Two civic parties capable of playing the fundraising game

Post by Daniel Fontaine in


Peter Armstrong has jumped aboard the NPA train to help it win the next election

When it comes to politics, they say it’s all about the money. Only a few months ago, the NPA was being written off by the political punditry who felt the Vision Vancouver political juggernaut was invincible. Well-financed and fully staffed up for the 2011 election a year in advance, no one could stop Gregor Robertson and the Vision gang.

With their commanding 10-1 majority on city council, Vision Vancouver has run city hall like they own it. Having either fired or “persuaded” a majority of the senior management they had to go, the party has firmly left their mark on the city’s civil service too.

However, the NPA are not quite willing to cede just yet. They’ve brought in a business heavyweight to signal that it’s prepared to raise the cash needed for a serious contest in November.

The credit for Vision’s big bank account goes to Tennessee native Joel Solomon. Not only is he Robertson’s mentor and business financier, Solomon leads a mysterious eco-advocacy movement that bases itself on remote Cortes Island, 150 kilometres north of Vancouver on B.C.’s coast.

Using the inherited wealth of another American ex-pat, Carol Newell – whose late father owned the Rubbermaid corporate empire – Solomon has boasted in interviews he had begun in British Columbia a 500-year movement for “systemic social change.” Putting the backyard chicken-loving Robertson into power is one of his most important projects.

Robertson’s 2008 bid to win the leadership of Vision Vancouver was boosted by $180,000 in donations, mostly from a long list of Americans linked to Solomon’s business network. U.S. money and campaign machinery was also mobilized by Vision to sweep council, park and school board.

Hold on, not so fast, says their opponent. This week the NPA announced the appointment of well-respected Vancouver entrepreneur Peter Armstrong as its campaign chair. Armstrong is best known for running the Rocky Mountaineer rail tour company.

Armstrong is not only a formidable fundraiser, his stature has had the effect of encouraging key donors and volunteers to return to the NPA fold. His endorsement of Suzanne Anton as a mayoral candidate has clearly provided her team with a boost.

Also behind the scenes is Norman Stowe – veteran campaigner, PR specialist, respected media guru, and now the NPA’s campaign manager. Having Armstrong and Stowe on board has suddenly lifted the fortunes of Vancouver’s centre-right NPA.

Beating the Vision machine won’t be easy, but now the NPA will give them a good run for their money.

- You can read Daniel Fontaine's civic affairs columns which appear in 24 Hours Vancouver every Thursday. Follow us on Twitter @CityCaucus.


The Thought of The Day

“Glissando's 'The Unauthorized Timeline' of Peter Armstrong”

Peter was born on the 9th of January of 1953.

The Bel-Air Chevrolet was the talk of the Auto shows.
Queen Elizabeth II crowned Queen of England.
The unions gained strength.
Wage and price controls ended and unemployment was at 2.9%.
Life was good.
A pound of round steak was 90 cents.
A color TV was selling for $1,175. Transistor radios started to appear for sale.
'From here to Eternity' won the Oscar for Best Picture at the Academy Awards.
Yes indeed.
1953 was a good year… for that year.

While in first grade he learned how to play the trumpet from his second cousin, Louis Armstrong. He played second trumpet on his uncle last recording “What a Wonderful World” in 1968.

One year later, his dad Neil, said “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”, and yeah, that was broadcast from the Moon, not a biggie.

1974. This was the year when his little brother Lance received his first bike, who turned out to be the catalyst for his future seven Tour de France wins.

Peter always liked trains, from when he was a teen. He always said that one day he will own one.

His only regret? He never had the time to try to break into radio like Christy Clark or into Stand Up Comedy like Gregor Robertson or into the clairvoyance shtick like Joel Solomon.
Maybe one day, but not today.

So, there...Armstrongs.
But please, don’t quote me on any of the above.

We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.


Daniel, I know some are suggesting that Peter is an unfortunate choice for the NPA, that 'politics' is not his cup of tea, that NPA is ill prepared and that the timing is wrong. To that, I'll say...that they are mistaken in their cynicism.
Solomon/Vision/Robbie team have piles and piles of Kryptonite laying around their camp right now. As you may have noticed none of them had the courage to come out from their hideout. If I were the NPA right now, I would pick up this Kryptonite stuff and start making necklaces, bracelets and 'See Ya!' rings. And NOT wait!

