NPA members denounce party director over Facebook comments targeting drug users and homeless people
Prominent members of Vancouver's Non-Partisan Association banded together Thursday to "categorically denounce" one of their own board members over comments he made online.
Christopher Wilson, who serves as one of the party's directors, has become embroiled in controversy after he disparaged the city's homeless and drug using populations via his personal Facebook account.
The comments, which have since been scrubbed, along with Wilson's account, were preserved in screenshots, and eventually shared by Scout Magazine contributor Sean Orr.
The image shows Wilson replying to members of a group called Downtown Community Safety Watch (DCSW), which focuses on "rising crime, open drug use, vandalism, theft and other dangerous activities" in the Yaletown neighbourhood.
In one instance Wilson encourages DCSW members to "start harassing these low-lifes." He then suggests people speak up and tell drug users to leave the neighbourhood.
Councillor calling for Wilson's resignation
Wilson, who was previously employed by Rebel Media, a right-wing media outlet, was elected to the Non-Partisan Association (NPA) board in 2019.
Whether he will continue to serve the party, however, remains to be seen.
In a statement, the party's elected councillors, school board trustees and park board commissioners affirmed their support for the city's downtrodden, writing: "We must support all residents, and show compassion for people struggling with homelessness, mental health and substance use."
CBC has requested an interview with Wilson via the NPA, but has yet to hear back.
Tensions around drug use and the homeless population have escalated in recent weeks, as residents relocated from the homeless encampment at Oppenheimer Park.
Nevertheless, NPA members past and present say the party needs to demonstrate compassion.
"I was incredibly disgusted by the comments" said NPA Coun. Lisa Dominato.
"If I was the board chair of [the] organization, I would be speaking with Mr. Wilson and I'd be asking him to resign."
Former NPA mayoral candidate Ken Sim also expressed concern with Wilson's comments, suggesting such perspectives drove him from the party.
"I couldn't be part of the NPA because they don't reflect my social values at all," he said.
"Not even close."