Six months out from the Vancouver civic election, and while parties have been fundraising, little is going on in the way of campaigning. But if you'd like to begin informing yourself right now, I suggest scanning their websites – each with its own unique character, each with its own narrative:
NPA (Non-Partisan Association)
We love LGBT people and tall buildings. Look at that rainbow flag flying in the first slide on our website. Isn't it magnificent? I feel gay just looking at it.
Next slide: Our awesome new logo. See the way the NPA is off to the right a bit? Not a coincidence, that. But the waves radiating from it? That's us listening. It goes with our new slogan, "We're listening." We even have a hashtag: #NPAlistens.
Then, some tall towers. Then some tall towers closer up, then a really wide shot of tall towers. Then, what?! A cyclist? That's right. Uh huh, we just did that. A helmeted cyclist wearing a cycling jacket and looking out over False Creek. How did he get there? I don't know, but I'll tell you this: He didn't ride in any of Gregor's bike lanes. Not this guy. He manned up and rode on the roads. Hey, and more towers in the background, and some sailboats. A nod to our marine heritage? Sure, but also an unintentional reminder that we've been unsuccessful in our decades-long fight to kick these freeloaders out of False Creek. They sure look nice in a promo shot, though.
But scroll down. It's a letter from our president. See how successful our latest fundraiser was? More than $100,000 donated. We're trying to maintain the momentum with a crowd-funding campaign that has so far raised about $7,000 toward our goal of $250,000.
182 days to go!
We have a slide show too. Just look at us! Mayor Gregor and some other people in suits looking all earnest, clasping their hands together.
Next up: A slide that shows a theoretical transit line with four stops and the caption: "No more pass ups. Increased service." Two things over which we have literally no control.
Slide three? Well, uh, towers. But forget about that. Yes, scroll down past the black-and-white picture of Gregor looking a bit like Stan Laurel there …
There! See what's important to us: Affordable housing, public safety, jobs, and keeping the city green. Scroll down a little further and, look, we're having a fundraiser as well! We're calling ours a "Spring Fling." Edgy, huh? You can get in for the cost of a membership. You might even get to meet the mayor. Down a little more – that's right: A totally cute colour picture of the mayor looking at you like he totally knows you, but not in a creepy way.
Yeah, some policy stuff, but notice how we dropped the fictional Broadway subway in there again, huh. Do you believe us yet? Do you think it's real?
Green Party of Vancouver
Hey, bet you didn't expect such a slick-looking website from the Birkenstock sandal set, huh? That's because we're hip, modern Greens. See, we look organized, right? We have a slide show too: A picture of City Hall, a freighter in Burrard Inlet. Or is that a tanker? Whatever, it's a ship and it's supposed to make you think about oil spills. Hey, here's Adriane Carr with a giant planet Earth hovering over her shoulder. And here's Adriane again with the two other people who are running for council. They look cool, like people you could hang out with. We have lots of policy too, but I think you've picked up everything you need to know.
COPE (The Coalition of Progressive Electors)
You bet we have a slide show! Here's a picture of a Soviet-looking apartment block to demonstrate our commitment to affordable housing. Here's a bunch of people sitting around tables in a community centre. It may not look that exciting, but they're doing important work crafting policy. Third shot: Ten of us carrying a banner down the street – apparently not part of any parade or anything, you know, just getting the word out.
Click on "Policy," and you'll see that we have a simple, 186-point plan for making Vancouver a better place for working people.
Point number 148: Free transit for everyone, paid for by vehicle levies and the carbon tax. Point number 75: Establish health and safety supports to squatters who have taken over abandoned government buildings. You get where we're going with this.
Not much of slide show, but we made Vancouver City Hall look all scary. Our key message: Don't donate more than $2,400. We won't take it. We simply will not, though that shouldn't stop you from trying, to see what happens.
Stephen Quinn is the host of On the Coast on CBC Radio One, 690 AM and 88.1 FM in Vancouver. @cbcstephenquinn