It is pretty easy to find out what Joel Solomon's agaenda is. He is transparent about it and has been working with people in the Vancouver business community for more than a decade. So what does Peter Armstrong believe in and why is he getting involved with the NPA? I have no idea. And this post doesn't help. Maybe CityCaucus can invite Peter Armstrong and Norman Stowe to come out and tell us why they are excited by the NPA and its candidates and what they would like to see happen in Vancouver.

"[Solomon] is transparent about it and has been working with people in the Vancouver business community for more than a decade."

Ha ha ha ha ha ha! Double ha ha!

I didn't know you were a comedian Steve? You gotta be kidding me. Solomon transparent about his agenda for Vancouver? Why not read this for starters:

Then when you're done, Google "Krause Solomon Tides Foundation" and see what you come up with.

There are a lot of "fair questions" that need to be asked regarding exactly what Solomon and all his American pals are doing to civic politics in this Vancouver. OUR CITY SHOULD NOT BE A SOCIAL ENGINEERING EXPERIMENT!!!

Steve, wake up and smell the organically grown coffee. You're drinking too much Happy Planet kool-aid my friend.


I suggest we invite Mr. Solomon... that I think would give us much more prospective.

If an American is willing to finance a social experiment in a Canadian city I believe we are all entitled to know, what is what...not just an entitled few...

I guarantee you, that this request will NEVER be responded to by Mr. Solomon ... to me the question is WHY NOT?

What is there to hide?

Too bad Solomon supporters use a tax fraud charity scheme to raise money...

You should know, Steven.
What's it like knowing that your "charity" donations end up flowing to polictical party?

How long have Soloman and Newell been in Canada?


is Solomon living in Canada,or even Vancouver for that matter, and are either of them Canadian citizens. Is the accounting filtered through the USA... do you know?

I would like to see something from CRA and the IRS...

Good positive news. The NPA needs the weight that Armstrong brings to civic politics. Now I would like to see a statement from the NPA giving its vision for Vancouver's future, and the future of the schools and parks. It has to be realistic given that the economy is likely to remain as it is for some time. We will not have the funds for big projects such as a rapid transit line to UBC, or reconstructing all the schools. Historically the NPA has simply endorsed like minded and capable candidates for public office. But in competition to a bona fide political party such as Vision, an unorganized approach will not bring the needed numbers to the polls. Come November, the NPA will get the disaffected vote, but it also needs to attract the rest with a polished, and foreward looking statement for Vancouver's near and far future.

Clearly I don't George seeing as I'm asking the question.

Hopefully Vivian Krause will looking into Peter Armstrong's agenda and what of favours they and his cohorts will be looking for in return.

I agree with all you say, but there is one more thing I would like to see from NPA and Vision. What will happen in Vancouver and to the Vancouver City Budget if housing prices in Vancouver fall 20%, 30% or even 50%? I think this is a possible scenario and we need to plan for it. I suspect this it too difficult an issue for campaigning politicians to touch, but it is important.

Has there been any indication Armstrong has done anything illegal? Any reports over the years?

Charities that are getting benefits from the Canadian tax system that might not be charities at all, just a way to launder money deserve our full attention.

And it is not just CityCaucus, Toowoozy, this matter has been brought before Parliment. Main stream media has picked up on it and if you've ever read responses to her articles, you will see, people want to know what the eck is going on. Mayors of townships effected by a 'grand plan' have written the Prime Minister.

Toowoozy, Solomon and gang have made it clear they have an agenda. Yet, when questioned about the money flow, and the incestuous relationship of individuals, they hide.

They want to influnce the political landscape for their own benefit and some of us have a real problem with that and well, will fight back.

oh sorry boohoo

I thought you were asking a serious question to debate...

I'm confused get your story straight, do you want intelligent debate or not, you complain at length and when we give you the benefit of the doubt you flip your finger at us..

