NPA to table name change, policy committee motions at AGM

Post by Mike Klassen in ,

32 comments

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Can Vancouver's NPA map out a civic party of the future?

CityCaucus.com has received news that the storied Vancouver Civic Non-Partisan Association has received and will be tabling 2 significant motions that would transform how the organization conducts its affairs, and how it will be branded moving into the future. The question for Vancouver voters and critics of the organization will ask, is it enough?

Former TEAM park commissioner Bill McCreery has seized this fallow period for the 70+ year old civic electors organization (it's not a political "party" in the traditional sense, as it has never formed policy and concentrated its efforts on candidate recruitment). McCreery served one-term as park commissioner and was among the youngest people ever elected to that committee. "We had the sense back then," comments McCreery, who attended Thursday evening's NPA pub night, "that we could do anything."

Bill assembled a strong group of community leaders to outline a path for the NPA's future. The result was a motion to strike a committee on changing the NPA's name. The second, and perhaps more significant motion put forward by McCreery is that the organization develops a basic policy platform going into the 2011 election.

"It's a matter of trust," says McCreery. "People have to know what they're buying. By going out to Vancouver's diverse communities and speaking with them about their priorities, we can put together a set of goals that the organization can use to sell itself again to the public. It's a way for voters to know what they're committing to by voting for us.

McCreery's motions, which will be voted upon at the NPA's April 28th AGM at the Vancouver Museum, are as follows:

1) Name Review 

Whereas the NPA initials are recognizable as those of Vancouver’s pre-eminent political organization, the Non-Partisan Association [the ‘NPA’], for more than seven decades; and 

Whereas Vancouver has evolved into a world renowned, progressive and multi-cultural city; and

Whereas the NPA has also changed considerably, and the time has come to define the organization in terms which accurately reflect its evolving values in a meaningful way to contemporary voters;

Be it resolved that the Board of Directors of the NPA be directed to constitute a Special Review Committee. 

[1] The Committee shall review the name of the Non Partisan Association and recommend alternative names for consideration by the membership;  such names should preferably retain the ‘NPA’ initials while helping to position the NPA as a group of forward-looking people working toward a better Vancouver; 

[2] The Committee shall report its findings and recommendations back to the Board and the membership by no later than two weeks before the date of the Special General Meeting of item [3] below; 

[3]  the final choice of name shall be determined by the membership at a Special General Meeting to be held on or before 30 June, 2010. â€¨

And his second motion:

2) Establish Policy Formulation Sub-Committees to Engage the Membership and the Public;

Whereas Vancouver has evolved into a world renowned, progressive and multi-cultural city, in large measure due to the leadership of the Non-Partisan Association [the ‘NPA’]; and

Whereas a political organization should continually evolve to reflect and respond to the concerns, ideas and issues of its society; and

Whereas voters wish to be informed of the general views of a political association regarding the issues concerning their neighbourhood and City in the present and for the future;

Be it resolved:

[1]  that the NPA develop ongoing general policy directions as a broad guide for future candidates and party decisions;

[2]  the NPA hold regular sessions with various neighbourhoods and communities within Vancouver to assist in the development of such broad policies; 

[3]  such policies will be updated, debated and adopted by the membership at the Nomination Meeting prior to each election to respond to emerging issues and new ideas, input from candidates, suggestions by voters, etc., as well as the neighbourhood and community consultation in order to reflect the needs and aspirations of our evolving, ever changing City;

[4]  the adopted policies will be made available to voters during the subsequent election campaign.

32 Comments

This is a good idea. It shows that the NPA can evolve into a credible alternative and if it has the will it can expand it base of support and regain control of the City government

Not Particularly Appealing.

Need Plenty of Asians.

Victory Initiated Stupid Idiocy Of Numbskulls.

Do you see what an immature game this is?

Nerds Prefer Apple.

My favourite? The classic : COPE - Communists Opposing Practically Everything.

Although I appreciate the concept of changing the name but keeping the initials, I don't believe it's going to work.

The first reason why is demonstrated by what this comment thread quickly devolved to by the very people who frequent City Caucus who would vote for the NPA anyway. The NPA is opening the door for more fun to be poked at it's name and at its choice. Yes it happens anyway, however now they've turned a snowball into an avalanche. Look for Vision and their propaganda spinners to waste no time in jumping on this in every negative way imaginable.

The average voter is going to be influenced almost immediately by Vision's spin, whereas it will take the NPA a bit of time elaborate on their new policy, strategy and optics.

Next, if we talk about branding and compare the NPA to any other company; a name/logo stands for more than what you see. It represents the ideology, the founders, the people, it represents EVERYTHING about the organization. When people don't believe the two are synonymous they don't buy the brand.

