Earlier this week I was able to sit down and have a brief conversation with Vancouver Non-Partisan Association mayoral candidate Suzanne Anton before the Saturday November 19th election. Anton is running against incumbent Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson. Here is what Anton had to say on a variety of issues we discussed.
Hi how’s it going
Suzanne Anton: Good thanks Har. Nice to see you you’re very persistent so good for you.
What will be your top 3 priorities if elected Mayor of Vancouver?
Suzanne Anton: To have an open and transparent city hall number one, to always listen to taxpayers number two, and to build our Vancouver infrastructure number three and that includes recreations and sport facilities, communities centres, cultural facilities, and the street car.
You’ve stated that you want to end homelessness before 2015. What are you going to do to reach that goal?
Suzanne Anton: Well Gregor only wants to end street homelessness I want to end homelessness. I’m going to continue building the buildings that the current mayor has not built and continue to work with the provincial government to work on regional and provincial solutions to homelessness. Everybody should not have to come to downtown Vancouver who needs a home and the taxpayers of Vancouver should not be asked to foot the bill for homelessness when it is a provincial issue. But I say that with a big qualification there because Vancouver always plays a very strong role in helping with homelessness. In the last NPA council we spent 80 million dollars on homelessness. That’s a lot so there’s no question the city has a major role but not the only role.
How are you going to create affordable housing for people in Vancouver?
Suzanne Anton: Build more houses for more people.
Why do you oppose foreign ownership restrictions and speculator taxes as a means of controlling the Vancouver housing market?
Suzanne Anton: I do not support foreign ownership restrictions. I support foreign investment. Three reasons one is: One it would be impossible to monitor, second reason is builders build more buildings when they know people will buy and the third is that foreign investment in condos that’s all of our renters that are being built right now.
How are you going to keep and help small local businesses stay in Vancouver?
Suzanne Anton: Lower taxes for business and by the way I’d be interested to know what Vision Vancouver thinks about that because they’ve said yes and they’ve said no.
What will you do with the existing bike lanes in downtown Vancouver?
Suzanne Anton: Independent study to fix the problems. If there’s anything that can’t be fixed it has to come out but that’s certainly not my first choice. My first choice is to fix. It is a trial.
How will the new Vancouver street car project you’ve proposed be paid for?
Suzanne Anton: Private partner. The city has already paid because the city has already bought the land so that’s a huge investment the city’s made and senior government funding especially the federal government.
How are you going to help baby boomers and seniors who depend on affordable housing, and quick access to health care?
Suzanne Anton: Housing supply and good public facilities. Health care I’m going to leave that one to the province but health is the city’s department. Keeping people well; and that’s how I got into politics getting kids playing soccer, having good community facilities, good recreation facilities, good cultural facilities and I’m going to build the South Vancouver Seniors Centre so South Vancouver seniors have somewhere to go.
What will you do to prevent another riot from occurring in Vancouver during large-scale events?
Suzanne Anton: I will read the reports from the previous one. I will listen to the advice of my police. Neither of which was done by the current mayor and I will likely not invite 150,000 drunk kids downtown.
What if they just show up?
Suzanne Anton: You have to manage it so the drunk part can be managed by Skytrain. So many kids came in on Skytrain. You have to manage Skytrain, you have to manage liquor supply. At the same time I want the Canucks to be in the Stanley Cup final and I want to have the celebration and their will be a big celebration downtown but it obviously has to be much better controlled than it was last time.
What are you going to do to get rid of the Occupy Vancouver protest?
Suzanne Anton: I’m going to get the injunction and I’m going to send in our staff teams and I’m going to move all the tents.
Would that be immediately?
Suzanne Anton: Yes… if Gregor can’t do it I will.
How would you make sure another Occupy Vancouver type of protest never occurs in Vancouver again?
Suzanne Anton: City staff are very good at not letting tents get setup. It’s a precautionary thing we do not let the first tent get setup. That should have happened this time but they did not get political support. The current mayor did not say no tents. He did not offer leadership. He waffled on what he wanted them to do. He said ah you can stay as long as you want. No they should have never been allowed to set the tents up.
What do you think of the Mayor Moonbeam video?
Suzanne Anton: You know what I didn’t see it and it got taken down before I even got a chance to look at it. I saw a piece of it because someone showed it to me a bit as I was going by but I did not see it and I didn’t hear all the words in it. People have told me about it but I don’t know what it said.
Are you or anyone connected with the NPA responsible for the video
Suzanne Anton: No. I don’t know who produced it.
What are your thoughts on your former campaign manager Bob Ransford endorsing Gregor Robertson?
Suzanne Anton: I think I’m not going to comment on individuals but I will say this… He supported Peter (Peter Ladner) and now he’s supporting Gregor. Is he saying he backed the wrong horse three years ago?
What are your future political plans if you’re not elected mayor on Saturday?
Suzanne Anton: I’m getting elected on Saturday.
Before you go what else would you like to tell potential voters?
Suzanne Anton: Vote for the Anton team were listening, were paying attention to taxpayers, we have great leadership team. I will be the mayor for whom the buck stops with me and we are going to build a great Vancouver. A city where people can live, work and prosper and their families can prosper.
That sounds wonderful thank you very much for your time Suzanne. Good Luck.
Suzanne Anton: Thank You Thank You.