Advertisement

NPA mayoral candidate has won a ‘poisoned chalice,’ says former party hopeful

Political novice aims for Vancouver mayor’s chair
Vancouver's Non-Partisan Association has chosen for its mayoralty candidate a man who founded two successful companies, but has never run for public office. Tanya Beja reports.

The bad blood around the NPA’s mayoral nomination isn’t going away.

Former NPA hopeful Hector Bremner has organized a meeting for Monday to “discuss the future of Vancouver.”

WATCH: NPA Vancouver mayoral candidate accuses party of ‘stacking the deck’ against him

NPA Vancouver mayoral candidate accuses party of ‘stacking the deck’ against him
NPA Vancouver mayoral candidate accuses party of ‘stacking the deck’ against him

Bremner, a current NPA city councillor, was vetoed as a mayoral candidate by the party’s board earlier this month, despite being approved by its green light committee.

Ken Sim won the civic party’s nomination on Sunday with nearly 50 per cent of the vote in a field of three candidates.

“Sim has won a poisoned chalice. This is now no longer the NPA as most people know it,” wrote Bremner.

Story continues below advertisement

“Our supporters — those desperate for housing and hope in our city — have asked us to keep moving forward, and we will. To the thousands of Vancouverites who signed up to the NPA, but were disenfranchised by the NPA board which remains in place, we extend to you our welcoming arms.”

READ MORE: Rejected NPA mayoral candidate Hector Bremner may form new Vancouver party

Since being dropped as a candidate, Bremner has been actively pushing the idea of a possible independent run on social media.

On Sunday, he encouraged his supporters to “continue with our mission” and continue the campaign’s rallying cry.

#LetsFixHousing has already become the largest political movement in our city,” wrote Bremner. “A movement that says ‘Yes’ to a bright, inclusive, positive future, and says ‘No’ to the politics of division and fear.”

Sim, who is a newcomer to politics, was surprised when his name was announced as the winner over park board commissioner John Coupar and businessman Glen Chernen.

READ MORE: NPA faces defections over decision to drop Hector Bremner from mayoral race

“Wow, I wasn’t really expecting that. This is incredibly humbling,” Sim said on Sunday night. “There was a line out there all day and it really shows that NPA members care about making a difference.”

Sim’s supporters included former NPA president Peter Armstrong and lululemon founder Chip Wilson. The 47-year-old entrepreneur grew up in Vancouver and his parents immigrated to Canada in 1967.

Story continues below advertisement

Vancouver Courier civic affairs columnist Mike Klassen said Sim is a good fit for NPA’s brand, especially with all the distractions going on with Bremner’s candidacy.

WATCH HERE: NPA Vancouver mayoral candidate accuses party of ‘stacking the deck’ against him

NPA Vancouver mayoral candidate accuses party of ‘stacking the deck’ against him
NPA Vancouver mayoral candidate accuses party of ‘stacking the deck’ against him

“They probably dodged a bullet because they found a candidate that seems to fit with the NPA mold who comes across as friendly and articulate and could grow into a serious contender for the mayor’s job,” said Klassen.

“It’s early days. Yes it has seemed pretty unusually hectic and confusing, probably to a lot of outside observers, but that is the nature of elected politics. Most of the voters aren’t paying attention until after Labour Day.”

Vision Vancouver, the NPA’s chief rivals, are set to confirm their mayoral candidate on June 24.

But at this point it looks like Squamish hereditary chief and councillor Ian Campbell will be the only one seeking the nomination.

What has made the build up to replace Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson so interesting is the growing number of credible, independent candidates considering runs.

NDP MP Kennedy Stewart, former Conservative MP Wai Young and SFU professor Shauna Sylvester have already announced their intentions to run.

Story continues below advertisement

READ MORE: Kennedy Stewart to run for Vancouver mayor, will resign as MP

Along with Bremner, Green Party city Coun. Adriane Carr is considering a run outside one of the two major municipal parties.

“It has been a long time since we haven’t had an incumbent mayor, if I was to look into a crystal ball five months when we are close to election day this may once again be a dog fight between the NPA and Vision Vancouver,” added Klassen.

“The other candidates may quit or not get enough attention.”