Three people are potentially in the race to become the mayoral candidate for the party that hopes to knock off Mayor Gregor Robertson and his Vision Vancouver party next year.
With 11 months to go until civic-election day in a year that promises to bring big changes to local politics, the city's newest councillor, Hector Bremner, the mayoral candidate from the last election, Kirk LaPointe, and former Conservative MP Wai Young have all said they are exploring the possibility of running for the Non-Partisan Association's mayoral slot.
The party set Feb. 21 as its nomination date for the mayor's position this week.
"I'm determining now what I can offer the city," said Mr. LaPointe, a media executive who recently moved to Vancouver from housing at the University of British Columbia, a location that provoked some criticism last time that he wanted to be mayor of a city he didn't even live in.
Ms. Young said that she has had "a lot of people approach me to run and it's certainly something I'm considering." And Mr. Bremner, who was recently chosen as the city's 11th councillor in a by-election, said that "a lot of people are asking me to look at it and … as we get closer, I will be making some decisions."
All three talked about wanting to give voters a choice besides Vision, which they said had failed voters on issues from housing to basic city services to traffic congestion.
George Affleck, a twice-elected councillor who had indicated many times before that he might run to become the mayoral candidate, announced this week that he is leaving politics after this term.
Candidates have until Jan. 22 to sign up new members, although Mr. Bremner, the vice-president of a public-relations company and a former B.C. Liberal political aide, is currently in a strong position after having recruited nearly 1,000 new members during the by-election campaign.
Mr. Robertson and his party are seen as vulnerable to defeat after being in power for almost 10 years. The Vision candidate came in fifth in the October by-election, behind Mr. Bremner and three candidates supported by other progressive parties.
Vision Vancouver, which has successfully raised so much money during its time in office that it was able to employ full-time staff year-round, which is rare for civic party, recently laid off two of its three party workers.
As well, one of its more popular councillors with a strong following among young, environmentally minded people, Andrea Reimer, announced last month that she won't be running again.
Vision Vancouver co-chair Maria Dobrinskaya said it's not clear yet who else may be running.
"We know we have to have a leadership review for our incumbents at all levels," said Ms. Dobrinskaya. "That will provide us with clarity about the number of spots. But right now, we're waiting for everyone to get through a lot of heavy policy in the fall."
She said the party's staff layoffs are a "restructuring" that is part of "trying to build in flexibility."
All the parties are scrambling to figure out how to comply with new campaign-financing rules that the province put into effect Oct. 30. That bans corporate and union donations and limits individual donations to $1,200.
The new rules will have the most impact on the two big parties, Vision and the NPA, which had raised around $2-million apiece during the official campaign period in the 2014 election.
The NPA rushed to get people to donate before the deadline for its annual fundraising gala that took place Nov. 22. It had four corporate sponsors listed for that, two of them affiliated with Beedie Living, the company that has been generating controversy for several years with its plans to build a condo project in Chinatown.
The rules will limit the influence of former donors like Rocky Mountaineer owner Peter Armstrong and developer Rob Macdonald, who had given hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations in previous elections to the NPA. They will also hobble Vision, which got a substantial proportion of its campaign money from people in development and construction.