19 July 2008

Melissa De Genova returns to the NPA fold

July 16 2008, Straight
By Charlie Smith

I suspected that park commissioner Al De Genova's fling with Vision Vancouver was probably over after he was trounced in his bid to become the party's mayoral nominee last month.

I became even more convinced when I asked him at a recent park board meeting whom he will vote for in the November mayoral race in Vancouver.

De Genova wouldn't answer my question, even after I specifically asked if he would support the NPA's Peter Ladner or Vision Vancouver's Gregor Robertson.

De Genova would only say that he would support his daughter's candidacy for park board for whichever party she chose to align herself with.

Tonight, Melissa De Genova's fling with Vision Vancouver also ended when she announced in front of her proud papa that she will seek an NPA nomination for park board.

She said that Vision Vancouver had strayed from the direction it was originally on when former mayor and current Liberal Senator Larry Campbell helped create the party (i.e. a federal Liberal direction).

There was always something fishy about Al De Genova's entry into the Vision Vancouver mayoral race, which was enthusiastically backed by Sen. Campbell and other federal Liberals.

It's true that De Genova's family defected to Vision Vancouver in 2006 after Mayor Sullivan suspended the five-term park commissioner from the NPA caucus.

But De Genova is a real-estate agent, and Vision Vancouver is really the NDP farm team in Vancouver. There aren't many real-estate agents who support the NDP.

Eearlier this year, it almost seemed as if the federal and provincial Liberals wanted to hedge their bets by preparing a Vision takeover if their man Peter Ladner didn't knock off Mayor Sam Sullivan for the NPA nomination.

Now De Genova's daughter has returned to the NPA fold (yes, she and her father played significant roles in Sam Sullivan winning the 2005 NPA mayoral nomination over then-federal and provincial Liberal Christy Clark).

And Ladner was present at tonight's announcement when Melissa declared her intentions.

Don't kid yourself folks. The 2008 Vancouver mayoral election isn't just a race for control of City Hall.

This will also be a dry run for the provincial contest in May of 2009, with New Democrats backing Robertson and provincial Liberals backing Ladner.

Whoever wins in November will give those provincial backers a bit of momentum when they go after the big prize--the legislature--six months later.

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