'Free the roads': Wai Young joins Vancouver's race for mayor on anti-bike lane platform
Running on a campaign of freezing the number of bike lanes and lowering taxes — and introduced by a violinist playing Katy Perry's Roar — Wai Young officially launched her campaign for mayor of Vancouver with a newly formed party called Coalition Vancouver.
"I do not have a political agenda," said the former Conservative MP for Vancouver South, in her speech Thursday, outlining what she would do if elected to the city's top political job.
Her promises included eliminating paid parking on Sundays, ensuring a cleaner city and increasing consultation with community groups.
But Young and the crowd of around 60 people were most animated when she took aim at bike lanes.
"We will no longer allow a radical, agenda-driven war on transportation," said Young to cheers.
She said new bike lanes underway for the Cambie Bridge, Kits Beach and on West 10th Avenue would be removed if elected. And any new bike lane would only be allowed if another was removed, and there was consultation with local residents.
'Free the roads'
The city's introduction of protected bike lane was a defining — and divisive — issue of the 2011 and 2014 Vancouver elections, but Mayor Gregor Robertson was re-elected both times.
Young, who used the slogan "free the roads" in her speech, believes this time will be different.
"I think that going forward there were more bike lanes and more dangerous bike lanes," she said.
"Everyone you talk to in this city, there's a story of bike lanes ... cyclists are saying they're not using the bike lanes because they're dangerous. They're using the side roads."
Young did not mention housing in her remarks — aside from criticizing the "socialist capital appropriation" of the NDP's increased school tax on homes worth over $3 million.
But she said specific policies would be announced in a later speech.
Split from NPA
Young originally explored the idea of running with the Non-Partisan Association (NPA), the traditional home for centre-right voters in municipal Vancouver elections, but ultimately decided against it.
"They are Vision Lite and they vote the same way and ... have agreed with Gregor Robertson and his failed policies on virtually every issue," she said.
When asked for specific examples, Young only cited the park board — which is independent from council — continuing a Vision-initiated decision to renegotiate agreements with community centres during the brief time the NPA had a majority of members on the board.
Coalition Vancouver President Peter Labrie said the new party has over 1,000 members and would run candidates for council, school board and park board.
"We feel there's a need for a centrist party. This isn't the left, it's not the right, this is the common sense middle," said Labrie, who said he was a member of the federal Conservative Party and B.C. Liberal Party.
Young becomes the seventh candidate to launch a public campaign for mayor of Vancouver, and NPA councillor Hector Bremner will likely become the eighth entrant later this month with a new political party.
But Labrie likes their chances.
"We're going to draw support from a number of different areas. There's the urban female vote that she certainly speaks to, she also speaks to the Asian community," he said.
"We're really agnostic when it comes to ideas. We just want the best ideas."
Read more from CBC British Columbia