In 1970, a young, unwed single mother on welfare ran for mayor of Vancouver as the candidate for the Northern Lunatic Fringe of the Youth International Party (Yippie!).
Betty (Zaria) Andrew, a shy, soft-spoken 23-year-old, posed for an election poster published in the underground newspaper, The Yellow Journal. She was shown holding her two-year-old son, Colin, known as Skeeter, in her lap. In her left hand, she holds a rifle, an incongruous prop in so maternal a setting.
"Unloaded," she said. "It was to show our militancy. Not in the sense of going out to kill people, but in terms of being active."
She campaigned on a promise to disband the police, to turn city hall into a daycare, and to tear up downtown pavement in favour of parkland. The main plank called for a repeal of the laws of gravity "so everyone can get high."
She opposed Thomas (Tom Terrific) Campbell, the avowed enemy of hippies and yippies who was seeking a third consecutive two-year term in the mayor's chair.
A Globe columnist decried Mr. Campbell's "ostrich indifference to social problems," but the tough-talking, law-and-order advocate handily won re-election over the reformer Dr. William Gibson. An NDP-sponsored candidate finished third, while the fourth-place candidate, a namesake to the mayor though no relation, was arrested on election night on a drug charge.
The Yippie candidate garnered 848 votes in her lone foray for public office.
Her clownish campaign served as a precedent for the artist Vincent Trasov, who campaigned for mayor four years later while wearing a Mr. Peanut costume. (The artist said the Peanut surname was an acronym for Performance, Elegance, Art, Nonsense, Uniqueness and Talent.) The anthropomorphic goober took 2,685 votes.
Ms. Andrew, 64, who lives in Nelson and Vancouver, retired from the post office last year. She had been a forklift operator. Her fellow workers often elected her as a shop steward.
Mr. Campbell, 83, retired from elected office in 1972. He rarely grants interviews.
Special to The Globe and Mail