9:22: That’s a wrap, folks. Your last candidate standing is Lauren Gill.
9:17: Final Round: Aaron Spires, Lauren Gill, Chris Shaw
“It’s 20 years from now in Vancouver. If your vision for the city succeeds, what’s THE big change everyone will be talking about, and what makes it obvious?”
Lauren Gill: We have decided we’re going to speak together about the real issues as represented at Occupy Vancouver.
Chris Shaw: There was a beautiful girl who sang an amazing song at Occupy Vancouver yesterday; it was called Revolution. We believe that the world in 20 years will not be controlled by development – democracy from the bottom up, security for everyone in the city.
Aaron Spires: “We just need to take a look at history to see where we need to go.” Think about the term human resources and what that means – “they’re mining us for money.” People are starving in the streets while there has been a dramatic increase in billionaires. In 20 years from now if I took a look at my city and saw something positive, I would see something like this, where everyone has a vote and a voice, where there aren’t reserved seats for candidates… where we recognize “it is our common humanity that unites us.”
Lauren Gill: BC has the highest child poverty rate for I believe the 8th year in a row; Canada is the only G8 nation without a national housing strategy… You can vote for me, sure, “and if I get elected I will work my ass off for you.” But I think my power, our power, lies in the streets. You can see it at Occupy Vancouver. Ashlie was a friend of mine; she was 22 years old. I’ve known her since she was 17. We lost her last night, and she’s the last person I ever thought we would lose. Could we please have a moment of silence?
Winner, with emphatic and sustained applause: Lauren Gill
9:07: Round 3, Group 3: Nicole Benson, Aaron Spires, Darrell Zimmerman, RJ Aquino
“If elected would you support proposals to return Robson Square to a vehicle-free space? Does Vancouver need a public square?”
Aaron Spires: Currently Vancouver has a public square; it’s Occupy Vancouver. I support public space in general, but where will we find it? “The real issue is where are we going to get it and how are we going to reclaim it?”
Nicole Benson: We need more public spaces in the city and perhaps Robson Square could be one. When developments are coming in we need to ensure community amenities are coming along with them. “Personally, I would support returning Robson Square to a car-free zone.”
Darrell Zimmerman: As a member of Occupy Vancouver, that’s a good idea, we will go take it over. As an artist I have a proposal: we could turn it into a performance art space. I notice that Vision Vancouver has no one left standing here, and where is Gregor Robertson? “I’m there 24-7 and I don’t see him.”
RJ Aquino: “I would keep Robson Square a car-free place.” We saw this summer it was a place for people to come together and speak to each other; I strongly support a larger public square. We see Occupy Vancouver on public land now; we need bigger spaces for people to come together, better areas for us to mingle, come together and “express ourselves.”
Winner: Aaron Spires
9:01: Round 3, Group 2: Ellen Woodsworth, Chris Shaw, Ian Gregson
“Some critics have described Vancouver as an overly planned and overly controlled city. What do you think?”
Ellen Woodsworth: I don’t think it used to be; it used to be a First Nations village. Now from developers we get “tall ugly towers with maybe a stripe of red – that’s innovative?” and now on Robson we’re seeing chains taking them over, unlike the lovely character on 4th, formerly on Main and Commercial. We need to make sure we have the kind of animation and diversity we could have.
Chris Shaw: “It is definitely too planned,” and it’s planned by “the puppet masters who pull the strings at 12th and Cambie.” The people at 12th and Cambie need to wake up and start listening to the people, not letting the developers drive the city as they have for far too long. “Make the city really responsive to the citizens with grassroots democracy.”
Ian Gregson: “How can I follow that? I can’t! You said it all.” When you vote for the people around city council table you’re voting for the developers who fund the political parties. “That’s where the strings are pulled in this city.”
Winner: Chris Shaw
8:55: Round 3, Group 1: Dubgee, Lauren Gill, Randy Helton
“What would be your favourite puppet and why?”
Lauren Gill: I think puppets are a theme of municipal elections, because politicians who take money from developers are just puppets. There’s a local group called Cinnamon Hearts – I would be their puppet; check them out.
Randy Helten: Three favourite puppets: George Bush, you know someone is pulling his strings. I sometimes wonder about Gregor Robertson, too. In seriousness, though, Kermit the Frog, because he’s just such a nice guy.
Dubgee: I’m so screwed right now. Kermit was my first, and politicians were my second, so I’ll go with Fozzie Bear. He’s relatable to me because he gets up there and makes all these jokes and gets booed, but believes in himself.
Winner: Lauren Gill
8:51: Round 2, Group 5: Geoff Meggs, Randy Helton, Andrea Reimer, RJ Aquino
“What did you learn from the Stanley Cup riot and what did you learn?”
