Fred Harding, the Non-Partisan Association’s imported-from-Beijing candidate for mayor, has told the City of Vancouver election office that he is residing in a 47th floor condo in a luxury downtown skyscraper.
Harding provided a Telus Garden address in his Sept. 6-filed nomination and disclosure filing, even though he has called the Chinese capital home since 2017, the year he sold a Burnaby duplex. Harding is the replacement for veteran Park Board commissioner John Coupar, who quit Aug. 4 over a dispute about support from developer Peter Wall.
The land title registry shows Harding’s condo, valued at $1.447 million, is registered to Chun Yan Zhang of West Vancouver, whose self-declared occupation is “homemaker.”
Harding solemnly declared to city hall that he has resided in B.C. for the six months prior to Sept. 6. The Local Government Act says a “person is a resident of the area where the person lives and to which, whenever absent, the person intends to return.”
In 2018, when Harding ran for mayor with the Vancouver 1st party, he provided city hall the address of a rented house in Marpole.
Harding, campaign manager Mark Werner and party president David Mawhinney did not respond for comment. Candidates have until 4 p.m. Friday to submit nomination packages, which are published online with the candidates and nominator addresses censored. Unredacted filings can only be viewed in-person, at the city’s 305 W. 8th Ave. election office, during business hours. In 2018, city staff provided the full versions to reporters by email.
On Harding’s form, he answered “no” to whether he owns shares in a corporation which total more than 30% of votes for electing directors. He answered not applicable to questions about real estate holdings and liabilities.
Under the heading of assets, he provided Harding Global Consultants HK Ltd. and Harding Idea Consulting Services Ltd. The former company appears to have been incorporated in 2016 in Hong Kong. A search of the B.C. corporate registry found neither company name.
Harding is formally known as Harold Christopher Harding, but wants to be identified on the ballot as Fred Harding. The retired former officer with the London Metropolitan Police and West Vancouver Police Department is running on a law and order platform, just like in 2018. He is married to Chinese singer Zhang Mi, a public supporter of the Chinese Communist Party.
Ironically, Harding likely prevented the NPA from winning majority control of city council in 2018. He finished sixth with 5,640 votes on the night NPA candidate Ken Sim fell 957 votes shy of victorious Kennedy Stewart. Sim is now leader of the ABC Vancouver party.
Sim’s disclosure form indicates he resides in a house near Jericho Park, that B.C. Assessment Authority values at $4.73 million, and also has interest in a Whistler condo worth almost $400,000. He reported living in an Arbutus Ridge house in 2018, which sold for $3.02 million in late 2020.
Also different from 2018 is Sim’s investment portfolio. Gone are mining stocks like Cameco Corp., Teck and Wheaton, in favour of shares in crypto miners Coin Citadel and MGT Capital Investments, crypto exchange Coinbase Global and the Purpose Bitcoin exchange-traded fund. He also lists investments in the so-called FANG stocks (Facebook, Apple, Netflix and Google), online shopping platform Shopify, chip maker Nvidia, lender Upstart Holdings, cybersecurity firm Crowdstrike Holdings, and virtual care provider Teladoc Health.
Sim also holds shares in the Armstrong Hospitality Group, the parent company of the Rocky Mountaineer tourist train. According to the party, owner Peter Armstrong donated $1,200 to annually since 2019 after a long history of backing the NPA.
Sim is both chair and shareholder in Nurse Next Door homecare and the Rosemary Rocksalt bagelries. He also heads Chindian Holdings Ltd. and Sim (2016) Family Trust.
There are 17 Nurse Next Door and Rosemary Rocksalt creditors over $5,000 disclosed, including three law firms (Alexander Holburn, Blake, Cassels and Graydon, and McCarthy Tetrault), Marriott Vancouver, Salesforce.com Canada, three arms of Telus (Communications, Mobility and Services), and NND Royalties LP.
NND Royalties LP is the result of the $52 million, November 2019 sale of Nurse Next Door’s trademarks to Diversified Royalty Corp.
Meanwhile, ABC launched a TV ad campaign Sept. 7, featuring Sim at an outdoor coffee table chatting with a purported member of the public. Sim’s fist-bump is actually with Laura Appleton, the partner of incumbent Coun. Rebecca Bligh and an equity, diversity and inclusion manager at Arc’teryx, the North Vancouver-headquartered outdoor sportswear company part-owned by Chip Wilson.