Vision Vancouver’s economic platform overshadowed by Occupy movement

Mayor Gregor Robertson and his team made an announcement yesterday revealing their economic platform, pledging to keep taxes low, support small businesses and promote Vancouver as a destination for corporate investment.

Robertson intended to defend his newly revealed plans in a debate hosted by the Vancouver Board of Trade, but the debate was repeatedly interrupted by Occupy Vancouver protesters.

One of the major points in the Vision platform involves offering tax incentive grants to employers opening up shop and creating jobs in the city.

The party’s platform says the strategy has been used in major cities around the world, stating that it “has no cost to the city because the grants are offset by growth in the tax base caused by the new development.”

As Robertson and NPA candidate Suzanne Anton attempted to discuss economic development and taxation at last night’s debate, their speeches were continually interrupted by protesters – including Darrell Zimmerman, an independent mayoral candidate currently living in the Art Gallery encampment.

The debate at SFU's Woodwards Campus was interrupted when Occupy Vancouver protesters stood and stormed the stage.

The Occupy Vancouver protests are proving to be a troublesome issue for Mayor Robertson during this year’s election campaign. Despite NPA challenger Suzanne Anton’s repeated calls to end the protests, Robertson remains committed to finding a peaceful and diplomatic solution. On Monday, he announced that he would like the protesters to leave, but he has not yet specified an eviction date.

Independent candidate Darrell Zimmerman voices his concerns about the city at the Occupy Vancouver protest on Oct. 15. Video by Daniel J. Pierce.

Since the debate, the NPA has announced that Anton will be bringing a motion to Vancouver City Council to end the protesters’ tent city. She said that Robertson has “no plan”, and laid out a three-step process that she hopes will be used to have protesters removed from the Gallery within a week.

“The missing ingredient here is leadership,” Anton said in a release.  “It was obvious to all during the Mayoral debate on October 25th that Gregor has taken no action to end the encampment.”

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