We join the Completely Truthful Vancouver Mayoral Debate, already in progress …
Moderator: … and thank you Gregor Robertson for sharing that stream of consciousness word-association collage, and you Mr. LaPointe for your vague, evasive and off-topic generalities.
Meena Wong: What about me?
Moderator: You appear to have a limited grasp of civic issues.
And so we have arrived at the part of the evening where we take questions from our audience. We'll begin at the microphone on the left. And remember, the candidate will answer your question truthfully. Yes, you ma'am.
Speaker No. 1: Hello, thank you. My question is for the mayor. Mayor Robertson, you said you were going to end homelessness by 2015, but right now there are hundreds of people still camping in Oppenheimer Park in the Downtown Eastside who say they have nowhere else to go. What are you doing to help them?
Mr. Robertson: I'm not at all glad you asked that question. What we're doing is spending loads of taxpayers' money to hide all of those people in time for the election, and maybe a while after. I've told city staff to spend as much money as needed to put them up in hotel rooms, apartments, dorm rooms – whatever it takes to keep them out of sight so I can claim victory. By the time I'm sworn in again we will have hidden every single homeless person in this city – I can promise you that.
Moderator: Thank you mayor. Next question.
Speaker No. 2: My question is for the NPA's Kirk LaPointe. Mr. LaPointe, you've been saying all along that you're your own man, an independent thinker who isn't taking orders from anyone. But would the NPA really have selected you as its mayoral candidate if you weren't there to represent the interests of big money and the status quo?
Kirk LaPointe: You've got me. Guilty as charged. I'm pretty much the punk rocker in high school that all the jocks decided to kind of be friends with because it made them feel cooler. I hope that doesn't answer your question.
Moderator: Thank you Mr. LaPointe. Next question.
Speaker No. 3: My question is for Meena Wong. Ms. Wong, no one would disagree that the minimum wage doesn't come close to a living wage for families in this city, but how can you promise to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour without a commitment from business or the provincial government?
Ms. Wong: I have no idea.
Moderator: Thank you Ms. Wong. Next question is for the mayor.
Speaker No. 4: Mayor Robertson, you keep talking about building a new subway line to UBC but you have no financial commitment from TransLink or the provincial government and no money from the federal government. Isn't this just a pipe dream until someone comes up with a way to pay for it?
Mr. Robertson: I believe in the power of wishes and positive visualization. Every night, as I drift off to sleep, I see that subway in my mind, carrying tens of thousands of people through the Broadway corridor and beyond to UBC. I whisper, 'Go the distance' to myself over and over again. I believe that if I wish hard enough, it will be built.
Moderator: Running low on time here; quick question for Mr. LaPointe.
Speaker No. 5: So far, all you've talked about is how you'll do pretty much the same thing as Vision Vancouver, but you say you'll do it better. Do you have any new ideas?
Mr. LaPointe: I do not. Oh wait! Yes! I think burning garbage is bad.
Moderator: Nice. Concise, but not new. And the last question of the evening goes to the man leaned up against the microphone on the left.
Speaker No. 6: Zzzzzzzzzz.
Moderator: Excellent summary! And that's it for the Completely Truthful Mayoral Debate. Don't forget to get out and vote on Nov. 15th, as it if will make any difference.
Stephen Quinn is the host of On the Coast on CBC Radio One, 88.1 FM and 690 AM in Vancouver. @cbcstephenquinn