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Government and politics of Vancouver

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Title: Government and politics of Vancouver  
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Subject: Outline of Canada
Collection: Municipal Government of Vancouver, Politics of Vancouver
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Government and politics of Vancouver

Vancouver, unlike other British Columbia municipalities, is incorporated under a unique provincial statute, the Vancouver Charter.[1] The legislation, passed in 1953, supersedes the Vancouver Incorporation Act, 1921 and grants the city more and different powers than other communities possess under BC's Municipalities Act.

The city is governed by the 10-member Vancouver City Council, a nine-member School Board, and a seven-member Park Board, all elected for three-year terms through an at-large system. In addition, residents of Vancouver vote for representatives in the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia and the Canadian House of Commons.

Historically, in all levels of government, the more affluent west side of Vancouver has voted along conservative or centre-right lines while the working-class eastern side of the city has voted along left-wing lines. This was reaffirmed with the results of the 2005 provincial election.

Unlike most other municipalities in Canada, Vancouver's civic politics operate under a system of locally based political parties, rather than unaligned independents.


  • History 1
  • Municipal representation 2
    • Mayor 2.1
    • City Council 2.2
    • Park and School boards 2.3
    • 2008 election 2.4
    • 2005 election 2.5
    • 2004 plebiscite 2.6
    • 2002 election 2.7
  • Provincial representation 3
  • Federal representation 4
  • References 5


Larry Campbell's election as mayor in 2002 was in part due to his willingness to champion alternative interventions for drug issues, such as supervised injection sites. The city has adopted a Four Pillars Drug Strategy, which combines harm reduction (e.g. needle exchanges, supervised injection sites) with treatment, enforcement, and prevention.[2] The strategy is largely a response to the endemic HIV and hepatitis C among injection drug users in the city's Downtown Eastside neighbourhood. The area is characterized by entrenched poverty, and consequently is home to the "low track" street sex trade and a bustling "open air" street drug market, which gave rise to a significant AIDS epidemic in the 1990s. Some community and professional groups—such as From Grief to Action and Keeping the Door Open—are fostering public dialogue in the city about further alternatives to current drug policies.[3][4] The harm reduction strategies appears to have been successful with the deactivation of the St. Paul's Hospital Ward 10C, on May 27, 2014, due to the near-elimination of AIDS cases in British Columbia.[5]

Campbell chose not to run for re-election, and was subsequently appointed to the Senate of Canada. In the 2005 Municipal Election, the City Council swung back to the right after a term dominated by the leftist Coalition of Progressive Electors (COPE). NPA mayoral candidate Sam Sullivan narrowly defeated Jim Green for the position of mayor in 2005 and was joined by five of his party's members on Council. The centrist Vision Vancouver (VVN) brought four members to Council, with the final seat going to COPE. The NPA also won six of nine School Board seats and five of seven Parks Board seats, while the remaining Board seats were won by COPE.[6]

In the 2008 Municipal Election campaign, NPA incumbent mayor Sam Sullivan was ousted as mayoral candidate by the party in a close vote, which instated Peter Ladner as the new mayoral candidate for the NPA. Gregor Robertson, a former MLA for Vancouver-Fairview and head of Happy Planet, was the mayoral candidate for Vision Vancouver, the other main contender. Vision Vancouver candidate Gregor Robertson defeated Ladner by a considerable margin, nearing 20,000 votes. The balance of power was significantly shifted to Vision Vancouver, which held seven of the 10 spots for councillor. Of the remaining three, COPE received two and the NPA one. For park commissioner, four spots went to Vision Vancouver, one to the Green Party, one to COPE, and one to NPA. For school trustee, there were four Vision Vancouver seats, three COPE seats, and two NPA seats.[7]

Municipal representation


Gregor Robertson is currently the mayor of Vancouver, British Columbia, as of the 2008 municipal elections.[8] He previously served as a MLA for Vancouver-Fairview until his resignation to run for the mayoral position.

