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Vancouver mayor criticized over ‘campaign ad’-style radio spot

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New radio ads from Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart are raising eyebrows, months out from the next municipal election.

The ads, which feature the mayor reading a script touting the mayor’s ‘Making HOME’ plan, are currently in rotation on local radio stations.

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The plan aims to spur the creation of 10,000 new, more affordable homes by allowing homeowners to build up to six units on a single lot in lower-density areas. Council voted to have city staff investigate technical details on the concept last month.

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But the radio spot, which states it is produced by the mayor’s office, has some critics raising concerns that what sounds like an election ad is being paid for with taxpayer funds.

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“At the end of the day, if he wanted to get the message out there, he could literally get it out there on social media for free,” Ken Sim, who is also running for mayor in the October election, told Global News.

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“That would be the smart thing to do, but he didn’t do that. And the reality is he’s running for re-election and this is a campaign ad. So he’s using taxpayer money to fund his re-election campaign.”

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Stewart’s office said the mayor was not available for an interview, providing a written statement instead.

“Whether it’s combatting anti-Asian hate, the record number of rental and social housing approved, or Making HOME – the mayor’s affordable homeownership plan unanimously passed by council – we communicate on topics important to the city,” the mayor’s office said.

Residents of the City of Vancouver go to the polls in the next municipal election on Saturday, October 15.

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