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Mike Howell: Former NPA mayoral candidate Ken Sim ‘impetus’ for Vancouver’s newest party

Originally written for Vancouver Is Awesome, April 14, 2021

The new Vancouver civic political party that launched Wednesday did so without any candidates, although former NPA mayoral candidate Ken Sim has expressed interest in leading A Better City in the 2022 election campaign.

As Glacier Media reported Tuesday, Sim made his intentions known more than a year ago that he would again run for mayor and said yesterday he planned to take out a membership with the new party.

“I haven’t been offered anything,” Sim said of the organization, which is being referred to on social media as the ABC party. “With any organization I join, I want to make sure that there’s a fair, open and transparent process where anyone can run for a nomination.”

Pat Estey, the executive director of A Better City, said Wednesday the party expects to hold a mayoral nomination contest in October, followed by a six-month nominating process for council, school and park board candidates ending in March 2022.

“Ken is really the impetus around A Better City,” said Estey, who was Sim’s director of special projects and logistics in the NPA’s 2018 campaign. “We think it would be great to have Ken and individuals like Ken sign up to run for mayor.”

Estey, who works for a small tech nonprofit, said its founding members are drawn from across Vancouver and represent a diverse group of ages, ethnicities, sexual orientations, economic backgrounds and political viewpoints.

The board has 11 directors, including businessman Stephen Molnar, banking advisor and community policing centre director Anna Tse, human resources director Tammy Young, lawyer Marcus M. Sixta and public affairs strategist Wendy Hartley, who was involved in the NPA’s 2018 election campaign.

Molnar and Hartley shared a byline in a statement the party released Wednesday, with the headline, “We demand a better city.”

“The city is in the grip of a poisoned drug crisis, a homelessness crisis, a public safety crisis, an affordability and housing crisis, a climate crisis, a small business crisis, and a global pandemic,” they wrote. “All of this is being confronted while our political class succumbs to the crisis of our age – partisanship.”

The statement continued: “We, citizens of Vancouver, have been mostly stuck at home, doing our best to support our families and keep them safe in the face of all this. We have been confronted by the divisiveness of politics during a time of crisis: bikes vs. cars, renters vs. owners, the housed vs. the homeless. We are tired of it. We demand a better city.”

Meanwhile, longtime campaign strategist Mark Marissen announced Tuesday night that he is running for mayor. He has yet to say whether he will run with a party, with other candidates or as a lone independent candidate.

Marissen is the ex-husband of former premier Christy Clark.

Longtime park board commissioner John Coupar is the NPA’s mayoral candidate while current mayor, Kennedy Stewart, is on record of seeking re-election.

Previous Dan Fumano: NPA ex-mayoral candidate Ken Sim to run again — against NPA

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