Gabriel Yiu knows he'll be a lightning rod for criticism from the B.C. Liberals during the May election, second only to Adrian Dix.
Yiu is the New Democrat candidate for Vancouver-Fraserview and is running provincially with the NDP for the third time.
Last year, leaked documents revealed almost $460,000 of publicly funded constituency money was used to conduct party activities and pay off caucus expenses — the majority of which went to paying Yiu's salary.
The B.C. Liberals have questioned the use of taxpayer money for party expenses, but Yiu said there was no secrecy involved.
"A lot of the work I have done for the NDP MLA's during that time, in fact, is very transparent," he said. "For us, even when we called a round-table meeting, we invited the Chinese media there. They were there observing the discussions the entire time."
The Liberals have been hard on Yiu, but a leaked multicultural strategy document from January 2012 — which caused subsequent uproar — referred to him in a positive light.
The document said the B.C. Liberal party "suffers from the lack of a Gabriel Yiu-type figure, who can be deployed rapidly and speak knowledgeably on the issues of the day."
Yiu, who immigrated to Canada from Hong Kong in 1991, currently runs a floral business in Vancouver and is widely known and respected in Vancouver's Chinese-Canadian community as a consultant, organizer and media commentator.
He was active in rallying in anti-HST campaigns in Vancouver aimed at ending the Harmonized Sales Tax.
Time Magazine even once highlighted Yiu as one of the six people to watch in Vancouver.
Yiu has now lost to Liberal candidates twice, first running unsuccessfully for the NDP in 2005 in Burnaby-Willingdon, then in 2009 in Vancouver-Fraserview when he lost to Liberal candidate Kash Heed, a former police chief personally chosen by former premier Gordon Campbell to run for the Liberals.
During Yiu's 2009 campaign, leaflets were published alleging the NDP were considering legalizing heroin and cocaine and instituting an inheritance tax.
Heed was later fined $11,000 for exceeding campaign expense limits and three of his campaign workers faced Elections Act and criminal charges.
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