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HomeCanadian NewsDaphne Bramham: Vancouver mayor faucets builders to fund re-election

Daphne Bramham: Vancouver mayor faucets builders to fund re-election

Opinion: Regardless of guarantees of transparency, the self-styled anti-establishment defender of renters has turned to builders for cash

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It’s a who’s who of Vancouver’s profitable growth neighborhood, the captains of an business presiding over some of the unaffordable housing markets within the nation.

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A spreadsheet discovered close to Metropolis Corridor by Stanley Q. Woodvine, a homeless author, additionally seems to be Kennedy Stewart’s focused checklist to lift $738,500 for his re-election as mayor and fund his Ahead Collectively occasion’s marketing campaign.

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One column titled “Captains” has names of presidents and senior executives. One other column has objectives for every captain to lift. One other, how a lot of the $270,842 whole to-date every has delivered. Fundraising objectives for the 37 ‘captains’ vary from $5,000 to $110,000.

Though Ahead Collectively refused to substantiate or deny the spreadsheet’s provenance, TEAM for a Livable Vancouver requested Elections B.C. late Wednesday to research.

TEAM famous that it isn’t accepting any private donations from builders as a result of it “didn’t need the notion that an business regulated by metropolis council” can be financing its election.

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In an emailed response to a direct query in regards to the spreadsheet, Ahead Collectively mentioned in an announcement attributed to government director Mark Hosak: “Like all campaigns, Ahead Collectively is actively fundraising. We observe all Elections B.C. guidelines. … In August, we had been the primary marketing campaign to publicly disclose our donor checklist and can accomplish that once more earlier than election day.”

There’s lots that’s startling in regards to the spreadsheet. The primary is that it was printed in any respect, not to mention misplaced.

But it surely additionally speaks volumes in regards to the public-facing marketing campaign versus the personal one being run by Stewart, who gained election in 2018 trumpeting the necessity for civic financing reform and better transparency.

A political-science professor specializing in municipal governance with a doctorate from the London College of Economics, Stewart has written so extensively about these issues that it’s a humiliation of riches when one goes on the lookout for quotes.

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Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart
Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart Picture by Arlen Redekop /PNG

In a December 2009 opinion piece in The Vancouver Solar, Stewart wrote favourably about Quebec’s regulation that prohibits donations of greater than $1,000 a 12 months and urged B.C. to “draft legal guidelines to stem the tsunami of cash, a few of it overseas, flowing into native election contests” as a method to “re-establish public belief” within the electoral course of.

The federal government did that. International, company and union donations are banned and private donations are restricted to $1,250 this 12 months for Vancouver.

Mockingly, Stewart talked about that Raymond Louie, a Imaginative and prescient councillor in 2008, acquired $80,000 from a single donor.

Now CEO of Coromandel Properties, Louie is likely one of the ‘captains’ listed on Stewart’s spreadsheet who has delivered $2,500 and has a objective of elevating $25,000 extra.

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He’s not the one former politico focused. Imaginative and prescient Vancouver’s former government director, Stepan Vdovine, is tapped to lift $18,700. He’s now enterprise growth director at land developer Amacon.

Former B.C. NDP president Craig Keating’s objective is $12,500. He’s Methods 360’s vice-president of municipal follow.

Louie might also be the “Raymond” listed in a word beside ‘captain’ Terry Hui’s identify. Hui is head of Harmony Pacific with a objective of $31,250 along with $8,200 delivered. Within the notes part, it says, “Raymond following up.”

Apart from a seeming battle between what Stewart has written and what he’s completed, there’s a disconnect between Ahead Collectively being positioned as a grassroots motion and defender of renters in opposition to the landowning and land-developing institution.

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The August disclosure of $1.13 million raised between Might 2018 to June 30, 2022, famous that the typical donation was $175 and included a remark from Hosak that Stewart and Ahead Collectively “imagine it’s important voters know who funds politics on this metropolis, earlier than anybody casts their poll.”

However, it now appears clear that the actual cash is coming from the vested-interest institution together with Jon Stovell, whose Reliance Properties has completed two high-profile “renovictions” within the West Finish.

Jon Stovell of Reliance Properties stands near a parking garage at the corner of Melville and Thurlow Streets in downtown Vancouver, BC Wednesday, April 14, 2021.
Jon Stovell of Reliance Properties stands close to a parking storage on the nook of Melville and Thurlow Streets in downtown Vancouver, BC Wednesday, April 14, 2021. Picture by Jason Payne /PNG

A word beside Stovell’s identify signifies a followup e-mail a few $12,500 donation objective was despatched to him on Sept. 2 from “NM”.

That’s probably Neil Monckton, who continues to gather his $126,366 wage because the mayor’s chief of workers and the “Neil” famous elsewhere on the spreadsheet.

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Monckton has been on unpaid depart from the place since Sept. 10.

The e-mail was despatched solely days after Reliance revised its rezoning utility for a 25-storey rental constructing at Davie and Hornby streets. Now, it proposes solely condos.

‘Captain’ Francesco Aquilini, a Vancouver Canucks’ proprietor and land developer, has the very best fundraising goal of $110,000 with a word that $64,350 has already donated this 12 months.

Ian Gillespie, head of Westbank Properties and Artistic Vitality, additionally acquired a followup e-mail from NM in regards to the $25,000 objective. It was despatched Aug. 30, per week earlier than Prime Minister Justin Trudeau introduced a $1.4-billion mortgage for Sen̓áḵw, which Westbank is co-developing together with the Squamish First Nation.

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‘Captain’ David Negrin, CEO of the biggest landholding firm in Vancouver — MST Developments, owned by the Squamish, Musqueam and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations — is midway to his set objective of $5,000.

Arnold Silber (Worth Property Group), Ajay Dilawri (Dilawri Group of Corporations) and Carol Pan are listed at $50,000, whereas Colin Bosa/Jeff Skinner (Bosa Properties Inc.) and Beau Jarvis (Wesgroup Properties) at $37,500.

Different captains embody executives from growth firms Canadian Metropolitan Properties, Onni Group, Jameson Improvement, Rennie Properties, Wesgroup, Intracorp, Molnar, CBRE Canada, Conwest Group, Bogner Developments, Strand, Pennyfarthing Properties, and Third Area Properties.

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For the reason that spreadsheet was discovered, it’s no shock that different events haven’t piled on with criticism.

Of their silence, they’re — little question — thanking the electoral gods that it wasn’t their fundraising paperwork that fell into the fallacious arms.

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