Coalition Vancouver can lay a claim to being the chippiest political party in the Vancouver election.
It goes into the corners with its elbows high, as they say in hockey circles.
Fresh off labelling independent mayoral candidate Kennedy Stewart as "Socialist Stewart" and skewering two articles on Straight.com, the right-wing party has now set its sights on Yes Vancouver mayoral candidate Hector Bremner.
Today, Coalition Vancouver—which is running former Conservative MP Wai Young for mayor—called for an "independent police investigation" following an election-related story in the Globe and Mail.
It came after journalist Frances Bula reported that Peter Wall, chairman of Wall Financial Corp., paid an $85,000 bill to place mayoral candidate Hector Bremner's face on billboards around town with the slogan "Fix Housing Now".
The ad campaign was sponsored by a shadowy group called "Vancouverites for Affordable Housing".
Coalition Vancouver issued a news release noting that Bremner, as a member of Vancouver council, voted in favour of the Making Room proposals to allow duplexes in single-family areas across the city.
Inexplicably, Young's party claims that this "is widely seen as a bonanza for luxury condo developers". Wall's company is known for building multifamily projects, including towers, rather than duplexes.
"Wai Young and Coalition Vancouver today call for this Council vote to be nullified or rescinded," Coalition Vancouver stated, noting that Bremner was "the beneficiary of a secret $85,000 citywide advertising campaign by the developer, prior to the vote".
Bremner has not been found in any conflict of interest in connection with his vote on the Making Room policy.
At a recent mayoral candidates debate, Bremner even declared that he didn't know who paid for these billboards, which was greeted with skepticism by some in the crowd.
Yes Vancouver party secretary, Tim Crowhurst, also denied any knowledge of who was behind the billboard campaign when he was interviewed by the Straight earlier this month.
Under provincial campaign-financing legislation, unlimited third-party expenditures are permitted and do not have to be disclosed if they end before the campaign period began on September 22. Wall voluntarily made the disclosure to Bula through a lawyer, though he wasn't required to do so under the law.
This loophole for third-party advertisers in the campaign-finance law was highlighted last December by Green council candidate Pete Fry.
Despite the concerns expressed by Fry, Attorney General David Eby and Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Selena Robinson took no action to address this issue.
Therefore, the Vancouverites for Affordable Housing appears to be perfectly legal under the NDP government's campaign-finance reforms.