No, you aren’t suffering from double vision — it’s just that as we gear up for Vancouver’s municipal election, Vision and the Non-Partisan Association are looking increasingly similar.
Last week, NPA mayoral candidate Kirk LaPointe made a big campaign announcement that he will take on child hunger by working with various groups to fund a breakfast program.
Practically at the same time, Mayor Gregor Robertson, who is running for re-election for Vision Vancouver, made his own announcement on child hunger. He pledged the city would invest funds into the Vancouver School Board’s breakfast program.
It’s great to see an important issue like child hunger take front and center in this campaign. However, the two candidates have essentially the same position on the issue, they just disagree on how a school breakfast program should be funded and facilitated.
This week, LaPointe announced another big NPA campaign policy. If elected, he says he will create the “first-ever” Vancouver ombudsperson’s office. This will help Vancouverites deal with their issues with the city so they can avoid other costly avenues, such as the courts.
Vision Vancouver was quick to point out that the position already exists: the B.C. Ombudsperson, who has jurisdiction over all local governments – including Vancouver.
Well, there goes LaPointe’s groundbreaking announcement – his big policy is something that already functionally exists. However, LaPointe is adamant that Vancouver needs its own distinct ombudsperson, and even pointed out that in a former life, he was an ombudsperson for the CBC.
Again there is no fundamental disagreement – both mayoral candidates believe Vancouverites need an ombudsperson, all they disagree about is who pays for the service: the city or the province.
Another big NPA policy announcement is city-wide free Wi-Fi. If elected as mayor, LaPointe has promised there will be free Wi-Fi throughout the city. But Vision has been pilot-projecting free Wi-Fi in select Vancouver areas since 2013 and Vision Vancouver Coun. Andrea Reimer has said that city-wide Wi-Fi is a long term goal.
Another big promise and no fundamental difference between the parties.
There are nearly two months left in this election, and the NPA has promised there are more policies to come. Based on what they have released so far, the choice in this election is between Vision and a team offering the same policies as Vision – only with a different set of faces.
If the NPA wants people to vote to change government, they need to offer policies and ideas that are different from Vision.