Get ready for political two-timing by Vancouver candidates

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.

24 Hours VancouverWith the 2013 provincial election fast approaching, the issue of politicians jumping ship and triggering byelections could be front and centre once again.

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

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  • Ned

    If any of them force a by-election they should all be fined the exact amount of money the tax payers are going to be out of pockets.
    No double dipping, like keeping their current jobs till 2013 election time.
    And if any of the above happens they should be sent fishing by the voters. Nothing changes in this little Banana Columbia Republic.

  • Julia

    wonder where Meggs is less dangerous. He should resign his council seat to run and hopefully he loses. That way he is gone for a while in both places!

    • Heather Tailors

      Let’s hope is for good! Actually why hope? Just vote him out!

  • skaur

    I agree with all of you. Meggs is the worst!!!

  • Waltyss

    Heather, we just had an election and he got voted in. Quite comfortably, thank you very much. While you struggle to put a logical sentence together, the Citizens of Vancouver are quite happy with Councillor Meggs.
    It would be a loss for Vancouver Council but a gain for the citizens of Vancouver Fairview.
    And there is nothing wrong or inappropriate with Meggs staying on council, running for the legislature and only resigning if he wins or if he feels he cannot campaign and serve as councillor at the same time.
    i know the NPA (and their mouthpiece City Caucus) prefer that only the rich they serve should run but for those of us who want greater diversity among those who govern us, people who want to seek higher office should be able to keep their current job while doing so (provided they can do both. The Mayor obviously felt he couldn’t but that does not make it true for everyone].

  • Michelle S of Mt Pleasant

    What! and let Meggs move up the corruption food chain…..hell no.

    Wake up people to what this guy is up to…..NO GOOD!

    I challenge anyone out there to show me the last thing Meggs did that was for the good of the community of Vancouver…….I wish you the best of luck in this fruitless search.

    Time and time again he has shown the citizens of Vancouver he seeks the progress of Developers (not Development!) based on the items in Council that get his yes votes even when there is overwhelming opposition from citizens or concrete material to show the project should not be passed in its current state and form.

    Perfect example is his lastest blog in which he defends going ahead and voting for the Rize Alliance Development on Kingsway because as he says ‘the project could build to 150′ without ammenities and then quotes items from the Mt Pleasant Community Plan to support it.’

    Only problem is that this spindoctor did just that, put a spin on a document that clearly does not say this in any capacity! but I suppose when your ego is that big and your cohort of corruption aka your Mayor (rolling eyes in mockery and no I did not vote for him) is doing the spinning right along with you its easy to inflate to this level of disillusion.

    Wake up Vancouver, stop being so complacent and apathetic, only way change will happen is to be the change.

  • Michelle S of Mt Pleasant

    To Waltyss……I know these forums are open to all sorts of opinions and I would be the last person to deny someone their freedom of speech but you certainly make a great case for me to change my mind.

    “the Citizens of Vancouver are quite happy with Councillor Meggs.” Where in God’s name did you get that little tidbit of information may I ask? because according to independent polls and many blogs he is losing popularity pretty fast and furious.

    Furthermore, when did you decide to play God or a higher being than the rest of us, by making such a broad based comment as I don’t recall asking you to speak for me nor all of my friends and fellow citizens that believe he is one of the worse things that happened to Vancouver and that no amount of campaign money was able to place rose tinted glasses on our eyes as we clearly saw what his self indulgent agenda was and is.

    I do not criticize Meggs on a personal level and I don’t know him in that capacity, my comments are based purely on his performance while in office and that speaks volumes about whom he serves and buddy it ain’t the average taxpaying citizen.

    Hell, he cannot do the current job he has correctly and yet you feel he should have a shot at holding down yet another?…….what form of Vision roofie did they slip into your drink?