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HomeBusinessInside Mayor Ken Sim’s first six weeks in office 

Inside Mayor Ken Sim’s first six weeks in office 

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Bob Mackin 

Orientation briefings from senior bureaucrats, introductions to B.C. and federal cabinet ministers and city council meetings dominated Ken Sim’s first month-and-a-half schedule as Vancouver mayor.

Ken Sim speaking at his Nov. 7, 2022 swearing-in (City of Vancouver)

According to his calendar, Sim started his first full day as the city’s 41st mayor on Nov. 8 with a Global TV interview. He was formally sworn-in the previous afternoon at the Orpheum Theatre. The first week ended with Remembrance Day ceremonies at the Victory Park cenotaph and Chinatown memorial plaza. 

Sim met with Carolyn Bennett, the federal Liberal Minister of Mental Health and Addiction, on Nov. 9 and Minister of Natural Resources Jonathan Wilkinson on Nov. 18. The latter day was one of his busiest, with the swearing-in of David Eby as B.C.’s 37th Premier and meetings with then-Municipal Affairs Minister Nathan Cullen, the weekly get together for senior staff of the city manager’s office and mayor’s office, and his swearing-in as chair of the Vancouver Police Board.

Sim did not attend the Nov. 24 Police Board meeting, because he was in Qatar at the FIFA World Cup on a trip that had been planned prior to his Oct. 15 election victory. 

Despite that, Sim’s calendar makes no mention of taking time out to see Canada’s first tournament appearance in 36 years. For Nov. 23, at the same time as Sim watched Canada outplay Belgium in a 1-0 loss, his calendar shows a council orientation briefing about the civic code of conduct followed by the weekly meeting with the city manager’s office.

Vancouver is one of 16 host cities for the 2026 tournament, but it does not appear that Sim received or generated any records about lessons learned in Qatar that could be applied locally. Freedom of information office staff say there are no records of meetings or correspondence that Sim had with any official of FIFA or the Qatar 2022 organizing committee. A manager from city hall and two police officers attended official FIFA meetings in early December for future hosts. 

The only World Cup-related engagement on Sim’s calendar was a Dec. 8 meet and greet at city hall with Sam Adekugbe, the former Vancouver Whitecap who set up Canada’s second goal, officially recorded as an own goal by a Moroccan defender. 

Ken Sim at the Qatar 2022 World Cup (Ken Sim/Twitter)

Rather than travelling to Ottawa, Sim met virtually with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other big city mayors on Dec. 6, and spoke with the mayors of Coquitlam (Richard Stewart), Burnaby (Mike Hurley) and North Vancouver District (Mike Little) on Nov. 9, Nov. 30 and Dec. 13 respectively, 

The first entry for December, on the 2nd of the month, was a meeting with “G. Clark and D. Watts.” Former Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts was on Sim’s transition team and she is a director with former B.C. Premier Glen Clark on the board of Westshore Terminals, whose biggest shareholder is Jim Pattison. Clark retired without any public announcement in December as the Jim Pattison Group’s president. 

Sim also met that day with real estate marketer Bob Rennie and his vice-president of advisory services, Andrew Ramlo. 

Sim attended the Union Gospel Mission Dec. 3, where he helped serve Christmas dinner to the needy, and later attended the Vancouver Police Department executive’s Christmas reception.

On Dec. 9, the calendar shows a meeting with officials from B.C. Pavilion Corporation, new Minister of Housing Ravi Kahlon, a roundtable with Eby, and visit with Port Coquitlam Mayor and new TransLink Mayor’s Council chair Brad West. 

Appointments for Dec. 12 included Canada’s Ambassador to China Jennifer May and Vancouver Coastal Health CEO Vivian Eliopoulos. VCH provides psychiatric nurses to the VPD’s Car 87 program. During the election, Sim promised to hire 100 more cops and nurses. 

The first meeting with one of the city’s labour leaders was Dec. 14 with Warren Williams, president of CUPE local 15. The inside workers union is in the early stages of talks for a new contract. That was the same day as a call with Solicitor General Mike Farnworth. The subject matter was not mentioned, but should Farnworth opt to keep the RCMP in Surrey and shut down the Surrey Police Service, Sim may have a simpler path to fulfilling his police recruitment promise.   

His last day of engagements in the office for the year was Dec. 16, which included a photo shoot for Vancouver Magazine and a retirement reception for Harold Johnson, the Chinatown merchants’ security guard who survived a mugging in August.
Except for a Dec. 21 interview with Mike Howell of Vancouver Is Awesome, Sim had no other engagements listed for the second half of December. 

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