The Non-Partisan Association’s mayoral candidate has officially launched his municipal election campaign, promising a “code of conduct” among the party's candidates to steer clear of personal attacks.
Kirk LaPointe, a former managing editor of the Vancouver Sun, confirmed at a press conference at Jack Poole Plaza today (July 14) that he plans to run against Mayor Gregor Robertson in November.
“I’ve witnessed the politics of division in our city, and I accept that we are not without some role in this,” said LaPointe.
“Our candidates, executive members, and staff, our board, will sign a declaration—a code of conduct to steer clear of personal attacks, the gutter politics that people are fed up with. If they breach that boundary, I will resign as a candidate.”
LaPointe challenged Robertson to do the same with his candidates. He also challenged the mayor to “open the books” on city spending, and said the NPA plans to create “the most open government of any in Canada”.
“I’ve done my best to try and penetrate the budget books, and it’s indecipherable on where dollars are spent, so today I’m asking the mayor: open them up,” LaPointe told reporters. “Let us see the line-by-line budget. What we used to see in this city—let’s see it again.”
The party plans to release details about its other candidates in the days to come. LaPointe said the party will also outline “progressive policies” in the weeks ahead.
“It’ll be a bit surprising for some people,” he stated. “It’s not the NPA that you thought you knew.”
Some of the policies he cited as examples include free Wi-Fi, starting with neighbourhoods that “can least afford and most need it”, a freeze on taxes, efforts to reduce break and enter and other personal crimes, and “an end to the politics of division between cyclists and motorists”.
In a scrum with reporters, LaPointe noted he’s not opposed to bike lanes, and that they serve a valuable purpose. But he added that he’s “not a fan” of the Point Grey Road bike route.
“I don’t think that the process to change that road was an effective way to engage the community,” he stated.
Asked about oil tanker traffic and pipelines, LaPointe said the party will detail its policy on pipelines.
“I think you’ll find that we hold a really responsible position, but it’s not going to preclude, as the mayor has, the process that’s under way in order to identify and articulate the very necessary environmental and legal ramifications of development,” he stated.
Vision Vancouver issued a news release criticizing LaPointe’s “refusal to oppose Kinder Morgan’s oil tanker expansion in Vancouver’s waters”.
“Mr. Lapointe’s NPA voted against the City's plan to address homelessness, against what we’ve done to support affordable housing, and don't support the Broadway Subway line,” Vision Vancouver councillor Heather Deal stated in the release.
“The only thing they won’t vote against is Kinder Morgan’s plans to bring more oil tankers into our local waters.”
When asked at today’s news conference about a proposed subway line along Broadway to UBC, LaPointe stated that “this is going to cost a lot of money”.
“I do believe that we need a strong transportation plan that’s going to head toward the West Side, and the subway may be the way to do it, but you need a dialogue, and at the moment we don’t have a dialogue,” he said. “We have someone asserting that it’s a done deal, and it’s just not.”
LaPointe is an adjunct professor at the University of British Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. In addition to serving as managing editor of the Vancouver Sun, his journalism career has also included positions as CBC ombudsman and founding executive editor of the National Post.