Vancouver Election 2014 – Initial Reaction

I’m sure none of the parties are entirely happy with yesterday’s election results. Vision retains control of City Council, with Mayor Gregor Robertson and 6 councillors re-elected, but suffered big loses on Park Board and School Board. The NPA and Greens both gained seats, but neither had the breakthrough they were looking for at City Council. COPE, and all of the smaller parties, didn’t even come close to electing anyone.

Only 11 of the 27 candidates I voted for won, but I’m reasonably satisfied with the results. Vision still has a majority at City Council and can continue to push improvements to bike infrastructure and the urban realm. I hope that Adriane Carr will find a way to join Vision on the Greenest City plan instead of opposing it and everything else.

I plan on doing a deeper analysis of the election results once the spreadsheets are published to find out what happened (my big questions are listed at the bottom), but here is a quick look at the numbers.


  • 25% more people voted this election than last time. That is huge!
  • In 2011 there were 144,823 votes cast. In 2014 there were 181,707 – 36,884 more.
  • Turnout will likely still be less than 50%, but take it with a grain of salt.
  • People who move away or die are rarely removed from the voters list, inflating the number of registered voters and skewing turnout percentages.

Vancouver mayor votes past 4 elections

  • Gregor Robertson did well, winning with 83,500 votes (6,500 more than 2011).
  • The narrower victory was a result of COPE not a stronger NPA.
  • COPE’s mayoral candidate, Meena Wong, received nearly 16,800 votes.
  • The NPA gained 15,300 votes, but its vote share only increased by 1%.
  • Nearly 3,000 voters chose “None of the Above” for a mayor, twice as many as in 2011.

City Council

  • 6 Vision, 3 NPA, and 1 Green
  • Only change is Melissa De Genova replacing Tony Tang.
  • Adriane Carr did amazingly well, attracting 74,077 votes from across the spectrum.
  • Carr’s popularity didn’t extend to other Green council candidates, who weren’t close.
  • Randomized ballots are needed. Top 5 vote getters have ABCD names.
  • 3 elected NPA candidates outpaced their Vision rivals, but didn’t extend to full slate.

Park Board

  • 4 NPA, 2 Green, 1 Vision
  • Vision got wiped out.
  • Lots of contentious issues: whales in the aquarium, community centre independence, bike lanes in parks.
  • Most disappointed that Brent Granby missed a spot by 1392 votes.

School Board

  • 4 Vision, 4 NPA, and 1 Green
  • Closest race last night: Ken Clement misses last school board spot by 255 votes.
  • Incumbents Woo and Denike (expelled from NPA for homophobic views) are trounced.
  • After just missing spots in 2011, NPA elects Ballantyne and Robertson.
  • Not sure why newcomer Joy Alexander did so well, other than listed first alphabetically.

Note: All charts show candidates receiving more than 10,000 votes.
Asterisks (*) indicate incumbents.

Some questions I’d like to answer.

  • How important is being one of the first candidates alphabetically?
  • Where are the regional pockets of support (harder to tell with open voting)?
  • Why did Vision do so bad on Parks Board?
  • Which candidates had the same supporters? See 2011 council correlations.
  • Was vote splitting a problem?


  1. Hi there! Thanks for making these charts and starting some much needed analysis. I like to think that dog parks played a role in the Parks Board results. As a dog owner and activist I was very concerned when none of the major parties included a position on dog parks in their platforms. It took me days to research which candidates might actually work to provide better solutions for everyone who use the parks.

    One of the surprising outcomes was the ground swell of support for independent PB candidate Jenny De Castris. De Castris actually supported dog parks in her platform. As independent candidates are often overlooked and underexposed in elections, it is not surprising that she did not secure a seat. De Castris did work with dog owners during her campaign and from the numbers, it looks like she enjoyed their support. I suspect this is the start of something bigger. Keep an eye out in the future for ‘Jenny from the Park’.

