British Columbia·City Votes 2014

Vancouver election: Voting begins in B.C. civic election

Voters in Vancouver head to the polls today after a contentious civic election campaign that saw the incumbent mayor file a lawsuit against a rival candidate.

3 main mayoral contenders are Gregor Robertson, Kirk LaPointe and Meena Wong

The Vancouver mayoral candidates left to right: Meena Wong, Gregor Roberton, and Kirk LaPointe. (CBC)

Voters in Vancouver headed to the polls today after a contentious civic election campaign that saw the incumbent mayor file a lawsuit against a rival candidate.

The three main contenders in B.C.'s most high-profile mayoral race are the incumbent Gregor Robertson​ (Vision Vancouver), Kirk LaPointe​ (Non-Partisan Association) and Meena Wong​ (Coalition of Progressive Electors).

There are also six independent candidates seeking the mayor’s chair — Meynard Aubichon, Mike Hansen, Jeff Hill, Cherryse Kaur Kaiser, Tim Ly and Colin Shandler​.

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Development, transit and affordability are the key issues that have dominated the campaign, but campaign financing, attack ads and a potential splitting of the vote have also come into play.

And for the first time, civic parties voluntarily revealed their donor lists, allowing voters to see where the electoral organizations get their money.

The race between Robertson and LaPointe also grew increasingly heated over the course of the campaign as Robertson filed a defamation lawsuit against LaPointe, claiming he and the NPA were running attack ads that contained false and defamatory words.

In response, the NPA called the lawsuit an attempt to stop the party's criticism of Vision's record and behaviour.

The race took a surprising turn at the CBC's mayoral debate on Nov. 12 as Robertson apparently embarked on a new strategy and offered an unprompted apology to voters for any past failures.

Robertson later appealed directly to those considering voting in favour of COPE, urging them to support him instead. The appeal elicited exclamations of disbelief from Wong, the COPE candidate, and prompted concerns over whether left-leaning voters will split the so-called "progressive" vote between Vision Vancouver and COPE.

The debate also saw LaPointe questioned over his leadership experience and Wong compare Vancouver developers to slumlords.

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