NPA civil war breaks out into the open as three councillors bolt from caucus to sit as independents

Lisa Dominato, Colleen Hardwick, and Sarah Kirby-Yung say it's about the board's lack of transparency even though they benefited from the same thing in 2018

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      Vancouver councillors Lisa Dominato, Colleen Hardwick, and Sarah Kirby-Yung were all selected as NPA candidates in 2018 following a secretive process controlled by the party's board of directors.

      There were no open nomination races, which left other applicants feeling bitterly disappointed.

      But when the party board did the same thing this month in selecting park commissioner John Coupar as its mayoral candidate without an open nomination, the three NPA councillors said that this does "not reflect the standards of transparency, integrity and accountability we all expect from the NPA and each other".

      As a result, Dominato, Hardwick, and Kirby-Yung have quit the NPA caucus to sit as a group of independents.

      In a news release, they said they were "blindsided by the NPA board's secret backroom decision to run John Coupar as the party's mayoral candidate in the upcoming 2022 municipal election".

      Kirby-Yung's husband, Vancouver police officer Terry Yung, was on the NPA board in 2018 when it decided, in secret, to give her a nomination to run for council.

      In contrast, the Vancouver Greens, OneCity Vancouver, and the Coalition of Progressive Electors all held open nomination meetings in 2018.

      Two-term councillor Adriane Carr needed to gain the endorsement of Green party members, even though she had topped the council poll in the previous election.

      In an open letter to NPA members, Dominato, Hardwick, and Kirby-Yung said the NPA organization today (italics added) cannot be trusted to govern fairly or responsibly. They purport that it does not represent the values and standards that residents and party supporters expect and deserve.

      Gag me with a spoon.

      The NPA board selected its mayoral candidate in 2011 and 2014. It also selected its council slate in 2018, much to the benefit of Dominato, Hardwick, and Kirby-Yung.

      This came over other worthy but snubbed candidates, such as Rob McDowell and Ken Low, who each collected more than 53,000 votes as NPA council candidates in 2014.

      What were Dominato, Hardwick, and Kirby-Yung saying in 2018 when the NPA board's star chamber was choosing them and rejecting others, without a shred of transparency?

      They were silent.

      Independent councillor Rebecca Bligh was also silent. In the 2018 municipal election, this then political unknown was catapulted onto council directly as a result of the NPA's secretive processes.

      Their silence back then should tell you a lot about their commitment to the values and standards of openness that they profess to hold so dear today. 

      It's sickening to hear politicians who got on council due to a lack of NPA board transparency now turn around and decry the same thing when it doesn't benefit them.

      If the trio of councillors had left caucus today because of ideological differences with the board, I could take this seriously and I would have written about that.

      But to claim that they're appalled by the lack of transparency in the NPA—when that's exactly how they became councillors in the first place—is the height of political hubris. Don't treat us like we're stupid children. We have memories.

      Now, I'm going to step aside from the keyboard and go grab my barf bag.