John Coupar resigns from being NPA's Vancouver mayoral candidate

Aug 5 2022, 4:30 pm

John Coupar has abruptly ended his Vancouver mayoral candidacy representing the Non-Partisan Association (NPA).

The party made the announcement this morning, stating that the NPA board met Thursday evening to “discuss the progress of the campaign.”

With just over two months to go until the October 15 civic election, the party has indicated it is still aiming to field a candidate for mayor to replace Coupar.

The deadline to be added to the ballot through the City of Vancouver’s process is September 9.

“Regrettably, the NPA has accepted John’s resignation as our mayoral candidate. We thank John for his remarkable service and tireless dedication to Vancouver as an elected Park Board Commissioner since 2011 and we wish him well,” reads the statement.

“We will announce our mayoral candidate at a future date to build on the combined strengths of our accomplished team of candidates.”

Coupar’s departure from the race comes just days after the release of the findings of a Mainstreet Research survey conducted in late July. It found that Coupar is trailing far behind all major party mayoral candidates, with just 6% of respondents in support of him — behind Progress Vancouver’s Mark Marissen and ABC Vancouver’s Ken Sim each at 11%, TEAM candidate and current city councillor Colleen Hardwick at 13%, and Forward Together Mayor Kennedy Stewart leading at 17%.

It is a tight race between the top four candidates. The survey has a margin of error of 4.2% 19 times out of 20.

In the scenario where the NPA is unable to find a replacement mayoral candidate, others in the running — specifically Hardwick, Sim, and Marissen — could potentially benefit from Coupar’s resignation. For nearly a year, political analysts have suggested the high number of major mayoral candidates in the centre-right and right-leaning spectrums could split the vote, as opposed to Stewart who is currently the only major party candidate within the realm of centre-left and left-leaning.

Coupar’s nomination by the NPA board as the party’s mayoral candidate was a controversial decision in April 2021. Just days later after this decision, 2018-elected NPA councillors Hardwick, Sarah Kirby-Yung, and Lisa Dominato left the party and became temporary independents in City Council. Hardwick joined a reboot of the TEAM party in September 2021, eventually becoming its mayoral candidate, while Kirby-Yung, Dominato, and Rebecca Bligh joined ABC in April 2022.

Coming out of the 2018 election, the NPA originally had the most party representation in City Council, with city councillors under the party’s banner filling five of the 10 seats. The Green Party has the second most representation with three city councillor seats.

For the 2022 election, the NPA have named six candidates to fill city councillor seats, including incumbent Melissa De Genova, and four Park Board candidates, including incumbent Tricia Barker. Based on their makeup of city council candidates, the NPA intends to run on a platform that is tough on crime and public disorder.

The NPA has historically been a dominating force in Vancouver’s civic politics, but the last time they won a majority in City Council and the mayoral seat was in 2005 under Sam Sullivan, who served for a single three-year term.

Sim, who is currently running under ABC, was the NPA’s mayoral candidate for the 2018 civic election. Sim came second, just 984 votes behind Stewart.

 

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