Mayor and Vision candidates celebrate nominations at Waldorf Hotel
"We're coming out with a report next month about this issue of foreign workers and how they impact our city's economy," Meggs said. "As City, we'll be working with the province to ensure that foreign workers receive their residency permits faster, and are able to reunite with their families," he added, referring to recent scandals involving Vancouverites preying upon isolated foreign workers into domestic slavery.
Councillor Geoff Meggs
Councillor Kerry Jang
Councillor Kerry Jang shared his thoughts on the issue, which affects his Joyce-Collingwood neighbourhood.
"We do outreach to those who don't speak English very well who don't understand the law," he said. "If there are any suspicions about forced labour, they can call us and we can send an inspection. In terms of the sex trade, for example we are mapping resources in the neighbourhood so that if they go to a community centre for help, they won't be thrown out."
Jang lit up with a smile as he was greeted by councillor George Chow.
"Tiger Boys!" Jang grinned. "We're both born in the Year of the Tiger."
Councillors Kerry Jang and George Chow
Chow had the room in stitches as he made his speech at around 8:30 p.m., joking about himself as a "lame duck" now that people knew he would be leaving politics this fall. He said it was a good thing he wouldn't be running again, since 90 percent of his community in Chinatown was for the casino, which he voted against.
George Chow (pictured below)
"I'm going to miss my friends in the Vision Caucus," he told this reporter, after leaving the stage. "We are all really good friends here, we get along really well."
Councillor Tim Stevenson
Councillor Stevenson heaped praise on Mayor Gregor Robertson.
“I think he's fantastic – the right person for the right time,” said Stevenson. “He doesn't have a huge ego, he's very bright, and has good business sense. He has a lot of wisdom --- ” stopping himself, the Councillor joked, “I'm actually talking about myself.”
Recalling Vision Vancouver's recent rejection of the proposed casino expansion downtown, Stevenson said: "People were elated and grateful. It was good for Vision – it would have affected the way that people saw the party if we voted yes."
Councillor Ted Stevenson
Mayor Gregor Robertson
They mayor, who was lending an ear to people throughout the evening, shared his thoughts on housing with me outside the building.
"It's going to take an array of solutions that address our rental and affordable home ownership that is more creative than what we currently do," he said, saying that the lack of supply for rental housing was also a key issue.
“We have approved smaller -sized units in some projects this term, and there are good reasons to keep going in that direction of enabling people to live in smaller spaces, if they so choose,” he said.
"We're lucky in Vancouver to have such phenomenal public realm. It's rare for a city this size. You might have a small home, but you have access to extraordinary community amenities. I think we take that for granted.”
Regarding NPA Councillor Suzanne Anton's mayoral race, Robertson said the NPA was "struggling to find relevance" and "shifting further to the right to consolidate a base of support."
Trevor Loke, the young candidate for the Parks Board, said his passion for sports got him involved in politics.
Parks board candidate Trevor Loke
“I'm a goaltender,” he said, smiling before he added, “You get blamed for everything, so that makes me used to politics.”
“As a hockey player, someone who's passionate about public spaces, I thought I would check it out and had the privilege of meeting people in Vision and the park board."
Loke, who also works as development and sustainability officer of the Dr. Peter AIDS Foundation, said he saw that many Vision members supported the charity and became involved in supporting the party.