Vancouver park commissioner Erin Shum doesn’t deny that she earlier rejoined her old party, the Non-Partisan Association (NPA).
But she has an explanation for why she decided later to run as an independent candidate for city council.
As many may recall, Shum bolted from the NPA in December 2016 after accusing her NPA commissioner colleagues on the park board of bullying her, then sat as an independent.
According to Shum, when businessman Ken Sim received the NPA’s mayoral nomination in June this year, she assumed that things were going to become better in the municipal party.
“I thought, ‘Okay, this might be somebody I could work with in growing the tent,’ ” Shum told the Straight in a phone interview on September 4.
However, Shum said she soon discovered that the party wasn’t interested in an inclusive, or “big tent”, approach to politics.
For this, she blames NPA president Gregory Baker.
“Under Greg Baker’s leadership, I was pushed out and wasn’t part of it, and this kind of shows what he was with Wai Young and what he did to Hector [Bremner] and everybody else,” Shum said.
Young and Bremner originally intended to seek the NPA mayoral endorsement, but they left to pursue their own plans with their new respective parties.
As for the “everybody else”, Shum mentioned the following people who wanted to become NPA candidates: former diplomat Rob McDowell, former Musqueam council member Wade Grant, former federal Liberal candidate Ken Low, and housing advocate Adrian Crook.
Like Shum, McDowell, Grant, and Crook are running for council as independents. Low is reportedly now with Vancouver First.
“I just want to make sure, you know, if I’m going to be a part of a team that’s growing the tent, but it didn’t seem like that. It wasn’t the case,” Shum said.
In July this year, Baker told the Straight that Shum had returned to the NPA and the party had accepted her membership. Shum announced on August 29 that she would be running as an independent candidate for council.
In a new interview, Baker said the NPA didn’t expect Shum’s move, as she had recently rejoined the party. “I respect Erin, and, you know, she’s decided to go down this path,” Baker told the Straight by phone.
As for reaching out to Shum, Baker said he has no intention of doing so.
“Frankly, we’re just very busy running our own campaign and getting our candidates out in front to the public,” Baker said.