Tuesday, January 10, 2006


Underbelly News
Downtown Eastside


Just two months after being elected, the municipal Non Partisan Association (NPA) board is being destroyed by an internal power grab and citizens of Vancuver have every right to be concerned since this major rift within the NPA will spill over and be played out within the corridors of City Hall. Already, two of Mayor Sullivan's paid staff at the City also reside on the NPA board. This in itself is a conflict of interest and this may have precipitated the NPA problems which are now bubbling over.

NPA Councillors and the Mayor, Sam Sullivan, are caught up in the melodrama and of course, this messiness will reflect badly on the city as there is certain to be issues of accountability, trust, ethics and sabotage raised as a result of differences. Already, well liked NPA President, Paul Barbeau has resigned along with board member, Judy Baldwin. An internal source confirms there is an NPA board meeting tonite and that an attempt will be made to remove two popular board members, Treasurer, Andrew Graham and Vice-President, Yvonne DeValone. If this occurs watch for a bloodbath.

The NPA troubles seem to originate with certain players who are considered part of the old guard NPA. They are not comfortable with the direction the re-newed "non-partisans" of the NPA are taking. One NPA board member is former President, Dale McClanahan. Mr. McClanahan was president when the ouster of former Mayor Philip Owen took place. Whether, Mr. McClanahan desires to play a stronger role in the NPA has re-surfaced.

Because of two unrelated NPA board members resignations, there was a move by a wing of the NPA to appoint two people to the board right away. Mr. McClanahan initiated an email among certain NPA board members for their support of Colin Metcalfe and Doug Leung. Mr. Metcalfe was campaign manager for Sam Sullivan's recent successful Mayoralty. Of course, Mayor Sullivan would have vetted these appointments and consequently this may spell disaster for Mayor Sullivan since it may well be perceived that the Mayor isn't guided by democratic principles. Appointing board members via email is a really questionable practise. The NPA constitution calls for yearly board elections and the two vacancies could have easily been filled at the NPA AGM which is mere months away.

How this NPA nastiness plays out will determine the fortunes of Mayor Sullivan's political career. This matter will go to the issues of trust, honesty and ethics. If Mayor Sullivan can't get a handle on this real quick, voters may lose faith that the Mayoral candidate they elected was more trustworthy, honest and ethical than the one they defeated.

Jamie Lee Hamilton