Bruce ‘Stache’ Sinski has been the unofficial court jester of the City of North Vancouver. Local politicians have often found themselves at the receiving end of his harsh brush. But now the man who is used to poking bitter fun at politicians wants to become one himself.
Sinski, who runs the popular cartoon site, mystacheonline, has announced he would be running for 2018 civic elections for the City of North Vancouver. He says he would welcome cartoons about him, even suggesting a name for the series: The Lampooning of Stache. If a cartoonist did indeed turn the brush on him, he says this as a vindication of his work and his reach as a political satirist.
“It would mean that my editorial cartoons were able to engage to the point whereby citizens were physically and creatively illustrating their issues about me, pictorially expressing their views,” he says.
Sinski does add a caveat though. He would love to check out the satire as long as it’s not done out of vengeance or hatred but rather framed and characterized in satirical humour. “I would no doubt answer back to the cartoonist with a cartoon of my own, keeping the back-and-forth creative media juices flowing. Anytime we can use art as a platform for engagement I am all for it… bring it on!” he says.
Sinski loved drawing as a kid and even created his own comic books. He is no stranger to politics either. In the 1970s, he says his step grandfather, a Conservative MLA, asked him to caricature Pierre Elliot Trudeau on a skateboard dodging contentious issues fronting his government. That cartoon never made it to a newspaper although he says it made the rounds of Parliament Hill.
Originally from Ontario, Sinski settled in North Vancouver in 2002 after several years of work in the TV and film industry. He started his cartoon blog in 2014, and now churns them out with a surprising alacrity, sometimes within a day of a contentious debate or a decision.
One of his favourite subjects is Mayor Darrell Mussato, whom he often portrays as a Grinch complete with a Pinocchio nose with a building crane hanging from the Mayor’s nose. The mayor figures quite prominently because Sinski alleges the Mayor has “sold our city’s soul to his campaign developer pals”. He started his blog ‘Stache Editorial Cartoons’ in late 2014 shortly after doing some campaign posters for Kerry Morris, who ran for Mayor in 2014 election. “Although I was on the outside looking in, I witnessed much of the dirty politics, the Fake News shenanigans being displayed—allegations that were short on veracity though seemingly played well into the hands of unaware electorate,” he says.
Every week since has brought an often-acidic caricature of politicians he says are increasingly disconnected from ordinary people and beholden to the development community. His cartoons are having an impact, he says, by bringing attention to sleight-of-hand city governance and behaviour of politicians. He has so far posted over 480 CNV-related cartoons. “My blog seems to have hit a nerve not only among city residents, for and against, but is also being read in cities and towns across our country. Having over 92K views in three years and now averaging between two and three thousand hits a month, I am “drawing”, mounting a substantial viewership,” he says. The idea behind Sinski’s cartoon blog is to bring awareness to local issues and get more citizens engaged in local politics—and to shine a light on what he alleges is the Team Slate “tyrannical takeover” of the city hall.
Reversing this “takeover” would be his first priority if gets elected, he says. “First and foremost, we need to take back our city from the clutches of developers and all developers who have made our city less affordable for far too many.
Our city’s “wellness” and “businesses” are solely dependent, rooted in millennials, seniors, artists, fixed- and low-income earners and our precarious part-time workers being able to afford housing within their means,” he says.
If elected, Sinski would also like to increase public input period time and the number of speakers. He would like the council to put highrise density projects and density bonusing into a “temporary holding pattern”. He would also like the city council and planners to hold strategic neighbourhood town hall meetings to discuss the impact of a given project and win approval from the community before being discussed in the council meetings.
Sinski has had some help from Albert Einstein when it comes to his campaign logo, which is E=MC2. The citizens, he alleges, have had enough of the collusion between politicians and developers. He is also against slates which, in his view, are candidates forming a group to serve a party platform.
Even though he doesn’t have direct political experience, Sinski says he’s well aware of politics. He says most candidates don’t come from a political background. “It’s just as important to believe in yourself and that can make a resolute and genuine difference. In the meantime, I will let my supporters and the city electorate decide if I have what it takes to represent their interests free from developers and special-interest money collusion,” he says.
Well, you may or may not vote for Sinski but you surely cannot brush him aside.