NPA plays Charades with voters in highlighting Kirk LaPointe as potential mayoral candidate
Two of Vancouver's most experienced city-hall journalists, Frances Bula and Jeff Lee, have each written articles this week about the NPA's efforts to find someone to challenge Mayor Gregor Robertson.
Bula reported that the NPA board secretly interviewed three candidates last week.
The only one she identified was veteran media manager Kirk LaPointe, now the publisher at Self-Counsel Press.
Today, Lee revealed that a second prospect is Ian Robertson, a former park commissioner who worked for the Rocky Mountaineer several years ago.
NPA president Peter Armstrong is the executive chairman and founder of the railway.
Citing an unnamed source, Lee reported that the board voted for LaPointe, a former managing editor of the Vancouver Sun.
The NPA hasn't revealed who the third candidate was.
My bet is NPA councillor George Affleck, though it's possible someone else may have been invited into the NPA boardroom.
Somehow, I doubt it would have been former Vanoc CEO John Furlong, who chairs the board of Armstrong's company, but anything's possible.
Meanwhile, Vision Vancouver has attacked the NPA for not holding an open nomination meeting.
I think the reason is obvious: had the party held an open meeting, Affleck would have creamed LaPointe, who has no political experience and no political organization.
The more intriguing question is why the NPA board would prefer the far less charismatic LaPointe over Affleck or Robertson, who've each been successful politicians.
At the risk of making this whole exercise look like a game of Charades, here's my take on the situation.
I emphasize that this is my opinion:
• The NPA board didn't think Affleck had the necessary gravitas, despite his relatively high name recognition, engaging personality, and knowledge of civic issues.
• The NPA is under the mistaken impression that LaPointe is a fresh face in politics without any baggage.
• The NPA board probably thinks that LaPointe will get great coverage from the Vancouver Sun but fails to recognize that the paper has far less impact because of media fragmentation.
• The NPA board was influenced by Christy Clark's success and the fact that she's a former media personality.
• Robertson was probably never a serious candidate for the NPA mayoral nomination. But his name was leaked to Lee to make it seem like it wasn't seen as a choice between LaPointe and Affleck. Robertson would go along with this, given his long history working for Armstrong.
• If LaPointe loses the election, he'll have sufficiently high name recognition to put himself forward as a candidate in the future, possibly in North Vancouver with the federal Liberals.
I'm not privy to what went on in the NPA boardroom so this is all speculation on my part.
The public will probably learn the full story after election day in November, which is when it will all come tumbling out.