Stop speaking in sarcastic doublespeak code if that is the case.... you accuse everyone of not giving you a debate so get it together or stop trolling..

Your behavior is extremely passive aggressive...



I asked a simple question--how long have Soloman and Newell been living in Canada?

Steven, your comments are the best example of unsubstantiated gossip. As for Solomon being transparent, stop me from laughing, this guy and his pals are moving monies around in side his investment racket for more of a decade. Yes that I believe. Whenever Vivian Krause asked him and his dozens of one and two people advocacy/ charities/non-profit(LOL)'companies' to show some paper he always backed down. You cannot pay someone 150 -200,000 per year to sit in an office, answer the phones and generally approve a money transfer from one Endswell to one Tides, yes...for more than a decade, there you're right.

I grabbed this from a VanMag article, 2009:

How to explain what he does? Solomon is the son of a wealthy Jewish family from the southern U.S. turned young American searcher and Cortes Island organic gardener who’s combining his two lives—capitalist heir and idealistic reformer—into one, as the business guru for B.C.’s new green left. He’s doing it through his partnership with Rubbermaid heiress Carol Newell, another American child of capitalism who escaped to utopian B.C. in her 20s. His inheritance was a modest $3 million, not enough to do what Newell’s $60-million-plus can. Paired up (in a business way only) since 1993, the two have created an Escher-like organization that includes a foundation (Tides Canada), a charity (Endswell), and two investment agencies: Renewal, which uses only Newell’s money; and Renewal2, which aims to attract new money to carry on what her money has started. Through those agencies, they have provided grants to 121 groups in the province, ranging from the environmental (Valhalla Wilderness Society) to the social-activist (Pivot Legal Society) to the holistic (Centre for Integrated Healing). On the investment side, they’ve put money into 70 enterprises in B.C.—most famously the Happy Planet juice company of Gregor Robertson, but also the organic grocery chain Capers, several publishing and communications companies, Salt Spring Coffee, Lunapads, PeaceKeeper Causemetics, and the Jorg&Olif bike company. And that’s not to mention the $60,000 that Renewal sank into helping elect Vision Vancouver and Robertson in last fall’s election—its first serious foray into local politics and one of the larger donations on record for any Vancouver civic party.

Glissando Remmy...

You my friend, IMHO, wrote the best 'unauthorized' Peter Armstrong 'Welcoming' column there is. I am sure the NPA, Daniel & Mike here at CC, and Peter will be pleased. They have to be. As long as you are on their side they :-)
Plus, the message was sound and clear.
"Aux armes, citoyens,
Formez vos bataillons,
Marchons, marchons ! "
La Marseillaise

ah man boohoo

we're working on two different threads... I thought you were responding to the provincial policing question..... arrrrgggg

this site needs a little tweaking... and an edit button....numbers to posts perhaps... :-)

Found this little tidbit on a site called It is worth the entire read. Seems we are not the only ones questioning the validity of this 'charity':

When is a foundation not a foundation? When it gives away other foundations’ money.

Set up in 1976 by California activist Drummond Pike, Tides does two things better than any other foundation or charity in the U.S. today: it routinely obscures the sources of its tax-exempt millions, and makes it difficult (if not impossible) to discern how the funds are actually being used.

In practice, “Tides” behaves less like a philanthropy than a money-laundering enterprise (apologies to Procter & Gamble), taking money from other foundations and spending it as the donor requires. Called donor-advised giving, this pass-through funding vehicle provides public-relations insulation for the money’s original donors. By using Tides to funnel its capital, a large public charity can indirectly fund a project with which it would prefer not to be directly identified in public. Drummond Pike has reinforced this view, telling The Chronicle of Philanthropy: “Anonymity is very important to most of the people we work with.”

In order to get an idea of the massive scale on which the Tides Foundation plays its shell game, consider that Tides has collected over $200 million since 1997, most of it from other foundations. The list of grantees who eventually received these funds includes many of the most notorious anti-consumer groups in U.S. history: Greenpeace, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Environmental Media Services, Environmental Working Group, and even fringe groups like the now-defunct Mothers & Others for a Livable Planet (which used actress Meryl Streep to “front” the 1989 Alar-on-apples health scare fraud for NRDC).

