December 22, 2021

What the hell happened to the NPA?!

CHATBOX is your chance to eavesdrop on Gordon Price and Sandy James Planner as they joust over our region’s features and foibles.

The Vancouver NPA formed in 1937, and maintained a strong presence on Vancouver City Council through to 2002. However it has elected only three of the last eight mayors since 1972. The year 2021 was fraught with rumors, infighting and defections. What the hell happened to the NPA?!

SANDY: The last century at City of Vancouver was dominated by the municipal Non Partisan Association, which had several majorities on Council and some great mayors under that ticket. Gordon, you were an NPA Councillor yourself—although I would have thought you would have run with a kinder, gentler party package. I mean, you were from the West End, more a leftie than a rightie, not a businessman in a blue suit. But you chose to run with the NPA—why?

GORDON: Well, I was one of the last TEAM members until May Brown threw her support behind Gordon Campbell – and that was the end of TEAM (which has since resurrected as a vehicle for Colleen Hardwick). I was approached by Campbell in 1986, to join what was then effectively a coalition of the centre-left to the right. I refused initially, then decided it was actually the only game in town for someone like me—gay, left of centre, and the first councillor to come out of the West End since the 1940s. But here’s the thing: the NPA board was there to run elections, raise money, and recruit volunteers. It was definitely NOT there to set policy or construct the platform beyond what the mayoral candidate and nominees would construct. The current ideological NPA is not the NPA that pretty much dominated City Hall from 1937 to 2002 (with the TEAM and Harcourt councils in between). It’s a very different beast now.

SANDY: Do tell Gordon…


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