Vision Vancouver’s announcement that it will oppose gaming expansion in Vancouver will, to paraphrase CityCaucus, test the NPA’s solidarity.
NPA council candidate Sean Bickerton made his name on opposition to the plan to more than double slot machines and other gambling opportunities at the proposed Paragon Casino that was to be part of the BC Place development.
Bickerton was part of a coalition of groups opposed to the expansion. To this day his website lists the five most important reasons to oppose gaming expansion in the city.
Suzanne Anton, who tops the NPA bill, has a decidedly different view.
While Anton voted in favour of Mayor Robertson’s motion that killed the BC Place/Paragon casino project she gave an interview to the Vancouver Sun the next day where she explained that her vote was actually a vote in favour of the expanded casino.
According to the Sun “Partisan Association Coun. Suzanne Anton said her vote in favour of Mayor Gregor Robertson’s amended motion approving most elements of the proposal has been wrongly interpreted as a vote against the now-defeated expansion”.
Anton said she has always been in favour of a destination casino in Vancouver and would have voted in favour of one if such a motion had been presented. “I said I would have supported expanded gambling and that I was very worried that this project was going down and the jobs that might be lost,” Anton said.
Donations to Anton’s 2008 campaign for Council from Paragon’s lobbyist George Cadman, underline Anton’s support for the BC Place/Paragon gaming expansion project.
Just last week Anton seemed to reiterate her support for expanded gaming when she attacked Robertson over recent his campaign announcement. According to the CBC Anton was quoted as saying the Vision Council’s vote against the BC Place/Paragon gaming expansion proposal wasn’t a vote to kill the proposal.
Over to you Sean Bickerton. Who do you support when it comes to gaming expansion in Vancouver: Your boss Suzanne Anton who continues to be gung ho for more gambling or your opponent Gregor Robertson, who agrees with your opposition to a vastly expanded casino?
A version of this story appears in the Vancouver Observer