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HomeMiscellanyExclusive: LaPointe email suggests NPA board battle, as he ponders another city hall bid

Exclusive: LaPointe email suggests NPA board battle, as he ponders another city hall bid

Bob Mackin 

The NPA candidate who challenged Mayor Gregor Robertson in the 2014 civic election is exploring a 2018 bid.

Veteran journalist Kirk LaPointe fell 10,000 votes shy of Robertson, who won a third term at 12th and Cambie. Since the election, LaPointe became a host on Roundhouse Radio, editor-in-chief of Business in Vancouver, and vice-president of Glacier Media, the BIV parent that publishes the Vancouver Courier.

Early Oct. 28, LaPointe emailed supporters, urging them to sign-up quickly as NPA members so that they could come to the monogrammed grape party’s annual general meeting and vote for seven directors. The meeting date has not been announced, but LaPointe’s email speculated that it could be Nov. 28.

LaPointe at a 2014 campaign news conference (Mackin)

The NPA, LaPointe wrote, “seems intent on publicizing the meeting after anyone joining the party would be eligible to vote. We have to beat that to the punch.”

“I am asking you to find three or four or five friends in the next 24 hours and ask them to spend $10 to join.” 

The tone of LaPointe’s email was urgent, because he claimed that “two other factions… that would drive the party to the hard-right” were trying to take over the party. 

“A move in that direction would practically guarantee a return to power by Vision Vancouver or a coalition of hard-left winners in the eventual election next October.”

Those “factions” were not identified by LaPointe.

It is no secret that Wai Young, the former Harper Conservative Vancouver South MP, is already fundraising to seek the nomination. Backers of BC Liberal Hector Bremner are also angling to control the board. Bremner, the lobbyist and Rich Coleman protege, won a city council seat for the NPA in the Oct. 14 by-election. His campaign was managed by Mark Marissen, the ex-husband of ex-premier Christy Clark. 

In the email, LaPointe counselled prospective NPA members to keep his name off their membership forms.

“There is another important wrinkle,” LaPointe wrote. “When you are asked on the online form who referred you to the party, indicate you are acting on your own. You are doing this of your own volition, and I worry that anyone other than ‘a friend’ in that line will be rejected by the party.” 

In an interview on Oct. 29, LaPointe conceded that the AGM may not take place on Nov. 28, because there is a city council meeting earlier that day. He said he has made no decision about running for mayor in 2018, but is keeping the door open. 

“I sent the email in order to make sure that those that wanted to be members of the party in advance of the annual general meeting got the opportunity to do so and weren’t going to be excluded if the call for the annual general meeting was inside those 30-day requirements,” LaPointe told theBreaker. “As for my own intentions, I’ve said all along that I’ve been considering whether to run again and I want to do something for the city.” 

Robertson’s Vision Vancouver is showing its age, after several party stalwarts went to work with the Trudeau Liberals in Ottawa and Horgan NDP in Victoria. The Vision by-election candidate finished a distant fifth. Two weeks later, Coun. Andrea Reimer, a Robertson lieutenant who was touted as a successor, announced that she would not run in 2018.

Robertson came to power in 2008 on promises to make city hall transparent and accountable and to end street homelessness by 2015.

Homelessness increased and the city is now struggling with an affordable housing crisis, fuelled by Chinese real estate investment. The Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner slammed City of Vancouver secrecy in a scathing 2016 audit and compliance report. Meanwhile, there are nearly 50 people working in communications for city hall and the parks board.