Vancouver Greens hopeful for more seats in next election

The Green Party think they can keep their success in next October's election, but experts are not so sure.


Reported by Laura Brougham

The Green Party’s success in Saturday’s byelection in Vancouver cannot be viewed as a prelude to what will happen in the polls in the civic election next October.

That’s the conclusion of Ramjee Parajulee, a Langara College political science instructor, who cautioned the Greens’ election of three school trustees Oct. 14 occurred with only 11 per cent of eligible voters casting a ballot.

“Certainly, it’s a positive sign,” Parajulee said. “But how can you gauge the opinion of people based on 11 per cent?”

The Greens’ Janet Fraser, Judy Zaichkowsky and Estrellita Gonzalez won the top three spots on the nine-person school board. They were among 19 candidates in a race that saw Vision Vancouver also win three seats. The NPA won two and OneCity finished with one.

Fry places third

On the council side, the Greens’ Pete Fry’s 9,759 votes left him in third place behind second-place finisher Jean Swanson. The NPA‘s Hector Bremner won the council seat with 13,372 votes and 28 per cent of the vote.

Despite this being Fry’s third attempt at running for public office — twice municipally and once provincially — he was not deterred by Saturday’s loss. He said the results showed growing support for the Greens, which he predicted will translate to a win for the party in the 2018 election.

“I think there was a really clear signal that was sent tonight — that people are looking for a new progressive party for the City of Vancouver, and the Greens are starting to fit that bill,” said Fry, who watched the results at Eight ½ Restaurant and Lounge in Mount Pleasant, which is owned by Green Party park board commissioner Michael Wiebe.

Next election October 2018

About 100 supporters, including park board commissioner Stuart Mackinnon and Green Party Coun. Adriane Carr, gathered at the restaurant to watch the results. They heard Fry announce later in the night that he will run in the 2018 election — an announcement that was welcomed by a cheering Carr.

“I’m ecstatic, I’m very happy that Pete’s going to run,” she said. “I absolutely believe that when people have 10 councillors to vote for [in the next election] they’re going to elect me and Pete.”

Jacquie Miller, the Green Party‘s campaign manager, said the party has to carefully plan its strategy for the 2018 election.

“It’s incumbent on us as the Green Party of Vancouver to determine our strategy and how many people we will run,” Miller said. “We ran three for council last time, and we elected one, but both of the other two [Fry and Cleta Brown] came very close and they were both phenomenal candidates.”

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