    Although I did vote for Gregor and Patti Bacchus, I soured early on Vision’s Parks Board candidates. Speaking to a couple of the PB Vision candidates, I told them that my number one election issue for Park Board was improved dog parks and policies. After all I own a dog and use the parks everyday, rain or shine. I was told either that dog parks were too controversial or not a priority for Vision. So I looked elsewhere.


    • I was wondering where De Castris came from. She was the only independent to top 10,000 votes. It will be interesting to see what the NPA-lead park board does with the host of contentious issues it has inherited (including dog parks).


      • Agree. I am a bit suspicious of an NPA-lead park board, and plan to keep a much closer eye on those developments. That said, if the NPA can make good on their campaign promises to listen more to neighbourhoods and bring positive change- not by opposing everything Vision proposes but working together on things they can implement- all the better. I might be too optimistic!


  2. Hi Christopher – Although I am a member of OneCity who worked on RJ Aquino’s campaign, and supported the Public Education Project candidates, my inital reaction is very similiar to yours. I appreciate your thoughtful comments and look forward to your deeper analysis of the 2014 Vancouver election results once the spreadsheets are published.

    In the meantime, anyone who is engaged in Vancouver’s civic politics may want to take a look at your analysis of the 2011 election results. I certainly intend to re-read it with a view to better understanding the ever-changing political landscape in Vancouver.


    • Thanks Mike. I was really pulling for RJ. Sad he didn’t win a seat.

      Official election results should be published on Wed, Nov 19. Then I’ll look at some poll-by-poll analysis. I’m curious to see what the map looks like.


  3. Nice analysis. I am sorry Ian Robertson just missed. I might have voted for Brent, too, if he wasn’t with vision. One thing of onterest is the following demographic:

    “CKNW has been reporting that Conseco says young people age 18 to 24 turned the tide for Vision Vancouver, young people who don’t mostly don’t pay property taxes, don’t know that their parent’s taxes are sky rocketing, and who have no idea what is going on at city hall. How many of them have spoken at a public hearing? How many attended the Park Board meeting that went until 2:15 am to ram through Visions’ attempts to take over our community centres, how many attended candidates meetings? And so on…

    Vision Vancouver has been pandering to our young people and now we have the result.

    I fear for the future of our city. Four years gives Vision Vancouver a lot of time to do a lot of irreversible damage.

    Linda MacAdam”


    • To suggest that young people don’t pay taxes and don’t understand what’s going on is demeaning and ridiculous. I hope that attitude doesn’t reflect the opinion of the NPA’s base. It’s interesting that political commentators usually chastize young voters for being disengaged, but when they do vote in large numbers then they’re being pandered to and don’t understand what they’re voting for.

      But Conseco’s polls are right that Vision is a youth-driven political organization. I volunteered on one of the Super Saturdays. The room was packed with young people ready to volunteer (not just vote) to help get Vision re-elected. The NPA has to be worried. Their base is only getting older, while Vision has captured the imagination of the next generation.


      • It is fantastic that the youth are getting engaged in an otherwise apathetic constituency.

        On one hand, us ‘old’ homeowners will get older and die (thought not me, for a while).

        But as with all curses, the ‘youth’ will also age, take on property taxes (with luck) and experience a government that puts family-friendly neighbourhoods last. Youth will also get more engaged with issues that truly matter to them and begin to see ‘green-washing’ is not the same as ‘environmentally sustainable’.

        Many of the youth already see many of the challenges, but as with other demographics, don’t have the time to fact-check and call ‘bs’.

        This is why I am hearted by and respect your effort and keen analysis.

        Ps. I am Green, not NPA. I have, however been to many park board meetings and have been impressed by the thoughtfulness of Ian R, Melissa DG, and John Couper who all happened to run with NPA. As opposed to the Vision councillors who seemed to be nothing but PBallem ‘yes men’, steam-rollering community centres.


        • I’m curious what your definitions of environmentally sustainable, green-washing, and family friendly neighbourhoods are. I get the inkling we might not agree, but I might be wrong.

