Profiling Vancouver's political parties: Greens

The Vancouver Green Party is running five candidates for council, three for school board and three for park board.  (Vancouver Green Party - image credit)
The Vancouver Green Party is running five candidates for council, three for school board and three for park board. (Vancouver Green Party - image credit)

They have the most school board seats, the most park board seats, hold the balance of power at city council, and elected all but one of their candidates last election.

But in 2022, the Vancouver Green Party is once again running no mayoral candidate, and once again not aiming for a majority of council, school board or park board seats.

"Greens are quite unique," said councillor Adriane Carr, who is seeking a fourth term this October.

"We're a party absolutely dedicated to collaborative politics. And so I've seen councils where you have a majority and they don't have to collaborate with anybody, they just push their agenda through. I don't think that's good for democracy, actually."

Running for council with Carr are Pete Fry, Michael Wiebe, Devyani Singh and Stephanie Singh. Their school board candidates are Lois Chan-Pedley, Janet Fraser and Nick Poppell, while their park board candidates are Tom Digby, Liam Menard and Tricia Riley.

A platform with exact promises isn't out yet, but councillor Pete Fry says not to expect anything dramatic.

"I think we always defer to more evidence-based decision making and don't go in for the really showy bold promises that aren't really costed or effective," he said.

But here's what they hope to accomplish.

Ben Nelms/CBC
Ben Nelms/CBC

Housing, environment, communities  

When asked what the Green Party would advocate for in the next four years, Carr is succinct.

"Real housing affordability, climate action that is bold, and making sure that we have complete communities that are walkable and resilient and affordable throughout the city."

But lots of parties say that. So what would they prioritize differently?

On housing, the Greens have focused on rental housing and have supported the Broadway Plan and Vancouver Plan. But unlike Mayor Kennedy Stewart or OneCity, they've occasionally voted against projects they feel either aren't affordable enough, or where developers aren't provided enough back — and they say that will continue.

"I just think that we can't keep building and not keep increasing the public amenities that people rely on for a quality, livable city," said Fry.

On climate, they're going to focus on food security and community gardens, and further advocacy on building code regulations.

"You can still get gas for fireplace or for cooking and we got to get gas out of homes," said Carr.

And on complete communities, Fry says they will push for slower streets and additional tree canopies.

"I think that those are the sort of pieces to building the full city that that we're looking toward," he said.

Shawn Foss/CBC
Shawn Foss/CBC

A more efficient council?

While every other party running at least five council candidates are also running someone for mayor, the Greens are essentially asking voters to endorse a continuation of the current dynamic at city hall, with a mix of parties working together.

At the same time, they recognize that how council operates needs to improve, including the length and number of public hearings that last multiple days for a single issue.  

"It isn't sustainable, it isn't productive. I don't think it's a really good use of anybody's time and I don't think it actually yields better outcomes. In fact, I think it probably leads to more conflict among residents, and I don't think it's the best way forward.

"It's really true that we keep adding things to the workload of staff and that's not sustainable," added Carr, who talked about the need to streamline council priorities. 
"With five on council, we'd have a lot of weight in terms of pushing for that sit-down and re-assigning some priorities in every department of the city."

The question for voters is whether they want to continue having Carr and Fry's party with that responsibility, or if they opt to support parties with mayoral candidates that could more easily ram their agenda through.

Which will determine on election night whether it will be easy being Green.

CBC News will be profiling all 10 political parties in Vancouver ahead of the municipal elections in October.