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For Vancouver-Granville candidates office space was perhaps the lease of their worries

September 11, 2019

A liberal number of phones seen through the window of Taleeb Noormohamed’s campaign office on West Broadway.

That roaring sound you hear is not the fast-approaching Canadian federal election, it is all the political parties contesting the election and their armies of campaign workers that have now hit the ground running in every federal riding in Canada.

Wednesday morning (September 11th) Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asked Governor General Julie Payette to dissolve Parliament, officially kicking-off Canada’s 43rd general election.

The vote will be held on October 21st, the latest date that it must take place under the fixed-date procedures of the Canada Elections Act.

In the federal riding of Vancouver-Granville, where I spend most of my time, there are at least seven politicians in the running:

The densest part of the 100,000-plus population of Vancouver-Granville—and the best transit—is located on the northern edge, along the Broadway corridor.

It is hardly surprising therefore that the four Vancouver-Granville candidates with storefront campaign headquarters have all located them within blocks of each other on, or near, West Broadway Avenue, the axis of the corridor.

But, in addition to masses of voters, this stretch of West Broadway is also supposed to be home to blocks and block of the most sought-after and expensive real estate.

The shuttered property of 1535 West Broadway—only metres from one of the busiest corners in Vancouver—now empty for over three years!

In fact, thanks to steadily rising rents and a general holding-of-breath in expectation of the land rush that could accompany the commencement of Broadway subway construction in 2020, there are empty storefronts and “for lease” signs all along the 10 blocks of “campaign row”.

So lets see what the candidates were able to find, with their tight budgets and on short notice.

For a limited time only: the wholesale return of retail politicking

For the next five or six weeks 1067 West Broadway will know the joy of a tenant. Hopefully Yvonne Hanson is getting a discount.

NDP candidate Yvonne Hanson—described as “a recent Simon Fraser University grad, retail worker, and renter” and, to paraphrase her own words, as someone who believes the most effective way to address the climate crisis is by first redressing social inequalities—has made her campaign headquarters in 1067 West Broadway Avenue.

This is surely a good thing for both the candidate and the landlord, because this little property hasn’t seen a tenant for over four years! Not since May of 2015, after Prompt Printers moved to cheaper digs in East Vancouver.

The space is listed as approximately 1,500 SF, which appears to be divided into two floors. The monthly rent of $6,500 includes one parking stall in the back.

The Liberal Party has taken over Miniso’s old digs at 1256 West Broadway, so no more panda-head USB charging cables; just the occasional re-branded NDP and Conservative policies.

Campaign posters for Liberal Party candidate Taleeb Noormohamed—described as a Canadian-born technology entrepreneur and investor, a community volunteer and a former federal government employee—appeared in the windows of 1256 West Broadway Avenue within a few weeks of the departure of Miniso.

The Chinese/Japanese discount store, which had occupied the address since April of 2017, suddenly vacated the premises after the middle of August, following the bankruptcy of the chain’s Canadian operations.

Another shot through the window of 1256 West Broadway, this time of the “Team Taleeb” checklist for campaign volunteers.

I have no information as to the lease, or the square footage of 1256 West Broadway but it is a large space—essentially two or three storefronts wide—I would guess over 3,000 SF.

In the front area alone, the self-styled “Team Taleeb” has made space for a central reception area, a bank of eight phones and an oval of swivel office chairs. And there are walled-off back rooms as well.

The constituency office at 1245 West Broadway of Jody Wilson-Raybould, the incumbent MP every other candidate is trying to defeat.

Coincidentally (I’m sure), Noormohamed’s campaign office popped up just across the street from the constituency office of Jody Wilson-Raybould, the incumbent MP for the riding, who is seeking re-election.

With such an office already in hand, one might think that Wilson-Raybould would be the one Vancouver-Granville candidate who did not have to scramble to find an empty storefront to campaign from.

But one would be wrong. The constituency office apparently belongs to the riding.

Jody Wilson-Reybould’s re-election headquarters at 2843 South Granville.

For her re-election campaign headquarters, Wilson-Reybould has taken a small storefront four blocks off West Broadway, at 2843 South Granville.

This 1,318 SF ground floor space sees moderate turnover, having hosted at least four different ritzy clothing retailers in the last decade.

The address has been empty since at least April 2019, when the monthly rent (plus taxes) was listed as $10,434. This is actually a few hundred less that the $10,653 it rented for back in July 2015.

Visit Conservative candidate Zach Segal at 1938 West Broadway and then get your nails done next door, or vice versa.