So, if the second motion is not done prior to any discussion of changing the name, Vision will have lots of time to do to the NPA, what the Conservatives have done to both Stephane Dion and Michael Ignateoff. Tell the voter who they are before the NPA gets to reveal and sell that for themselves.

Changing the name before changing what the party stands for is a pretty clear message to the people that your name and brand are not in sync. As we've seen with the federal Liberals, it is extremely difficult to convince Canadians that the troubles of the past are behind you, when you:

a) Keep some old pieces of furniture around (______fill in name of Chretian liberal entitled to their entitlements here, fill in Suzanne Anton for the NPA),
b) Don't have a real policy footing to stand on.

So in essence, by suggesting to change the name and then build the party into whatever policy we decide on along the way......isn't believeable.


Although no one asked for my 2 cents, what I would suggest is:

1) Let people get to know who the directors are and why they are on the board. Are they likeable, trustworthy and how or why should I believe they represent my interests in formulating policy that affects me? Turn the backroom politics into frontroom politics.

2) Emphasize freedom of discussion, freedom to disagree and freedom to be pragmatic when votes are cast in council meetings. Vision makes decisions in their caucus meetings behind closed doors and almost always votes along party lines. Start this with your board and their efforts to transform the party. Vision used lies to steal the middle ground, can the NPA get it back? Honesty gets 3 years +, being disingenuous a measely 3 year term.

3) The mix of candidates needs to change and reflect the interests of the city/party. In the past, NPA'ers like Ladner, Price, etc...could have looked the same in a Vision suit. No difference means confusion in the voter's mind. If the NPA was against the bike trials, why the hell was Suzanne grandstanding as the first councillor across it. If the NPA wasn't against the bike trials, why would I switch my vote. Bang, you lose - why bother changing anything then.

It's okay to be NON-PARTISAN but still row the boat in the same direction. Figure it out because clearly that hasn't been the case for about 20 years now.

4) Lets be honest about what the party will ALWAYS be. When successful, the federal Liberals and federal Conservatives in Vancouver play nice and work in the interests of the city. If they don't or can't get along, COPE, COPE light, TEAM, Vision will get elected everytime, unless the vote is split 3 ways. In 2008 a lot of upset federal Liberals jumped ship and helped elect a bunch of left-wing lunatics from the provincial NDP. In hindsight, many are now rushing back to the NPA short of admitting they are partially to blame for this mess we have at 12th and Cambie.

It doesn't matter what you change the name to, and what your policies are, if you're going to take your ball and go home everytime you don't get your way, no voter is going to trust you in the future. 9 years or possibly 12 years of 1-off governments because of party infighting is destroying this city as much as Vision is currently. The NPA needs to figure out how to stop this madness NOW and convey that to the voters that trusted them for decades.

So whether you're Conservative or Liberal and are on the board presently, swallow your goddang pride and stop the shenanigans. This includes bringing in Burnaby operatives from the federal Conservatives (Robin Dhir) to control slates at AGM's. As for the federal Liberals doing the same thing, you know who you are. Prove to the voter you can peacefully co-exist from here on out and you win.


So back to this whole name changing business. If you don't have 1 thru 4 worked out before you even talk about changing the name, don't bother because it's already a fail.

Nothing Pleases Alex.

John,
What's your full name? Does it have significance to you? To the people who know you? If so we can continue this conversation.

A name is fundamental to any entities existence, including yours presumably. That is why you & I have a name. It is no different for an organization. The name tells others not only who but, what that organization is. It is critical that the NPA name have a meaning in contemporary terms which is relevant to itself & to those who come in contact with it. So, this indeed is an important initiative.

If you'd like to change your name to become more relevant, let me know. I might be able to help.

The "NPA Team". Used during the 1980's to attract former Team voters. Good branding and name recognition.

If it ain't broke - don't fix it.

OTOH - "Vision" Vancouver has some branding problems - What's the vision? Chickens, beehives, veggie gardens at city hall, and an occasional stay at Hollyhock?!

landlord,

Why did you say "nothing pleases Alex"?

If you're referring to Alex Tsakumis, he hasn't sadi anything on this post unless I'm going blind.

Since Bill McCreery is quoted in the post, I wish he would have commented on my concerns rather than John's comments seeing as it wasn't a good one to begin with.

So what say you Bill?

If you think I'm off base I'd like to hear your take. If I've hit on some valid points I'd also like to hear that since you seem to be leading this charge.

Mr. Hall,
Some interesting thoughts. I agree with some of what you've said but, take issue as well.

1] If you'd like to know about the Directors, pls go to the NPA web site. They're there with bios. If you want to meet them, I'm sure if you take the effort to contact them [via the NPA perhaps], that can be arranged. You could have showed up @ the Pub Night last evening, they were there. Nice people.

