Barnes’ MLA nomination bid bashed by De Genova

Park Commissioner Melissa De Genova puts colleague on notice: resign if you become an NDP candidate

Vancouver Park Board Chair Constance Barnes became the first of what is expected to be at least three Vision Vancouver elected officials seeking NDP candidacies for the May 2013 provincial election. Barnes announced today that she is filing her nomination papers to become the BC NDP candidate in Vancouver-False Creek. In 2009 new BC Liberal candidate Mary McNeil won the riding easily with a 4400 vote spread between her and her NDP opponent. However, with the BC Liberals struggling in the polls, the NDP's odds of winning Vancouver-False Creek improve considerably.

Constance Barnes topped the polls for the Vancouver Park Board in both 2008 and 2011. The second victory was even more impressive considering the controversy that swirled around Barnes' drunk driving offense. The daugher of former NDP MLA and BC Lions football player Emery Barnes even gets the advantage of having a park named after her dad in the heart of the riding.

Georgia Straight reporter Carlito Pablo first broke the rumour that Barnes would seek higher office nearly three months ago. Barnes' decision must have been well-formed long before the November civic election in Vancouver, says NPA Park Commissioner Melissa De Genova. In a statement released to the media this afternoon, De Genova accuses Barnes of using the Park Board to further her political ambitions and that the Chair is "now focused on Provincial politics instead" of Vancouver parks:

As a park commissioner who was only sworn in six months ago I am deeply disappointed that one of our fellow commissioners has decided to put her political career ambitions ahead of her work at the Vancouver Park Board. For months Constance Barnes has been hinting at a move into provincial politics, so I am not at all surprised at today's announcement. However, Ms. Barnes has stated that she feels she can carry on as a commissioner and be a candidate for provincial politics. I disagree.

I consider being a Vancouver Park Board commissioner as a tremendous privilege. It's an important responsibility to be a steward of Vancouver's wonderful parks. Running for elected office should require you to make the best effort to serve your entire term in office. A seat on the Vancouver Park Board should not simply be a stepping stone for seeking higher office. It is clear Ms. Barnes has had a desire to run provincially for some time, and she should have made that decision before she decided to add her name to Vision's 2011 park board slate.

The other two Vision candidates that appear to be readying for a provincial run are City Councillor Geoff Meggs, who will be seeking the nomination in the BC Liberal held riding of Vancouver-Fairview, and School Board Chair Patti Bacchus, who will likely get the nod to run against Premier Christy Clark in Vancouver-Point Grey.

If all become NDP candidates for the May 2013 election, they will be obliged to take the direction of their leader Gregor Robertson. After winning the nomination to run as Vision's mayoralty candidate, Robertson chose to step down from his MLA seat in June 2008 after four days of drubbing in the media. He literally "phoned it in" when it came to notifying BC NDP leader Carole James of his departure – he left her a voicemail.

De Genova points this out in today's release:

Just as her leader Gregor Robertson did in 2008, Constance Barnes will have no choice but to resign her seat as Park Commissioner once she becomes the BC NDP candidate in Vancouver-False Creek. This will trigger a costly by-election that will be on the backs of taxpayers, and use funds that otherwise should be spent on our parks, not on Constance Barnes' career ambitions.

It's estimated that a Vancouver by-election will cost in the range of $500,000 up to $1 million. It's unknown whether the Vision Vancouver electoral organization has been complicit in the decisions of so many of their candidates to leave office after only a few months.

– post by Mike

BC Hydro and BC politics: long time companions
June 6th Pattullo Bridge Forum attracts community attention

Broken image or link? Click here to report it or visit

About The Author

  • waltyss

    Gee, Mike, not just an NPA shill but a Liberal shill as well. I loved that the centre of your story was Ms. DeGenova’s views. Glad to hear what she thinks but is that really the story?
    There is absolutely no reason why Ms. Barnes or anyone else who is hoping to run in the next provincial election should resign.
    On what basis, other than mischief, do you say she would be “obliged” to resign? That the Mayor chose to do so was his personal decision. Ms. Barnes will have to make hers.
    And Mike, if you actually think that NPA could win a byelection for park board ( or dog catcher for that matter), then you truly have gotten drunk on your own bathwater.

    • Waltyss, we’d appreciate it if you could leave a comment without adding derogatory remarks about our contributors. We do have a commenting policy here that you should read:

      As for Robertson setting the precedent which his caucus should follow, he had a choice back in 2008 to stay on and collect his MLA salary while running for office in another level of government. He didn’t, and therefore set the bar for others.