Conservative candidate Zach Segal—a former Conservative government staff member and current employee of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation—has set up his small campaign headquarters five blocks west of pricey South Granville—at 1938 West Broadway Avenue. This 1,298 SF, ground floor retail space has sat empty since at least May of 2018, according to Google Street View.

An empty and soon-to-be-empty property across the street fro Zach Segal campaign office in the 1900 block of West Broadway.

The last tenant of 1938 West Broadway was the Karuna Health Foundation, a would-be cannabis dispensary which appears to have been denied a city license in 2016 for being too close to several schools.

The monthly rent that the Segal campaign is paying is only about $6,576.

Why all eyes will be on Vancouver-Fairview on election night

On the second day of the election campaign (September 12), Wilson-Raybould supporters wave campaign posters for the independent candidate on the corner of West Broadway and South Granville.

The race in Vancouver-Fairview will be one of the most closely-watched in Canada because of the incumbent, Jody Wilson-Raybould.

Wilson-Raybould—a lawyer by profession and a member of the Indigenous We Wai Kai Nation of British Columbia—came to national prominence when she was elected the Vancouver-Granville riding’s first MP in November 2015, as a star Liberal Party candidate.

She was immediately named to the prestigious post of Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada in the majority Liberal government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

In January 2019, however, she was abruptly demoted to Minister of Veteran Affairs. A month later, on February 12, she resigned from the Trudeau cabinet. This was after her behind-the-scenes clash with the Prime Minister’s office (PMO), over the handling of the SNC-Lavalin affair, was reported in the national press.

In April 2019, she was unceremoniously kicked out of the Liberal Party.

The perception that as justice minister she stood up to PMO pressure to soft-pedal corruption charges against SNC-Lavalin—the largest construction company in Canada by revenue and a major employer, particularly in the Liberal stronghold of Quebec—has earned Wilson-Raybould the respect of millions of Canadians.

But in the upcoming election she will be running for re-election from the disadvantageous position of an independent, against better funded national political party candidates, including one from her former party, the Liberals.

It remains to be seen if the respect that Wilson-Raybould earned in April will translate into enough votes in October to offset her loss of the Liberal Party’s brand and deep pockets and carry her to victory.

Are not-so-little fed ridings good?

The three long-empty storefronts of 1862 West Broadway–candidate for the most derelict-looking building in Fairview!

The large federal riding (or electoral district) of Vancouver-Granville was created by amalgamating four smaller ridings in 2012 and first contested in 2015.

The riding is a north-south rectangle, covering 27 km² and stretching over 7 km from the Fraser River almost to the south bank of False Creek. Its western edge is Arbutus Street/West Boulevard, while the streets Main, Cambie and Ontario variously serve as it eastern border.

Within these boundaries, Vancouver-Granville encompasses the better part of three city neighbourhoods: Marpole, Kerrisdale-Oakridge and Fairview.

According to Elections Canada the riding has a total population of 103,456 people, with 80,488 being registered voters. Hopefully the vast majority will find the time to go to the polls.

For those who find the election day date of October 21st inconvenient—as anyone observing the Jewish holiday of Shemini Atzeret (October 20-22) may—Elections Canada says that advance voting will be available from October 11th to the 14th, at polling places to be announced October 2nd. Click the images to enlarge them.

5 Comments
  1. Enjoyed your article especially the tongue in cheeky descriptions. Pardon my ignorance but can you vote in this election?

    Like

    • Thank you for reading!

      It is difficult to vote without identification or an address in a riding. In some previous elections, groups in the Downtown Eastside (well, the Union Gospel Mission) have made it possible for homeless people to vote. However, I honestly do not trust leaving my bike and loaded trailer on a DTES street unattended for any length of time.

      I am not quite as I.D.-less as I have been for the last 15 years. Thanks to the efforts of many friends I have apparently been able to finally replace my lost birth birth certificate but this is not photo I.D. And I still do not have an all-important proof-of-address in a Vancouver riding.

      All the same, I will look to see if I have any new options. Voting is a privilege I would prefer to be able to exercise.

      Like

  2. Excellent approach to the issues & the candidates involved, thank you. But my greatest joy, I have to confess, is the discovery that the Rhinoceros Party still exists (being of an age to remember its initial forays, so long ago). Wasn’t it the Rhino Party ‘way back when, that proposed moving the Rockies to the other side of BC, so that all Canadians could be together? I had a friend who was a Rhino candidate once upon a time, and almost won…

    Like

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