Vancouver DIDN’T Need Vander Zalm, as it Turned Out.

VZ 1984

Screen capture from “Vander Zalm – City” ad (CVA – MI-348). Yaletown Productions Oct 23, 1984. Made for Non-Partisan Association (NPA).

This image is from one of three Non-Partisan Association TV advertisements made for Vancouver mayoral candidate in 1984, Bill Vander Zalm, and the other NPA candidates for City Council that year.

You may well have forgotten (or not realized) that ‘the Zalm’ was ever a candidate for mayor. Wilhelmus Nicholaas Theodore Marie Van der Zalm (his birth name) was known to me only as the B.C. premier who, by 1991, left that office after being charged with breach of trust (he became premier in 1986).

But his 1984 campaign for mayor was unsuccessful. He proved unable to unseat Mayor Mike Harcourt (who had been mayor since 1980 and would continue until 1986). Contrary to the tag line used with these ads, it seems Vancouver didn’t need Vander Zalm in 1984.

Some of the NPA candidates running with Vander Zalm that year proved to be much more politically successful than he.

Screen capture from "Vander Zalm - Office" ad (CVA - MI-348). Yaletown Productions Oct 23, 1984. Made for Non-Partisan Association (NPA).

Screen capture from “Vander Zalm – Office” ad (CVA – MI-348). Yaletown Productions Oct 23, 1984. Made for Non-Partisan Association (NPA).

Gordon Campbell became mayor of Vancouver after Harcourt (1986-93) and then served as B.C. Premier (2001-early 2011).

Philip Owen was a Vancouver councillor from 1986 until 1993. He then became mayor (1993-2002) after Campbell left for the provincial realm.

George Puil, of all of those who appeared on the NPA slate with Vander Zalm, was the most electable. He was elected to the Vancouver Parks Board for 12 years, and then spent another 26 years as a city councillor.

Puil and Don Bellamy were the only two people listed on the 1984 NPA slate who were elected that year.

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