Three people are possibly in the race to become the mayoral candidate for the party that hopes to knock off Mayor Gregor Robertson and his Vision Vancouver celebration next year.
With 11 weeks to go until civic-election day in a year that promises to bring enormous changes to local politics, the city’s newest councillor, Hector Bremner, the mayoral candidate in the previous election, Kirk LaPointe, and former Conservative MP Wai Young have said they’re exploring the possibility of running for the Non-Partisan Association’s mayoral slot.
The party set Feb. 21 as its nomination date for the mayor’s place this week.
“I am determining now what I could supply the city,” stated Mr. LaPointe, a media executive who recently moved to Vancouver from home at the University of British Columbia, a place that sparked some criticism last time he wanted to become mayor of a town he did not even reside in.
Ms. Young explained that she’s had “lots of people approach me to run and it is certainly something I am contemplating.” And Mr. Bremner, who was recently chosen as the city’s 11th councillor at a by-election, stated that “lots of people are asking me to look at it and … as we get closer, I will be making some decisions.”
All three spoke about needing to give voters a choice besides Vision, which they said had failed voters on issues from housing to basic city services to traffic congestion.
George Affleck, a twice-elected councillor who had indicated many times before that he would run to become the mayoral candidate, declared this week he’s leaving politics after this term.
Candidates have until Jan. 22 to sign up new members, although Mr. Bremner, the vice-president of a public-relations business and a former B.C. Liberal political aide, is now in a strong position after having recruited almost 1,000 new members throughout the by-election campaign.
Mr. Robertson and his party are viewed as vulnerable to conquer after being in power for nearly ten years. The Vision offender came in fifth at the October by-election, behind Mr. Bremner and three candidates supported by other progressive parties.
Vision Vancouver, which has raised so much money during its time in office it had been able to employ full-time employees yearlong, which is uncommon for civic celebration, recently laid off two of its three party employees.
At the same time, one of its popular councillors with a strong following among young, environmentally minded people, Andrea Reimer, announced last month that she will not be running again.
Vision Vancouver co-chair Maria Dobrinskaya stated it is not clear yet who may be running.
“We all know we must have a leadership review for our incumbents at all levels,” stated Ms. Dobrinskaya. “That will give us clarity about the amount of spots. But right now, we are waiting for everyone to get through plenty of heavy policy in the autumn.”
She said the party’s staff layoffs are a “restructuring” which is part of “attempting to build in flexibility.”
All of the parties are scrambling to work out how to comply with new campaign-financing rules the state put into effect Oct. 30. That bans corporate and union contributions and limits individual contributions to $1,200.
The new rules will have the maximum impact on the two large parties, Vision and the NPA, which had raised around $2-million apiece during the official campaign period from the 2014 election.
The NPA rushed for individuals to contribute before the deadline for its annual fundraising gala that took place Nov. 22. It had four corporate sponsors listed for this, two of them connected with Beedie Living, the firm that’s been generating controversy for many years with its plans to construct a condominium project in Chinatown.
The rules will restrict the effect of former donors such as Rocky Mountaineer owner Peter Armstrong and programmer Rob Macdonald, who had contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations in previous elections to the NPA. They’ll also hobble Vision, which got a significant percentage of its campaign money from people in construction and development.
Courtesy: The Globe And Mail