Too long.

Not clear to me what you consider to be "unsubstaniated gossip."

What specifically do you disagree with about Joel Solomon?

Steve, I am confused... How would house values matter to the city of Vancouver... Their tax revenue does not change one iota.

Hi Julia

I hope people with more experience will weigh in on this, but I am pretty sure that a severe downturn in housing prices will have many impacts on the cities finances. Development is likely to decrease or at least shift, I think various tax revenues will go down as the city will have to lower property taxes, etc. Of course it makes a big difference if this is a hard landing (sharp drop) or a soft landing (gradual decline) and what policies the city (and maybe even the province) respond with. I think this is a very possible scenario and that it will be one of the most difficult things for the next council and mayor to deal with, so I would like to get some insight into what will happen. But I can see that it is probably too hard a discussion for people running for office to have, which is too bad.

"I think various tax revenues will go down as the city will have to lower property taxes,"

Why would the city have to lower property taxes? In theory, if the price decline was uniform then everyone would still pay the same property taxes - their property would just be valued at a lower amount.

The biggest problem with ex- hippies is that many of them seem stuck in the 60's.
They now have large,large amounts of money to try and accomplish what they used to sit around a campfire (smoking dope and talking about.)

If I had a huge amount of money back then I'd have tried to do all of the things that the social engineering group is doing now.

'We are so superior to the rest of you, and we KNOW exactly what to do to make the world a better place'

Next stop.

World Peace.



What I get from reading up on Solomon, Newell and Robertson - none of them had to work too hard to get where they've gotten to.

Money and family connections paved the way. That is common bond.

Like the saying goes, "It's not what you know, but who you know".

Ater reading the article on about Tides and considering when that article was written and the background history, it seems Tides shifted their eye to a territory, a country that might not be so scrupulous of their activities had it not been to Vivian Krause.

It's time for us to open up our eyes.

This is a social experiment conducted by some very devious people, and through a money laundering sheme most banks would have a sh*t time trying to track.

Here, Robertson and VV shot down the casino partially because of concerns on charges of money laundering, when Robertson and VV is part in parcel to a very grand money laundering scheme.

"when Robertson and VV is part in parcel to a very grand money laundering scheme."

I love how you're now quoting that like fact.


Solomon/Tides/Renewal have been the largest donor to any political party in the history of Vancouver politics.

Roberton lived with Solomon in his east end apartment for a period of time before the election - taking his advice, his montoring. And of course, they share Hollyhock.

The VV treasurer is contected to all of the above.

How many VV councilors (including school and parks board) are part of Hollyhock?

How many dots are connected?

I really suggest you take a moment and read the entire article on

Vivian Krause is not wrong.

They shifted countries. Lucky us.

How about Robertson and VV make it easy.

As there is so much speculation both here and in the US, which seems to span over a period of years, as to the validity of Tides, Renewal, Renewal2, as charities and Solomon and Newell - why not separate themselves from these peoples and these groups.

In otherwords, no monies acepted by the way of donations/cash or anything else in kind.

Which also means, no more Joel Solomon traveling with Mayor Robertson on city business.

All ties cut.

And my last word note for the night;

Back in 1985, Drummond Pike and two colleagues started the Working Assets Funding Service, a for-profit company whose family of credit-card, mutual fund, and long-distance telephone services have grown into a $130 million business. Working Assets lures consumers (over 400,000 so far) with promises of “socially responsible” commerce. A two-percent cut of the profits go to activist causes — funneled, of course, through the Tides Foundation.

funny you should mention connections with Parks, and School Board...

I read an article this week about Dr. Gabor Mate, he is a specialist in ADD, and addictions...he was hired by PHS... he also gives workshops at Hollyhock..

The manager of PHS New Fountain Shelter, the only shelter that got funds to stay open, is Parks Board commissioner Sarah Blyth.. I think the incestuous threads run deeper than any of us even know..


A school board trusteee in Maple Ridge, who by the way, does not live in Maple Rige, is a Vision and Hollyhock memeber.

