NPA Contemplates Name Change

Posted by Daniel on Jun 24, 2010

I note that Vancouver's most successful civic political party, the Non-Partisan Association, is thinking of changing its name.

Technically, of course, the NPA is not a party. But from its founding in 1937, no one has really been fooled by the non-partisan tag. The association was created by civic Liberals and Conservatives to keep the socialists out of city hall while maintaining the pretense of neutrality. The previous year the newly-formed Cooperative Commonwealth Federation (CCF), forerunner of today's NDP, elected three members to council and conservative elements in the city wanted to put a stop to that.

The NPA maintained its non-partisan status by having no official platform and merely endorsing candidates it found acceptable. But it was clearly the party of small business and land development and for the next thirty-plus years it controlled civic government.

During the 1970s the hegemony of the NPA was challenged by a new group of liberal reformers, The Electors Action Movement (TEAM), and then by the more left-wing Committee of Progressive Electors (COPE). The NPA regained its dominant position on council in the late 1980s with the election of Gordon Campbell as mayor, followed by Phillip Owen, but it subsequently fell on hard times again. You'll recall that in the last civic election NPA candidates were notably unsuccessful.

Members of the association obviously hope a new name for the 2011 civic election might help to reverse their fortunes at the polls.