Vancouver mayoral race heats up as backroom organizer and businessman announce intentions

·2 min read
Mark Marissen, a former political operative, has announced he will run for mayor of Vancouver in the 2022 municipal elections. (markformayor.ca - image credit)
Mark Marissen, a former political operative, has announced he will run for mayor of Vancouver in the 2022 municipal elections. (markformayor.ca - image credit)

Longtime political organizer Mark Marissen has announced his bid for mayor of Vancouver.

In messages posted Wednesday on social media, Marissen says he will run for Vancouver's top job in the next civic election, set for October 2022.

The biography accompanying the announcement says Marissen has advised political, business, labour and arts groups in B.C., and is the founder and owner of a Vancouver-based public affairs company.

Marissen, the ex-husband of former premier Christy Clark, says on social media that he is "building a new coalition to get Vancouver on the right track, for everyone.''

Mayor Kennedy Stewart, who ran as an independent in 2018, previously announced his intention to seek re-election.

The Non-Partisan Association announced earlier this month that it has nominated park board commissioner John Coupar as its mayoral candidate.

New political party

Businessman Ken Sim, who co-founded Nurse Next Door Home Care Services and Rosemary Rocksalt, said he's interested in running as a mayoral candidate for A Better City, a new political party that launched April 14.

Sim said he's worked in the past with others involved with the party.

"We planted a seed a couple of years ago. They started this party and they're creating a movement."

Business owner Ken Sim says he wants to lead a new civic party A Better City and run for mayor of Vancouver.
Business owner Ken Sim says he wants to lead a new civic party A Better City and run for mayor of Vancouver.(Justin McElroy/CBC)

Sim ran in the 2018 civic election under the NPA banner but lost to Stewart by a narrow margin of fewer than a thousand votes.

He left the party and said his values align more with A Better City. Sim said he will compete in a nomination race in the fall to become the party's mayoral candidate in the next civic election, which is 18 months away.

"I'm going to put my name in the hat. I really love what the party stands for."

The party says on its website that it represents "a diverse group of ages, ethnicities, sexual orientations, economic backgrounds, and political viewpoints" and is "for anyone who believes in the potential of our world-class city, who is tired of petty partisans derailing important conversations."

When Sim was asked whether the Vancouver civic election was already getting crowded on the right side of the political spectrum, he said he was tired of identity politics.

"Is there a right or left when it comes to having vibrant neighbourhoods or safe and clean streets or helping our businesses succeed? No."

A Better City says it plans to hold its mayoral nomination in October 2021.