NPA president says there's no evidence that secretary or treasurer made anti-SOGI 123 statements

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      Coun. Rebecca Bligh's resignation from the NPA should not be taken as an indication that the party board doesn't support the LGBT community.

      That's the message from NPA president David Mawhinney.

      In a statement today, he also said that there's no evidence that fellow executive members Phyllis Tang or secretary Ray Goldenchild have ever made comments against the province's LGBT-inclusive SOGI 123 program.

      Goldenchild told Global B.C. News that he's never spoken about SOGI 123 and expressed frustration that he has been linked to this issue.

      An anti-SOGI website includes a link to the socially conservative Let's Vote Association. That association endorsed Goldenchild when he ran for park board last year with Vancouver 1st, along with all four other Vancouver 1st park board candidates.

      Vancouver 1st was on the record for criticizing SOGI 123. Its mayoral candidate in 2018, Fred Harding, appeared in a pre-election video outlining the party's concerns.

      That prompted a school-board candidate, Tony Dong, to quit the slate. Goldenchild didn't do this.

      "With SOGI, they got it all wrong," Harding said. "Vancouver 1st is opposed to its high-handed rollout. We will advocate on behalf of parents who feel alienated by it. Foisting something so controversial, so different without meaningful consultation with parents is foolish and it is wrong."

      Vancouver 1st mayoral candidate Fred Harding made a video expressing his party's opposition to the rollout of the SOGI 123 program.

      Harding added in the video that the party has been listening to "furious homeowners and alienated parents". He received a mayoral endorsement from the Let's Vote Association.

      After resigning from Vancouver 1st, Dong told Georgia Straight K-12 education columnist Patti Bacchus that the video was a "crass and stupid" attempt to appeal to newcomers from China. He also said that Harding did it without consulting with all the party's candidates.

      "To put it plainly, there has been a rather savage history of discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community," Dong stated in his letter of resignation, "and I will not stand with a party who does not see a priority in ameliorating it and supporting inclusive policies aimed at furthering human rights obligations."

      The Let's Vote Association did not endorse Dong. But it did endorse NPA treasurer Tang, who ran for council with Yes Vancouver in 2018.

      Tang attended a post-election party hosted by social conservatives in Surrey after the election. News 1130 and the Straight mistakenly reported that Goldenchild was also in attendance.

      A photograph of a man at the meeting of African ancestry with his back to the camera was incorrectly identified as Goldenchild, something Goldenchild has described as a "form of racial discrimination". 

      “This is a party of inclusion,” Goldenchild told Global B.C. News. “No one has reached out to me to ask me a simple question: was that you?”

      Bligh has told the media that she thinks the party board has taken a turn to the far right, citing the election of B.C. Conservative party president Ryan Warawa and former Rebel Media B.C. bureau chief Christopher Wilson, who also sits on the B.C. Conservative party board.

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