          If you read through my blog, you’ll note that a commitment to sustainable living drives most of my decisions – not owning a car, working at a clean-tech company, going vegan, using worms to compost my food scraps, etc. I’ve voted Green provincially, but have been really put off by the Vancouver Greens. The opposition to density seems very short-sighted. Adrianne Carr can talk all day about the GHG’s embedded in concrete condos, but condos have not caused the climate crisis. Our addiction to cars and single-family homes has.

          I want a sustainable, family-friendly way of life in Vancouver. For me (and many other millennials), that means dense, walkable neighbourhoods. That means 3-4 bedroom condos. That means a convenient, rapid transit network. That means being able to get to the local farmers market on a safe bike route with kids in tough. I think Vision understands that better than the Greens do, and that’s sad.


      • And more power to you! I do not mean to discourage your engagement.

        “Linda, this post appears a bit mean spirited, even for a fervent NPA supporter.
        Young people, either renters or eventual inheritors of parent’s assets, will live with the results of this election far longer than I will.
        Far too often elections are decided by wealthy oldies with very narrow self interests.
        I’m no fan of Robertson, but if he was to be defeated, then something other than a Carpet Bagger who wouldn’t answer a question and had no apparent policy is needed to be offered as a candidate. Any party that cannot make an effective appeal to a demographic is in trouble, and any political organization who does not appeal to the younger generation is looking forward to a finite future. The NPA lost on their own merits, to a seriously flawed opponent.


    • I spent my time in the poll lineup sandwiched between a group of some of those older, wiser, property-owning citizens and a couple of people around my young-ish age, listening to both groups discuss their votes:

      The older group complained that they couldn’t be bothered to learn about any of the candidates because there were “just too many”. Collectively, they were about to name one mayoral candidate and two municipal parties. (Three if you count “that other one the mayor’s from”.)

      Meanwhile, the other naive/unengaged whippersnappers behind me had a serious debate on the pros and cons of captive cetacean breeding, and the issue’s relative importance to them vs. other Park Board candidate policies.

      Just an anecdote, but nonetheless a timely reminder that ignorance doesn’t discriminate based on age (and that casually dropping the word “cetacean” in conversation is an easy way to impress friends and strangers alike).


  4. I’m all for randomized ballots. The top vote-getting councillors with last names starting with A, B, C, or D are too frequent a phenomenon with our municipal elections. It would be interesting to see if a randomized ballot will eliminate the ABCD trend.


  5. In fact, Fraser Ballantyne was elected in 2011. This time, he is joined by RIchardson as well as Noble and Robertson. I won’t make any comments on this NPA lineup, but suffice to say, I don’t support them. Waiting for fireworks over accepting corporate donations, more charity and even more parent supplemental funding as Vision squares off against the NPA. Let’s hope the latter can come to terms with the great need to lobby, advocate and organize so the province funds public schools properly. I don’t relish a future of school kids expressing their “Thanks” to Chevron and its ilk for doling out largesse to keep a vital social institution afloat.


    • From a 2002 interview with Jane Jacobs (read page 21 for full context):

      This is done in Vancouver. That city has hardly any money for affordable housing anymore because of neo-conservative ideologies adopted in the federal and the provincial governments. But the city government has found loopholes for some affordable housing. It works out arrangements for developers to make 20 percent of their housing affordable. They get this into the very areas that are becoming fashionable.

      But more important, because more fundamental, is to bring demand and supply into better balance. Try to divert excessive gentrification from areas where it’s getting too heavy and into areas that need some gentrification. They do that in Vancouver, too.

      They’ve got a very smart planning department, and they concentrate heavily on diversity of all kinds: mixture of uses in a neighborhood, different kinds of work and residence and institutions mixed up together, and diversity of people of ages, incomes, ethnic origins, anything. The more diversity the better.

      They don’t do it in Vancouver with tax incentives. There are all kinds of rules of zoning for density and so on, most of it wrong headed. Well, the city gives developers more density and other things developers want, which are not actually harmful. They find out what developers want and see what can be negotiated with them in return, especially inclusion of units with affordable rents.

      I’m still looking for a housing project that adds significant density, no matter what the building height, that the Green Party will support.


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