NPA councillor Lisa Dominato supports Rebecca Bligh's decision to quit her party

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      An NPA councillor has upped the ante in a political battle within her party.

      Lisa Dominato has declared over Twitter that she fully supports Coun. Rebecca Bligh's decision to quit the NPA because of her deeply held commitment to inclusion.

      After referring to Bligh as an "effective voice", Dominato bluntly stated that she expects members of the NPA board "who share the elected caucus values of inclusion and diversity [to] address this matter swiftly".

      Those values were declared last night in a statement by the entire NPA caucus of nine councillors, three school trustees, and two park commissioners.

      "I can state unequivocally that I do not share or support the values and views that have been reported by media to be held by certain members of the NPA Board," Dominato wrote in her tweet.

      In the past, Dominato and Bligh have often voted along the same lines on council and they recently teamed up on a motion to curtail the marketing of vape products to young people.

      Bligh decided to sit as an independent after the board announced that its new executive included Phyllis Tang as treasurer and Ray Goldenchild as secretary.

      Tang and Goldenchild were endorsed by a socially conservative group in the 2018 election while running with parties competing against the NPA. An anti-SOGI website included a link to this group, called the Let's Vote Association.

      SOGI is an acronym for sexual orientation and gender identity.

      SOGI 123 is a Ministry of Education initiative ensuring that all public and independent schools and districts have policies and procedures creating a welcoming and inclusive environment for LGBTQ2S+ students and staff.

      This is to be reflected in signage, spaces, extracurricular activities, and choices that are made available. In addition, there must be inclusive teaching resources, including books, that reflect and include SOGI topics.

      Dominato, a former Vancouver school trustee, played a key role in this policy being extended to school districts across the province. 

      "I was proud to have led the development of the SOGI 123 policy work while with the Ministry of Education and my stepdaughter is a member of the LGBTQ2S+ community," Dominato stated. 

      NPA board executive members Phyllis Tang and Ray Goldenchild were running with different parties in 2018 when they snared endorsements from a group of social conservatives.

      Tang attended a post-election party in Surrey of socially conservative candidates from across the region after the 2018 municipal elections.

      Also at the meeting was former Vancouver 1st council candidate Jesse Johl, who's been a right-wing political activist for many years.

      In 2018 Tang was running as a council candidate with Yes Vancouver and Goldenchild was a park board candidate with Vancouver 1st when they, along with Johl, were endorsed by the Let's Vote Association.

      The association was created to voice Canadians' concerns about, among other things, "traditional family values" and "pro-life issues".

      The Let's Vote Association also aims to "help to shape the parties with conservative values", according to its website.

      Dominato isn't the person still in the NPA caucus with a close family member who's a part of the LGBTQ2S+ community.

      While Dominato and Bligh both focused on SOGI 123 in their statements, they did not refer to any NPA board members by name.

      Nor did they comment on the NPA website's revelation that a former Rebel Media B.C. bureau chief and defender of Donald Trump, Christopher Wilson, is heading NPA fundraising efforts with party president David Mawhinney.

      Wilson and another new NPA director, Ryan Warawa, are on the board of the B.C. Conservatives.

      Christopher Wilson, a defender of Donald Trump and a member of the B.C. Conservative party board, is now a head of fundraising on the NPA board.
      Rebel Media screen shot

      That's led to speculation on social media that there's been a right-wing takeover of the civic party's board of directors.

      Also on the B.C. Conservative party board is Glen Chernen, who ran unsuccessfully for an NPA mayoral nomination in 2018.

      After coming third behind businessman Ken Sim and park commissioner John Coupar, Chernen bolted to the more right-wing Coalition Vancouver, which nominated him as a council candidate.

      Glen Chernen (right) decided to run as a council candidate with Coalition Vancouver after coming third in his bid for an NPA mayoral nomination against the eventual winner, Ken Sim (centre), and park commissioner John Coupar.
      Charlie Smith

      Chernen was also endorsed by the Let's Vote Association, as were fellow Coalition Vancouver council candidates Morning Li, Franco Peta, Jason Xie, and James Lin.

      Two other Coalition Vancouver council candidates in 2018—Penny Mussio and Ken Charko—were not endorsed by the Let's Vote Association.

      Another new member of the NPA board is David Chen, who ran for mayor in 2018 with the antidensity party ProVancouver. He did not get an endorsement from the socially conservative group.

      The recent election of directors means that the NPA board has three members—Chen, Goldenchild, and Tang—who ran for other parties in 2018.

      Two other NPA board members—Warawa and Wilson—are on a right-wing provincial political party board with Chernen, who ran for a fourth party, Coalition Vancouver.

      Warawa was actively supporting Chernen at the 2018 NPA mayoral nomination meeting.

      Clarification: This story originally stated that Goldenchild attended the event in Surrey but that wasn't the case.