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Mayor Gregor Robertson calls the NPA negative, well-funded and backwards

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Gregor Robertson and his Vision Vancouver party officially hit the airwaves this week with a campaign video celebrating Visions’ three-year tenure on Cambie Street.

In the 1:50 clip Robertson speaks candidly to the camera highlighting his political record against a happy backdrop of Granville Street food stands, joyful cyclists, public gardens, Olympic Village sightlines and volunteers, all trademarks of Visions’ governance.

“We said we would bring change, much needed change, and that is exactly what we have done,” Robertson says.

“It hasn’t been easy, but we have made progress on cutting homelessness, providing more affordable housing, and setting Vancouver on a course to the world’s greenest city.”

Robertson is looking to become the first back-to-back mayor since the NPA’s Philip Owen governed from 1993 – 2002. His popularity with Vancouver’s young and green mind population is palpable throughout the city, but his detractors question the efficacy of his green policies, housing solutions and his governments’ spending.

“We don’t believe they are good fiscal managers, that their priorities are not the priorities of Vancouverites,” NPA Campaign Manger Norman Stowe told the Vancouver Observer.

The NPA has made Robertson’s urban agriculture programs a focus of their City Hall strategy.

“We think that anyone who wants to have a garden should have a garden. They have been able to do it for 125 years without direction of the city. We don’t’ need the city to be telling people or funding people to do that. This kind of social engineering is really taking the eye off the ball.”

Robertson’s leading opposition, NPA candidate Suzanne Anton, officially filed her campaign papers at City Hall this morning and has been blitzing the Vancouver media with ongoing campaign updates. Today the NPA announced the addition of five prominent Vancouverites, Robin Dhir, Irene Yatco, B.C.Lee, Simon Jackson, and Deepak Gill, as NPA campaign co-chairs, each with an eye to invigorate the NPA base. The day before they announced a moratorium on bike lane expansion.

Robertson's took aim at mounting NPA opposition in his new ad saying “our political opponents though, are highly negative, well funded, and determined to take us backward,” a not so-subtle response to earlier NPA jabs.

Two weeks ago, the NPA began their campaign with a preemptive broadcast, web and radio campaign targeting Robertson’s’ more controversial moves in enacting Visions’ Greenest City Objective – a multi faceted policy to increase non-car city transport 50 per cent by 2020 and to reduce Vancouver’s growing carbon footprint with urban agriculture initiatives and subsidies for local food growers. One NPA ad in particular said it was time to "stop playing chicken with Vancouver’s Future,” a reference to what the NPA claims is the public's  underwhelming response to Visions' urban agriculture policies.

“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.

Vision Executive Director, Ian Baillie, responded to NPA claims telling The Vancouver Observer "They are doing this to pit resident against resident. I’ll go back to what Peter Ladner said, their former leader and mayoral candidate, who criticized their stance. The NPA is showing they are out of touch. This is just another example of it. Why are they trying to turn back what is a world wide blue print?"

City Hall’s Greenest City budget accounted for approximately two percent of the Vancouver’s expenditures in 2010, at $340,000.

New Candidate

Beyond NPA and Vision dust-ups, independent candidate, Sandy Garossino, announced her bid for a council seat, taking a strong stance on the need for voices above the partisan fray in City Hall.

“Public consultation, that is what the people want. If people are upset, it is because of the lack of trust in the public consultation process. And then there is the issue of affordability. There is no getting around it, and they [organized parties] don’t want to touch it and that is why an independent is important.”

Garossino, a lawyer and Vancouver businesswomen, made media headlines this past year as Vancouver’s’ leading oppositional voice to the proposed mega casino outside BC Place.

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