Gloves come off in Vancouver mayoral forum as candidates spar on bike lanes, affordability
With a week and a half left until election day the heat is being turned up on the Vancouver mayoral race.
The top four candidates according to a recent Research Co. poll squared off in the West End mayoral debate on Tuesday night.
Shauna Sylvester, Kennedy Stewart, Ken Sim and Hector Bremner debated housing policy, job creation and sustainability for nearly two hours.
But the candidates saved their most pointed shots for the closing statements.
WATCH HERE: Mayoral candidates individual housing plans
Sylvester closed first, criticizing Stewart for recently moving back to Vancouver after having lived in Burnaby for four years while serving as an NDP MP.
“It’s one of the most historic moments in our city’s history and I have lived here for almost 50 years, not five, I didn’t just jump over here from Burnaby,” said Sylvester. “I know that this is going to be one of the most divided councils we have ever had.
“We could make history. We have never had a woman mayor. We could have a woman mayor and one of the most qualified people in that role.”
Sylvester also brought forward her plan for small businesses, which centres in part around small business and worker recruitment.
“We have got to create a situation where we are bringing that price index, those costs, down,” said Sylvester.
“We need opportunities for small businesses to recruit through referent kinds of programs we have had in the past. We need more employees.”
WATCH HERE: Mayoral candidates climate change action plans
Stewart took his own shots at Sylvester. Stewart has been disclosing regularly who has been making donations to his campaign. Recently, Bremner and Sim have done the same but Sylvester has not.
“She can say who is funding her campaign,” said Stewart. “She needs to come clean.”
But Stewart did not report that four members of Vancouver and District Labour Council–affiliated unions continue to collect a salary while working in support of his campaign.
“And your labour donations,” Sylvester fired back following Stewart’s remarks.
WATCH HERE: Vancouver mayoral candidates on the removal of bike lanes
NPA mayoral candidate Ken Sim continued attacking the frontrunner.
He said that even though Stewart was running as an independent, he is closely affiliated with Vision Vancouver and current Mayor Gregor Robertson.
“This election is about whether we are better off or worse off after 10 years of Vision,” said Sim.
“Kennedy Stewart, he won’t admit it, is the de facto Vision candidate. He supports Vision candidates and Vision candidates support him,” he added.
“His policies are just like Vision policies.”
“In Burnaby he sat silent for seven years when affordable housing units got destroyed while he watched people lose their homes. I’m not attacking someone. That is just fact,” Sim said.
WATCH HERE: Mayoral candidates on homelessness in the West End
The candidates were also asked about bike lanes.
While Sim said there will be no “war” on bike lanes, he did say there were two bike lanes he did not like and that, if elected mayor, he would launch a review on congestion.
“There will be absolutely no war on bike lanes. As I said, we are going to do a review on congestion,” said Sim.
Bremner was the final mayoral candidate to speak.
He criticized the others for lacking a vision on housing and provided his own thoughts on increasing density and creating a new plan for the city.
“This is an election where we have an opportunity to reclaim something for ourselves and our children. We don’t need to study. We don’t need to do more of the same. We don’t need to just stand still,” said Bremner.
“Vancouver is truly at a moment. What you didn’t hear from anyone else is a real vision for our city.”
© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.