Suzanne Anton explainer
The NPA platform promises to address the concerns of business owners downtown who are said to have lost up to $2.4 million because of separated bike lanes.
On the riots
One of the other priorities on the NPA’s “Accountability” agenda is concern over the Stanley Cup riots.
In the months following the event, Anton outlined some recommendations to John Furlong and Douglas Keefe, who this summer led an independent review of the June riots. These recommendations included closed circuit surveillance cameras during the finals, new protocols for controlling alcohol in the downtown core, and a proper approval process in Council for any Stanley Cup-related celebrations.
When the report was released, pinning blame on the rioters themselves without accusing the city or police, Anton proposed amendments to the report, “to make the Mayor of Vancouver responsible and accountable for the City’s preparedness for next year’s Stanley Cup playoffs.”
Throughout the election, she has urged the Mayor to accept accountability for the riots, commenting to the CBC in June that people were calling the incident "Robertson's riots".
When she confronted Robertson with the question of whether or not he would apologize to the public, he responded by reminding her that it is both the Mayor and Council – including Anton herself – who are ultimately responsible for the decisions she believes led to the event.
“We act as the leadership body for the city. I'd like to remind you that as a member of council you share some of that responsibility as well," said Robertson.
So far, polls from Justason Market Intelligence have placed Anton behind incumbent Mayor Gregor Robertson by a up to 36 per cent, a score some commentators have attributed to an aggressive campaign that fails to portray her “real” image. After the first slew of NPA attack ads came out, Vision Vancouver accused the party of being negative and out-of-touch, stating in a release that the NPA “would rather attack than tell us what they stand for.”
NPA campaign manager Norman Stowe of The Pace Group says the campaign is simply stating the facts. As a veteran of the communications industry he is well versed in the political game, having also served as campaign manager for Deputy Premier Kevin Falcon during his campaign to become leader of the BC Liberal Party.
“We expect Vision to run on its record and we will be dealing with their record. We don’t think that is negative, we think that is just factual,” said Stowe. He has also responded to the potentially disappointing Justason poll, noting that poll results don’t necessarily translate into election results.
Another important addition to the NPA team is Campaign Chair Peter Armstrong, an entrepreneur and experienced fundraiser best known for founding the rail tour company, The Rocky Mountaineer. Earlier this year, there were rumours suggesting that the NPA wanted Armstrong to run as their mayoral candidate, but he apparently wasn’t able to commit.
Commentators say his endorsement of Anton has “clearly given her campaign a boost”, and their ubiquitous advertising – on billboards, bus stops and in mailboxes all over the city – is proof of the kind of financial shape they’re in. While the forceful campaign may alienate voters opposed to negative advertising, at the very least it has given Anton the benefit of knowing that she cannot be ignored.