Vancouver Police Union supports mayoral candidate in first political endorsement

The Vancouver Police Union (VPU) is throwing its support behind one of the mayoral candidates in the upcoming civic election.

As expected, the union is endorsing Ken Sim and his ABC slate. This marks the first time the union has made a political endorsement.

In a statement, VPU President Ralph Kaisers says electing Sim and an ABC majority on council would “ensure that police and other front-line responders will have the resources they need to protect and serve Vancouverites.”

The move is seen as controversial, with critics arguing those who enforce the laws should not try to sway the public in who gets to write them.

Stewart Prest, a political scientist at Quest University, says the line separating police and political endorsements usually isn’t crossed for a reason.

“You can understand why, when you think about what could happen if police seem to be associated with, or are favouring, one side of political views over another,” he previously explained.

“Part of it is the fact that police are enforcing the rules that are being passed by these bodies and we really want to have that separation made clear so that people feel comfortable voicing opposition to certain kinds of policy.”

Concerns about police in politics were recently raised at a VPU-sponsored mayoral and council candidate debate.

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Led by Sim, ABC has seven candidates looking to win councillor seats in Vancouver. Among those running is Brian Montague, a former member of the Vancouver Police Department. Montague served with the force for nearly three decades before he retired this year.

ABC’s platform includes a commitment to hire 100 new police officers, as well as to reinstate the school liaison officer program, which was put under review in 2020.

The municipal election is slated for Oct. 15.

-With files from Michael Williams and Martin MacMahon

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