NPA plays Charades with voters in highlighting Kirk LaPointe as potential mayoral candidate

Comments6

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.

Comments (6) Add New Comment
Mark
I'd say that even the NPA won't be free of some developer influence, but I believe they will be a step up from the current Vision administration.

Vision is not just fully entrenched with the developers, but they do it in such a way that it seems they have no shame at all. Holding neighborhood meeting on rezoning, and afterwards, still doing whatever they feel like.

Development is going to happen, but it should not be at the expense of those who live here, just to please developers who sell to offshore owners.
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Alfonso osorio
Councillor Geoff Meggs support Sanctuary City and it appears he has the commitment of Mayor Gregor Robertson, more than a 100 Inmigrants from all nationalities leaded by activist Byron Cruz express the need for City Council to declare Vancouver Sanctuary, especially after the death of a Mexican woman while in custody of Canada Border Service
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Mark Bowen
@Mark - You must be pretty new to town or have an awfully short memory if you think the NPA is any less developer friendly than Vision.
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odds bodkin
Gregor and Ian Robertson. Jim Green, James Green. Don't think Robertson, I.'s possible nomination is a nefarious maneuver this time as he seems like a qualified and credible candidate. G comes before I. Just sayin'.
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Nelson100
If Vancouver wants to progress beyond simply continuing as an ATM machine for developers and overseas investors, voters will need to progress beyond seeing the coming election as more than a Vision vs NPA contest.

In reality the contest will be between the developer financed parties (Vision and the NPA) versus the community based grass roots parties (Green, COPE, TEAM, NSV, Cedar etc).

As recent elections in BC, Alberta and Ontario show, pollsters do not always have insight into significant voter shifts. If the community based parties could only reach some kind of alliance and create a coherent alternative, we could well be in for a seismic shift in Vancouver politics.

It seems hard to imagine at the moment but it is democratically possible to elect a council where zoning and land use decisions are not predetermined through backroom deals. We have the power to elect a council that actually listens to citizens who show up to speak to them without being labeled f*cking hacks or NIMBY's.
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David
Even the local independent media has made this year's election into Vision vs. NPA. They know the sad truth that big money is the only way to win in politics.

Nelson100's idea that diametrically opposed groups like COPE and Cedar could ever find a single atom of common ground is ridiculous. Even outwardly similar TEAM and NSV have stated opposition to each other's platforms.

I wish big political machines weren't necessary to get a candidate elected. I wish voters would look past the labels and empty campaign promises to find people who honestly want to make a positive difference. I wish more citizens actually voted.

I know my wishes won't come true so I will continue to do what I have always done: read all the candidate bios, scrutinize past actions for signs of what they really stand for and throw my support behind people who are making a positive difference in their city. The big money parties will be hard pressed to earn any of my 27 votes.
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