An upbeat mood prevailed as party members heard the results of a poll and voted to adopt the recommendation of its Board of Directors that the party should field “up to four candidates for City Council, providing that at least four strong, qualified candidates are identified by the party’s Election Readiness Committee”.
Decision backed by polling results
The decision to run up to four Council candidates was based on two factors. The first was the favourable results of a poll recently commissioned by the Green Party of Vancouver. The street-canvassed poll surveyed 528 Vancouver residents throughout all neighbourhoods between January 22-27, 2014, with a margin of error of 4.26% and a 98% confidence level.
The polling sample was representative of Vancouver in terms of geography, gender and age distribution, and nearly two-thirds of respondents were identified as habitual voters intending to vote in the upcoming civic election on November 15, 2014.
The survey was only revealed to respondents as having been commissioned by the Green Party of Vancouver after each interview was concluded.
The second factor in the decision to run up to four Council candidates, but not seek a majority, has to do with the Green Party of Vancouver’s desire to restore citizen-based democracy at City Hall.
Key Polling Results As Reported at the AGM Include:
18% of voting respondents selected the Green Party of Vancouver as their first-ranked choice among the civic parties, second only to Vision Vancouver at 25%. (Other results included NPA at 12% and COPE at 10%; 33% declined to name a first-ranked party.
49% of voters said that they intend to change the way they vote in the upcoming election compared with the previous election (51% didn’t know or felt that their vote would remain the same as previously).
Of the voters intending to change their vote, 27% said, unprompted, that they intend to boost their support for the Green Party of Vancouver. This exceeded all other parties: 14% said they would increase support for COPE, 10% for NPA and 5% for Vision Vancouver. Poll results found that the Green Party of Vancouver was the leading beneficiary of migrating voters. 47% do not yet know how they will change their vote.
“The poll results largely confirmed the sense that we were getting from the public: that dissatisfaction with the Vision-dominated council is high, and that the principles espoused by the Green Party of Vancouver and championed by Councillor Adriane Carr are shared by a rapidly growing number of Vancouverites”, said GPV Chairperson Jacquie Miller following the AGM.
“The hard data gathered by our poll gave the Board and our membership the confidence to field more Council candidates in the next election and give voters the opportunity to send a team of Greens to City Council this November.”
“We have felt strongly for quite some time that Councils dominated by a single political party are not conducive to genuine democracy,” Miller explained. “The reality is there’s more adversarial politics and less collaboration and consultation at the Council table.
“There’s less collaboration with the public, too - hence the many clashes Vision Vancouver has had with local residents over community plans, development proposals and community centre control. The Green Party of Vancouver believes that better, more democratic decisions come from parties and councillors working collaboratively with the public and with one another instead of one party exerting dominance and pushing through its own agenda.
“We believe that to achieve such a collaborative culture requires at this point that no single civic party dominates City Council after the next election. This is our message to voters, and the reason why we shall not be seeking a majority for ourselves.”
According to the Green Party poll, this is a message with a high degree of resonance among Vancouverites. When asked to express their agreement or disagreement with the statement “Our city would be healthier if no one political party dominated City Council”, fully 63% of respondents said that they agreed - including 32% who said that they strongly agreed.
The nomination period for the Green Party’s City Council candidates was officially opened at the close of Thursday’s AGM, and Miller says that a number of strong potential candidates have already expressed interest in running. These include incumbent City Councilor Adriane Carr, long-time environmental campaigner and first ever Green elected to Vancouver City Council seeking re-election, and Cleta Brown, a respected lawyer, tireless social justice advocate and community leader.
Decisions regarding other electoral offices, including the Park and School boards, will be made by the party membership in follow-up to the Council candidate selection.