Can Tung Chan pull off a surprise victory like Harry Truman once did?
About a week or so ago, the Vancouver Sun reported that former NPA city councillor Tung Chan announced he was stepping down from his position as Chief Executive Officer of SUCCESS, the noted immigration services organization. Chan worked with SUCCESS for many years and helped it to reach new heights. As the NPA gathers for both its first pub night and annual general meeting later this month, there are many asking if Chan might just be interested in leading their team into the civic election in 2011.
If Chan were to agree to run for Mayor of Vancouver, he would bring with him a very large constituency of support. That's because he is a known entity to traditional NPA supporters who recognize him for his years of experience working in the banking and the not-for-profit sector. Now that his term at SUCCESS is over, Chan has also built a loyal following among new immigrant communities in Vancouver. His obvious appeal with Vancouver's substantial Chinese communities is hard to overlook.
With Chan at the helm, the NPA would also be able to attract some high quality candidates and attract significant financial support from the business community. Therefore, when Chan announced that he was stepping down later this year, a number of folks began wondering if he might have the right stuff to lead the NPA back into power next year.
Although I've said Robertson has a lock on the Mayor's job in 2011, it's hard to argue that a candidate like Tung Chan wouldn't give him a significant run for his money. If the stars aligned properly and Robertson made a major gaffe during the campaign (something he's prone to doing), Chan and his NPA colleagues could well wake up the day after the election as Vancouver's new government.
If you consider the NPA brand carries with it a certain base of support and Vision will have to run on their lacklustre record in 2011, Chan wouldn't need to sway that many voters to secure a victory. At the very least his candidacy would help to wipe out the COPE politicians and elect at least 3-4 NPA councillors. Chan's no-nonsense and pragmatic style of leadership will likely be a welcomed change with weary Vancouverites who are tiring of endless debates on backyard chickens, bee hives and vegetable gardens on the front lawn of City Hall.
Here are a few other campaign commitments he may want to consider:
- Ensure that City Hall becomes a beacon for public consultation once again. Rather than ramming through policies with little input from the public (HEAT, STIR, Back Yard Chickens...etc...), a new NPA government would ensure that council becomes a sounding board for new ideas and feedback.
- Declare an end to "symbolic politics". Gone are the symbolic gardens, bee hives and other gestures that have little no impact on the environment. Rather, he'll push for policies that have real meaning and aren't simply about another photo op.
- Promise to work with the civic unions in a collaborative and respectful way as well as rebuilding morale among ALL staff and management at City Hall.
- Commit to balancing the books as well as returning the public service to a non-partisan workplace.
- His government would return the focus to developing long-term housing solutions rather than the quick fix approach of sweeping people off the streets and into shelters.
- Restore a collaborative and respectful working relationship with senior levels of government.
I still believe it's Robertson's campaign to lose in 2011, however, with the right candidate and a couple of good issues, the NPA may well make this more of a competitive race than their current low profile would suggest. The jury is still out as to whether they're up to the challenge.
Note: If you like Chan as a possible candidate, you may enjoy reading this previous post.
- Post by Daniel