The Hollyhock primer

"The environment here allows people to open up" – Joel Solomon, Renewal Partners

We’ve written a few times here at about the folks that Frances Bula once "jokingly" referred to as the Hollyhock Mafia. We think it would be worthwhile for more Vancouverites, and those who work at City Hall to get to know the organization and its supporters who now pull the levers of power in our city.

The video above provided by Hollyhock’s Social Change Institute promotes their annual retreats done in the isolated surroundings of Cortes Island, where many recent City Hall hires have visited. We highly recommend to our readers to spend just over five minutes watching this, and make your own conclusions.

Featured speakers in the video include a who’s who of political and environmental activism, such as Judy Rebick and Tzeporah Berman, who currently sits as a director for the Hollyhock board. There are a few interesting quotes in the video, which have the tone of a religious call to action:

"We need to gain power. People want to take action. People are excited and willing." – Merren Smith, ForestEthics

"What we’re saying has a lot of receptivity. We actually have to be advancing things that can be implemented right away, that are tailor-made to be implemented by a receptive government." – Rick Smith, Environmental Defence

"We have an incredibly ambitious agenda we have to achieve, unprecented in the history of humanity. We have to transform the relationships with ourselves, with our neighbours and with the Earth. It’s never been done before." – Will Horter, Dogwood Initiative

At almost the exact five minute mark of the video you see the matron of this movement, Carol Newell, whose inherited millions form the base of the Endswell Foundation and Renewal Partners, the organizations Kentucky-bred Joel Solomon leads on her behalf. After Newell’s and Solomon’s heavily edited quotes, a pre-city councillor Andrea Reimer mutters this rapture-filled and ominous statement:

"I have ridiculous faith that this project of life and global survival is so possible and so doable."

It would be interesting to know how that Project of Life is going for Andrea now that she’s in government.

With the recent news that Geoff Meggs is in hospital after a collision with a car while riding his bike, the speculation is beginning as to whether the Hollyhock crowd will push for more power within Vision Vancouver. Meggs is the straight up labour guy representing the NDP faction of the party, whereas Robertson’s influential Chief of Staff Mike Magee leads the Hollyhock contingent.


We here at wish Coun. Meggs a speedy recovery, and hope that he has no lasting consequences of his accident.

– post by Mike

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  • Danny Boy

    Well we know what happened to all the pie in the sky hippyism of the 60’s . . . it is alive and well in the glorious progressive movement.
    Wonder what will happen when they realize they have been conned by and in fact are part of the great global warming ponzi scheme?
    They are so invested in the great scam when they realize they have been had it is going to be very hard on these Kumbiah Brigadistas.

  • Janet

    It should be re-titled Scary Movie. I kept waiting for Peter Ladner to pop up.

  • Lana

    Interesting – the Renewal Partners were large contributors to Robertson’s mayoral campaign.
    I wonder what was promised in exchange?
    After all, we will be tripping over bike lanes to appease the Critical Mass people….
    I understand there is a new ‘experimental lane ‘ coming to Burrard street this spring or summer?

  • Janice OReilly

    Am I ever glad I came across this website. I voted vision, but this whole Hollyhock stuff is weird to say the least. They are running Vancouver’s city administration? It helps to explain a lot of things, but mostly why I will be going back to voting NPA next time. Having the socialists running the city is never a good thing, but that’s not what I thought vision was?? Aren’t they funded by the developers and big business?

  • will

    Seems like a pretty old video. Joel Solomon looks a lot younger then.
    What happens when you film a group of environmental and social advocates at a retreat? They talk about the environment, social issues and being at a retreat.
    I don’t get the point of this article except that is ferments ill will with no apparent cause.

  • Ferments ill will? You mean by showing a video which has been published on YouTube since the spring of 2008? What rubbish.
    As for talking “about the environment, social issues, etc.” maybe watch it again and listen. The discussion is about political activism, collaboration, and a vague agenda for social change by working with receptive governments.

  • Omoishiroi

    It’s always fascinating listening to these ‘activists’ – much like any cult the thoughts are incomplete, meandering and pointless. The worst thing we can do is give these people the keys to government – ooops we already did! Count the silverware.

  • Disillusioned by Vision

    Not sure whether to laugh or cry that when I watched the video, I almost thought I heard Councillor Reimer say the word “profitable” rather than “possible”…
    “I have ridiculous faith that this project of life and global survival is so possible and so doable.”

  • david hadaway

    Bloody hell! If this is what they think is good to put in public view what goes on in private?
    And Will, it’s “foment” ill will. “Ferment” is a biochemical process that often leaves a bad smell, as would occur in a crock of ….

  • Glissando Remmy

    The Thought of The Day
    It wasn’t really necessary to watch this kibbutznik-topia video; I knew it all along why I wouldn’t lay a vote on them.
    Unfortunately as I aforementioned, STUPID +VANCOUVER= STUPIDER, therefore I’ll say to you all:
    “ICH BIN EIN STUPIDER” underling my support to the stupid of Vancouver.
    Now let’s do the right thing and ban dihydrogen monoxide, stop using sodium chloride and institute a tax on breathing.Oh wait, we have that, it’s called the Carbon Tax!
    STUPIDER me!
    We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.

  • This is, by far, the best post on this blog ever.
    And…there is more to the Hollyhock “story” than you think.
    Sty tuned…