November 16, 2014

Vancouver voter turnout highest in 12 years

CBC: The City of Vancouver now says turnout in this year’s civic election is estimated at 44 percent with more than 187,000 ballots cast, up from 34 percent in the 2011 municipal election. It’s the largest turnout in a Vancouver civic election since 2002.

“This is a very strong turn-out for the City of Vancouver, surpassing the goal of 40 per cent.” -City of Vancouver

November 15, 2014

Robertson wins third term in Vancouver

Gregor Robertson 03

CTV: “Vancouverites voted for status quo Saturday, re-electing incumbent mayor Gregor Robertson to four more years at city hall. It was a close race but in the end Robertson staved off his challenger, the Non-Partisan Association’s Kirk LaPointe, to win his third-straight term as leader of B.C.’s largest city.”

November 12, 2014

Robertson-LaPointe gap shrinks as Vancouver election nears


Global: The race to be Vancouver’s next mayor appears to be tightening up, with NPA challenger Kirk LaPointe only five points behind incumbent Gregor Robertson of Vision Vancouver. A new poll from Insights West, found that among decided voters, 46 per cent plan to support Robertson, while 41 per cent will support LaPointe. COPE’s mayoral candidate, Meena Wong, has nine per cent support among decided voters.

CTV: Pollster Mario Canseco says the race is far from over, and both parties have a shot at winning over the huge segment of potential voters still sitting on the fence.

“We do have 27 per cent of residents who are undecided and intend to vote, so there’s a lot of fluidity at this point. The numbers suggest that it’s going to be closer than what we saw in 2008 against Peter Ladner, what we saw in 2011 against Suzanne Anton.” -Mario Canseco

“It’s competitive and it’s really going to be up to voters coming out and believing that there is a real difference and a contrast in this election.” -Gregor Robertson

November 11, 2014

Surrey mayoral race too close to call days before election


Vancouver Sun: “A new poll released Monday shows the race to replace Dianne Watts as Surrey’s mayor couldn’t be closer.”

“The Insights West poll found, among other things, that Surrey First candidate Linda Hepner and Safe Surrey Coalition candidate Doug McCallum are tied with 33 per cent of decided voters planning to vote for each candidate. One Surrey contender Barinder Rasode is close behind with 30 per cent of decided voters, while four per cent of decided voters favour other candidates.”

November 8, 2014

Resistance continues to plague Uber Vancouver expansion plans


Global: The controversial taxi alternative Uber is believed to be planning an imminent expansion into Vancouver, despite an edict from the city that the U.S.-based company cannot legally operate. Uber recently posted job ads for managers in Vancouver and is also accepting registrations for prospective drivers for its UberX service. Unlike a traditional tax cab, the UberX service allows anyone with a car and a driver’s licence to pick up passengers. Vancouver’s city council recently voted not to hand out new taxi licences — including to Uber drivers — for six months, while B.C.’s transportation minister has warned Uber could face stiff fines if it operates without proper approvals.

CTV: ”My message to Uber and any other company like Uber is: we have rules; we have laws in this province that are all about protecting the travelling public and ensuring that people can travel safely. If Uber wants to operate in this province, they’re going to have to operate under the same rules taxi operators currently abide by.” -B.C. Transportation Minister Todd Stone

Uber attempted to launch its black-car service in Vancouver in 2012, but the company withdrew from B.C. after the provincial transportation regulator imposed a minimum fare of $75 per trip. Uber did not make anyone available for an interview, but in a written statement the company argued traditional taxi regulations are outdated and shouldn’t apply to its service.

“It’s important to note that Uber is not a taxi service — we are a technology company — and as such we don’t believe it makes sense to force-fit the services we provide into a taxi regulatory framework that is often decades old.”  -Uber Spokesperson Arielle Goren.

October 24, 2014

Poll: Only 13 percent say Surrey is “safe”

RCMP Surrey

Vancouver Sun: “Just 13 per cent of Surrey residents rated their city as safe, a starkly lower number than anywhere else in Metro Vancouver, according to a recent poll commissioned by Vancity. Crime is a hot municipal election topic in Surrey. All major mayoral candidates have made it a central plank in their campaign platforms.”

It is often people’s reaction to crime stories in their neighbourhoods, rather than actual statistics, that drive how safe they truly feel, said Shachi Kurl, senior vice-president at Angus Reid Global.


October 22, 2014

Environment minister: B.C. LNG law greenest in the world

CTV: Environment Minister Mary Polak says new legislation governing greenhouse gas emissions from liquefied natural gas plants sets pollution benchmarks that will establish the British Columbia industry as the cleanest in the world. Polak tabled the Greenhouse Gas Industrial Reporting and Control Act Monday, saying B.C.’s emission benchmarks will be lower than any other LNG facility in the world.

Environmental groups have raised concerns about increased GHG emissions associated with extracting and burning natural gas. Many have suggested permitting LNG plants to run with natural gas will blow the province’s legislated greenhouse gas reduction targets, which call for emission reductions of one-third within the next six years. The B.C. limit set is .16 tonnes of carbon dioxide for each tonne of LNG produced. It includes all GHG emissions from the point where gas enters a facility to when it is loaded onto a ship or rail car.

Global: [Polak] said it will test legislated GHG emission targets, which have been set at one-third below 2007 levels by 2020, and the province will also consider cutting emissions in sectors, such as transportation and construction. Polak said the government estimates five B.C. LNG plants will create 13-million tonnes of GHG emissions, adding to B.C.’s current annual GHG emissions of 62 million tonnes.

“It is going to be a challenge, no question. Sure, it’s going to be really difficult but it means we’re going to have to be drilling down more and more on the everyday things that we can do to reduce GHG emissions.” -Environment Minister Mary Polak

Opposition politicians labelled the proposed law an attempt to hoodwink British Columbians about the amount of pollution the plants will emit.

“Saying one thing and doing another, where they claim that day is night and night is day, where they claim that brown is green and that standing up for the environment is what they’re doing.” Opposition Environment Critic Spencer Chandra Herbert

October 14, 2014

B.C. to allow alcohol in grocery stores next spring

CTV: The provincial government says the sale of alcohol in grocery stores starting next spring will be part of a store-within-a-store model. In order to be eligible, 75 per cent of a grocery store’s sales must come from food, and it must be a minimum of 930 square metres. Big-box stores and convenience stores will not be permitted to sell alcohol.

Global: ”[W]e are signalling to the industry how our final grocery framework is shaping up, so they have certainty and time to prepare – and so that the option for one-stop shopping can be available to British Columbians this coming spring.” -Attorney General and Minister of Justice Suzanne Anton

October 14, 2014

Poll: Doug McCallum leads Surrey mayoral race

Doug McCallum 01

An Insights West poll finds name recognition goes a long way for a former officeholder as Doug McCallum holds an early lead in Surrey’s mayoral race. McCallum, who leads the Safe Surrey Coalition, is polling at 40 per cent, ahead of Surrey First contender Linda Hepner (32%) and independent Barinder Rasode (20%) with five weeks before election day.

According to the online poll,  55% of respondents say crime is the most important issue facing the city—a 10-point increase since a survey conducted by Insights West in July.