Profile: Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson
As Vancouver's mayoral candidates make one last sprint to the finish line, Gregor Robertson is racing to shift the focus away from the tent city at the art gallery downtown.
The incumbent wants voters to turn their attention to the high rents and pricey real estate that plague the city instead.
"As far as I'm concerned, the top priority at city hall is dealing with affordable housing to make sure we have more supply being created," Robertson told CTV News.
He points to 60 West Cordova St. as a potential model for the future, with condos starting at $219,000, no parking, no fancy finishes and no quick re-sales allowed.
"It's not a property you can flip -- it takes it out of the speculative real estate market -- but it may be a supply we can rely on," he said.
The mayor started this year's campaign as the clear frontrunner, and his Vision Vancouver team has played it safe while critics take aim.
One of the rival NPA's big targets is campaign donations; two of the biggest donors to Vision are Strategic Communications and Renewal Partners, headed by Carol Newell and Joel Solomon. In the last few years, the two companies have donated nearly $190,000 to Vision.
Renewal invests in companies that promote social change and also put money into the juice company Robertson founded, Happy Planet.
Now critics like NPA mayoral candidate Suzanne Anton are asking if the firms are really funded by charities linked to U.S. foundations. Charities aren't permitted to donate to political parties.
"Questions are raised as to the source of this money and is that money trying to influence the political process of Vancouver? I think that's the question Gregor needs to answer," Anton said.
But Robertson denies the allegations.
"There's a concern when there's a smear campaign against some business -- whatever those industries might be -- and trying to tie this to U.S. contributions, which we're not accepting in this campaign right now. We only accept Canadian," he said.
But Vision is accepting plenty of other donations. Campaign spending is expected to be in the millions of dollars, although the party won't say exactly how much money will be needed to ensure another three years for Robertson.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Mi-Jung Lee