As Vancouver’s major civic parties prepare to nominate candidates for the upcoming election, concern mounts surrounding the sheer volume of people throwing their hats in.

The wide array of interested people has even the most seasoned and savvy watchers of 12th and Cambie more than mildly confused and questioning how the average uninformed voter will react at the polls November 15. Frances Bula ventured bravely where no one dared go before by compiling this list of prospective hopefuls for the Non-Partisan Association (NPA), Vision Vancouver, and Coalition of Progressive Electors (COPE) – a herculean and no doubt thankless task. Bula’s list serves to highlight several incongruities such as why Jamie Lee Hamilton – the woman who never met a board or committee she couldn’t single-handedly join and destroy with her pettiness and instability – warrants a mention when she hasn’t officially announced anything, while environmental activist Betty Krawczyk came out months ago as a candidate for the Work Less Party, but seemingly can’t buy a line in anyone’s coverage. She may be 80, but she’s a fighter and shows no fear.

Comparing the Vision Vancouver hopefuls with those from COPE, especially for City Council, the deck seems clearly stacked in favour of Vision, who will be hard-pressed to chose from the talented field. COPE is a party in decline and has been since Larry Campbell, Tim Stevenson, Raymond Louie and Jim Green broke from the party prior to the 2005 election to offer a more fiscally-conservative alternative to form what became known as “COPE Lite” prior to changing the party name to Vision Vancouver.

Pivot Legal’s David Eby clearly saw the writing on the wall, throwing his support behind Vision Mayoralty candidate Gregor Robertson and announcing his own intention to run for Vision, if they’ll have him, in what proves to be another quirk of this election since his politics appear far better-suited to COPE than Vision. Still, this is a guy who knows how and wants to make a difference and he can’t if ties himself to a dud party. Time will tell whether promising COPE candidates newcomer Meena Wong and veteran Ellen Woodsworth can hang onto the sinking COPE ship long enough to secure council spots and they may be watching Eby secure himself a spot as they ponder their next career moves.

All this confusion and the sheer number of names to juggle works in the NPA’s favour, as they maintain manageable candidate numbers and quietly work toward their September 13th nomination meeting, keeping as much attention as possible off the debacles of Sam Sullivan’s reign and their unflinching support of his whacky initiatives, even when they were wringing their hands behind the scenes, plotting his overthrow. One can almost imagine Sam mouthing the words “Et tu, Peter” as he leaves City Hall that final time in November. Will the public forgive Peter Ladner this subterfuge or question his ethics and commitment to the party that made him what he is?

More on the NPA next time…..