So you want to run for office in Vancouver?

‘Candidate 101’ sessions begin on April 5 for people interested in council, school board, park board

So you want to be a candidate in the local elections in October?

My first thought: Did you lose a bet?

funny, of course.

What I wanted to say was good luck and I hope you win.

Which is probably what you’ll hear from a panel of municipal government enthusiasts and employees with knowledge of the sport you are about to take part in when you attend a series of “candidate 101 sessions” hosted by the city.

The first is April 5th.

The all-star cast that you will better understand what you are getting into includes Rosemary Hagiwara, a longtime city employee and election manager for the 2022 election.

“The journey to becoming a popularly elected official requires considerable preparation, and we appreciate those who decide to take their commitment in Vancouver to a higher level,” Hagiwara said in a press release on Monday.

“We hope the candidates have positive experiences as we enter the fall election, and these sessions will contribute to that.”

Hagiwara is joined by David Green, chief financial officer of the school board, Cheryl Chan, chief of staff of the park board, and Gerald Baier, professor and acting director of the UBC Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions.

Dr. Joy Masuhara and Trudi Goels from Women Transforming Cities are also on the list.

Unfortunately, no veteran reporters from City Hall, worn down by late-night meetings, endless remarks on the Rules of Procedure and the horror of amendments, were invited to provide some insight gained from decades spent in the cheap seats.

Which is just fine, because I can do it right here.

But be warned that my position is selfish and focused on the city council.

At the same time, I hope my written TED talk will be perceived as instructive for those who are not already media educated, figuring out their brand, or refreshing their smart words that mean nothing to the average person.

Here we go…


If you’re really worried about Vancouver, then you should have an informed and evidence-based bid for affordable housing, the overdose crisis, climate change, transportation, public safety, and planning (e.g., city plan, Broadway plan).

First Nations

Mention the leaders of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh nations. No Google. You should know something about the undeveloped territories that Vancouver is in, its history and how pockets of it are being transformed through First Nations development. And what do you know about the city’s commitment to reconciliation? Is it real?

City budget

Educate yourself on the city’s budget, which is worth $ 1.7 billion this year. Every December, the municipality spends several days deciding how to balance the competing interests for core services and new initiatives. If you get elected in October, this will be one of the first big deals on your plate.

the council chamber

If you get elected, join in a lively debate. Stand for something. Be passionate. Surprise us veteran writers by not voting for your political party. Do not come up with suggestions that have nothing to do with the city. Do not use words most people do not understand; jargon stinks, folks. Do not interrupt the person running the meeting. Do not say you want to be short in your comments and then chat for five minutes.


If you are elected, do not complain about your workload. The job description and its long working hours should not come as a surprise. Do not complain about your base salary of $ 91,878. At one point, the city’s website indicated that a councilor’s salary reflected an average Vancouverite income. That statement has since been removed.


Listen to people outside your circle during the campaign, and continue to do so if you are elected. It includes all communities. Talk to people who use drugs. People who do not have homes. Police officers. Businessmen. Do not base opinions on opinions. Understand the limitations of city government.

City staff

Do not think you know more than the city staff.

Humorous sense

A laugh or two is encouraged to offset the current heaviness in the world.


It is best not to avoid media during or after a successful campaign. Best to give journalists various options for contact information for immediate response to a news story. It is best to call journalists back the day they contact you. Scoops are always welcome.


The Vancouver Council spent 153 days, 474.3 hours on meetings in 2021.

Do you still want to join?

If my list has not scared you away and you are eager to attend one of the city’s sessions, go to the website and sign up at If you are unable to attend, the city plans to record the sessions and post them on its website.

Official nomination packages will be available in June.

The master’s nomination period runs from 30 August to 9 September.

All of Vancouver’s 10 sitting councilors and Mayor Kennedy Stewart are seeking re-election; grev. Hardwick is actually challenging Stewart to the mayoral seat. The term is four years. Election day Saturday 15 October.

Good luck and I hope you win.

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