Vancouver’s Non-Partisan Association sent out a notice late last week saying it plans to lower its membership fee from $20 to $10 a year, in an apparent move to compete with Vision Vancouver’s successful membership drive that brought in 17,000 new members last year at as low as $5 apiece.
This seems to be part of the NPA’s effort to slooooowly crank into first gear in preparation for the 2011 election (it’ll be here before you know it) that has been accompanied, since late June, by a series of news releases about various Vision Vancouver misdeeds (bungling the shelter stuff) and NPA initiatives (pushing for a 125th birthday celebration for Vancouver to get people out of Olympic Games post-partum depression.
Charlie Smith had this analysis to offer on the NPA’s fate, which, except for the tax issue, seems to encourage the party to take up a bunch of left-wing causes. Can’t say I see that really working for them. He is right that the NPA is in a bad position, with the Liberal government now in place til 2013 — a situation that generally encourages city voters here to vote for whomever they perceive to be the non-Liberals locally. But it’s not impossible. Sam Sullivan managed to pull off a narrow victory, in spite of the Libs being ensconced in Victoria.
What the NPA really has to do is hope that Vision Vancouver helps them out by doing things that people perceive as too flaky and idealistic. It’s an accusation leftie-type governments are always vulnerable to, whether they’re flaky and idealistic or not. The city’s centrist voters aren’t going to swing to the NPA because they think Vision Vancouver has been too heavy-handed with civil liberties or hasn’t supported the LGBT community enough.
They will swing there if the NPA is successful in portraying the party as loonie lefties who allowed chickens in backyards and put a community garden on the grounds of city hall but didn’t do much else. (Doesn’t matter that dozens of other cities also allow chickens or that the Obamas put a garden on the grounds of the White House — what matters is how people here judge that as kooky.)
I also wouldn’t count the NPA out just because they’re seeming kind of moribund right now. It’s amazing how the political parties in this town can appear to be near death and then suddenly they rise up from their caskets. Remember when COPE was completely shut out of council altogethe rin 96-99, then went from two councillors to a near-sweep? Then the NPA was reduced to Sam Sullivan and Peter Ladner and it came back to win majorities at council, school and parks?
The thing about these parties is that they only start gearing up in the final six-12 months, so you can’t really judge how strong they are until they start pulling themselves together at that point.
NPA moves to reduce membership fee
Vancouver—The Board of Directors of the Vancouver Non-Partisan Association (NPA) will recommend to its membership that they drop their current general membership fee of $20 per year to $10 per year.
NPA President Michael Davis says the motion is part of a number of moves the NPA is taking to make the association more accessible to Vancouverites interested in how the city is run.
“The whole purpose of the NPA is to bring together the best and brightest people from the widest range of communities,” says Davis. “Lowering our membership fees will help make us accessible to everyone.”
Davis says the NPA wants to engage all groups in the city: “We are working to re-build the broad coalition we’ve had in the past, so we must attract young people, different ethnic communities, different income brackets and people from all areas of the city.”
Davis believes lowering the membership fee is a small but important component of building that broad coalition. “The broader the range of people we can get involved, the better the quality of candidates we will field in the next election,” adds Davis.
The motion to reduce the membership fee must be passed by the NPA membership at its Annual General Meeting, October 14, 2009.