City Council

Vancouver City Council
Councilors Party
Tony Tang Vision
Heather Deal Vision
Kerry Jang Vision
Raymond Louie Vision
Geoff Meggs Vision
Andrea Reimer Vision
Tim Stevenson Vision
Elizabeth Ball NPA
George Affleck NPA
  Adriane Carr Green

Park and School boards

Vancouver Park Board
Commissioners Party
Constance Barnes Vision
Sarah Blyth Vision
Niki Sharma Vision
Aaron Jasper Vision
Trevor Loke Vision
Melissa De Genova NPA
John Coupar NPA
Vancouver School Board
Trustees Party
Patti Bacchus Vision
Cherie Payne Vision
Rob Wynen Vision
Ken Clement Vision
Mike Lombardi Vision
Ken Denike NPA
Sophia Woo NPA
Fraser Ballantyne NPA
Allan Wong COPE

2008 election

2005 election

2004 plebiscite

A proposal to change Vancouver's council elections to run on a ward basis (like most major Canadian cities) rather than its current at-large system was rejected by the populace in a referendum on October 16, 2004. Only 22% of city residents cast a ballot in this referendum.[9]

2002 election

Provincial representation

In the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia, Vancouver has eleven constituencies. In the 2013 provincial election, the BC Liberal Party won four seats, and the BC New Democratic Party won seven seats.[10]

Riding MLA Party
     Vancouver-Fairview George Heyman NDP
  Vancouver-False Creek Sam Sullivan BC Liberal
  Vancouver-Fraserview Suzanne Anton BC Liberal
     Vancouver-Hastings Shane Simpson NDP
     Vancouver-Kensington Mable Elmore NDP
     Vancouver-Kingsway Adrian Dix NDP
  Vancouver-Langara Moira Stilwell BC Liberal
     Vancouver-Mount Pleasant Jenny Kwan NDP
     Vancouver-Point Grey David Eby NDP
  Vancouver-Quilchena Andrew Wilkinson BC Liberal
     Vancouver-West End Spencer Chandra Herbert NDP

Federal representation

In the Canadian House of Commons, Vancouver has five constituencies. In the 2004 federal elections, the Liberal Party of Canada won four seats, while the New Democratic Party won one. In the 2006 federal elections, all the same MPs were re-elected, although David Emerson of Vancouver Kingsway later defected to the Conservative Party. In the subsequent 2008 federal elections, the Liberals won three seats while the NDP picked up Vancouver Kingsway for a total of two seats.

Most recently, the NDP and Liberals both retained two seats each. The Conservatives won one seat, their first win in the city since 1988.

Riding MP Party
     Vancouver Centre Hedy Fry Liberal
     Vancouver East Libby Davies New Democrat
     Vancouver Kingsway Don Davies New Democrat
     Vancouver Quadra Joyce Murray Liberal
     Vancouver South Wai Young Conservative


  1. ^ "Vancouver Charter". Queen's Printer (British Columbia). Retrieved 2007-06-07. 
  2. ^ "Four Pillars Drug Strategy". City of Vancouver. 2001. Retrieved 2007-01-17. 
  3. ^ "From Grief to Action". From Grief to Action. Retrieved 2006-11-15. 
  4. ^ Maxwell, Gillian. "Keeping the Door Open".  
  5. ^ "Closing of Vancouver hospital’s AIDS ward is symbolic of progress". 
  6. ^ "Vancouver Votes November 19, 2005". City of Vancouver. Retrieved 2006-11-11. 
  7. ^ "Vancouver Votes Municipal Election 2008". City of Vancouver. Retrieved 2009-11-29. 
  8. ^ "Election summary - Election 2008". City of Vancouver. Retrieved 2009-10-29. 
  9. ^ "Decision 2004: At-large or Wards?". City of Vancouver. Retrieved 2010-12-24. 
  10. ^ "2013 Voting Results by Voting Area". Elections BC. Retrieved 2014-02-27. 
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