Jamie Lee Hamilton calls Peter Ladner a "closeted Republican"

Activist Jamie Lee Hamilton says she wants NPA mayoral candidate Peter Ladner to remove her endorsement of him from his Web site.

In an interview with the Straight, Hamilton said, "It's not my intent to endorse a closeted Republican."

Hamilton made the comment after the NPA board refused to allow her to put her name forward as a candidate for a park-board nomination.

Hamilton alleged that the decision came after NPA official Doug Leung asked personal questions around her sexuality and her history as a sex-trade worker.

"To deny me my basic human rights--to deny me to enter political life based on my past, my past that includes the sex trade--is just disgusting," Hamilton said.  

Ladner has refused to intervene in the board's decision, and did not return a call from the Straight on this issue on September 2.

"If Peter Ladner wants to be mayor of this city, he needs to distance himself from that kind of outdated, discriminatory, intolerant, ignorant behaviour," Hamilton said. "The only way he can do this is by issuing a public statement."

On  Ladner's site, Hamilton is listed as a "community leader" and is  quoted as saying: "There is no doubt that this City would reach greatness with Councillor Ladner as Mayor. Peter is a world-class guy who can make Vancouver a truly world-class City."  

A spokesperson for Ladner referred the Straight's call to NPA president Ned Pottinger, who hadn't called back by the end of the business day.

Hamilton, an on-and-off-again sex-trade worker,  said she has already talked to a lawyer about filing a human-rights complaint.

When asked if she felt that she was discriminated on the basis of being a sex-trade worker or because she is a transgender person, Hamilton replied, "Both."

The Straight has drawn attention to the human-rights of sex-trade workers and transgender people in the past year. Both have become hot issues in some circles--and Ladner himself attended a forum on the sex-trade issue in 2007.

Tonight at 7 p.m., there will be a rally outside Little Sister's Book Store by Hamilton's supporters. Speakers include gay community hero Jim Deva, former NPA councillor Alan Herbert, sex-trade workers' activist Sue Davis, political activist David Wong, founding member of FIRST Esther Shannon, COPE park commissioners Spencer Herbert and Loretta Woodcock,  and Michael Harding, past-executive director of The Centre.

Hamilton said she is considering running as an independent for park board. She said she won't seek a nomination with Vision Vancouver, and prefers to work to fix the  party from within. "I'm going to fight with Coun. Suzanne Anton and Coun. Elizabeth Ball to change the NPA," Hamilton said.

The Straight has left messages with Mayor Sam Sullivan, who is in China, and Anton to inquire whether or not  they agree with the NPA board's decision. Neither returned calls by the end of the business day on September 2.

The Straight also left a message with former  NPA mayor Philip Owen, which also wasn't returned on September 2.

If any  sitting  NPA politicians want to comment on the board's decision to exclude Hamilton from going before the membership at a nomination meeting, they  should send an e-mail to contact@straight.com and  offer a time when they would be available for a phone interview.  

For updates on this story, see Gregor Robertson won't comment on NPA treatment of Hamilton (September 2) and Gregor Robertson wades into the Jamie Lee Hamilton controversy (September 3).

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Common Sense
The NPA needs to explain why they wooed and then rejected local activist Jamie Lee Hamilton to run for the Parks Board. Why were they happy to use her services to raise money for Mayoral candidate Peter Ladner's campaign, but not willing to embrace her as a candidate? They claim in public that they want diversity, but they excluded Hamilton who is aboriginal and transgendered from the nomination process. If the reasons are because of her outspokenness as a sex trade worker activist or because of her sexual orientation, the least they can do is be open about it. The wall of silence indicates that they have something to hide or that they are embarrassed because their dirty laundry has been aired in public. This is typical bullying tactics and it should not be tolerated. Hamilton should file a Human Rights complaint if they don't come clean. The NPA's backroom henchmen will have a lot to answer to the membership because this incident proves that they are unwilling to change. Qualified future candidates who do not fit the acceptable NPA mold, will take pause before becoming involved.
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