Finger-pointing continues within Vancouver’s leading right-of-centre party, the Non-Partisan Association (NPA).
On May 8, the NPA board told one of its city councillors, Hector Bremner, that he could not seek the party’s nomination for mayor.
Now the board has said that, while it still won’t reveal why, Bremner is free to share that information himself.
“Yesterday evening (May 13), NPA Vancouver President Gregory Baker sent a confidential letter to Hector Bremner outlining in detail the reasons why the NPA Board did not approve his mayoral application,” reads an NPA media release. “The letter contains specific information regarding the reservations expressed to the Board by the Green Light Committee.
“Although the NPA does not plan to publicly release this information, Mr. Bremner is within his rights to release the information as well as the contents of the letter as he sees fit.”
The NPA board had previously said it would not publicly discuss its reasons for rejecting its council member’s bid for the party’s nomination. Then, on May 10, the Vancouver Sun quoted Bremner accusing the NPA board of racism.
“When you sign up 100 white people at a church, that doesn’t seem questionable, but when you have 100 non-Anglicized names, that is questionable,” Bremner told the Sun.
In response, the NPA issued a statement describing Bremner’s comments as “unfounded, and defamatory”.
“The reason why the Green Light Committee verbally communicated their concerns about Mr. Bremner to the NPA Board of Directors, rather than in writing, was an attempt to avoid potentially harming Mr. Bremner’s reputation by restricting the potential for the concerns to be made public,” the NPA’s statement reads.
“Mr. Bremner says he welcomes the reasons for his rejection by the Board to be made public,” it continues. “As a result, we are currently consulting with legal counsel concerning the possible release of relevant information about the concerns conveyed by the Green Light Committee to the NPA Board about Mr. Bremner, as well as the Board’s decision to reject his candidacy application.”
Now the board says it has given a letter to Bremner that outlines the reasons for which his candidacy for mayor was rejected.
Bremner is white and his wife is Filipino. In an April 13 interview with the Straight, Bremner claimed he has received racist criticism for his housing-policy suggestions. For example, according to Bremner, he’s been accused of “selling our country out to another nation”.
Then, on May 10, Bremner told the Sun that he’d heard criticisms of a similar tone regarding his efforts to register new members with the NPA.
“It’s covert in a lot of ways, you know, when they talk about foreign buyers,” Bremner said. “It’s all in code but we all know what they mean.”
During that interview, Bremner challenged the NPA board to make public its reasons for his disqualification.
“Put out whatever you want, I have no secrets,” he told the Sun. “I don’t want to hear about these sort of vague insinuations.”
As a city councillor, Bremner was accused of potential conflicts of interest. On April 13, the Straight reported that a member of the NPA had filed an official complaint concerning Bremner’s work as vice president of public affairs for the Pace Group, a Vancouver-based communications firm.
“On a number of occasions Councillor Bremner sat in council while plans [were discussed] affecting various clients or organizations that are known to have been conducting business with the City of Vancouver and his other employer Pace Group,” the complaint reads. “Councillor Bremner failed to declare the business relationships on these occasions.”
That complaint remains under review by the city.
Vancouver’s next election for mayor, councillors, parks commissioners, and school board is scheduled for October 2018.