Mayor’s Communiqué: Promoting Vancouver’s Interests

One of the most important responsibilities of being Mayor is to make sure our city’s priorities are reflected in the Parliament of Canada and BC Legislature. I am proud of the progress we have made over the past two years to secure important federal and provincial commitments to help achieve the five goals we have established for Vancouver.

Interviewed by Toronto media
Mayor speaks to reporters following lunch address in Toronto

Over the past three weeks, I have traveled to Ottawa and Victoria to press the case for Vancouver. I also visited Toronto to promote the 2010 Olympic & Paralympic Winter Games and traveled to New Orleans to address one of the largest international drug policy conventions in the world this year.

This communiqué includes a summary of my recent meetings and identifies some priorities for action to achieve these goals.

Victoria (November 22 – 23)

Councillor Suzanne Anton and I traveled to Victoria to follow up on our October pre-budget submission. As we come to the end of the year, many people have asked me who I think made the most significant impact on our city’s life over the past year. Without hesitation I have responded by recognizing the leadership of Premier Gordon Campbell on the big issues of the day.

On homelessness, our governments have launched the development of more than 2500 units of social and supportive housing in Vancouver. On the environment, we have established ambitious targets to reduce greenhouse gases and increase access to public transportation. And our governments are working together to ensure Vancouver is completely prepared to welcome the world in 2010.

While tremendous progress has been made, there are a number of outstanding issues. During this visit, we discussed:

  • drug addiction, mental health in the Downtown Eastside
  • Project Civil City & plans for development of 12 new supportive housing sites
  • fiscal inequity between provincial and city governments in BC
  • planning for the 2010 Olympic & Paralympic Winter Games
  • completion of the Millennium Rapid Transit Line & EcoDensity
  • opportunities for persons with disabilities
  • regional policing & resources for law enforcement
  • improvements to the Vancouver Charter to strengthen by-law enforcement & fine collection

While in Victoria, I also had the honour of meeting British Columbia’s new Lieutenant Governor, The Honourable Steven L. Point and participate in a special ceremony to recognize the contribution police officers make to our community.

Ottawa (December 2 – 4)

Last week, I traveled to Ottawa and followed up on many of the conversations we had in Victoria. During this visit I had the opportunity to meet with many Cabinet Ministers and Members of Parliament from all parties to discuss:

  • drug addiction & mental health in the Downtown Eastside
  • planning for the 2010 Olympic & Paralympic Winter Games – including security budget
  • follow through on federal funding commitment for more police officers
  • strategic infrastructure & EcoDensity
  • Vancouver Port operations – including proposal for new soccer stadium
  • access to affordable rental & social housing

While in Ottawa I also had the opportunity to speak to the Governor General of Canada and representatives of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities to discuss the housing and community health challenges we face.

Mayor Sullivan with Governor General of Canada, Her Excellency Michael Jean
Mayor Sullivan invites Governor General to visit Vancouver in New Year to speak
about homelessness, drug addiction and mental health

Following these meetings, I confirmed plans to host a national housing summit in Vancouver in the New Year. More details will be announced in the coming weeks.

Toronto (December 5 – 6)

From Ottawa, I traveled to Toronto for two days. During the visit I met with Mayor David Miller, Members of the Ontario Legislature, the Lieutenant Governor and business leaders to discuss:

With Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, The Honourable David C. Onley
Mayor Sullivan meets with Lieutenant Governor of Ontario Hon. David Onley to discuss the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games
  • using the 2010 Games as an opportunity to unite the country and promote Canada
  • immigrant settlement
  • homelessness, drug addiction & mental health
  • opportunities for persons with disabilities
  • Vancouver’s bid to host the 2009 Juno Awards

While in Toronto I also participated in a special event with members of the Canadian Paralympic Committee to promote the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games and gave a keynote address to the Hong Kong-Canada Business Association on how Vancouver is using 2010 as a catalyst for social, environmental and economic change.

New Orleans (December 7-8)

Earlier this year, I was invited by the New York based Drug Policy Alliance to attend their 2007 International Conference in New Orleans to speak about what Vancouver is doing to address drug addiction and mental health. I was pleased to accept and deliver a keynote address to help close the convention – which was attended by more than 1000 delegates. During my speech I, promoted:

  • Vancouver’s history of innovation in drug policy
  • 2010 Olympic & Paralympic Winter Games as a catalyst for social change
  • historic investments in supportive housing
  • Project Civil City & Vancouver’s Four Pillars strategy
  • supervised safe injection site & groundbreaking heroin maintenance program
  • substitution treatment research trials for over 1000 people with chronic addictions

At the conference – and during my visit to Ottawa – I reaffirmed Vancouver’s intent to be an active participant in the Government of Canada’s new anti-drug strategy. Federal officials have confirmed Vancouver can expect to receive as much as $10 million from the new $64 million national fund that was announced in October.

While a formal announcement on the details of this investment is forthcoming, I want to recognize the support of the Government of Canada on this important issue. We look forward to using these resources to support prevention and new treatment options for people with drug addiction in the Downtown Eastside. Personally I have expressed an interest in making sure that women in the survival sex trade are treated as a top priority for funding.

In the coming weeks I will be inviting Provincial, Federal and local health officials to meet and discuss how we can use these resources and accelerate action. I have also asked the Provincial government to match any Federal contribution we get under the new national strategy. I look forward to promoting more progress in the months ahead.

Statement in response to last weekend’s verdict

Finally, I have made a statement in response to the announcement of last weekend’s verdict the verdict in the case of six of the women that went missing from the Downtown Eastside, and it is posted at


Sam Sullivan

Sam Sullivan