Kennedy Stewart’s name appears eight times on the Vancouver municipal election ballot instead of once on the list of mayoral candidates.
According to Elections BC, it is perfectly legal to include the mayoral candidate’s name alongside the names of other candidates from the same party.
Stewart formed his Team Kennedy Stewart Vancouver Society for the 2022 election, after winning as an independent in 2018. The society has registered six other names with Elections BC: Forward Together, Forward Together Vancouver, Forward Vancouver, Forward with Kennedy Stewart, FTKS and FTV.
A spokesperson for Stewart said the new party originally planned to use Forward Together with Kennedy Stewart on the ballot. “As it was too long to fit on the ballot, Forward with Kennedy Stewart was written instead,” Kyle Krawchuk said.
Elections BC said a candidate’s name may also be part of an electoral organization’s full name, common name or ballot name.
“Election organizations file their full name, common name and ballot name as part of their registration with Elections BC,” Elections BC spokesman Andrew Watson said. “Elections BC reviews names of electoral organizations to ensure they comply with local campaign finance law.”
Watson said the law prohibits an electoral organization name that could be confused with another electoral organization in the same jurisdiction and names that have been registered in the same jurisdiction at any time in the previous 10 years. The Local Government Act also prohibits a candidate’s occupation, title, honor or degree from appearing on a ballot.
According to a marketing expert, Stewart made a shrewd but risky move.
“They obviously have polling data indicating that this guy looks like the well-known and favorite name that seems to have a reasonably positive identification in the community,” said Lindsay Meredith, a retired marketing professor at Simon Fraser University. “So that’s what you’re going to mark him under.” Because what you’re afraid of is that all these other individual names are going to get lost in the mix.
Stewart is one of 15 candidates for mayor and his party is fielding six candidates against 53 others for the 10 council seats.
“So what are you doing?” Meredith said. “You choose the name that has the most cachet and tie all your horses to this star. You better hope it’s the lucky horse.
The fate of all other candidates rests on the success of the leader. If the strategy works, expect others to adopt it for 2026.
“If you’re trying to make a roster, and especially if that roster is known by the position the leader takes, because he’s the guy who gets all the airtime and all the media coverage, then yeah, you end up saying, well, let’s take the easy way out. Remember, it’s an easy way out, okay,” Meredith said. “But it’s also a dangerous way out.”
Just look south to Donald Trump, who remains the face of the Republican Party, despite his 2020 election defeat and his ever-growing list of scandals.
Stewart’s full name is Edward Charles Kennedy Stewart, but goes by Kennedy, which is synonymous with the American political dynasty. Ironically, Forward Together was the slogan made famous in President Richard Nixon’s inaugural address in 1969.
Meanwhile, a video shot by a citizen on the last day of nominations shows several members of Stewart’s Forward Together walking together.
A witness recorded a group of four candidates for city council and another person crossing diagonally across the intersection of 8th Avenue West and Alberta Street toward the municipal elections office. The group included Dulcy Anderson, Hilary Brown, Tessica Truong and Russil Wvong. They were also photographed outside the municipal election office with Stewart and his wife, Jeanette Ashe, the party’s star candidate.
Jaywalking is illegal according to City Street and Traffic Bylaws and is punishable by a $100 fine.
When they handed in their papers, the documents included the names of people who had been arrested for blocking roads. Stewart’s includes endorsement of Hisao Ichikawa, a Save Old Growth protester sentenced to 21 days house arrest and 12 months probation for blocking the Upper Levels Freeway and chaining his neck to the door of an RBC bank. Ichikawa was sentenced in August 2018 to seven days in jail for violating an injunction at the Trans Mountain Pipeline construction site in Burnaby Mountain. Stewart also violated the injunction, but pleaded guilty to criminal contempt and was fined $500.
Singh’s endorsers include Deborah Sherry Janet Tin Tun, who is scheduled to appear Nov. 21 in Vancouver Provincial Court on charges of mischief and breach of recognizance for her role in the Save Old Growth protests that blocked the Ironworkers Memorial Second Narrows Bridge.
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