Kirk LaPointe confirmed as NPA candidate for Vancouver mayor
Former Vancouver Sun editor has never run for office before
Former Vancouver Sun editor Kirk LaPointe will stand as the Non-Partisan Association candidate for mayor of Vancouver in November's civic elections.
LaPointe, who until recently held the position of CBC Ombudsman, confirmed his widely expected run for office at a meeting with select Vancouver reporters on Monday morning.
Announcing a platform that includes free Wi-Fi across the city, an end to conflicts between motorists and cyclists, and a tax freeze, LaPointe also promised a clean campaign free of personal attacks.
The NPA was recently accused by rivals Vision Vancouver over online rumours regarding the reason behind the marital split of current Mayor Gregor Robertson and his wife.
Although LaPointe had not yet declared his run, he addressed the criticisms on his Facebook page, saying that when it came to personal issues, "unless there is an impact on duties, those matters are irrelevant.”
Never run previously
LaPointe has spent much of his career in the media, including holding senior positions with the Vancouver Sun, CBC, CTV, The National Post and the Canadian Press.
But political columnist Allen Garr notes LaPointe has never run for political office.
"I think he's smart but he lacks experience. He says he's covered this stuff for decades, but my family has an expression, 'My grandfather ate fish for 40 years, but he couldn't swim a stroke,'" says Garr.
LaPointe and the NPA's biggest challenge may be staking out positions on some key issues that resonate with voters, says Garr.
"Can they develop a brand for him in time? Will he tie himself to any issues? You never say never, but boy, it's going to be a tough one."
Another challenge for LaPointe is Vision Vancouver candidate and current Mayor Gregor Robertson's popularity, says Garr
"What this administration is doing resonates with an awful lot of people, particularly young people. Gregor's got social media nailed, he's got the developers, he's got the provincial Liberals on his side."
For his part Robertson says he doesn't know LaPointe well, but welcomes any candidate who wants to run.
Civic elections across B.C. are set for November 15.
With files from Deborah Goble