RJ Aquino (holding a lightsabre): “First of all, I would have had it so the Canucks won!” We need to understand the kinds of crowds that gather in our spaces and be ready with the resources we need to prvide “a lively atmosphere and a safe atmosphere.” I’m glad there were no serious injuries and no one died, but it’s something “we could have prevented.”
Randy Helten: With my family we were walking around that day and left the downtown core when it was getting crazy. I think the riots “go to the very core of human nature.” We saw the worst and the best in us. An important role of government and public officials is to try to create situations where the best can come out in people, and not where the worst is allowed to come out.
Andrea Reimer: I was downtown in 1994 during those riots. The city worked to try to create the necessary kind of structure around the Stanley Cup Final; now that we have recommendations coming out of the most recent riots we know we can do more. I didn’t learn we should stop public space gatherings; “we need to bring people to gather in more ways,” providing places and ways to connect.
Geoff Meggs: It seemed to me we learned “we’ve got to be tougher about booze consumption,” and we need to provide more acitivies than just watching TV. Also we need the NHL to take more responsibility.
Winners: Randy Helten and Andrea Reimer – but Reimer cedes, giving spot to 3rd place Aquino
8:45: Round 2, Group 4: Michael Dharni, Kerry Jang, Ian Gregson, Chris Shaw
“If elected, will you support the continued operation of Insite and what plans to expand the services to better serve the population?”
Michael Dharni: Yes, I support it. I have recently completed some training to be a primary-care paramedic and have seen how great this facility is. “It’s a great facility, I don’t understand why people are so against it.”
Kerry Jang: “This is a very easy question. I’m delighted it was allowed to stay and we’re looking at expanding, in the areas that need it. I am and I know my colleagues at Vision Vancouver are very, very serious and very supportive of those types of treatment.”
Ian Gregson: We are supportive of Insite but would like to have seen “a better implementation of the Four Pillars approach,” which other than Insite we don’t see much of.
Chris Shaw: A young woman died yesterday at Occupy Vancouver, and medics tried as hard as possible to save her; they did save another person previously. Instead of the mayor of the city lying to people what happened there, we need more Insites and need more services in the city to deal with our most disadvantaged. “This has to be our top priority in the city.”
Winners: Chris Shaw, Ian Gregson
8:36: Round 2, Group 3: Victor Paquette, Lauren Gill, Darrell Zimmerman, Terry Martin
“If you woke up tomorrow morning and were no longer human, but had transformed into a building, which building in Vancouver would you be?”
Lauren Gill: “If I woke up in my tent, because that’s where I’m staying at OV, I would become the 20 units of affordable housing at Little Mountain that were demolished.”
Victor Paquette: “My favourite building by far is the Vancouver library.” When it was going up, people were able to vote on it and people didn’t like it, “because it was so unusual.” It serves many people, and it’s where I bring my friends so they can feel comfortable – it’s one of a kind.
Terry Martin: I would want to wake up as the kind of house I live in, a heritage building being restored. I feel heritage buildings are being lost at a huge rate – “I would want to be any heritage building in our city that wouldn’t be touched.”
Darrell Zimmerman: *plays a little tune on his sax* “As a musician in Vancouver, I live in poverty.” But if I were to wake up as a building I would like to wake up as BC Place – although I haven’t lost all my hair “I’d like to wake up with a $550-million new dome!”
Winners: Darrell Zimmerman and Lauren Gill
8:31: Round 2, Group 2: Ellen Woodsworth, Dubgee, Sean Bickerton, George Affleck.
“There has been a lot of coverage lately about how middle-income earners can’t afford homes in Vancouver; should professionals expect to own a home in Vancouver?”
Dubgee: “I was born and raised in Vancouver and I think everybody deserves to own a home here”, but I also think it’s weird “we should be trying to purchase land that isn’t ours in the first place.”
EW: “I think housing is a right, a right we have as Canadians.” I’m a renter and our landlord just sold out from under us, I don’t know where we’re going to live – we need to make developers come to base and play – “should everybody have a house? Yes.”
Sean Bickerton: I’m running a transit-based campaign, and part of that is a campaign for “transit-based density.” We marry the increased density to the transit infrastructure that already exists, and to address affordability, we can put condo towers on top of transit stations.
George Affleck: “I live in 1,200 square feet with three kids and a partner.” I made a conscious decision to cram in as many people as possible to stay in the city. I think people need to learn to make do with a little bit less space.
Winners: Ellen Woodsworth and Dubgee
8:26: Round 2, Group 1: Adrienne Carr, Nicole Benson, Sam Pelletier, Aaron Spires.
