined on the ballot by Breen Ouelette, Nancy Trigueros and Tanya Webking.

OneCity (4 candidates): Coun. Christine Boyle is seeking re-election and is joined on the ballot by Iona Bonamis, Ian Cromwell and Matthew Norris.

ABC Vancouver (5 candidates): Current councilors Rebecca Bligh, Lisa Dominato and Sarah Kirby-Yung are seeking re-election and have joined the ballot by Peter Meiszner and Lenny Zhou, with another candidate likely to be added soon. Ken Sim is the candidate for mayor.

Vancouver Vision (4 candidates): Honieh Barzegari, Lesli Boldt, Stuart Mackinnon and Kishone Roy.

Forward Together: The name of the new party led by Mayor Kennedy Stewart, who is seeking re-election. The party says it will announce its candidates to run with Stewart “soon” and may run up to six candidates.

TEAM for a Livable Vancouver: The name of the new party led by Coun. Colleen Hardwick, who is running for mayor. The party says it will nominate its candidates in June.

Progress Vancouver: The name of the new party led by political strategist Mark Marissen, who is running for mayor. The party says it will choose its candidates after August following a vote of its members but will announce some of its potential candidates in June.

Vote Socialist: The name of a new political party without a mayoral candidate at this point. The party plans to nominate its candidates on June 26.

Independents: Last election, 26 independent candidates ran for council, and 16 ran for mayor.

In 2018, Kennedy Stewart became the first independent candidate elected as Vancouver’s mayor since 1986, but in 2022, he says he’ll run with a team in hopes of being able to implement more of his agenda if re-elected. (Darryl Dyck / The Canadian Press)

No ward system

The number of candidates running for Vancouver council has always been high compared to the rest of British Columbia.

But municipal elections in BC usually see a much longer ballot than anywhere else in Canada for one simple reason.

Of the 53 largest municipalities in Canada, the only ones where voters directly elect all the councilors for the entire city are in British Columbia. Large cities in the rest of the country elect some or all of their councilors in neighborhood districts, usually known as wards.

Vancouver has the power to independently change its electoral system, but voters rejected a change to a ward system in 1996 and 2004, largely due to concerns that councilors would focus too much on hyper-local issues at the expense of prioritizing the entire city.

“I just think the ward system would be much better for the City of Vancouver,” argued Mayor Kennedy Stewart.

Stewart promised in the 2018 election to institute voting reform in Vancouver but decided against it after determining there were not the votes on council to make it happen. However, he said he would try again if re-elected in October with a more supportive council.

“Every community would have a local representative just like we have at the federal and provincial level, which brings a lot of accountability to politicians,” he said.

“An at-large system really dilutes that, especially in a city of 700,000 people.”

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