Geoff’s comments at the Vision all-candidates’ forum
When we met three short years ago to found Vision Vancouver, there were fewer people in the room than there are on this stage.
And today we have more than 16,000 members.
Because the people of this city are hungry for change.
They know there are solutions to the problems we face.
Problems like homelessness, a humanitarian emergency just a few blocks from the Vancouver Cabinet Office.
Problems like the cost of housing, which is dislocating renters and putting home ownership out of reach for a majority of our citizens.
Problems like the crisis in transportation, with the shortage of buses and a fare structure that discriminates against thousands of students.
People are joining Vision Vancouver because they believe Gregor Robertson’s team – people like George, Raymond, Tim and Heather – have the ideas and drive to make this a truly inclusive, sustainable city.
I believe I have the skills and background to make a critical contribution to that team – just as I did as a member of Larry Campbell’s team during his term as mayor.
I know that real solutions come when everyone – business, labour, the community – works together.
I’m a journalist by trade, but my passion is working for a better future, not just writing up the problems of the present.
I’ve written the history of the wild salmon fishery – and I was the first to sound the alarm about salmon farming in BC. All my life I’ve worked for a greener planet.
I’ve seen what it’s like to face layoffs, wage cuts and plant closures – and I worked through the union movement for social justice, on issues like pay equity and a $10 minimum wage.
I’ve worked in my community, organizing the daycare fundraisers and chairing my strata council.
And I’ve worked in government, both in Victoria and Vancouver, so I know what it takes to get things done.
Friends, voters will ask some very simple questions on Nov. 15.
Who has the plan to tackle homelessness?
Who has the strategy to ensure that if you work in Vancouver, you can live in Vancouver?
Who is determined to put more buses on the road and make it cheaper for everyone to ride them?
You and I know who: it’s Gregor Robertson and the Vision team.
On Sept. 20, I appeal for your support to work on that team.
And in closing…
Friends, you have a tough decision on Sept. 20.
You have to pick a team of eight individuals with the experience, energy and diversity to support Gregor Robertson in the battle to change our city.
Because Gregor, George, Tim, Heather and Raymond can’t do it on their own.
They need a strong majority.
Our city faces tough problems.
The level of homelessness is unacceptable.
It’s getting harder for most citizens to buy a home, find a decent apartment, or even get a seat on the bus.
I’ve seen our city from all sides. I learned how it works; how to find solutions to problems as diverse as housing, transit, child care and the arts.
I’m proud of the role I’ve played in helping our party come this far.
I believe I can make a strong contribution to Gregor’s council team.
I appeal for your support on Sept. 20.