The Vancouver election, with voters going to the polls this Saturday, hasn't been getting quite as much national attention as Toronto's did. That's understandable: Unlike Toronto, where an entire region was amalgamated into a single city of 2.8 million, the municipality of Vancouver governs only one-quarter of Metro Vancouver's 2.5 million people. And then there's the fact that Vancouver isn't living under DEFCON Ford.
Truth is, Vancouver's election has been more than a little bit boring – which has suited incumbent Gregor Robertson and his Vision Vancouver slate just fine. The competing Non-Partisan Association, led by mayoral hopeful Kirk LaPointe, hasn't done enough to offer voters a better option – or even much of an alternative.
Vision has been far from a perfect government. Sanctimoniousness is often its animating force; there have been more than a few high-handed decisions taken without consultation. The NPA's calls for greater transparency and openness at city hall ring true.
But beyond that, the NPA's platform is remarkably thin. Its team is inexperienced. And on most issues, it's hard to see how it differs from Vision. Both parties want a subway on Broadway. Both worry about homelessness, Vision more enthusiastically and with greater specificity. Neither has a plan for housing affordability for the vast majority of renters and owners.
Which is why the best bet for mayor remains the man who's been there since 2008: Mr. Robertson. Now if only he would steal his opponents' best idea, for a city hall that listens before acting.