“Whether the city is interesting enough is a big question; Lady Gaga comes to town, where do you take her and why?”
Adrienne Carr: “To Stanley Park to see the skunks!” Stanley Park is great, it’s “the jewel of our city, jewel of the world.”
Aaron Spires: “A walking tour of the DTES”, because I think it’s very important that anyone who comes to our city see the problems that face our city on a day to day basis, and the vibrant community that exists there.
Nicole Benson: “Whenever I have a guest in town I try to take them to all my favourite spots and give a good overview – Stanley Park, UBC, Cypress Mountain, but I agree with Aaron, also all the good and the bad, because that’s what life is all about.
Sam Pelletier: “I’m going to go ahead and ignore that question – no offense guys, but it’s up to [the audience] now – Audience, shout out a random question! (Audience member’s question: Would you put a moratorium on condo developments in the DTES?) “I’m open to all forms of discussion.” I’m not an expert on the issue at all; I’ll have lots to learn.”
Winners: Benson and Spires
8:22: Back from the break for Round 2. This time, it’s up to the audience to decide who stays and who goes. We’ll be breaking candidates into five groups of four.
8:09: Round 1 is over. The pace has been frantic, and we’re working to keep you posted on candidate responses. We’ll be pulling out some of the best answers from Round 1 and posting them here shortly. Stay tuned!
8:05: Group 9: Bill McCreery, Kerry Jang, and Ian Gregson. “If you had to sacrifice one piece of Vancouver to invading aliens, what would it be?”
Gregson and Jang move on. Gregson gets big applause for proposing that we turn over every unused Olympic venue. Jang proposes surrendering his in-laws’ home before arguing for the annexation of Burnaby. Good stuff.
8:01: Group 8: Ellen Woodsworth, George Affleck, and Sandy Garossino face the question of whether Vancouver should return to a ward system.
Woodsworth and Affleck through to the next round.
7:58: Quick reminder – full candidate profiles are available on the City of Vancouver website.
7:54: Group 7: Golok Zoltan Buday, Sean Bickerton, Sam Pelletier.
Bickerton and Pelletier advance.
7:46: Sorry for the delay, folks. We’ll have a more comprehensive update after round 1. Here’s an update on the results so far (candidates advancing in bold).
Group 1: Geoff Meggs, Rick Orser, Victor Paquette
Group 2: Dubgee, Lauren Gill, Chris Masson
Group 3: Michael Dharni, Amy “Evil Genius” Fox, Chris Shaw
Group 4: Ken Charko, Randy Helten, Andrea Reimer
Group 5: RJ Aquino, Joe Carangi, Aaron Spires
Group 6: Menard Caissy, Terry Martin, Darrell Zimmerman
7:32: Dubgee and Lauren Gill through to round 2.
7:29: Second group: Chris Masson, Dubgee, Lauren Gill.
7:27: From the first group, Meggs and Paquette move on.
7:21: First group of candidates up: Geoff Meggs, Rick Orser, and Victor Paquette.
A quick reminder on the rules: Each candidate will have 60 seconds to answer. In the first round, the Panel of Inquisition will determine the best answers and decide who moves on. In round two, it’s up to the audience to decide who is the last candidate standing.
7:19: Introducing the Panel of Inquisition to the dramatic tones of Orff’s “Carmina Burana”….
* David Beers, editor-in-chief, The Tyee
* Theresa Lalonde, reporter, CBC
* Matthew Soules, assistant professor, UBC School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture
* Alissa Sadler, vice-chair, Vancouver Public Space Network
7:16: Our master of ceremonies, Steve Burgess, takes to the stage with a flourish, declaring in a fine brogue: “There can only be one!” Time to find out who it will be…
7:13: Just about ready to go. VPSN Democratic Spaces Coordinator Anthony Hamilton greeting the sold-out audience. You can follow the conversation on Twitter as well under the hashtag #LCSvan.
7:07 p.m.: Wee Boy Pretty is wrapping up a great set as we prepare to get underway. Before we get started, though, a round of introductions is in order. Your blog hosts for the evening will be Graham Pollock, VPSN Communications Coordinator, and guest blogger Megan Grittani-Livingston.
6:58 p.m.: Good evening! The Vancouver Public Space Network and UBC’s School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture are excited to present “Last Candidate Standing” tonight at UBC Robson Square.
We’re about 10 minutes from the start, and local band Wee Boy Pretty is currently warming up the crowd. There’s a great atmosphere in the room as candidates mill about and introduce themselves to members of our sold-out audience.
We’ll be live blogging throughout the night, so be sure to check back for regular updates.