I recorded this debate for three reasons.
The first is that I attended and recorded the only previous debate of its kind, in exactly the same time and place, 3 years ago. The debaters were Peter Ladner and Gregor Robertson. In that debate the future of Little Mountain was still not certain. Both debaters were asked if they would be in favour of delaying its demolition. Ladner answered no, he was in favour of the Liberal government’s ideas. Robertson’s answer was vague: he was willing to look into other options. The rest is a fascinating and convoluted story, that has left you (the taxpayer) holding onto land with all its economic value stripped from it (for the next 5 to 25 years) for the benefit of an off-shore developer, while a viable community was destroyed, dispersed and forgotten.
Read all about it in Tommy Thompson’s thesis on Little Mountain. It really gets swinging by page 80. There’s a link to it on this website.
The second reason I attended, was that I wanted to know more about the future of Vision’s homeless and affordable housing strategy for Vancouver, and hear Anton’s challenge to it.
The third was to see if Vancouver’s homeless and underhoused were any more militant after 3 years of record real estate increases, and reno-victions.
The Great Debate/Opera
So on to the Great Debate, which if you missed it no worries, my camera was at the eye of the storm, thanks to Lauren Gill (Vancouver civic election candidate and winner of Last Candidate Standing) who gave me a seat in the candidates area.
Lauren Gill was active in the movement to save Little Mountain Social Housing Project. I met her in 2008, as I began shooting my documentary there. In fact, she set up the one and only “Occupy Little Mountain” camp in the winter of 2009.
As I expand my web documentary at littlemountainproject.com scenes with Lauren will appear on line. She is sharp, articulate, and compassionate.
A note on the DEBATE/OPERA:
Clearly, there not sufficient time structured into the debate for the public to pose questions to the candidates. Anton and Robertson “had other business to attend to” just as soon as Q&A began.
Promises are made to the attending public
As a result, promises that the public would speak after “official questions” were not kept. At least 20 audience members who lined up at the open microphone did not speak. This audience did not come to be spoken to, they wanted dialogue. Why was there not ample time for Q&A? You’ll have to ask the organizers and the participants to answer that one.
Zimmerman asks the debaters to accept questions from the public.
What “Occupy Vancouver” was shouting throughout the meeting, may have been right after all: “City hall is not listening…” However, I have to say to say this to OV, that although Democracy may at times “look like this”, it’s not its best side. The uproar that followed was however, free and entertaining political theatre.
There was never any danger of a real riot. I didn’t see any Canucks jerseys in the crowd.
Click on the image above to play the video.
NB: Apologies to Mayor Robertson for the typo in the opening credit of the video. (“you say Robinson, I say Robertson!”) It will be corrected asap. Actually it won’t. Sorry about that I’ll have to blame my staff. Where are my copy editors?
Closing words by Sandra Garossino, Independent Candidate for City Hall.
Finally, kudos to St.Andrew’s-Wesley United Church for taking on the the challenge of presenting this increasingly contentious debate.
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