Vancouver is the best ever. The Mayor is a total hunk who used to make a living squeezing fruit. There are mountains around the city, and residents love to talk about them. Sometimes Vancouver residents visit the mountains, often dressed in mountaineering gear with resale value that exceeds the annual income of many families around the world. There is even a Chinatown and one street with lots of artsy stuff, and all the poor people are conveniently corralled in one corner of downtown. So face it: Vancouver is heaven on Earth. It’s so perfect that everything it does only makes it more perfect. This week, the municipal election campaign hit a new high when the governing party, Vision Vancouver, aired an attack ad against NPA mayoral candidate Kirk LaPointe. There is no doubt that this was the best, most reasonable attack ad ever aired for any purpose.
LaPointe is running against Gregor Robertson (the juice man) for mayor. LaPointe represents NPA and Robertson represents Vision Vancouver. What does NPA mean? After searching the party website for 10 minutes, it was still unclear. After flipping through Robertson’s Vision Vancouver website, the difference between the candidates and the parties was even less clear.
Both share an affinity for large, high definition pictures of their mayoral candidates, and both love “integrity” and other platitudes. For example, Robertson has “big, bold plans to move Vancouver forward,” while LaPointe has “strong leadership skills” and “dedication,” and is “the right person to lead Vancouver.” LaPointe also boasts that he is “Internet-savvy.” At this point, it feels like the only reasonable attack ad would be one that points out that these websites are perfectly substance-free. Perfect, of course … keeping with Vancouver tradition. So what is Vision Vancouver saying about LaPointe?
In an awkward radio ad, Vision staged a painfully fake conversation between two women discussing Kirk LaPointe’s candidacy for mayor. Groaning, one woman introduces LaPointe as “the NPA guy.” We still have no idea what NPA stands for, but that isn’t the purpose of this radio ad. Another woman feigns surprise: “[LaPointe] doesn’t even know where the Broadway subway would start!” They describe this as a “blunder,” and say that if the Mayor “makes blunders like that he’ll screw up transit and traffic all over the city.” Understatement of the century! If a mayor has to ask an office worker where a proposed subway line starts, global warming will accelerate, Ebola will become transmissible by sight, and the Canucks won’t make the playoffs because they’ll be stuck in traffic or on transit! Canucks fans – take note of this year’s excuse, but remember: it’s only valid if Kirk LaPointe becomes mayor. So why do these women think LaPointe is such an idiot? They say it could be because he’s inexperienced, or because he doesn’t live or pay taxes in Vancouver. That’s true. According to the CBC, he lives ~5 minutes out of town, on the UBC campus, and works on the north shore. He’s a drive-through candidate. The radio ad rightly concludes that LaPointe could “blow it,” so he’s a “huge risk.”
So what, are people supposed to believe this stuff? I may not know what NPA means, but I know a stupid attack ad when I see one. Yes, the attack was pointed, but it was pointed in the wrong direction. It made the “regular citizens” seem about as intelligent and politically-engaged as a pair of raccoons deciding whether or not to raid a garbage can: “We could blow it! It’s a huge risk!” The biggest problem with the ad is that it never offers an alternative. If Vancouver voters don’t eat the garbage (vote for LaPointe), what are they supposed to do? Drink Happy Planet? The ad never says.
Anyway, the take-home point here is that Vancouver is perfect. Duh. After hearing this terrible attack ad, citizens will probably vote in droves on November 15th and still have time on election day to casually stroll through Stanley Park in $800 performance shell jackets. That probably deserves respect. So, if we really want to make fun of Vancouver, let’s do it because the city allows parties in municipal politics. No one is innocent. By the way, I finally found out that NPA stands for Non-Partisan Association. We have to assume that some hipster chose that name for the irony. In that case, it too is perfect.