British Columbia

Hector Bremner alleges 'smear campaign' after NPA disqualifies him from mayoral nomination

The board of Vancouver's Non-Partisan Association has rejected Hector Bremner's application to run for the party's mayoral nomination.

Bremner, who won a council byelection last year, hasn't said what his next steps will be

Hector Bremner, left, celebrates winning a Vancouver council seat in the Oct. 14, 2017 byelection. (Mark Marissen/Twitter)

The board of Vancouver's Non-Partisan Association has rejected councillor Hector Bremner's application to run for the party's mayoral nomination.

In a statement, the party said only investment manager Glen Chernen, park board commissioner John Coupar and business owner Ken Sim had been approved by the board, rejecting Bremner and engineer George Steeves.

Bremner was considered a strong contender for the NPA's nomination due to the number of members he signed up in becoming the party's council candidate in a 2017 byelection.

"We were all so excited with our momentum, our byelection win and chance to restore this great party to a leadership position at city hall," Bremner wrote in a Facebook post on Monday evening, hours after being rejected.

"Tonight, unfortunately, was more clear evidence our board has been taken over by people with another agenda."

In a subsequent Facebook post, Bremner said he would be meeting with supporters before announcing future moves.

'Major concerns'

NPA president Gregory Baker said Bremner was not allowed to seek the nomination because he failed to meet the party's terms of reference for a candidate, but he was unable to say what the concerns were.

"The green light committee had major concerns and was not willing to put that on paper and decided to communicate those concerns to the board. The board then listened, discussed the major concerns, and then voted to not approve his mayoral application," he said. 

Conflict-of-interest motions have been filed against Bremner in recent weeks due to his position as a vice-president with the Pace Group, a communications and lobbying company that does work for a wide variety of clients. 

Bremner has denied being in a conflict in previous interviews. But in his Facebook post, he implied he was rejected because members of the board supported Chernen's candidacy. 

'A smear campaign'

Bremner said he has not completely ruled out running for mayor.

"At the end of the day a fair race was the best answer to have here, and unfortunately some people viewed us as a threat and they had to feel that they needed to remove someone who is a contender," he told CBC News.

"We know that there was a smear campaign against me in the weeks leading up to this ... and we know that individuals behind that have people on the board."

"It's a pretty clear trail that there's a tendency by one individual to attack people personally and generate fake news stories about them. There's been histories of false lawsuits and all that kind of stuff."

Adrian Cook, a Bremner supporter and prospective candidate for an NPA council nomination, has said that he will no longer seek the NPA's nomination as a result of Bremner's rejection. 

The NPA's decision comes at a time of intense jockeying in the battle to replace Gregor Robertson as mayor of Vancouver, with multiple high-profile candidates across the political spectrum considering a run. 

Baker wouldn't comment on the feelings of people who signed up with the NPA as a result of Bremner's candidacy, or if he thought any would leave the party. 

"That's their decision. I feel we are forging ahead with an open nomination mayoral race, May 29th," he said. 

"There are three very good candidates that were approved by the board, and we'll continue to push that and win the next election."

With files from Meera Bains