A lawyer who has past connections with a number of socially conservative religious groups is looking to replace backbencher Dan Jarvis as the provincial Liberal's standard bearer in North Vancouver-Seymour, Public Eye has learned. In an interview, Cindy Silver, who was elected as a school trustee in 2002, confirmed she had submitted her nomination papers to party headquarters on November 17. But she said those papers haven't yet been approved nor has she decided whether to run. Ms. Silver wouldn't say whether anyone had encouraged her to unseat Mr. Jarvis, who has previously said he is running in the next election.
Between 1993 and 1998, Ms. Silver worked as the in-house legal counsel for the Focus on the Family (Canada) Association, a controversial Christian family group which has previously been accused of being anti-choice, pro-censorship and anti-gay. That association is connected to an organization with the same name in the United States.
Toward the end of her tenure with Focus, Vancouver Sun staffer Kim Bolan reported Ms. Silver, in her role as a staffer for the group, was collecting donations to defend the Surrey school board's decision not to approve the use of three books depicting same-sex marriages in kindergarten and grade one classrooms. At the time, Mary Polak, who would later run as the Liberal's by-election candidate in Surrey-Panorama-Ridge, was chairing the board. Ms. Silver told Public Eye she is aware of Ms. Polak but has no personal relationship with her.
After her stint with Focus, Ms. Silver was named executive director of the Christian Legal Fellowship, a position she held for two years before becoming an independent lawyer. In 2003, she was retained as the co-counsel for The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver and the Canadian Alliance for Social Justice and Family Values when those groups intervened in the Supreme Court of Canada case involving the Surrey school board book banning decision. Ms. Silver has also been an advocate for the right of parents to spank their children, working as a lawyer for the Coalition for Family Autonomy.