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With civic election just over a year away, NPA, COPE, TEAM, Cedar gear up to take votes from Vision Vancouver

November 6th, 2013 · 84 Comments

The civic election isn’t until Nov. 15, 2014. But you’d never know it from the jostling going on among parties hoping to harness the resentment they believe Vision Vancouver is sowing. A sign of the times — I wrote an article for Vancouver magazine about the energy people are putting into campaigns early — especially NPA president Peter Armstrong, who has already hired three people and installed two of them in his fantastic office on the 30th floor of the TD bank tower.

At the time, a mere four or so weeks ago, TEAM spokesman Bill McCreery was talking about the triumvirate that had founded this revival of the successful party of the 1970s — himself, Dave Pasin, and former councillor Jonathan Baker. At 5:16 a.m. today, I got a news release from the NPA (Natasha, that is some early hours you’re putting in) saying that Baker has joined the NPA, with various paragraphs outlining his history.

There’s a sign that Mr. Armstrong and company are going to go to the mat over even the littlest things — and that they consider TEAM a threat.

And TEAM, which I understand held a successful fundraising dinner last night (I meant to go but have been laid low with some version of the plague), is a threat. It could strip away the few thousand votes that the NPA desperately needs to win in a tight election. While more sophisticated voters, who understand the overall chess game, will be wary of throwing a vote away on a small party that seems likely to split the anti-Vision centre-right vote, others will not be. I know there are people out there who want to vote against Vision, don’t see the NPA as being any less in bed with developers, and who won’t want to express their discontent by voting COPE.

More of this to come. My opening chapter, in this issue of Vancouver magazine, is here.

By the way, after I had finished writing this story, I did get a face-to-face meeting with Peter in his stunning office, which seems to be a hive of political activity. As I arrived, former NPA council candidate Michael Geller was leaving and former NPA park-board commission Al de Genova was also leaving. The two full-time staffers for the NPA, KellyReichert. the former executive director of the B.C. Liberal Party, and Natasha Westover, former constituency assistant to one-time cabinet minister Kevin Falcon, were hard at work in their offices. Peter appears to be interviewing everyone in town about civic politics, from former mayors to me, where I got a light grilling about my political views. He has even attended a COPE public meeting, where, he says, there are people doing some fine work. Indeed.

Friends and associates are still mystified as to why he has taken this crusade on with such passion. Peter keeps saying it’s because he cares about the city, but I can’t help thinking there’s more. One person suggested it’s because he really didn’t like the fact that Vision councillors passed some kind of negative motion about Rocky Mountaineer during the lockout. Could that be it? Who knows?

At any rate, he is driving this boat full steam ahead.


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