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Ken Sim touts ‘movement’ in run for Vancouver mayor

Sim came within 958 votes of being city’s mayor in 2018 election
Ken Sim was the NPA’s mayoral candidate in the 2018 civic election but has left the party to form his own “movement” with an eye on the 2022 election. File photo Dan Toulgoet

Column: 12th&Cambie

So you may have heard the guy who came within 958 votes of becoming Vancouver’s mayor in the 2018 civic election wants to take another crack at becoming the top politico at city hall.

Ken Sim has been on record of his intentions for some time now.

I last spoke to him by telephone in February 2020 as he was about to board a plane in Colorado. Yes, he confirmed, he was still on track for a 2022 run in a rematch against Mayor Kennedy Stewart, who won 49,705 votes to Sim's 48,748.

“I’ve been walking around the city for the last year-and-a-half and I’ve met a ton of people,” he said at the time.

“It’s been overwhelming the number of people who were supporters of mine, or didn’t support me, who said I should run again and they would support me.”

Fast forward to two weeks ago and Sim took to Twitter to update his 1,496 followers on his run.

“As we all start settling into 2021, I just want to thank all the volunteers and supporters who have become a part of our movement in the past year,” he wrote.

“There’s a lot of work to do to get Vancouver back on track, but I’m committed to building a better city for everyone.”

He attached a two-page letter to his tweet, where he provided a “by the numbers” list, including that more than 5,000 people signed up to support what he calls “our movement.”

More than $420,000 has been raised, he said, and the “movement” had connected with more than 800 donors, which civic campaign insiders would argue are impressive numbers this far out from the 2022 election.

But what is this “movement” he talks about?

I attempted to get Sim to answer that in an interview, but he suggested in a reply to my email that we talk in late February or early March.

In the meantime, he sent along some brief answers to a few questions, including what his relationship is with the NPA, the party he represented in his 2018 run.

Do you have anything to do with the NPA?

“Nope, I left over a year ago.”

Still have a membership?

“I did not renew my membership.”

Do you plan to run for mayor with a party, or form your own?

“I want to run with a group of candidates that puts the best interests of Vancouver and its residents ahead of personal politics.”

What is "the movement?"

“We’ve got thousands of people from every neighbourhood, background and culture across the city who are supporting our cause, we’re going to continue to build on that.”

Any comment on the turmoil swirling around the NPA board?

“I’m focused on speaking with as many of our fellow citizens as possible. Our city is facing big problems and we need to all come together to find solutions.”

So not much insight or specifics there, but Sim does provide a broader look at his campaign on a newly designed website, where he lists “what is important to me.”

That includes making housing more attainable for everyone across the city, keeping businesses from shutting down — “We are losing our soul,” he says — protecting the environment and improving “the dire situation” in the Downtown Eastside.

His website also gives an overview of his background, including that he worked his first job at 15 as a janitor on the graveyard shift at Wendy’s on Southeast Marine Drive.

“I would work from midnight to 8 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights making minimum wage, which was $3.05 an hour at the time,” said Sim, who went on to become an accountant and open the Nurse Next Door Homecare Services and Rosemary Rocksalt Bagels with business partners.

In his 2018 campaign, he promised to be the most business-friendly mayor Vancouver has ever seen. Which some critics found irony in after the NPA and Sim failed to meet the Elections BC deadline to file their financial disclosure statements for the 2018 campaign.

The party and Sim did eventually file.

Stewart, meanwhile, continues to raise money for his re-election campaign and told me last year that he welcomed a rematch with Sim, who he described as “a really, quality guy.”

But, he continued, “I think he’s got the best intentions at heart here. That said, I’m going to do a better job than he’ll ever do, so I’m going to run again.”

We only have to wait until Oct. 15, 2022 to see what kind of job voters think Stewart did for Vancouver and whether the alternative is Sim, another NPA mayoral candidate such as current councillors Colleen Hardwick or Sarah Kirby-Yung, or someone else plotting a run.

Shauna Sylvester? Hector Bremner? Wai Young?


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