Robertson to lead Vancouver into 2010 Games
The people have spoken and Vancouver has a new mayor. Vision candidate Gregor Robertson has won the civic election that decides who will lead the city into the 2010 Olympic Games.
Robertson won a total of 67,598 votes to beat out Non-Partisan Association candidate Peter Ladner, who received 48,794.
A total of 15 candidates were vying for top spot, but the race was centered between Robertson and Ladner, a two-time city councillor.
Full results: Civic Vote 2008
Speaking from the Hotel Vancouver, a jubilant Robertson thanked everyone who voted for the Vision slate.
"I am so proud to be speaking to you as Vancouver's new mayor," he says. "We will work hard on your behalf and live up to the great expectations and honour you've given me. This is even better than watching the Canucks thrash the Maple Leafs."
Robertson says Ladner called him to wish him the best in his upcoming term as mayor.
"It was a hard fought campaign, but there is far more that can bring us together to build a better city," says Robertson. "I want to thank Mayor Sam Sullivan for his many years of service to the city."
Channeling the recent win of US democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, Robertson says the win will positively affect his family.
"I'm not going to promise a puppy, but I will be home a lot more for dinner," he says.
Speaking from the Marriot Hotel in downtown Vancouver, Peter Ladner conceded defeat to Robertson, but not without getting in one last dig at his opponent.
"We worked very hard, we stayed on the high ground, but we never resorted to lies and smears," he says.
The councillor says Vancouver is at an important crossroad with the high of the Olympics and the low of an impending recession.
"We have a lot of problems and we have a lot of opportunities," he says. "The NPA will always serve the city on both counts."
In a written statement, outgoing Mayor Sam Sullivan congratulated Gregor Robertson on his win.
"I look forward to working with him in the coming weeks to ensure a smooth transition at City Hall and I will offer my ongoing advice as the city prepares to host the world in 2010," he says.
He also congratulated the hard fought efforts of Peter Ladner, who beat out Sam Sullivan earlier this year to head the NPA part.
"I have been proud of our success together over the past three years," Sullivan wrote. "We have left Vancouver better than we found it and I know the NPA will continue to be a positive voice for good government in Vancouver."
A changed council
Only one NPA councillor, Suzanne Anton, won a spot on Vancouver city council. Longtime NPA councillor Kim Capri did not keep her seat.
Seven out of 10 Vancouver city council positions have been awarded to the Vision Vancouver party. Two Cope councillors, David Cadman and Ellen Woodsworth, clinched the final seats.
A short history
Gregor Robertson entered B.C. politics three years ago when he was elected MLA for Vancouver Fairview in 2005 under the New Democrat ticket.
The co-founder and former CEO of the Happy Planet line of organic foods first made his mark as a small-business critic advocating for business owners affected by Canada Line construction on Cambie St.
The 43-year-old resigned to run for mayor after defeating Vancouver Park Board Commissioner Allan de Genova and city councillor Raymond Louie in the Vision Vancouver's leadership race in June.
Robertson lives in Vancouver with his wife Amy, and their four children Terra, Satchel, Jinagh and Johanna.
Olympic sized controversy
The race for mayor has been fraught with controversy over a $100 million secret loan guarantee to the developers of the 2010 Olympic athletes' village. It was approved in secret in an Oct. 14 council meeting. Both Robertson and challenger Peter Ladner agreed to take lie-detector tests to prove they weren't responsible for the leak.
Current Mayor Sam Sullivan called the leak a criminal matter and has asked police to investigate.
Robertson told CTV News he believes the loan controversy influenced the way some people voted.
"I think it has certainly increased people's concerns about how well city hall is being run. I think people want to see an open and transparent government and people haven't seen that in the last three years," he says.
Only 32 per cent of British Columbians voted in the 2005 civic election. This year the number dropped to less than 25 per cent.