Three Vancouver city councillors who quit the NPA after they were elected in 2018 announced Monday that they have joined a new party and reunited with Ken Sim in their bid to get re-elected in this October’s municipal election.
Rebecca Bligh, Lisa Dominato and Sarah Kirby-Yung chose to make their intentions known on the Jas Johal show on CKNW radio before issuing a news release via their new party, A Better City Vancouver.
“The city of Vancouver is at a crossroads,” Bligh told Johal. “And it's clear that the status quo is not working. Ken Sim and ABC Vancouver present the only real opportunity for change from what is currently not working in our city.”
Dominato described her new party as a “centrist inclusive organization.”
Kirby-Yung talked about the importance of getting “a team over the finish line in October that can actually shake things up for Vancouver.”
The trio’s announcement was followed by Sim also appearing on the same radio show. Sim was the NPA’s mayoral candidate in 2018 and narrowly lost to Kennedy Stewart, who is also seeking re-election under Forward Together.
The field of mayoral candidates in this year's race is dominated by those on the centre-right of the political spectrum, with Stewart the lone candidate on the centre-left.
Asked whether he was concerned about splitting the vote, which could lead to Stewart’s re-election, Sim told Johal he didn’t “worry about that at all.”
“At the end of the day, I only worry about the stuff that I can control,” he said. “And what we can control is the fact that we're not running a left or right party, we’re running a party that’s trying to unite the whole city together.”
The results of the 2018 election saw five NPA candidates elected to city council, including Bligh, Dominato and Kirby-Yung. The others were Colleen Hardwick and Melissa De Genova.
Bligh was the first to leave the party, quitting in 2019 after citing concerns over the NPA board’s move to the far right of the political spectrum.
Then in April 2021, Dominato, Kirby-Yung and Hardwick quit the party, saying they were “blindsided” by the organization’s decision to appoint John Coupar as its mayoral candidate.
Hardwick has since gone on to become the mayoral candidate for TEAM for a Livable Vancouver, while De Genova remains the lone NPA councillor and is seeking re-election with Coupar, a current NPA park board commissioner.
Meanwhile, COPE Coun. Jean Swanson was nominated by party members April 10 to seek re-election and will be joined by council candidates Breen Ouellette, Nancy Trigueros and Tanya Webking.
The election is Oct. 15.