Why would you name a Vancouver political party after an organization with the same name?

City councillor Hector Bremner defends Yes Vancouver name

12th and Cambie

Disclaimer: YES! Vancouver is not affiliated with and does not publicly endorse any political party. We are a partner organization to Dress for Success Vancouver, a registered Canadian charity, whose mission it is to empower women back into the workforce.

I read that disclaimer/clarification/pronouncement on Twitter.

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I thought it best to begin with the tweet from YES! Vancouver in an attempt to explain why a new Vancouver civic party decided it should adopt the same name as the philanthropic networking group of professional women.

You probably heard Coun. Hector Bremner’s new party is called…Yes Vancouver.


His choice of name didn’t come as a surprise since he told me in May how fond he was of it. At the time, I mentioned a rumour to him about the possible name of his new party.

Bremner’s response then: “Good rumour, I like that name. It’s a good one. Would you like that name? I think it’s a great name. You know the hardest answer to get out of government is that answer. But we’re still going through the process.”

Part of that process, I’ve learned, is talking to YES! Vancouver, which you’ve probably noted capitalizes YES and includes an exclamation point. I also understand YES! is an acronym for Young Executives for Success.

Very subtle differences when spelled out, but not to the ear.

Bremner, who works in public relations, said he wasn’t worried about people confusing the party with the networking group, or vice-versa—or the fact he still belongs to the NPA, despite being dumped by the party as a potential mayoral candidate after a nasty scrap.

“We felt it was really critical to say yes to Vancouver, and it’s something very important to us as part of our story and what we believe in, and what we believe is needed in the city right now,” he told me by telephone this week. “Obviously the names are very similar, but there are some striking differences. We certainly contacted the organization and let them know what we were thinking. At the end of the day, we determined the brands can co-exist, and that they operate in very different spaces.”

Before I get to some more of what Bremner said, I should indicate I reached out to YES! Vancouver and received an emailed statement from co-chair Connie Chang, which said: “While we are, of course, concerned about another organization using the YES! Vancouver name, we will continue to work towards our philanthropic purpose of raising money for Dress for Success Vancouver, a registered Canadian charity, whose mission it is to empower women back into the workforce.”

I asked for a follow-up interview, but didn’t get one as of writing this sentence.

So back to Bremner…

“We’ve heard a lot of no—we’ve heard a lot of no to seniors’ housing, we’ve heard a lot of no to middle-class housing, we’ve heard a lot of no to new rentals, we’ve heard a lot of no to fun and small business. People just want someone to say yes.”

I’m confident that quote will trigger prolific tweeter Kevin Quinlan, who happens to be Mayor Gregor Robertson’s chief of staff, to provide examples where Bremner and the NPA said no to housing and various other projects.

So while Quinlan’s researching votes and preparing his tweets, here’s some more from Bremner when I again asked him about people being confused by two separate entities with identical names, save the caps and an exclamation mark.

“I’m not worried about confusion about the brands—no. They’re pretty far away from each other in terms of what they do, and what they communicate. I’m not worried about brand confusion.”

The brand—the political party, that is—will eventually have some names attached to it.

The next step for Bremner and his crew is to nominate or appoint candidates to run in the Oct. 20 election. So far, no one has come forward to challenge Bremner as the party’s likely mayoral candidate. The party is expected to field candidates for council, school board and park board.

Meanwhile, some good news to others thinking of creating a new party less than four months before the election and looking for a name: Maybe Vancouver, Perhaps Vancouver, Absolutely Vancouver and Hell Yeah! Vancouver, I believe, are still up for grabs.




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