Vancouver’s mayoral race is heating up, with a veteran journalist announcing he is running for mayor under the NPA banner.
Kirk LaPointe is best known locally as the former managing editor of the Vancouver Sun and has held senior roles at various news organizations across Canada. He is currently an adjunct journalism professor at UBC.
“I am entering this campaign to focus on constructive ideas that will make our great city greater, and to cast aside the harmful politics of division,” says LaPointe.
He says there is a “strong appetite for change” at City Hall.
“As a journalist, I fought to get the answers people wanted. As mayor, I will fight to create the solutions Vancouverites want.”
LaPointe says if he’s elected, there will be free wi-fi across the city, first in low-income neighbourhoods. He also promised a freeze on property taxes and to reduce break-and-enter and property crimes.
He also promised an “end to the politics of division between cyclists and motorists.”
LaPointe says he’s an underdog, and even though he has “fewer resources” than his competitor, he will lean on his experience in the media.
“This is a great city but we can make it greater. I am here as an outsider today, and an underdog. And I am under no illusions how our opponents are better financed from here and abroad, with the advantage of incumbency — but I’m also a fighter,” he says.
LaPointe says he will make Vancouver City Hall “the most open government in Canada.”
“The public has a right to know, and we will make it the law.”
LaPointe says that all NPA candidates, staff and executive members will have to sign a “code of conduct” and if anyone breaches the code, he will resign as a mayoral candidate.
Mayor Gregor Robertson has already announced he will seek a third-term as mayor. Robertson remains popular, but has faced opposition over bike lanes and increased density in established neighbourhoods.
He is also in the spotlight following his separation from long-time partner, Amy Robertson.
In the 2011 civic election, two NPA councillors were elected, but NPA mayoral candidate Suzanne Anton lost to Robertson. Anton received 40 per cent of the vote, compared to 53 per cent for Robertson.
Vision Vancouver issued a statement Monday afternoon in response to LaPointe’s announcement he was running.
Councillor Heather Deal says LaPointe and the NPA will take Vancouver “backwards.”
“Kirk Lapointe has obviously spent a lot of time considering whether or not to run. He looked long and hard at the NPA, their positions and their policies, and liked what he saw,” said Deal in a statement. “His appointment does nothing to fix how backwards the NPA has been on what matters to people in Vancouver.”
Deal says the NPA has voted against the city’s plans on affordable housing and homelessness and the Broadway subway.
LaPointe says further policy announcements will come out in the next few weeks, and that Vancouverites will be pleasantly surprised.
“It’s not the NPA that you once knew.”
Vancouver’s civic election will take place on November 15.
© Shaw Media, 2014