Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Oldtown News
Vancouver, BC


Laura McDiarmid, former NPA Park Board Chair has sent a letter to NPA President in support of Councillor Peter Ladner's call for open nominations. Re-printed with permission--JLH

February 18, 2008

Matthew Taylor
Non Partisan Association

Hi Matthew:

I hope this letter finds you well and I am sure you and the board are gearing up for what is shaping up to be a very interesting municipal election. The process leading up to the municipal election is the purpose of my writing to you and sharing my thoughts on the issue currently before the board.

I have been a member of the NPA for over 12 years now and was an elected official from 1996 to 2002. During my tenure I was Vice-Chair for two years and chair of the Vancouver Park Board in 2000 – 2001. I have been through 3 elections with the NPA from 1996 to 2002 and I do not need to remind the board of the devastating loss we suffered in 2002. The “writing was on the wall” during 2002 and we failed to heed the warnings and as a result the COPE tsunami almost destroyed our NPA organization.

Ever undaunted and shortly after the 2002 loss, the NPA organization began a series of workshops and focus groups designed to gather a broad perspective of opinions, views and ideas on how to restructure and rebuild our great organization. I was a part of these focus groups and attended and contributed to all of them, as did others and I was very pleased at the excitement and the buzz that occurred. We were on the right track to bring about a positive outcome in the next election. Hard work, perseverance and inclusiveness of all NPA members, great candidates and the Board of Directors resulted in our win in November, 2005.

Now, leading into the 2008 election we are faced with a challenge that may result in a repeat of the devastating loss of 2002. I am speaking about the decision that the board made about protecting the incumbents. I am vehemently opposed to this decision as I do not believe it allows for internal growth and curtails democracy. We have some phenomenal candidates and an equal amount of great men and women within our organization that would like to vie for the slate in November 2008. I think we are selling ourselves short by not opening up the nomination process and allowing the membership to select the best possible candidates form the pool of talent within the NPA. The outcome may very well end up being as it is now but at least the membership will have had a say and the public will view the NPA as an open and transparent organization that values democracy and listens to the people! This can only have a positive reflection leading up to the municipal election. I believe that anything short of this will have the opposite result.

I have the utmost respect for our sitting mayor, councillors, school board trustees and park board commissioners and for the work that the Board does in preparation for the election. However, I do think that being immersed in the process sometimes does not allow for neutrality, therefore, I made a decision to write to you and provide you with my thoughts on the matter before you.

Thank you for your work on the NPA’s behalf and I trust you will consider the above when making your decision.

Yours truly,

Laura McDiarmid
Former Chair, Vancouver Park Board