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"Apocalyptic chicken coops": Mayor's complete speech from Westin Bayshore Vision Vancouver Gala

Photo courtesy of Gregor Robertson Facebook page

2011 Vancouver Municipal Election: Mayor Gregor Robertson's speech, delivered last night to a sold out crowd at the Westin Bayshore Gala.

Good evening,

I’m sorry I’m a little late. There was a traffic jam on the Malahat, and, according to the folks at The Economist magazine, that’s the lynchpin of Vancouver’s transportation system.

First, let me give thanks to the Coast Salish peoples on whose territory we’re gathered.

There’s a special energy in this room tonight. I can see faces from the business community, from labour, from COPE and from Vision. I can see people from South Asian, Chinese, Aboriginal, European and Filipino backgrounds, and from many more.

I know there are people here tonight who have prospered in Vancouver, and people who are struggling to make next month’s rent.

You came here tonight from Kits and Killarney, Strathcona and Southeast False Creek, Marpole and Mount Pleasant, Collingwood and Kerrisdale, from Dunbar, from Davie, from the Downtown East Side.

And this is what has changed in Vancouver. City Hall is working for all the people of this city.

Three years ago, when we came together to launch our campaign, it was a much different story.

People in Vancouver saw a recession bearing down on the city, they saw homelessness reaching a crisis point, and they saw an NPA administration that just didn't seem to get it.

They saw the mayor and Council at the time as out of touch –– not listening and clueless when it came to what really mattered to Vancouver families.

But they also saw an alternative: a positive, forward-looking team with, yes, a vision for the city.

The NPA ran a campaign of fear against us. We ran a campaign of hope. And the people of Vancouver chose hope.

This election, people have that choice again: to vote for a vision for Vancouver’s future, or for the fears that would hold us back.

And the more people I talk to in this campaign––on the doorstep, on the street, at food carts––the more I believe that on November 19, they will choose to move forward.

To understand why, we have to take a good look at the past three years.

In 2008, the people of Vancouver gave us a mandate, and a big one. But they also gave us a challenge. Since we didn't have a split council, we didn't have any excuses––they expected us to make genuine progress on the issues that mattered the most.

Tonight, three years later, with your support, I believe we can say that’s exactly what we’ve done.

More than 670 fewer people sleeping on the streets than three years ago. Overall homelessness down for the first time in more than a decade. The first new rental units in more than four years, and the first new co-op housing in a decade.

That's what you can do when you choose vision.

We can point to new Vancouver offices for Pixar, Sony, Canon and Telus. And thousands of new businesses after a decade of decline.

An Olympic Village that’s back on track, and an upgraded credit rating.

The most competitive tax rate of any major Canadian city.

Our city’s raw data set free, so Vancouver’s most innovative minds can turn it into app’s, insights and new economic value.

And in the worst recession in decades, maintaining funding for arts and culture.

That’s what you can do when you choose vision.

We can point to increased funding to the Vancouver Police every year and crime dropping at twice the national average.

We’ve erased the “No-fun-couver” label with everything from street food to neighbourhood celebrations.

We’ve listened to our community, and said no to school closures.

Brought in Vancouver’s first-ever comprehensive strategy on Mental Health and Addictions.

And stood up for the great people at InSite to keep their doors open, and their nurses and counselors on the job, saving lives.

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