Hector Bremner, 36, once ran for B.C. Liberals in New Westminster

 A former candidate for the B.C. Liberals in New Westminster in 2013 and one-time assistant to then-housing minister Rich Coleman will now see if he can boost the NPA’s numbers on city council from three to four as he represents the party in the Oct. 14 byelection.

Hector Bremner, 36, won the NPA’s nomination battle Wednesday, beating out former NPA school trustee Penny Noble and businessman Glen Chernen, the former leader of the Cedar Party. Bremner is a vice-president of public affairs for the Pace Group, whose managing partner Norman Stowe was once a campaign manager for the party.

Bremner told the Courier he won 243 votes to Chernen’s 84 and Noble’s 80. The meeting was held at the Italian Cultural Centre of Vancouver.

“It was a lot of hard work but I’m looking forward to the real race,” he said, noting his campaign will focus on making Vancouver a more affordable city.

Part of his plan, he said, includes stopping spot rezoning of neighbourhoods, freeing up the building permit process and having the city better utilize its land for affordable housing. More townhouses and other forms of housing are needed, he added.

“Doing a more gentle spilling out of density,” he said, acknowledging the city’s new housing strategy calls for more types of housing. “But what good are these plans if no one can afford to live in the communities?”

Edmonton-born Bremner, who rents a three-bedroom condo downtown for $2,750 per month, where he, his wife and two children live, said he is fortunate to have a good job. But, he added, he knows what it’s like not to have a home, telling a story of how his family’s business of selling and servicing satellite dishes went bankrupt in the 1990s and “we lost everything.”

“At one point, in Calgary, we had kind of what you would call a [single-room-occupancy hotel] almost and we couldn’t afford to eat and pay rent,” he said. “So the guy took mercy on us — the landlord. He would move my father and I from unit to unit as one was available… we had two mattresses on the floor and a red toolbox to sit on. That was my life for a long time.”

Bremner was executive assistant to Coleman for more than one year and executive assistant to the provincial minister of trade, Teresa Wat, for one year and four months. He was also the chief executive officer for Touch Marketing Inc. for six years.

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