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Updated: Hector Bremner ousted as potential NPA mayoral candidate

The rookie councillor says NPA’s board of directors rejected his bid to become the party’s mayoral candidate
NPA Coun. Hector Bremner, who was elected in last fall’s byelection, will not get a chance to become his party’s mayoral candidate. Photo Dan Toulgoet

NPA Coun. Hector Bremner will not get a chance to run as his party’s mayoral candidate in this fall’s election.

The rookie councillor, who won a seat in last October’s byelection, posted a message on his Facebook page just after midnight Monday saying his party’s board of directors rejected his application to become a mayoral candidate.

“Back in August when I began this journey with the NPA, when our party had 78 members, we were all so excited with our momentum, our by-election win and chance to restore this great party to a leadership position at city hall,” he said. “Tonight, unfortunately, was more clear evidence our board has been taken over by people with another agenda.”

Bremner said the party’s so-called “green light committee,” which is charged with screening candidates, recommended that he get the nod to compete in the party’s May 29 mayoral contest. The board, however, “rejected their advice,” he wrote.

He said the board was “stacked by one of the candidates, the same candidate whose supporters attacked me with false accusations that clearly the green light committee rejected.” He didn’t name the candidate.

“I will have more to say on this, as will the thousands of members we have signed up, our caucus, and all of the shocked members of the NPA tonight,” said Bremner, who didn’t return phone or email messages left Tuesday by the Courier.

Gregory Baker, the NPA president, wouldn’t disclose reasons for not allowing Bremner to compete to become the party’s mayoral nominee. But Baker said the green light committee “had such serious reservations about [Hector's bid] that they refused to put it in writing, and they communicated the problems to the board.”

The decision by the NPA board comes as Bremner faces a complaint from NPA member Raza Mirza, who has accused him of a conflict of interest because of his work as vice-president of public affairs for the Pace Group.

In an April 11 letter to city manager Sadhu Johnston and Mayor Gregor Robertson, Mirza alleged Bremner’s work on behalf of various developers, including Aquilini Investment Group, compromises his position as a councillor when voting on matters involving development.

Raza has since received a letter from Robertson indicating that lawyer Henry Wood be appointed as an investigator to review the complaint. Wood is also an adjunct professor in the faculty of law at the University of B.C., where he lectures in professional ethics and responsibility.

Baker wouldn’t say whether Mirza’s complaint was considered in the board’s decision. Mirza told the Courier that he hasn’t been contacted by the board about his complaint, although it has been previously reported in the media.

“I’m not at liberty to talk about the details,” Baker said.

The board also rejected engineer George Steeves’ application to become the party’s mayoral candidate. Baker wouldn’t elaborate. He said the race is down to three contenders:NPA park board commissioner John Coupar, financial analyst Glen Chernen and entrepreneur Ken Sim.

It’s unclear now whether Bremner will seek re-election as a councillor and whether the board’s decision Monday will affect his chances to run with the party. Asked why Bremner was given the green light to run in last October’s byelection and rejected for a potential mayoral run, Baker replied: “The green light committee met, they reviewed the terms of reference, there were issues that came up. They presented those issues and perhaps those issues weren’t present at the time that the previous board had met and looked at them.”

Bremner concluded his Facebook post by telling a brief story about a young volunteer he said was removed from the party in December. He called it a “shocking backroom deal” and in an attached video said he was “a good kid, in his 20s, wants to participate and they shank him tonight—and they shank him over a bunch of nonsense.”

Added Bremner: “You wonder why more normal rational people don’t get involved in politics. It’s unbelievable.”