NPA lost Vancouver election by driving away Wai Young and Hector Bremner: Ken Charko

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      It doesn’t give Ken Charko any pleasure in saying he told it so.

      But what the Dunbar Theatre owner has said about a likely outcome of the Vancouver municipal election looks to have been proven right.

      “That’s really what it was,” Charko told the Georgia Straight in a phone interview Monday (October 22).

      His former party, the Non-Partisan Association, neither won the mayoral race nor secured majority control in council, park board, and school board.

      Charko told this paper back in March this year that the NPA should “bring everyone in the tent” to solidify its chances of winning the election.

      If needed, the NPA has to “bend over backwards to make sure that everyone feels welcome”, he suggested.

      Charko is a known maverick. He was removed from the NPA board in 2014 for questioning how the party is governed.

      Charko particularly said in March that if Wai Young runs outside the NPA as a mayoral candidate, the NPA will lose the election.

      “If she runs as an independent, that hurts the NPA,” Charko said before.

      Young eventually abandoned her intention of seeking the NPA mayoral nomination because of what Charko described as “artificial barriers” that the party put up against her.

      Moreover, the party blocked NPA councillor Hector Bremner from entering the mayoral nomination.

      Bremner formed his own Yes Vancouver party, and like Young, ran for mayor.

      In the October 20 election, NPA mayoral candidate Ken Sim lost to labour-backed candidate Stewart Kennedy by less than 1,000 votes.

      Young got nearly 12,000 votes, and Bremner, almost 10,000.

      In the new interview with the Straight, Charko said that it could have been an easy victory for the NPA “if they had been more accommodating to those that ran”.

      “This was a right-of-centre victory that they gave to the left-of-centre,” Charko said.

      Charko said that Young should have been allowed to seek the NPA’s mayoral nomination.

      “If Wai [Young] was given every opportunity to be able to run with the NPA and she lost, she wouldn’t have had the moral ground to run independently,” he said.

      Charko said the same could have been true with Bremner.

      “They should have made it so that these people stayed within the group [NPA],” Charko said.

      Charko ran as a council candidate under Young’s Coalition Vancouver ticket, but did not make it into the winning column.

      Glen Chernen, who lost to Sim in the NPA’s mayoral nomination, expressed interest in running for council with the NPA.

      Chernen eventually left the NPA and joined Young’s Coalition Vancouver as a council candidate. Like Charko, Chernen did not win.