A poll-topping school trustee and park commissioner, plus the Mayor's "answer man" aiming for MLA gigs
"It's become clear quickly that carrying on my MLA role would be difficult. And in no way do I want to compromise my constituents." — former NDP MLA Gregor Robertson, June 2008
As an NDP MLA, Gregor Robertson pondered whether he should throw his hat into the ring to become the mayoral candidate for Vision Vancouver, except a nagging issue kept popping up. Would he resign his seat in the B.C. legislature and trigger a costly $500,000 byelection or would he ignore calls to step down while campaigning for another political job?
After a few days of getting bruised in the media, his dithering ended. Robertson announced it wasn’t fair to his constituents to run for mayor at the same time he was collecting a paycheque as a provincial politician. He made the right choice then, but was it a decision that will come back to haunt a few of his caucus colleagues in the months ahead?
Looking back in history, it’s not uncommon for politicians to hold down one job while seeking another. However, as we witnessed in 2008, when Robertson clumsily attempted this feat, citizens and media frowned upon it.
That’s because pressure is mounting on three Vision Vancouver caucus members to throw their hats in the ring and run for the B.C. NDP in next year’s race.
The most high profile of those politicians is Coun. Geoff Meggs. Similar to NDP Opposition leader Adrian Dix, he too was a staffer of former premier Glen Clark. Meggs’ spouse also happens to be the provincial secretary for the B.C. NDP. Given his background as a senior operative within the B.C. Federation of Labour, he’d be a shoo-in as minister for the labour portfolio. Expect him to run in the Vancouver-Fairview riding currently held by the B.C. Liberals.
Vancouver School Board chairwoman Patti Bacchus and Park Board chairwoman Constance Barnes are also being touted as possible candidates. Both Bacchus and Barnes topped the polls for Vision: watch for Bacchus to run against Premier Christy Clark in Vancouver-Point Grey and Barnes to challenge Minister Mary McNeil in Vancouver-False Creek.
The challenge for all these civic politicos comes down to timing.
How will voters react to them seeking other political jobs when they were just re-elected less than a year ago? My guess is they will end up in the same position as their leader found himself when he thought it was okay to moonlight as a mayoral candidate while working full-time as an MLA.
Count on byelections for all three seats.
– post by Daniel