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A Vote for North Vancouver

“Voting is a civil sacrament.”

Theodore Hesburgh

It’s time to figure out who to vote for in tomorrow’s local government election. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I’ve never voted before (although in truth I have missed voting a few times) but rather I’ve never actually researched who to vote for. My usual method is to ask someone smart, who seems to generally share my values, who they are voting for and why and then I go with that. I think there is some legitimacy to this method; it’s at least moderately participative. Failing that, I vote for the most attractive candidate; the one who is pleasant to look at and/or personable. I’m only half kidding about the most attractive candidate. I believe that there are all kinds of things that influence our decisions – I just happen to be open about mine.

15591648057_9c7ec8599c_oI’ve heard plenty about the mayoral candidates for Vancouver but very little about North Vancouver.  Who is our Mayor now anyway? Good God, could I possibly be more apathetic and uninformed? But it’s time to get this sorted.

I start by going to the City of North Vancouver Election 2014 website and perusing the candidate profiles. It seems I’ll need to choose 1 mayor (out of 3 candidates), 6 councillors (out of 18 candidates) and 3 school trustees (out of 7 candidates). After reading 28 profiles I am exhausted. How the hell am I supposed to pick? Perhaps I’ll resort to picking the nice looking ones after all? Seriously though, candidates with no picture or write up are obviously out. If you can’t manage a picture and paragraph then what will you be good at?

Next, I check out the 3 mayoral candidates websites, which provides some helpful specifics as to what each candidate is all about; but it isn’t until I watch the moderately painful video of the mayoral debate that I really start to get a sense of who these men are.

To be grossly simplistic, mayoral candidate Kerry Morris seems to be all about slowing the frantic pace of development while accusing the current mayor of being on the take. He places traffic congestion as his number one priority. Unfortunately Kerry comes off as a real dick in the debate.

2013.05.14_Horton__EPH2552-EditNext up is current mayor Darrell Mussatto, who is admittedly very pro development for both housing and public spaces. He points to his successes over the last term and wisely has some socially minded councillors endorsing him, counterbalancing his developer inclinations. He’s a touch slick but much more personable than Kerry and I think our priorities are better aligned.

Finally there is George Sifton Pringle, who is all about pushing for amalgamation of the City of North Vancouver and the District of North Vancouver. He thinks this is the key to more cohesive city services, including dealing with traffic issues, and will gain us access to the federal funding that comes available once you reach a certain size. Despite being socially awkward – and overly fixated on amalgamation -George is not a stupid man.

The debate illuminates some interesting dynamics between the three men. Neither Darrell the developer nor Kerry the dick see George the simpleton as a real threat. While Kerry aggressively attacks Darrell – and occasionally goads defenceless George – Darrell keeps the fight above the waist. I think George actually quite likes incumbent Darrell; or perhaps it just seems that way in comparison to his deep seated hatred for Kerry?

Once I have my mayoral choice down, I settle for the 6 council members endorsing him and move on to checking out the school trustee candidates on their websites/Facebook pages. A few hours later I have my list of names in hand. In the end, whoever I vote for, and whoever actually gets in, I’m glad I looked into this. I feel like I now know a little more about what’s going on in North Vancouver and what people care about. Who knows, I may even be more likely to play an active part in upcoming transit and development debates.

May the most attractive candidate win!

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