2] Free speech is @ the heart of the 2 AGM motions. We are proposing the NPA establish an ongoing dialogue with the various communities in Vancouver. This is not a start / stop thing, it's on-going from year to year. These motions are in the public realm. You are commenting on them, thank you. Come to the AGM, we welcome your voice.

3] I'll not comment on specific issues but, the 2nd motion speaks to the importance of developing publicly available policies in a thoughtful manner & applying same consistently, subject to intervening changes in circumstances [which is normally accepted practice in public conduct]. Then, in the true democratic spirit, let the voters decide.

4] I can't speak for others but, I may become a Director as of the AGM, if so you may be interested, I have no connections with any federal or provincial party. I am solely interested in what's best for Vancouver & believe me, I will enthusiastically pursue those interests as I did as a Parks Commissioner.

Which is the cart & which the horse? It doesn't matter, what does matter is that we get on with it. We've got 18 months until the next election. I'm confident the voters will make the right decision. I'll leave that judgement to them.

Glen,
I feel i'm getting to know you.

See my reply to you below.

John presumably had some basis for what he said. Others might feel likewise. I think a name is important. I wanted John & others who may be wondering to better understand why I think so.

A name change alone can't save the party. Bury it and start an entirely new civic party, without a board infamous for bitter infighting and back stabbing. A party untainted by Sam, Suzanne, and Peter supporters still jousting for control and focused on the past. A party that is inclusive, open to new ideas and creative people and is all about the future.

My shoes are on and my cheque book is open...but I'm not going to any NPA meeting.

The only way the NPA can regain power is to nominate a Federal Liberal at the helm. Every time they nominate conservatives the party crumbles. A new name, and a new leader with Liberal credentials, supported by conservative workers (and finances) would be the ticket to get rid of the civic NDP in Vancouver. No question about it.

Libinsider,

Would you care to explain why you believe it should be a Liberal running the show while the Conseratives supply the money and the grunt work?

It sounds like you believe the whole "were entitled to our entitlements" crap.

Like I said, if you have the same mentality of taking your ball and going home when it doesn't suit you, it ain't gonna work.

Unfortunately it sounds like you are part of the problem.....or you're a Visionista still poking the sleeping cat.

RtoR,

Starting a new party from scratch is a long endeavour and not a slam dunk for success in just 18 months.

Do you really want to see Vision back in from 2011 to 2014 with even more of their destruction?

It would take a LARGE amount of money to support the amount of staff, organization and planning to make a brand new party into a contender in just 18 months.

It's not impossible but the pockets would have to be very deep. How much are you in for?

I am simply trying to point out that Vancouver is a very small "l" liberal city and putting a conservative out front never sells well. If the Libs and Conservatives can get together, they can beat the civic NDP. The Libs are natural leaders, while the conservatives have all the connections to corporate Canada. This is a good combination that has worked in the past. I'm not saying the libs shouldn't do grunt work, simply that a Liberal should become the new leader, which will cut off Gregor at the knees. how can you argue against that logic?

Needles Poking Arms.

Normally Provide Amusement.

Notwithstanding Provincial Authority.

New Party Animals.

Whenever anyone sees "Under new management" or "Formerly trading as..." they head for the competition. Name change is not and has never been a wise strategy.

I'm a left wing by nature guy who has already had more than enough of the Vision fruitloops, I can't be alone, just get the truth out there, whatever the label

Bill,

I'll continue the dialogue to your points, corresponding by the same number.

1) When I made my comments about letting people get to know the directors and back room lot of the NPA, I wasn't just referring to myself - I meant this to be in reference to the public in general. Please don't ask people to go out of their way to learn who you all are to entrust you with their vote. It isn't going to happen.

That was not meant to be rude, but most people simply will not go out of their way to be educated on politics. If you expect 15,000 people to take the initiative, you've lost. And don't wait until the election campaign to try and sway 15,000 voters, it'll be too little too late. Vision is well organized and they'll be communicating to those 15,000 people you need votes from, the milisecond you don't.

To delve further into this point is to discuss the major communication issues surrounding the NPA. You conspicuously avoided conversation on the "old guard" of the NPA. Perhaps out of respect, to avoid ruffling feathers, or because you believe some of them may have a contribution left in them, whatever it is I'll cut you some slack. However, with no face of the party in the media, it goes back to your statement about expecting me (the voter) to find you - it ain't going to happen!

Next, the face you do have in the media is Suzanne Anton. It may sound like I'm picking on her but she is not mayor material, despite what she thinks. I've also heard grumblings about her believing it's "her time" and "she's deserves" the nod. So she's "entitled to her entitlements" is she?

