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'New' NPA to consider name change

Vancouver’s iconic political party -- which for 73 years has relished its "non-partisan" identity -- is considering changing its name.

"This is a real opportunity for the organization to present itself in a fresh way," said NPA Coun. Suzanne Anton.

The Non-Partisan Association (NPA) was founded in 1937 as a right-wing reaction to the rise of the democratic socialist Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF). But right-leaning Vancouver voters split into two factions that year, and propelled socialist Lyle Telford to the mayor’s office.

NPA candidate Jack Cornett was elected mayor in 1940, and began the NPA’s long dominance of Vancouver City Hall. But the party split again in 2008, when then-coun. Peter Ladner wrested the mayoral nomination from then-mayor Sam Sullivan. That year’s election reduced the divided party to a single seat on council: Anton’s.

“We are rebuilding,” Anton told The Tyee. “Everything is new. Our board is new. I am the only one who is not new, and I’m just in my second term on council.”

The name change is part of that rebuilding effort. The motion, which will be considered this Wednesday night at the party’s annual general meeting, calls for the NPA board to strike a committee to review the name and recommend alternatives.

“...such names should preferably retain the ‘NPA’ initials while helping to position the NPA as a group of forward-looking people,” the motion states.

Anton said it’s what stands behind the name that matters.

“The NPA has a tradition of putting forward really good candidates who think about the city first and politics second,” she said. “And it is my very strong intention to continue with that goal: city first, politics second.”

Five current NPA board members standing for re-election: Ned Pottinger, John Moonen, Bill Yuen, David Choi and Kirk Miller. They are joined by three newcomers: Dave Pasin, Jackie Leung and Bill McCreery.

A second motion before the AGM calls for “sub-committees to engage the membership and the public” on policy.

The NPA has has waived a longstanding requirement that members sign up at least 30 days prior to any vote, and will register new members at the meeting. Registration begins at 6 p.m., and the AGM starts at 6:30 on April 28th at The Vancouver Museum on Chestnut Street.

“There’s a lot of renewed interest in the NPA,” Anton added. “Now that the Olympics are over, the next election is on the horizon. And there is a lot of dissatisfaction with Vision Vancouver.”

Vision Vancouver is holding its AGM the same evening at BCIT’s Downtown Campus.

The five-year-old centre-left party is scheduled to consider several minor changes to its bylaws, most of which clarify who can be a director and who can not be a member. (Vision will not admit a member of another Vancouver civic party, or anyone less than 15 years old.)

Candidates for the Vision board are David Eaves, Denise Taschereau, Shauna Sylvester, Ron Laufer, Caroline Neufeld and Tiffany Kalanj.

Monte Paulsen reports for The Tyee.

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