Former mayor Sam Sullivan has confirmed his intention to run for provincial politics.
At a news conference in downtown Vancouver today (November 9), Sullivan officially announced he will seek the B.C. Liberal nomination in Vancouver-False Creek. The current MLA for the riding, health minister Margaret MacDiarmid, is not seeking re-election.
Sullivan said he’s been encouraged by “several people” over the past couple of months to consider entering B.C. politics.
“I looked at my e-mail trail, and I saw my first e-mail...and I gave a one-word response: no. I got a few more, and a few more—eventually I agreed to have lunch to talk about it,” he told reporters.
Sullivan, who was mayor from 2005 to 2008, noted he also had a “good conversation” with Premier Christy Clark about his candidacy. Sullivan beat Clark for the NPA mayoral nomination before he was elected in 2005.
“She certainly was very open to my candidacy and...it really is my admiration for her that is part of the reason that I am putting myself forward,” he said.
Sullivan maintained that despite recent poll results that have seen the B.C. Liberals lagging behind the NDP, he does “not believe the chatterers”.
“I believe that the B.C. Liberal Party is strong, and I believe that by the time the election comes around, there will be quite a different situation,” he stated. "I think about my election battles against former adversaries—I always started from behind."
Several NPA members attended Sullivan’s news conference this morning, including Suzanne Anton, who is seeking the B.C. Liberal nomination in Vancouver-Quilchena, city councillor Elizabeth Ball, and former councillor BC Lee.
No other B.C. Liberal candidates have yet declared their intention to run against Sullivan. However, former Vancouver-Burrard MLA Lorne Mayencourt is rumoured to be considering a bid in the riding.
Two candidates are running for the B.C. NDP nomination in Vancouver-False Creek. Vision Vancouver park board commissioner Constance Barnes will compete against digital-media entrepreneur Matt Toner at a nomination meeting on November 17.
Prior to being elected as mayor in 2005, Sullivan was a city councillor with the Non-Partisan Association for 12 years. He lost the NPA nomination for mayor in 2008 to Peter Ladner, who was defeated in the municipal election that year by current Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson.
Sullivan is currently an adjunct professor at the UBC School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, and the founder of the Global Civic Policy Society, which has held public salons featuring speakers on a range of topics. He is also an advocate for people with disabilities, and founded The Sam Sullivan Disability Foundation.
Earlier today, lawyer David Eby also made an announcement that he will run for provincial politics next spring.
Eby is set to be acclaimed as the B.C. NDP candidate in Premier Clark’s riding of Vancouver Point Grey. Eby also ran against Clark during the May 2011 by-election.