The race to become the NPA's mayoral candidate is set to begin
We're smack dab in the middle of a beautiful summer in Vancouver and as you can appreciate, politics is not on the mind of most people. Although the formal part of politics takes a break for a few weeks during the summer recess, that doesn't mean the issue isn't discussed on the busy BBQ circuit. The number one question I've been asked at almost every event I've attended this summer is "who will the NPA run as their mayoral candidate?" It's not something I was hearing so much about six months ago, but the pace has certainly picked up as Gregor Robertson continues to make some major communication and policy gaffes. Can you say effin' NPA Hacks, anyone?
Just last week I had a very lengthy conversation with one unnamed councillor in the governing caucus in Vancouver and inevitably the conversation got to "hey...by the way, any scuttlebutt on who the NPA might be putting up for their mayoral nomination?" The first candidate (a former Vancouver MLA) I named was greeted with disparaging laughter. The second name resulted in a much different response...that is, utter silence on the other end of the phone. That's because I said the NPA was seriously looking at recruiting the ever-popular Tung Chan, CEO of SUCCESS, an immigrant service agency.
As I've written here before, the NPA lead by Tung Chan would be a formidable political force. I think the only other possible candidate who could inflict more damage to Vision would be my friend Christy Clark, top-rated CKNW talk show host and former Deputy Premier. That's because she would attract a lot of dissaffected federal Liberal voters who previously voted Vision in the last election. However, I still believe Tung Chan has mass appeal on both the left and right side of the spectrum. He also is well respected by both the media and Vancouver's development community.
I had the opportunity to bump into someone close to Tung Chan a short while ago. They confirmed for me that Chan is not only seriously considering a mayoral bid, but he has quietly established what is being dubbed an "exploratory committee". I'm also told that almost everywhere Tung goes these days he's being accosted by people asking (some even begging) him to run for mayor of Vancouver. One person said that "Tung is kind of feeling like Carole Taylor was a couple of years ago. Everyone wants him to throw his hat in the ring in order to get rid of Robertson and his flakey policies."
The reason Vision is so fearful of having Chan as the NPA's candidate has a lot to do with the powerful immigrant vote in Vancouver. During the last election, a large section of it voted for Vision in protest to the NPA's shenanigans over the Sullivan vs Ladner fiasco. With that now a distant memory, a candidate like Chan, who was former city councillor, would be most attractive.
In the coming months, I'm told the exploratory committee will likely get out into the field and do some polling to see if a Chan candidacy would have any appeal amongst the electorate. The timing likely couldn't be better given the Mayor's recent fumbling over a myriad of issues this summer. There is also a rumour that both councillor Suzanne Anton and park commissioner Ian Robertson are prepared to set aside their mayoral ambitions and support Chan if he decided to run. A clear demonstration of party unity would give Chan a lot of momentum heading into the election. The election is still Gregor's to lose, but lose it he could.
As for Chan, CityCaucus.com plans to track him down in the coming weeks and see if he's prepared to chat with us about his political future. We've been told he may well be open to that discussion. If Chan is about to announce his candidacy, you'll likely here it here first. Stay tuned.
- Post by Daniel