In Vancouver, the 2018 civic election is taking an expansionary turn, as existing party structures appear unable to provide a home for rising constituencies concerned over housing.
It’s drifting towards the possibility that only candidates who defy traditional left-right pigeonholes and party structures may experience electoral success.
It’s certainly not getting any easier to forecast.
The latest news is that current NPA Councillor — and disqualified NPA mayoral candidate — Hector Bremner may now form a new civic party, just as Vision did when it split from COPE so many years ago. We’ll get to that in a moment.
Meanwhile, ProVancouver has sprung spontaneously to life, referring to themselves as having formed out of housing concerns, and perhaps singularly ready, willing and able to promote policies from across the political spectrum.
As of today, 16 candidates are publicly (more or less) in the mix for mayor alone.
Why so many? Number of parties (possibly) fronting (possible) mayoral candidates: 7.
That includes Coalition Vancouver, COPE, Greens, NPA, ProVancouver, Vision, Bemner’s Dream, plus ever-popular, but not a party, Independent.
Candidates for council: 31. The field will soon narrow, as party nominations are ratified.
(Many thanks to Ian Bushfield for his ever-expanding spreadsheet.)
If you think you’re confused now about where this could end up, you’re not alone.
Consider this, from writer Dan Fumano in PostMedia outlet the Vancouver Sun, about long-time NPA supporter Rob Macdonald,
Macdonald, a real estate developer and former NPA vice-president, said he understands Chernen wants to slow development “way, way back to the point of maybe halting it.”
On the other hand, Bremner has loudly called for more housing and density in Vancouver neighbourhoods, ever since he was first elected to public office, as the NPA council candidate in last October’s byelection. . . .
Asked if Bremner’s pro-density views may have made him an awkward fit for the current NPA, Macdonald said: “Well, that’s the obvious thing, because he and Mr. Chernen seem to be at opposite ends of the spectrum. Hector’s pro, pro, pro-density, and Chernen’s less, less, less density.” . . .
If Chernen ends up as the NPA’s mayoral candidate in this year’s election, running against Bremner with his new party, could Macdonald find himself casting a ballot for Bremner?
“That is a good question,” Macdonald said, twice, after a moment. “That could be a possibility. I just don’t know Chernen well enough.”
And lastly, this from Bremner on the HectorForVancouver Facebook page:
UPDATE FROM THE HECTOR BREMNER CAMPAIGN
We would like to update everyone on the latest developments on our campaign.
We had a great meeting last week to discuss next steps with a wide group of supporters, and from that we‘ve had an incredible group of people step up to help shape our future.
This movement has never been about just me or just winning. It has always been about building a city where working people can afford to not just live in, but thrive.
We all agreed that our #LetsFixHousing movement cannot be stopped. We have been getting more calls of support than ever before.
We are currently looking into what would be required to create a new municipal political party.
If we do create the new political party, it will be founded on a number of key principles:
1. An open, democratic membership-based nomination process for candidate selection, for all positions.
2. A professional, uncorrupted candidate approval process based on best practices from across Canada at all levels of government.
3. A strong core value of welcoming people from every walk of life, and from across the political spectrum, so as to come together for the greater good.
4. A strong commitment to fiscal responsibility, environmental protection and social progress, with our focus on fixing the housing and homelessness crisises so that both middle-class and vulnerable people can live in Vancouver.
We are also looking at other measures to make our new party inclusive and welcoming, including inviting all disenfranchised NPA members to have free membership in the new party.
We welcome your ideas and thank you so much for your support.
We will be making a final decision on our plans over the coming weeks.