Stephen Vodine.

The youngest politician ever elected to the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows school board is eyeing a trustee seat in Vancouver this fall.

Stepan Vdovine, a political science student at UBC, plans to run for a Vision Vancouver nomination. He sits on the party’s education committee.

The 23-year-old, who has a Russian and German background, has lived in Canada for almost 10 years. He speaks three languages and graduated from Thomas Haney secondary in Maple Ridge, but Vancouver has been his home for nearly two years. He works for Capers.

Okay, this is it. I've been up for a stupid of number hours now and am tired and have my little dad's 75th b-party tomorrow....

The many groups that Tides “incubates” (and which operate under Tides’ umbrella) are smart, fierce, and built to last — their targets in industry are just now beginning to learn the size of this organized opposition and its institutional bankroll.

wow Max
isn't Capers on that list?

The Thought of The Night

'We are not going to live forever ...I know, I'm not stupid, I know that, no one lives forever, no one ... but with advances in modern science, and if we are to believe our friend and guru Joel Solomon... add to that my high level income as a charity, I drink energy concoctions, I mean like crazy, think about it, I can live to be 225, maybe 250...who wants to join me?'

Well done Max.
Fantastic job.
Good for you for posting these extras and spreading the not so good Hollyhock news.

Listen, seriously now, this Hollyhock crowd have the same Modus Operandi. They start out of nowhere, usually from an 'executive' position in some fishy 'non profit - advocacy group' (Andrea Reimer; Tzeporah Berman...)made out of two, three people (but of course backed by 'innocent' monies). LOL

With a pumped up resume, and after in almost ALL cases, no compete hiring (more like job offerings) they cheat basically their way into well paid REAL 'civil servant' or 'governmental' jobs...(Aufochs anyone?) not before cutting themselves huge 'legal' severance packages with the concourse of their corrupt political arm (in this case ,Vision, Gregor R., Ballem)

My premises are based on observation, on logic, on common sense, on research and on playing 'connect the dots'. Lots and lots of dots. The image formed in front of me is that of a colossal squid with tentacles thicker and longer than 12 boa constrictors 'Tide' together.

I think I said it clearly in here:

If you dig deep, deep down, you'll be surprised to find out that these people,these new age troglodytes, are the same ones selling you the hair rejuvenation creams, the wrinkles buster applications, the diet pills, the 6 abs X-ersizer contraptions, the fountain of youth juices. And have anyone noticed there are always, always, the same leeches that generation after generation made usury their professional fingerprint?

According to them, if 'we are what we eat' in order to stay 'youthful', we'll have to eat... children. (really not a big deviation from the claim written on the pure bullshit label on one of the thumb size happy planet 'concentrated energy +' punches...)

That's why on Cortes Island you'll not see kids playing in the vicinity of the 'Young and Green Forever' centers. Just not safe.

We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.

Hi Bill - You may be right, but (i) a hard landing on housing prices is likely to cause a mini recession in Vancouver and (ii) this will cause a reduction in tax revenues related to services and development and (iii) people will be angry that their main assets has lost value and will be looking for some form of relief (i.e. lower taxes). So I think we will be in a case where tax revenues go down and spending demands go up. I think this is a possible scenario and I would like to know how NAP and Vision plan to (i) avoid it or (ii) deal with it. At the same time, I think we need housing costs to come down. I can't attract new engineering talent to Vancouver because of the housing costs.

Speaking of housing....

I was visiting the DTES yeterday (love the new Save on Meats, looks great!)
and ran into one of the ladies that was a participant at WISH when I was volunteering there.

She got into housing just over a year ago and happily reported she is now drug/alcohol free.

She is volunteering at another centre and is getting married in August.

She showed me a pic of her fiance, very handsome fellow....:)

It is just one of those happy moments that leaves you with a smile all day!

Great story Max!!!! I wish her well..

I ran into my homeless friend, yesterday, he is still homeless... he was told there is still a waiting list for housing.. after all these years, and after so many organizations have used him for publicity....the Province newspaper loved his face over the years to help garner funding for poverty pimps...PHS used him to promote insite.. no housing there...

