Vancouver Centre is one of the most interesting ridings in this year’s federal election. It also happens to be where I’m living now, so I need to decide who I’m voting for. Luckily for me, there are 4 high profile candidates, all with legitimate chances of winning.
The incumbent is Liberal Hedy Fry, who has been the MP since 1993, when she knocked off then Prime Minister Kim Campbell. She’s very popular in the riding, especially with the large gay population. I’ve seen her twice at the pride parade, where she makes an annual appearance marching in wild outfits.
Michael Byers is running for the NDP. He’s a professor at UBC and an expert on international law. I don’t know much about him, other then he’s a smart, well-spoken guy who could become the next leader of the NDP, if he wins this election.
Adriane Carr is well known in BC, as she is the former leader of the BC Green Party. Under her leadership, the Green Party has done quite well, getting 12.39% and 9.17% in the last two elections – although it has yet to elect an MLA and Carr finished a disappointing 3rd each time she ran. The only time I’ve ever met Carr was at a homeless conference last year. She got up to ask a question, and instead spent her time at the mic explaining how the Green Party had surpassed the NDP as the 3rd most popular party in Canada – I don’t remember if she even asked a question in the end. She was referring to a Strategic Counsel poll that had just come out that put the Greens at 13% and the NDP at 12%. (As an aside, no poll before or since has put the Greens ahead of the NDP). Her comments kind of left a sour taste in my mouth. One – because she used a homelessness forum to advertise her party. Two – because she was cherry picking a poll to slag the NDP, and abusing statistics at the same time – 1% was well within the margin of error.
The most recent candidate to declare in Vancouver Centre, and the one that really throws a wrench into things, is Conservative Lorne Mayencourt. Mayencourt is the current provincial MLA for this area, as a BC Liberal (he won by 11 votes). The BC Liberals are more like the Conservatives federally, so his jump to the Conservative party is not surprising. However, he’s a high profile candidate and openly gay, so pundits expect him to draw a lot of support away from Hedy Fry, which is what makes this a 4-way race. I don’t think Mayencourt has much chance himself, but with him in the race the NDP and Greens both have good chances to win. Mayencourt has spent most of his time thus far trying to explain why a carbon tax is both good and evil.
When I’m deciding who to vote for, the party has the most influence, but I like to consider the local candidates too. All of the local candidates here are top-notch. As for the parties, I’ve voted NDP my whole life, and agree with most of their positions. The Green party intrigues me, and I like a lot of their environmental policies. My idea party would probably be a combination of the two. The problem with the Green party is they don’t have any credibility outside of environmental issues.
Michael Byers is a strong candidate and has a strong chance of winning, so that’s who I will be supporting. Although, I’d be happy if either Byers or Adrian Carr wins.