Thursday, June 09, 2005


Underbelly News
Downtown Eastside


Last night, a number of Non Partisan Association Candidates for Council, Parks and School Board laid out their vision and aspirations for the upcoming municipal election in November. While these candidates and the NPA may be underdogs in this forthcoming election, many I think are ready for the job at hand. Those who haven't displayed a fever for municipal politics may not yet be ready. In any event, I wish them all well.

I think, which I pointed out in an earlier post is that the NPA board may have made a mistake or two around the planning for the nomination meetings and raising the membership fees, nevertheless, I admire many of the board members for a willingness and openness for dialog and even possible change. This was cemented in the board's desire to present an abundance of goodwill to the nominees who may well become their future elected officials. The board decided to extend the membership deadline so more candidates could enter the race and while the cynic in me feels there may have been ulterior motives, I have had explained to me by an internal source who I trust that this was not in fact the case. I accept this explanation.

In particular, Mr Greg Wilson, brother of hugely popular former Parks Boar Chair Duncan Wilson, has demonstrated strong leadership on a number of fronts. Mr Wilson is an NPA board member. His expertise and speaking his truth is a strong trait and many an aspiring politician should confer with Greg Wilson for strategic advice if they plan to seek office. Other board members who I think exemplify strong leadership within the NPA include, the president Mr Paul Barbeau and the treasurer Andrew Graham. I think these men understand the dynamics of Vancouver. They exude respect and dignity for all of Vancouver, including its poorer citizens.

Mr Wilson (Greg that is) pointed out a number of areas in which the NPA is still re-building after a near wipe-out in the 2002 civic election. They need to be open to change and still respect and honour the past roles and accomplishments of their organization. This is no easy feat for any political party I'm sure. It becomes a balancing act of juggling interests, however, this should never compromise values or one's belief system.

If the NPA is to grow and truly be a broad based group, it still needs to address their restrictive membership fee. Hopefully, someone in the organization will champion this cause. Perhaps it will be a number of candidates who will be selected on June 16 at the NPA nomination meeting. Those who I dare say are not frightened of creating a fuss!

So while, I think the NPA is bringing forward a number of stellar candidates for our selection in November, I'm still of the mind that our municipal government needs balance. To this degree I ask citizens when voting for their elected representatives to mix their selections up. Take a few from either of the major party slates but please consider independents who have a long history of civic involvement.

Most of all get to know your candidates who are putting their names forward. If they talk about only motherhood issues, don't vote for them as they will most likely not be effective representatives. They often will articulate the need to listen to all points of view before acting. They will speak about the need to compromise. This is a wrong approach to politics in my mind. Politicians need to get the facts and form an opinion. Then they should go before the public expressing why it is that they believe a certain way. Present the public with all of the facts and ask the public (us) to support them on this basis. I'm not certain it should be the other way around which far to often it is.

So folks, I'm starting to get municipal election fever again. I'm not ready yet to bow out from speaking my mind. I hope you are not either.

Please visit the NPA website at for a complete listing of their candidates.

Stay tuned for local issues coming forward!

Jamie Lee Hamilton