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HomeBusinessBreaking: City council trio quits NPA “old boys club”

Breaking: City council trio quits NPA “old boys club”


Bob Mackin

And then there was one.

Melissa De Genova is the last Non-Partisan Association councillor left from the five elected in 2018, after Lisa Dominato, Colleen Hardwick and Sarah Kirby-Yung quit the party on April 21.

Their decision was prompted by the Easter Monday bombshell that the board of directors secretly chose Park Board Commissioner John Coupar as the mayoral candidate for the next election in October 2022.

Sarah Kirby-Yung (left), Lisa Dominato and Colleen Hardwick say goodbye NPA

The trio will sit as independents, just like Coun. Rebecca Bligh, who left the NPA in late 2019 in a disagreement with the right-leaning board.

“We have heard loud and clear from NPA members and supporters that the actions of the board and John Coupar do not reflect the standards of transparency, integrity and accountability we all expect from the NPA and each other,” said Hardwick in a prepared statement.”

Hardwick took issue with the board’s decision not to run a fair and democratic mayoral nomination process. 

“The NPA board and John Coupar sidelined the elected members of the NPA and made a backroom deal. By any measure, it was about as old-boys-club as it gets,” she said.

NPA mayoral candidate John Coupar (NPA)

The dispute highlights a culture clash: the three dissidents are Liberal-leaning women, while the board is predominantly Conservative-leaning men.

That board responded with a statement late in the afternoon on April 21, calling the trio hypocrites.

“Each of the three departing councillors were appointed to their role as candidates for the NPA in the exact same manner as our current Mayoral candidate, Mr. John Coupar,” said the board statement.

In an open letter to party members and supporters, the trio said the NPA “as it stands today cannot be trusted to govern fairly or responsibly and that it does not represent the values and standards that Vancouver residents and NPA supporters expect and deserve.”

Dominato called the board out of touch, while Kirby-Yung hinted toward the potential for a new party. “This story is far from over,” she said.

The anointment of Coupar triggered 2018 NPA-backed runner-up Ken Sim’s decision to seek the nomination from the newly formed A Better City party. Mark Marissen, the ex-husband of Christy Clark and founder of the Yes Vancouver party, also said he is running for mayor.

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