Former NPA rebel Ken Charko joins Wai Young’s Coalition Vancouver

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      Vancouver businessman and maverick Ken Charko has found a new political home.

      Charko has joined the Coalition Vancouver of mayoral candidate Wai Young.

      He is also running for city council in this year’s October 20 civic election.

      Charko owns the Dunbar Theatre, which was named business of the year in 2013 by the Kitsilano Chamber of Commerce.

      Charko was a board member of the Non-Partisan Association (NPA) until he was removed from his post in 2014 for raising issues about how the party is governed.

      Charko had questioned the NPA’s practice of allowing the board to handpick candidates for elections instead of holding nominations.

      He also wanted to put a cap on how much money individuals can contribute to the NPA, so no one will be able to exert undue influence in the party.

      In an interview, Charko revealed that when Young expressed interest in running for mayor of Vancouver, he encouraged her to join the NPA.

      “I advised her quite strongly to go into the NPA, and try to change the NPA internally by signing up people,” Charko told the Georgia Straight in a phone interview Monday (September 10).

      However, Young wasn’t given a fair shake by the NPA board, according to Charko.

      “They put up artificial barriers to Wai [Young] getting into the NPA,” he said.

      In March this year, Charko told the Straight by phone that if Young goes on her own way, the NPA will lose the election this year.

      Young eventually withdrew from her plan to seek the NPA’s nomination for mayoral candidate, and founded Coalition Vancouver.

      In the new interview, Charko said that the NPA “made a mistake”.

      “They should have at least given her [Young] an equal playing field to be able to get people out and had they done that by the way, had they allowed her to have their members come in and had been fair at the board level, she would now be the NPA mayoralty candidate, and she would unify the centre-right coalition,” Charko said.

      Charko ran for council with the NPA in 2011.

      In this year’s election campaign, Charko said that he will focus on three major items: arts and culture, housing, and the city budget.

      Charko and Young are federal Conservatives. Young was a former Vancouver South MP.

      In addition to Charko, Coalition Vancouver is also fielding the following candidates for council: Glen Chernen, James Lin, Penny Mussio, Franco Peta, Morning Li, and Jason Xie.

      Coalition Vancouver’s candidates for park board are Ray Chang, Olga Zarudina,Winnie Siu, Jason Galloway, Taran Sangha, and Juan Carlos Maldonado.

      For school board are candidates Ken Denike, Nadine Goodine, Ying Zhou, and Sophia Woo.