Vancouver, Kingdom by the Sea

“If you want to get stuff done, you hang around people with money. I’m not going to hang around with people who can’t make stuff happen.”

Sam Sullivan, Citizen Sam

Frances Bula has an excellent article in Vancouver Magazine recounting the history of civic political party, the Non-Partisan Association.

Born as an anti-Communist coalition in 1937, the NPA has dominated Vancouver post-war politics.

Bula’s article is ostensibly about the NPA’s chances in the upcoming election this November, but I found it very informing. I’ll cut to the money quote:

Insurgent movements like TEAM and Vision don’t get what politics in this city is all about, [Mike] Francis says. They think it’s about ideals and reform and missions. They don’t understand that the NPA has been able to rule for so long because it perpetually attracts people who want to make connections with the city’s most powerful. An election campaign allows a 25-year-old to work alongside a Rob Macdonald or a Peter Armstrong. “The core of it is upwardly mobile yuppies. It’s just their home, and there’s lots of them.”

That’s the NPA in an NPA insider’s own words. It’s not about an underlying ideology or a set of policy goals – even today’s right-wing, free-marketism. Those – and progressive ideas – will be adopted and discarded as necessary. It’s more basic.

It’s raison d’être is power. Access to for supporters and maintenance of for backers.

It’s almost feudal.

The squires pay homage to the knights, the knights serve the lords, and the lords maintain their grip on the land.