  • Brenton

    Just read on the twitter that Gordon Campbell became BC Liberal leader while still an NPA mayor. Can anyone confirm this?

    • Campbell was at the end of his third term and had announced he was not running again municipally. Barnes was just sworn in and was aware of BC’s fixed election date. By-elections are not required if it’s six months or less to the end of the term.

    • Ken

      Wow. Now Brenton is using Gordon Campbell as his new standard. OMG, this world is really getting bizarre.

      Probably a better comparison is Robertson, who is Barnes’ leader. He was in a very similar situation and ended up triggering a $1 million provincial by-election in order to run for mayor. As they say, politics is often driven by ego, not what’s best for voters.

  • boohoo

    News Flash! Politicians flip flop and lie to get ahead!

    Mike, what’s next? A breaking story on how water is wet?

    • The fact that Vision’s defenders are all here in droves this morning is a clear sign that there is some nervousness in the ranks. Barnes, in my opinion, made a mistake that will cost taxpayers a lot of money. The city’s maintenance budget has been slashed, and staff cutbacks are happening throughout the Park Board. That $1 million would have probably come in handy during these times of budget austerity.

      • boohoo

        Lol. vision defenders…I thought this was a new and improved non-hyper political blog? Guess not.

        Let me reiterate my vision defending by calling for the parties to be dissolved. Now that’s supporting democracy!

        • Sorry, boo. I must have missed your pro-NPA and anti-Vision comments along the way. If you want to submit a post on why you think we need to get rid of electoral organizations in Vancouver we’d be happy to run it.

          • boohoo


            You don’t get it (really? or just playing dumb?). I’m not pro NPA or anti NPA or pro vision or anti vision. I’m anti municipal political party, as stated a number of times. If I come across as pro vision it’s likely because they are the ones in power and I point out the hypocrisy of this blog and commenters who rant and rave about how bad vision is while their candidates would do exactly the same thing if they had power. Why? Because regardless of the party they are beholden to the party line and not intelligence, integrity and what’s best for the public.

            Can you sit here and actually tell me you think it’s working?

          • boohoo

            “Can you sit here and actually tell me you think it’s working?”

            Guess not 🙂

      • Waltyss

        A by-election will be triggered for sure if Barnes or any of the others follow your advice and resign because they are running.
        However, if they stay on and resign only if elected, then a by-election is triggered only if they win.
        All you want is a resignation so you and your ilk can bash them over the head with this “non-issue”.
        And Mike, before you get on me for beiing rude, have you checked on the name calling of some of your supporters. Angry Taxpayer called Chair Barnes a “fluffer”. In the event, you don’t know what that is, google it. The allegation is disgusting, particularly by comparison to calling you a shill (truth is a defence to allegations of rudeness). And not a word from you. I guess that was okay.

        • (Updated) I found AT’s “fluffer” comment and edited. I do not want anyone being called names here, regardless of their political stripe.

          I don’t police the comments, but if there is an issue that is drawn to my attention ( I’ll make sure it is dealt with.

        • Ned

          Fluffer… It’ s an old word, btw. I thought the word was defining someone dusting using a feather, gee! I quite like the new definition for this word. Quite becoming, and IMHO, most out of work politicians could use the skills. And after reading the new “definition” which could be interpreted same as the new meaning for the word “gay” instead of the original one that was intended to of being happy, outgoing, etc…)
          Anything else Whatanass?

      • Waltyss

        If you actually cared about the budget, and not just bashing Vision over the head, you would be advocating that they not resign unless and until they win. Or speaking of nervousness, do you sense that your beloved Liberals are going to lose every seat they have in Vancouver including the premiers. Since Barnes, Meggs and Bacchus are all reputed to be running in Liberal held seats, then if your Libs aren’t going down bigtime, would it not make sense to only have them resign if they win. Well no, because you need to manufacture an issue.
        I support Vision, no question. Nervous about a byelection, no. Just heard your buddy Suzanne on the CBC this morning shrilly regurgitating her Liberal party speaking notes and confirmed that Vision has nothing to fear.
        So Mike, are you nervous about all those Liberal losers trying to run municipally in the next election and bump you out of your NPA candidacy? I think I see sweat, Mike.

  • Steven Forth

    Hi Mike

    Could you clarify the normal process here? Will Vancouver have some form of by-election (is that the correct term?) to replace anyone who moves from municipal politics to provincial? What do other municipalities do?

    • @Steven. If you leave your office there is a by-election provided it’s not within the final months of the term. Since this is still the first of a three year mandate, once the person steps down the Vancouver Elections office has to call a by-election.

