NPA nominates businessman Ken Sim as its Vancouver mayoral candidate

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      An entrepreneur with no elected experience will lead Vancouver's oldest civic party party into the 2018 municipal election.

      NPA members chose Ken Sim over two other candidates: NPA park commissioner John Coupar and civic rabble-rouser Glen Chernen.

      Sim is cofounder of Nurse Next Door and Rosemary Rocksalt. He's a graduate of UBC's Sauder School of Business when it was known as UBC Commerce and is a chartered professional accountant. 

      From 1996 to 2001, Sim worked as an investment banker with CIBC Capital Markets. He was mentored in business by Vancouver philanthropist and financier Milton Wong, who passed away in 2011.

      Prior to the release of the voting results, Sim expressed confidence to the Straight that he would emerge victorious.

      He had the backing of two of the city's wealthiest businessmen: lululemon athletica founder and billionaire real-estate investor Chip Wilson and Great Canadian Railtour Company founder and former NPA president Peter Armstrong.

      In a speech before the vote, Sim said he was motivated to run because he's tired of talking to people who are leaving the city.

      He's promised to pay close attention to city finances and cut taxes in order to help businesses thrive.

      "We got into this mess because city hall is overspending," Sim said. "We got into this mess because city hall is not being run well; it's being run very inefficiently. And we got into this mess because city hall is being run based on ideology. That's not right."

      John Coupar, Ken Sim, and Glen Chernen were the only three NPA candidates who were approved by the party board to seek the mayoral nomination.
      Charlie Smith

      Sim described himself as "change agent". He also said that as a businessman, he has negotiated collective agreements.

      "As mayor of Vancouver, I will work hard to make Vancouver more livable," Sim promised. "We're going to fight to find more housing solutions for all of our residents. We're going work really hard to help fix our transportation system so people can move around our city in a better and more efficient way. And we're going to invest in our community centres. They have been neglected for the last 10 years."

      He said that he was born in Vancouver in 1970 as the fifth child of immigrants who struggled to make ends meet. His mother was in the typing pool at B.C. Packers in Steveston.

      Sim supplemented the family's income by cleaning toilets and washing windows at a Wendy's on weekends when the minimum wage was $3.05 per hour.

      Sim noted that he borrowed money to obtain his UBC education but now Nurse Next Door has 5,000 employees, making it the largest private health company in the country.

      He's married and has four sons.

      Ken Sim's team released this video during his campaign to become the NPA mayoral nominee.

      The expected frontrunner and the only one with elected experience, Coupar, fell short with a campaign pitch emphasizing stability and centrist leadership.

      In his speech, Coupar promised to govern like former three-term NPA mayor Philip Owen.

      "He represents the kind of leadership that Vancouver lacks," Coupar said. "And now we need it more than ever. A leader who is open to sensitive issues that plague our city. A leader who understands problems aren't fixed by press releases."

      The NPA was a civic powerhouse in Vancouver for decades.

      However, it hasn't won a mayoral election since 2005 when Sam Sullivan narrowly defeated Vision Vancouver's Jim Green.

      If Sim wins the election this year, he would become the first Vancouver mayor of Chinese ancestry.

      In 2014, another mayoral candidate of Chinese ancestry, Meena Wong, fell short when she headed the ticket with the Coalition of Progressive Electors.

      Election day this year is October 20.