With just over a month and a half to go, the Non-Partisan Association (NPA) has unveiled its replacement candidate for mayor in Vancouver’s municipal election.
At an announcement Tuesday outside the Roxy Cabaret on Granville Street, the party announced it had selected former West Vancouver police officer Fred Harding.
The location — the site of a machete attack that left four people in hospital in early August — left no questions about what the party’s focus would be in the campaign.
Neither did Harding’s speech to media, which centred on crime and public safety.
“Our city is no longer safe. What’s going on on our city streets today is neither compassion nor compassionate,” he said.
“To think that harm reduction and slum housing alone are going to help those most in need in our society is a lie.”
Harding ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 2018 with Vancouver 1st, coming in sixth place with 5,640 votes. Incumbent Mayor Kennedy Stewart secured 49,705 votes in 2018.
During that campaign, one of the party’s school board candidates quit over a video Harding made, pledging to advocate for parents “alienated” by the “foisting” of SOGI 123 onto Vancouver schools.
SOGI 123 is a resource package designed to help teachers and school administrators reduce discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) in their curriculum.
At the time, Harding said his position was misrepresented and that his concern was the way the matter was communicated with parents, not the program itself.
Harding will replace former mayoral candidate and Park Board Commissioner John Coupar, who withdrew abruptly in early August.
He will face off against Stewart, A Better City’s Ken Sim, Progress Vancouver’s Mark Marrisen and TEAM for a Livable Vancouver’s Colleen Hardwick.