What I found very strange is that they have been giving him the runaround for some time now... they want proof of his mental health diagnosis. He is on disability, one would think that the provincial government deals with that if he is on disability for mental health he gets a cheque seems that he is being put through incredible hoops... more than the usual expected hoops..

There is a personal issue between the woman in charge of one organization, and my friend... she has known this man for years through the system.

...he has been using this organizations services for years, signing his name for the purpose of funding and "stats" is this man not getting housing because someone in a position of power has a personal issue with him and she is abusing her position of power???

I know from personal experience that this particular organization does use certain tactics to get rid of people they don't want to deal with....ah the humanity of it.

He is still on methadone... his back is in great pain he won't go to the DTES... and he is hungry.... life is so complicated for those that are alone and on the street.


It breaks my heart to learn this.

I was looking at the new social housing units at Pender and Abbott and I swear they are not all filled.

There were units with the blinds open and they looked empty.

And I understand that the social housing units at the Oly Village are not filled either. (according to Mr. Geller)

There are also units opening up in the Save on Meats building.

I just don't get it - or maybe I do.

A cynic might suggest that having people on the streets equates to more government/donor money to 'solve the problem'. And of course - more people employed in 'solving the problem'.

I guess I'm a cynic.


I still have some of the men's things I was planning on taking to Clothes2U.

They are men's medium, all in great shape. Including a pair of jeans that are like new, size 33 waist. As well, some of my product is coming off line and I have my samples. Hoodies, fleeces, that type of thing.

If your friend can use some things, let me know and we can arrange a meet.

I have to shoot out now - my dad turned 75 on Wed. and we are having a surprise BBQ for him. And, I am doing all of the a bit stressed!

George, I'm just going to repeat my request that you write in detail about this subject. Alternatively you could arrange to sit down with a professional writer (Daniel?) and provide the background for an article that would surely be a revelation for most of us. Please consider this seriously.

I just might take you up on that, he has lost so much weight that 33 will probably fit him....... but I must remain anonymous for security reasons...

I'm trying to get him hooked up with a shower and a haircut.... this guy is such a hard worker... he has not always been ready to be in a home, but his body is yelling at him to get it together... I hope this time works for him...

@david hadaway... I do hear what you are saying, and I will consider it.. To be honest I have shared a great deal with AGT..for obvious reasons that I've shared before, I trust him with my life ;-)

I understand your desire for anonymity.

Angry people threatened by people speaking their truth will do all kinds of things to stifle these people.

I have had my share of them come after me.

George, I understand.

Perhaps you can arrange a time and place for me to me him. A coffee shop or something. I'd be more than happy to buy him lunch.

LOL sorry Max I wasn't clear... I would like you to keep my anonymity..I'd like to meet with you..
I'll be in touch soon...

My friend is very small... 28-30 waist.. small or probably medium hoodies because it appears he layers..he says he shops in the kids department.. now that is thin!!

Don't give him too much, as he carries everything he owns in a shopping cart...I can keep some things at my house and give it to him, as he needs them...I know the doorway he calls home. :-)



Tomorrow I will hit Costco and grab him some socks/underwear and perhaps a pair of jeans.

I will run through my stock and see what I have on hand.

Aw Max you are a sweetheart...
I've sent Mike an email..don't over buy!!

Sounds good! I'll wait for the msg.

I honestly think the only thing people need to know about Solomon, Robertson and Vision is the part about a 500 year plan of social engineering, using Vancouver as the starting point.

If any other group talked of a 500 year plan and social engineering you'd label them what they are - a cult. Instead, here in Vancouver, we call them government.

It's absolutely insane.

If this is what the Vision team has done. "With their commanding 10-1 majority on city council, Vision Vancouver has run city hall like they own it. Having either fired or “persuaded” a majority of the senior management they had to go, the party has firmly left their mark on the city’s civil service too." then they should have hired Armstrong as that is exactly how he has choosen to let the new President of his company RMR be run. Before they locked out the union they "persuaded" the whole senior management team to leave.

Check out!

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