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NPA makes a move to get more members

August 24th, 2009 · 9 Comments

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.

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  • Addison Gant

    This move sounds more like a blow-out sale at Costco than anything it was intended to be.

    $10 for a membership in a collapsed party is as much of a rip-off as $20. Don’t they realize that you have to offer substantial reason(s) to join the party, other than the half-price membership fee?

  • Not Running For Mayor

    The NPA would be better served by going back to square one. They lost their way during the Sam days and lost their focus. Wether or not they can rebuild will be up to the voters.

  • Marcus A.

    What good is a reduction to a $10 membership fee if they’re still asking council candidates for $10,000?

    They’re trying to appeal to the Vision base – the working class, young adults, and people that aren’t otherwise politically engaged…
    …but they aren’t going to accomplish that if their candidates still come from the same pot of wealthy Shaunessy families.

  • Darcy McGee

    > …but they aren’t going to accomplish that
    > if their candidates still come from the
    > same pot of wealthy Shaunessy families.

    It’s never stopped them from winning in the past. This is why we /need/ some type of ward system in place: this asshat of a city has persistently elected a group of people who get a little worried when they start to approach the Main Street area that they’ve gone too far east.

    That and the fact that the Mayor’s mandate is not ethically, morally or electorally any different than the rest of the 10 councillors, resulting in a council dominated by milquetoast opinions negotiated in backrooms by people who are unwilling to take a stand for their neighbourhoods.

    Just a thought mind you.

    The very notion of a “Non Partisan” political party is so ridiculous that it’s sublime.

  • Darcy McGee

    Incidentally, as a slight elaboration of this:

    > It’s never stopped them from winning in
    > the past.

    in response to Michael’s comment that “They’re trying to appeal to the Vision base…” I should add that Michael is WAY off base. They’re not trying to appeal to anybody: they’re just trying to win the damn election.

    The NPA doesn’t give a damn about the working class or young adults and never has. They’re savvy enough to at least not look like they’re alienating them, but don’t confuse that with caring.

    They just want to win.

  • NPAdeathwatch

    if anyone wants to figure out why the npa is dead look at how the same people who ran the party under sam sullivan run their current mouth piece blog (citycaucus). When you run a party based on nothing but negative energy you get a destroyed party with no energy….junk in, junk out, who wants to be apart of something when all it does is crap over everything.

  • Darcy McGee

    > When you run a party based on nothing
    > but negative energy you get a destroyed
    > party


    though it can take a while. the republicans have been doing it for decades, and the harper tories have been doing it for years.

  • City Caucis isn’t the NPA


    Given that they regularly run columns trashing the NPA, by what logic do you assume that City Caucus is the mouthpiece of the NPA?

  • NPAdeathwatch

    Oh please, just window dressing (very rare that happens versus the trashing of vision vancouver)– these guys ran the NPA and are rabid political operatives— if you think this blog is about journalism and isn’t purely political then your mistaken.