Daphne Bramham: Vancouver mayor taps developers to fund re-election

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Opinion: Regardless of guarantees of transparency, the self-styled anti-establishment defender of renters has turned to builders for cash

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It’s a who’s who of Vancouver’s profitable improvement group, the captains of an trade presiding over one of the crucial unaffordable housing markets within the nation.

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A spreadsheet discovered close to Metropolis Corridor by Stanley Q. Woodvine, a homeless author, additionally seems to be Kennedy Stewart’s focused checklist to boost $738,500 for his re-election as mayor and fund his Ahead Collectively occasion’s marketing campaign.

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One column titled “Captains” has names of presidents and senior executives. One other column has targets for every captain to boost. One other, how a lot of the $270,842 complete to-date every has delivered. Fundraising targets for the 37 ‘captains’ vary from $5,000 to $110,000.

Despite the fact that Ahead Collectively refused to substantiate or deny the spreadsheet’s provenance, TEAM for a Livable Vancouver requested Elections B.C. late Wednesday to analyze.

TEAM famous that it isn’t accepting any private donations from builders as a result of it “didn’t need the notion that an trade regulated by metropolis council” can be financing its election.

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In an emailed response to a direct query in regards to the spreadsheet, Ahead Collectively mentioned in an announcement attributed to government director Mark Hosak: “Like all campaigns, Ahead Collectively is actively fundraising. We comply with all Elections B.C. guidelines. … In August, we have been the primary marketing campaign to publicly disclose our donor checklist and can accomplish that once more earlier than election day.”

There’s quite a bit that’s startling in regards to the spreadsheet. The primary is that it was printed in any respect, not to mention misplaced.

However it additionally speaks volumes in regards to the public-facing marketing campaign versus the personal one being run by Stewart, who received election in 2018 trumpeting the necessity for civic financing reform and higher transparency.

A political-science professor specializing in municipal governance with a doctorate from the London College of Economics, Stewart has written so extensively about these issues that it’s a humiliation of riches when one goes searching for quotes.

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Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart
Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart Photograph by Arlen Redekop /PNG

In a December 2009 opinion piece in The Vancouver Solar, Stewart wrote favourably about Quebec’s regulation that prohibits donations of greater than $1,000 a 12 months and urged B.C. to “draft legal guidelines to stem the tsunami of cash, a few of it overseas, flowing into native election contests” as a way to “re-establish public belief” within the electoral course of.

The federal government did that. Overseas, company and union donations are banned and private donations are restricted to $1,250 this 12 months for Vancouver.

Mockingly, Stewart talked about that Raymond Louie, a Imaginative and prescient councillor in 2008, obtained $80,000 from a single donor.

Now CEO of Coromandel Properties, Louie is likely one of the ‘captains’ listed on Stewart’s spreadsheet who has delivered $2,500 and has a aim of elevating $25,000 extra.

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He’s not the one former politico focused. Imaginative and prescient Vancouver’s former government director, Stepan Vdovine, is tapped to boost $18,700. He’s now enterprise improvement director at land developer Amacon.

Former B.C. NDP president Craig Keating’s aim is $12,500. He’s Methods 360’s vice-president of municipal observe.

Louie might also be the “Raymond” listed in a be aware beside ‘captain’ Terry Hui’s identify. Hui is head of Harmony Pacific with a aim of $31,250 along with $8,200 delivered. Within the notes part, it says, “Raymond following up.”

Apart from a seeming battle between what Stewart has written and what he’s carried out, there’s a disconnect between Ahead Collectively being positioned as a grassroots motion and defender of renters in opposition to the landowning and land-developing institution.

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The August disclosure of $1.13 million raised between Might 2018 to June 30, 2022, famous that the common donation was $175 and included a remark from Hosak that Stewart and Ahead Collectively “consider it’s important voters know who funds politics on this metropolis, earlier than anybody casts their poll.”

However, it now appears clear that the true cash is coming from the vested-interest institution together with Jon Stovell, whose Reliance Properties has carried out two high-profile “renovictions” within the West Finish.

Jon Stovell of Reliance Properties stands near a parking garage at the corner of Melville and Thurlow Streets in downtown Vancouver, BC Wednesday, April 14, 2021.
Jon Stovell of Reliance Properties stands close to a parking storage on the nook of Melville and Thurlow Streets in downtown Vancouver, BC Wednesday, April 14, 2021. Photograph by Jason Payne /PNG

A be aware beside Stovell’s identify signifies a followup e mail a couple of $12,500 donation aim was despatched to him on Sept. 2 from “NM”.

That’s presumably Neil Monckton, who continues to gather his $126,366 wage because the mayor’s chief of workers and the “Neil” famous elsewhere on the spreadsheet.

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Monckton has been on unpaid depart from the place since Sept. 10.

The e-mail was despatched solely days after Reliance revised its rezoning utility for a 25-storey rental constructing at Davie and Hornby streets. Now, it proposes solely condos.

‘Captain’ Francesco Aquilini, a Vancouver Canucks’ proprietor and land developer, has the very best fundraising goal of $110,000 with a be aware that $64,350 has already donated this 12 months.

Ian Gillespie, head of Westbank Properties and Artistic Power, additionally obtained a followup e mail from NM in regards to the $25,000 aim. It was despatched Aug. 30, per week earlier than Prime Minister Justin Trudeau introduced a $1.4-billion mortgage for Sen̓áḵw, which Westbank is co-developing together with the Squamish First Nation.

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‘Captain’ David Negrin, CEO of the most important landholding firm in Vancouver — MST Developments, owned by the Squamish, Musqueam and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations — is midway to his set aim of $5,000.

Arnold Silber (Worth Property Group), Ajay Dilawri (Dilawri Group of Firms) and Carol Pan are listed at $50,000, whereas Colin Bosa/Jeff Skinner (Bosa Properties Inc.) and Beau Jarvis (Wesgroup Properties) at $37,500.

Different captains embrace executives from improvement corporations Canadian Metropolitan Properties, Onni Group, Jameson Growth, Rennie Properties, Wesgroup, Intracorp, Molnar, CBRE Canada, Conwest Group, Bogner Developments, Strand, Pennyfarthing Properties, and Third House Properties.

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For the reason that spreadsheet was discovered, it’s no shock that different events haven’t piled on with criticism.

Of their silence, they’re — little doubt — thanking the electoral gods that it wasn’t their fundraising paperwork that fell into the improper fingers.

dbramham@postmedia.com


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