Have you seen Suzanne in action at any community events? I have, numerous times. Rather than celebrating the moment with the public out to enjoy the day, I was "reminded" to complete some questionaire being mailed out, I was updated on council matters, and I'm not sure she ever welcomed me to enjoy why I was there in the first place. She may have but what stuck in my mind was the negative. It was terrible and she does this time and again, this isn't a once-off with her, it's who she is. If this is the face you want on the party until you pick a stable of candidates, you're done. If you don't believe me, you're even more done.

Although I doubt she can effectively build a team and recruit enough votes to win a nomination battle, the NPA will not be seen any differently in the eyes of the public unless she backs out gracefully and encourages the "renewal" of the party. Old windows on a renovated home do not add any value whatsoever. All that anyone would say is "Wow nice renos, but did you run out of money to change the windows?"

So without a leader or a list of candidates, who runs with the ball in the meantime? I may upset the city caucus guys with my next statement but right now they get more play than Suzanne or the NPA does. Good for them, but bad for a party trying to rebuild post-Sam. They were and will always been seen as Sam's boys and there is a negative connotation to that. Sorry guys but you have to know that is true whether you agree with that or not. Every bloody time they raise a point, regardless of how valid it is, all people hear is that its the same old NPA - AGAIN. Until they take a different approach to whatever their agenda really is, because who really knows, you need another "voice of the NPA" out there.

Next we have the media. Don't bother on expecting Bula, Garr or Smith to be balanced, they'll be the last to flip on their friends. You have few writers in the Vancouver msm who understand what they're role with the public is, these three believe they're part of educating people on how to be socialists. Are they the end all and be all of Vancouver civic reporting? Of course not, but they illustrate the much larger example of why Vision scandal after Vision scandal is falling on deaf ears.

You may think the NPA's bigger issues are covered in your 2 motions, and they very well may be, however there appears to be two other gi-normous elephants in the room; a credible voice and a communications strategy from today forward.

2) Thank you for the invitation to the AGM, I'll consider it.

3) Honestly Bill, when you say let the voters decide, that worries me. It may be a cliche statement, and yes you are technically correct that they will decide, however in 2008 Vision got away with murder in the latter half of the election campaign. The NPA got walked on and the resulting vote was illustrative of that. The NPA let the people who still voted for them down. Nobody minds when the Canucks lose a hard fought game, sure its a bitter pill to swallow, but at least they went out fighting. The NPA simply cannot say this about their last battle.

Yes the voters will decide, but if what they have to decide on - isn't enough, we'll have another 3 years of this mess at city hall.

4) Good to hear you're neutral, but I'm quite positive you know what/who I'm referring to in my comments regarding the factions within the NPA. Again I'll let you skate past this one because it will not do you any good to call them out publicly. Privately though is another matter entirely. Get it done, or close it down are the only options available.

5) The cart before the horse thing? Yes you need to move now, as you point out you have only 18 months. But again I raise the issue of renewing a party and having no leader or voice, other than the old one for the next 12 months until you find one. That doesn't help a party trying to rejuvenate themselves, or make the change believable in the short time to an election.

Thank you for the dialogue.

Glen,
Thank you for your comments as well. You're right. The 2 motions should be the 1st steps in a larger plan for the NPA. Stay tuned.

The Directors are a very capable group & I haven't seen a hatchet in anyone's belt. I invite you & others to come out, meet the directors, get involved in a positive way. That's what I & a number of others are doing &, we welcome more help.

Landlord,
Entertaining. Keep them coming. Maybe eventually you will also turn to some serious suggestions. If we're successful after the AGM, we can then give them consideration.

Ntegrity. Prosperity. Accountability.

No Penny Anymore.

I kep waiting for Chris Keam to call me "that Nit Picking A**hole".

Bill,

Just don't forget my first message.

Don't fiddle or announce any name change until you've established EVERYTHING the rejuvenated party/brand stands for.

And I mean everything.

And of course until you have a rock solid communications strategic plan, that extends forward to the 2011 election.

Otherwise Vision is going tell Vancouverites who the new NPA is, before you get the chance to.

Nothing???

Are you sure?

Actually, I'm quite pleased with this stream of comments.

Although, I must say that the NPA has been a party for some time. The fact they did not put out policy positions, is only indicative of their lack of inertia, at various times, and nothing more.

I like the NPA/Team idea.

However, the real issue will be attracting good candidates. That's only happened sporadically since Philip was forced into retirement.

Alex,
You're right, the candidates are critical, but good candidates are attracted by solid policies &, good candidates will help formulate solid policies. So, it works both ways.

I know several potential candidates who are sitting back right now. It's time for the NPA to demonstrate leadership & in the process regain the centre of the vote spectrum.

Alex,
You're right, good candidates are key. But, I know several of those, as well as a lot of voters who are not at all happy with Vision but, are sitting on the fence. Good policies attract good candidates &, good candidates will generate good policies. So we need both.

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