Members of Vancouver’s oldest municipal party will make an important decision this weekend.
On Sunday (June 3), they will choose who will lead the Non-Partisan Association (NPA) in the election this fall.
Whether it’s going to be John Coupar, Glen Chernen or Ken Sim, they will bring something that is significant, says one pollster.
According to Mario Canseco of Research Co., that would be the NPA’s established party brand. With it comes name recognition.
In addition, Canseco pointed to the steady increases in votes for an NPA candidate for mayor in the last two elections.
From Peter Ladner’s failed bid for mayor in 2008 with 48,794 votes, the two following NPA candidates for mayor generated more votes, with Suzanne Anton’s 58,152 and Kirk LaPointe’s 73,443.
“There’s about 40 percent of people who will vote for this party,” Canseco told the Georgia Straight in a phone interview.
However, Canseco noted that things are quite different now because of the “fracturing of the right”.
Two of the individuals that tried to seek the NPA’s endorsement are no longer on board.
Former Vancouver South Conservative MP Wai Young did not follow through on her earlier intention to win the NPA’s nomination for mayoral candidate.
City councillor Hector Bremner applied, but was rejected by the party’s board for alleged conflicts of interest.
Young and Bremner may pursue independent bids for mayor, and that, according to Canseco, “makes the situation a little more complex for whoever is the winner” of the NPA’s nomination contest on June 3.
“If you have a Hector Bremner party and you have Wai Young continuing her run to be mayor, then those are votes that could conceivably go to the NPA that could be going to a different candidate,” Canseco said.
Gordon Price served as an NPA councillor for six terms from 1986 to 2002.
Now director of SFU’s City Program, Price is no longer connected with the NPA.
Price noted that generally, the two major competing parties on both the left and right have a starting solid base of 40,000 votes.
“Then you go and appropriate another what 20,000 votes from people, who you would normally categorize opposite to you that you can pull in with some policies that appeal to them,” Price explained in a phone interview with the Straight.
Between Coupar and Chernen, who are seen as the main contenders for the nomination, Price thinks it’s Coupar who has the ability to reach out beyond the traditional NPA base.
Referring to a past Vancouver mayor, who has endorsed Coupar’s nomination bid, Price said that Coupar, now on his second term as park commissioner, may give the NPA its best fighting chance if “he does a Philip Owen kind of strategy: honest, comfortable guy, isn’t going to do anything too crazy too fast”.