The Vancouver Scrum

On the move!

Agh! You’re still here? My new site and weblog, is now up and running; new posts are building up over there, never to be mirrored here. Go! What are you waiting for? All the stuff worth keeping has been migrated over to the new server, and I don’t anticipate making any more posts here.

Bloggers and webmasters: Update your links! Simply replace with in your blogrolls or bookmarks to point to the new site. Old posts will remain on this server for as long as the people at Blogger/Google allow them to remain; unfortunately, I’m not going to bother to come up with any way of converting permalinks on this blog to their corresponding posts on the new site. Yes, I plead laziness. I also realize the irony of switching away from Blogger just it starts to add features that the demanding blog nerds insist upon.

Thanks for reading and linking, and see you over at!

—Ian King, December 13, 2004

Saturday, November 09, 2002

NPA goes negative

The long-ruling Non-Partisan Association is pulling out all the stops in the final week of Election 2002. The party is launching a slew of attack ads designed to paint mayoral frontrunner Larry Campbell, and his COPE party, as the New Democratic Party in drag.

The ads conjure up the spectre of non-functional fast ferries, backroom deals, and economic stagnation that many voters associate with the former provincial government. Voters are warned of impending disaster if they elect the "COPE-NDP."

How well will it work? Hard to say. First, and most importantly, Larry Campbell had never been a member of any political party before he joined COPE earlier this year. Campbell had previously been apolitical and not particularly left-wing; he only considered running for office (so he says) after retiring Mayor Philip Owen was pushed out of office by the... NPA.

On the other hand, one of COPE's city council candidates is Tim Stevenson, a former NDP cabinet minister. There are al lot of current and former NDP officials and staffers advising COPE. Campaign chair Neil Monckton did spend a year working in former premier Glen Clark's office. Media guy Nathan Allen used to chair the provincial Young New Democrats. Former NDP premier (and Vancouver mayor) Mike Harcourt has given Larry Campbell his endorsement.

It's an old strategy. This September, NPA mayoral candidate Jennifer Clarke, who was once the front-runner, claimed that all COPE members had to join the NDP to join COPE. That isn't true: any eligible Vancouver voter can join COPE for $10. As mentioned before, Larry Campbell is not a member of any other political party at any level, and incumbent COPE councillor Fred Bass is aq member of the provincial Greens!

However, if you're going to play the party-association game, the NPA is just as intermixed with the B.C. Liberal Party as is COPE with the NDP. Failed 2001 provincial candidates Daniel Lee and Gail Sparrow unsuccessfully sought NPA endorsement for city council this year. Duncan Wilson, making his first bid for city council this year, ran against Tim Stevenson in the 1996 provincial election. NPA Godfather J.P. Shason has been the backroom partner of Premier Gordon Campbell for over 20 years. Perhaps, to be fair, we should refer to the B.C. Liberal-NPA, if the NPA insistes on calling COPE the COPE-NDP?

And the Liberal provincial government is running record deficits, something that city governments aren not allowed by law to do.

How much fiscal vandalism could a COPE-dominated city council do? According to the city's director of financial services, not much.

"The Vancouver charter, and other municipal legislation in British Columbia . . . is very clear that municipal governments can't run a deficit"

Scratch that criticism. What it comes down to is that the NPA knows that it's behind in this campaign, and that it needs to pull out all the stops. However, municipal voters' intentions don't move too much in the last week of the campaign, and the NPA, if the polls are to be believed, have a long way to go to make up ground, including a 27-point gap in the mayor's race.

Elsewhere, the NPA did pick up a boost today when, as expected, the Vancouver Sun endorsed Jennifer Clarke for mayor, and also gave its support to 6 NPA council candidates, as well as 3 COPE hopefuls and vcaTEAM's Nancy Chiavaro.
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