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Highlights of the NPA day

September 14th, 2008 · 8 Comments

This is a bit late, but since I spent four hours of my short time here on earth listening to this stuff, you should at least get the benefit.

As all you political junkies know, the NPA acclaimed most of the final set of candidates on Saturday and had a vote-off among the four park-board candidates. (Current commissioner Marty Zlotnik barely scraped in, to the surprise of some and not of others, who noted “The party is changing.”)

But there were also speeches by the nouveau candidates, along with mayoral candidate Peter Ladner. I won’t reproduce them, since many people spent more time recounting their biographies than talking about the issues, but some of the memorable lines:

Sean Bickerton, the new candidate from Tinseltown, wants to make city neighbourhooods stronger and one way of doing that is by having more neighbourhood centres and attractions. So he’d like to see a gay cultural centre in the West End.

Michael Geller reminded everyone that the NPA is not the party it used to be. As he said, just like the advertising campaign that went with the slogan This is not your father’s Cadillac: “This is not your father’s NPA.” (It also set off a series of metaphors of candidates comparing themselves to various types of wheeled transportation, with Suzanne Anton saying she was a blend of a Prius and a bicycle.)

Lakhbir Singh, the doctor running for school board, lamented the exodus of east-side kids to west-side schools. He blamed the Fraser Institute, in part, for its ratings that make people think east-side schools aren’t as good. But he knows they are, because he went to east-side schools and he didn’t become a drug dealer. Instead, he became a doctor and worked with the Canadian Navy. (That sensitivity about east/west schools seems to be a theme for certain candidates. Narinder Chhina, who’s competing for a Vision school board nomination, also talked about the east-side exodus at the Vision meeting last week and suggested banning cross-boundary enrolment, a proposal that provoked internal gasps from certain members of the audience who realized the revolution that would provoke among Vancouver parents.)

Finally, Peter Ladner finished off the afternoon by slagging Vision Vancouver and Gregor Robertson in a roundabout way (Our party won’t be beholden to unions or tied to provincial parties; we won’t be fighting amongst ourselves; we’ll have a mayor who has lived in Vancouver for longer than three years), while praising outgoing Mayor Sam Sullivan (the guy he ousted), Sullivan’s parents, and the team the NPA has assembled. He described them as incredibly diverse on several planes: Religion: Christians, Confucian, Jewish, agnostic. Family status: single, same-sex couples (Sean Bickerton), parents-to-be (that’s Korina Houghton, unless I’m very mistaken), parents and grandparents. And geography: From Chinatown to Deering Island (Michael Geller) and more.

I guess he emphasized that because he got tired of having the NPA constantly referred to as the All-White Party and the political arm of the Arbutus Club. The diversity part was nice. But the people at the media table are fervently hoping that they’re not going to have to endure a campaign of tiresome accusations: You’re just the party of developers. You’re just the NDP farm team. Blah blah blah. Let’s hear some ideas.

Categories: 2008 Vancouver Civic Election