Excerpts from BRIAN HUTCHINSON, National Post, Feb. 2/15  http://news.nationalpost.com/2015/02/11/brian-hutchinson-race-to-succeed-libby-davies-in-poverty-stricken-vancouver-riding-muddied-by-controversies/

VANCOUVER — Visit the federal riding of Vancouver East and certain words come to mind, every time. Such as “pity” and “beleaguered.” In some of its neighbourhoods, including the Downtown Eastside (DTES), you might think “downtrodden.”

Pity the beleaguered residents in this riding. Since 1997, it’s been represented in Parliament by NDP stalwart Libby Davies, a prominent DTES organizer and activist before entering politics. She has decided not to seek re-election in 2015, which may not be a pity, really, given the riding’s condition and myriad DTES controversies.

She won’t be expecting any sympathy, regardless. Ms. Davies, 61, will do well in retirement, thanks to her golden MP’s pension that will have paid out $3.6 million by the time she reaches her 90th birthday, according to the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

Someone other than Ms. Davies will soon represent the riding in Ottawa. And its future still seems problematic. Ms. Davies’ successor as NDP candidate in the coming election is likely to be Jenny Kwan, a career politician who has spent the last 19 years as a member of B.C.’s legislature, representing Vancouver-Mount Pleasant, which includes the DTES. How is this for symmetry: Vancouver Mount-Pleasant is reputed to be B.C.’s poorest provincial riding.

Ms. Kwan has some heavy DTES baggage. Under her watch, the neighbourhood has remained drug-infested and scandalous. Last March, Ms. Kwan admitted to having taken luxury trips with her then-husband and their children, with funds he had received from his DTES workplace, a giant tax-funded charity called the Portland Hotel Society.

Ms. Kwan announced at a press conference that she would reimburse the amounts in question, precisely $34,992.49, which covered a trip for four to the U.K., other travel expenses to Bristol, additional flights of an unspecified nature, a $10,636 excursion to Vienna and a Disneyland hotel upgrade of $2,700.

Vancouver East Liberals were scheduled on Tuesday to hold their nomination meeting and decide on their candidate, either Joanne Griffiths, philanthropist ex-wife of former Vancouver Canucks owner Arthur Griffiths — now down on his luck and living in a rented apartment — and Vancouver lawyer Edward Wong, who isn’t well-known. A third prospective nominee, marijuana activist Jodie Emery, was recently shunned by the national party executive and is not in the running. A fourth, Richard Jaques, dropped out in January, due, he says now, to certain “irregularities” brought to his attention.

Related

The Vancouver Sun had the scoop and published juicy details in its print edition that morning. “Scores of Mandarin or Cantonese-speaking East Vancouver residents say they don’t know how their names were added to the Liberal Party of Canada’s membership list, according to a party member,” wrote Sun reporter Matthew Robinson.

National Post

Advertisements