      • Steven Forth

        Thanks Mike

  • Tara Sundberg

    Based on this article and the author’s responses to the comments (I’d hardly call 3 comments ‘droves’), I will not be seeking this website for information in the future. We have enough biased blogging.

    • @Tara – the question of bias is a fair one to ask. I think it helps to understand the political leanings of all media sources. We provide mostly political commentary here and some news, and lean to the centre-right of the spectrum fiscally while espousing progressive urbanism. I left a comment expressing my point of view on this matter. I should think that this is a refreshing change. For example, I like to read the Georgia Straight. The editor Charlie Smith often weighs in with his own political commentary on the paper's blog. I respect the Straight's ability to get the story right, but also like to read Charlie's opinion, which I may or may not agree with. I don't consider their news necessarily tainted because of Charlie's point of view.

      If this fouls your view of what City Caucus publishes that's unfortunate. However, we stand by the integrity of the information we present, and value the ability of our readers to feedback to us through their thoughtful comments. 

      While there are many great journalists out there that do their damnedest to present the facts fairly, if you can find a news outlet that is without any political tilt we'd love to know about it.

    • Steven Forth

      @ Tara – CityCaucus is biased, or a least has a strong point of view, and it’s one that I disagree with more often than not. But sometimes they hit the nail on the head. And sometimes the disagreements provoke useful discussions. So I hope you will stay and continue to comment. Also, CC has been pretty good about inviting people with different political positions and points of view to post. They even invited me to post, and I hope at some point to take then up on it.

  • Ned

    IMHO crooked politicians like Robertson and Barnes who seem to be interested only in advancing their earning potential, regardless of the losses incurred by the stupid taxpayers that gave the jobs in the first place.
    For an action like this, in a fantasy world they deserve to lose their bids, just like George Chow lost his, and btw he was one of the least dangerous politicos.
    Robertson would not have been where he is if not for the millions of dollars spent on his ass. Now it’s the turn of the lower echelons. Apparently they feel they deserve it? How come? You suck at the municipal level but you think you are good enough provincially? It’s a nightmare…

    • Steven Forth

      “IMHO crooked politicians like Robertson and Barnes who seem to be interested only in advancing their earning potential” Can I have some of what you are smoking? Gregor Robertson could have any one of dozens of jobs that pay a multiple of what he gets paid now. And in what specific way is he ‘crooked’? Please give a factual, documented example.

      • Higgins

        Oh, Steven aren’t you the Vision Agent Orange, my friend?
        This made me ROTFLMAO :”Gregor Robertson could have any one of dozens of jobs that pay a multiple of what he gets paid now.”
        Of course he would get that from the likes of Tides Canada, Endswell, FD Element, Happy Planet, Ohana, Pembina, what else, Rockefeller Brothers Foundation… etc, etc… what am I missing? Charity organizations that are paying their own people 6 figures to move money around the border from one account to another? Charity my behind.Sweet jobs.
        Let’s put it differently…
        Vancouver Comp. is YOUR company. Your friends persuade you to hire Robertson ’cause he’s a jolly good fellow and of the right silver spoon fed pedigree. Good so far?
        First thing he does he fires YOUR manager, starts bringing his hand picked people in. Than he looses millions of YOUR money in pet projects and in bigger pet projects here and there, day in day out!
        Steven, honestly, you would Fire this punk in the blink of an eye. No remorse. It’s your money, right?
        Robertson, Chiu, Ballem and their cohorts squeezed the blood out of Vancouver’s veins in the past four years. None of them are on the list of the departed. here’s where the CROOKED thing is IMHO, the one you don’t recognize in Ned’s comment.
        If lying to get elected in office, incompetence and grandstanding would be really punishable, these guys would be getting conjugal visits right now.
        Yes he got the job of the Mayor, have to say it, people in Vancouver are that stupid!
        Their disastrous record in office is documented.
        But you have to accept it “as is” instead of trying to rewrite it according to your needs.
        But that’s Hard Work, and it’s a known fact, it’s not a compatible combination. LOL

  • Brilliant

    What? Waltyss a Vision supporter?! What a surprise. As to Tara Sundberg have you ever even posted anything hete before, or was this just a hit and run posting?

  • germanguy

    In the world of fact and not argument, someone should ask barnes, meggs, bacchus about the vision candidate questionaire- when I thought about running I remember a clear question on it that asked if you would finish your term, yes or no. The damn thing was 30 + pages long with very detailed questions and it all went back to the executive director ian baillie and then you had an interview.

    • The Angry Taxpayer


      So much for nailing down the upright.

