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Details on the NPA’s no-name-change vote

June 30th, 2010 · 8 Comments

If the Non-Partisan Association was hoping that a debate over changing its name would draw attention and crowds, that strategy didn’t totally work. A grand total of 42 people appeared at the Vancouver Museum last night to vote on whether to change the name to Vancouver First.

(I don’t think attracting crowds was the strategy, by the way. This initiative comes largely from a couple of guys, former TEAM member Bill McCreery being the leader, who haven’t been active in the party before. In fact, I’ve heard members grumbling that these newcomers were sucking up energy the party didn’t need to waste on their efforts to turn the NPA into TEAM or some facsimile thereof.)

There were a few passionate speeches. McCreery noted that 76 per cent of people who voted in the online survey showed a preference for choices other than Non Partisan Association. Among other choices: Vancouver First, Vancouver Citizens’ Alliance, New Progressive Alliance, One Vancouver, New Progressive Association, and New Positive Action. Former NPA park commission Diane Ledingham supported him, saying that a new name would mean “the NPA can evolve into something new. Vancouver has changed rapidly and this would allow us to move forward into a new name that speaks more of inclusivity.”

On the other side, one-time aldermanic candidate (Class of ’82) Paul McCrea said that he was around after the NPA was whomped by the Mike Harcourt-led group in 1981 and everyone fretted back then that they should change the name. The party “went on to three sweeping victories” after that, he reminded everyone. As well, as someone who’s worked in advertising, he also pointed out that “it takes a lot of money and a lot of time to impress a brand name as well known as this one.”

Charles Flavelle of Purdy’s Chocolates said that, if his company had fallen on hard times, “I would have changed the direction, not the name.”

And Councillor Suzanne Anton, in a campaign-style speech, listed everything wrong with the current Vision administration (park board doesn’t actually even believe in independent park boards; school board has no faith in the school system; city council has politicized city hall and is spending its time fighting another order of government. She wrapped up with a stirring “It is important that we rebrand our image but we do not need to rebrand our name.”

The party broke up while it was still light out. I didn’t see whether any attendees drifted over to the Moira Stillwell party going on in another part of the building. But I doubt it, as NPA people keep telling me that only Vision and COPE work in suspicious lockstep with the provincial NDP.

And now, on to the election. I didn’t note it in a previous post, but the NPA are planning to nominate a first round of candidates in November, a year before the 2011 election, presumably to get some strength on the ground that is hard for them to maintain now, with only one city councillor, two school trustees, and one park-board commissioner

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