A trio of Trudeau Liberal MPs seeking re-election on Sept. 20 headlined a British Properties garden party that drew familiar faces from provincial and federal backrooms.
Judi Tyabji and Mark Marissen attended the Sept. 2 event in support of Terry Beech (Burnaby-North Seymour), Jonathan Wilkinson (North Vancouver) and Patrick Weiler (West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea-to-Sky Country).
Tyabji and Marissen were on Christy Clark’s inner circle when the BC Liberals lost their majority in the May 2017 election and lost power to the NDP in the June 2017 confidence vote. Marissen’s Burrard Strategy produced Weiler’s 2019 campaign promotional video. He is running for Mayor of Vancouver in 2022 and his supporters include Clark, his ex-wife.
Tyabji co-founded Salish Sea Spirits Powell River distillery in 2019 and Brew Bay Luxury Wellness in 2020. Notably absent from the garden party: her 1994-wed husband Gordon Wilson.
Weiler is facing a challenge from John Weston, the Conservative MP from 2008 to 2015. Weston’s predecessor was Blair Wilson, who was elected as a Liberal in 2006 but lost as a Green in 2008 after a Province newspaper exposé about his restaurant businesses.
Blair Wilson named Tyabji and Marissen among the defendants in a long-running defamation suit against the newspaper. At the time, Marissen was the party’s national campaign co-chair and Tyabji the Powell River riding association vice-president. Wilson dropped his claims against Marissen when the trial began in 2015. The 2017 judgment dismissed claims against Tyabji.
Tyabji published a photo of the garden party on Instagram and Facebook including prominent Liberal supporter Farouk Verjee. Verjee is president of investment and commercial real estate brokerage Chase Realty Corp. and an Ismaili Muslim community leader.
Garden party host Karimah es Sabar is another longtime Justin Trudeau and Aga Khan follower. Sabar was named in June 2020 to the Liberal government’s Industry Strategy Council to represent the health and biosciences industries.
The former CEO of the Centre for Drug Research and Development at the University of B.C. joined Quark Venture LP in 2016 when the venture capital firm partnered with the GF Securities investment bank of China in a US$500 million fund.
Quark and GF are also affiliated with the Chengdu, China-based Global Drug Commercialization Center.
A person familiar with Sabar’s event said invitees were not asked to make a political donation. They were asked whether they had symptoms of COVID-19, had traveled out of country in the last two weeks or had knowingly been in contact with a coronavirus patient.
However, they were not asked for their vaccination status.
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