Who was invited to be among the “socialist horde” at Government House on July 18, where the NDP returned to power and John Horgan was sworn-in as British Columbia’s 36th Premier?
The list, released under freedom of information on Aug. 28 to theBreaker, says 674 invitations were sent, but 133 didn’t respond and 91 gave their regrets, for a total 607. Attendees included logical ones, such as Horgan’s proud wife Ellie and four other family members.
Ex-NDP Premier Glen and Dale Clark were listed as “not attending,” but their daughter, Layne, did. She has a $100,000-a-year job as a Horgan aide. Two ex-NDP premiers Dan Miller and Mike Harcourt are on the list, but the last NDP premier before Horgan, Ujjal Dosanjh, has a “no response” beside his name.
From the NDP cabinet of the 1990s: Moe Sihota, Ian Waddell, Joy MacPhail and Jenny Kwan. The latter two comprised the entire NDP caucus after the 2001 election defeat.
NDP insider Brad Lavigne, who has signed-up six clients to lobby the Horgan NDP, was there.
Kingmaker and Green leader Andrew Weaver and his two caucus mates, Adam Olsen and Sonia Furstenau, were there.
Ex-Harper Tory James Moore was listed in his role as University of Northern B.C.’s chancellor.
Richmond Liberal MP Joe Peschisolido represented the federal government, along with Trudeau-appointed Senator Yuen Pau Woo.
The biggest BC Liberal name on the list was ex-attorney general Geoff Plant, in his role as chancellor of Emily Carr University. Surrey-based federal and B.C. Liberal power broker Prem Vinning sat in the upper balcony. Vinning attended a BC Liberal campaign post-mortem in early July and was among those furious with Clark’s inner-circle for losing the majority of Surrey seats to the NDP. Vinning was forced to quit a patronage job in 2005 under Premier Gordon Campbell after lying about his identity in a phone call to a TV talk show on which Campbell was a guest.
Respected former child protection watchdog Mary Ellen Turpel Lafond was invited.
Former Canadian Labour Congress head Ken Georgetti was on the list as attending, but it says “no response” next to United Steelworkers’ boss Leo Gerard. USW was the biggest donor to the NDP’s 2017 election campaign at $757,614.87. Horgan and Gerard dined in Washington, D.C. during Horgan’s trade mission in late July.
Many Chinese community organizations were represented: Yong Tao Chen, honorary chair, Canadian Alliance of Chinese Associations; Baizhong Jiao and Lian Wei Liu, of Richmond Overseas Friendship Asssociation; Sunny Ho of Richmond Business Association; Xiang Pu of Canadian Community Service Association; Omni TV commentator Guo Ding; Grace Wong of SUCCESS; Frank Zhu of Bodwell Development Co.; and Charles Chang of the Taiwanese Canadian Chamber of Commerce.
Liu Fei, the People’s Republic of China consul general, was the only notable diplomat at the event. Webcast viewers noticed that she sat beside Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, an ex-NDP MLA.
Robertson’s Vision Vancouver comrades were scattered around the room, including: his ex-chief of staff Mike Magee and his latest chief of staff Kevin Quinlan; Coun. Raymond Louie; Vision 2014 co-chair Maria Dobrinskaya; 2014 park board candidate Sammie Jo Rumbaua; Bob Penner of the Vision/NDP polling firm Stratcom; aide Brenton Walters; and development lobbyist Gary Pooni.