      Well, germanguy, at least you didn’t have to fill it out in triplicate.

      Or did you?!

  • rf

    Am I crazy to suggest that Vision will use a Barnes-Vacated seat by-election as a test run for Electronic voting?

    Am I crazier to suggest that perhaps this was premeditated? By that I mean that Vision told Barnes to go ahead an run recognizing the by-election as an opportunity to do a dry run with electronic voting prior to 2015?

  • teririch

    I can tell you, the mining community is EXTREMELY nervous about the possibility of an NDP government.

    They devasted the industry the last go around, trying to blame the losses on ‘markets’. Yet exploration in other countries was booming at the same time BC hit the skids.

    There was a large conference here this weekend and the NDP were a stong topic of conversation.

    The NDP and the resource nationalism that hit us last sad go around.

    • waltyss

      And of course after 10 years of Liberal government, how many mines have we opened in the province? The interesting thing is that while the Liberals gave so many gifts to the business community we have lost count (only the gift of the HST failed), and yet peoples’ incomes have stagnated, the resource sectors lie devastated (only gas development started under the NDP has prospered) and I doubt many people today can say they are better off today than they were in 2001.
      Just facts, teri, rather than mining types trying to out horror story each other at cocktail parties.

      • rf

        ….”not many people today can say they are better off than they were in 2001″

        Seriously, Walt? Or do you just hang around with people who tried crack for the first time in 2001?

      • teririch

        Facts Waltyss?

        Yesterday the Endako Mine expansion opened. They estimate that it will bring a1,000 jobs to a hard hit area along with $100’s of millions of economic beenfit to the Province.

        Yes, the mining industry certainly has been devastated….. rolls eyes.

        • Waltyss

          Here is the press announcement from Rich Coleman, one of the few competent ministers in this government: Endako Mine has been issued a Mines Act permit amendment which will increase production, create approximately 160 new jobs and sustain a total of 400 employees in the north, announced Minister of Energy and Mines Rich Coleman.
          To get to your number, you need a multiple of 6.25 which is to say 5.25 new indirect jobs out of the expansion of a mine in existence since 1965. My comment was about new mines.
          I am happy about the Endako expansion but new mines. You don’t mention any and the Minister didn’t mention any so the answer is probably zip.
          As for the resource sector, forestry and pulp is devastated. The oil and gas industry is going well. Mining, not so much. Your point is what?

          • teririch


            No new mines? Well don’ t tell:

            Compliance Energy
            Dolly Varden Silver
            Infinitey Metals
            Iron Tank Resources
            Manado Gold
            Silver Mountain Mines
            Matnic Resources
            Unique Resources
            New Afton

            As they are all under a different impression ….

            With Endako – that mine will offer full time, high paying jobs to hundreds of people over the life span (average life span of a mine is 17 years) of the mine and will also effect those in like minded businesses.

            Do you know that Komatsu won the contract to supply heavy equipment to Copper Mountain (mine opened fall of 2011) to the tune of $85 million? Vancouver based Gisborne Group took the contract for infrastructure.

            Mines, from start to finish contribute millions upon millions of dollars to our Provincial economy. And employ many, many people. In 2010, there were over 305,000 people employed in miing, Canada wide and the Canadian mines contributed over $8.4 billion dollars in taxes.

            Canada is reaping the benefits of poor policies that other countries have instituted. But when governments start looking at them as a ‘cash cow’ and taxing the crap out of them, they will leave to greener pastures. And there are plenty places to take the money and the jobs.

            That is something the NDP could not figure out the last go around. Especially when they start placing a tax of sorts on minerals that are still in the group – not even mined yet.

            Resource nationalism at its finest.

            It was great that the Liberals established an job training fund in order to allow people to train for underground mining, rather than having to import workers for these high paying jobs.

            The North Island College started its second Underground Mining program in May.

  • Working Mom

    Here is my question, how can Barnes and Meggs (if he decides to run) be true to the role of an elected civic official while running for a provincial elections? Also who is going to monitor the conflict of interest? Kudos for them if they want to move up the political ladder – but at what expense to us the tax payer?

    At the last election I had to send a formal complaint to the elections board because Raymond Louie got hold of an email list and was spamming us with endless emails of fear mongering about the NPA, insults about Sam Sullivan and asking for money to support his Vision campaign. What really upset me was he was using the City of Vancouver email address! My tax dollars being used for his political campaigning.

    If any elected officials plan to run for a new position and it does not matter what party you are with, then you should look at resigning and focus on your campaign and avoid potential conflict of interests.

    As outlined in the Candidates Guide for BC Elections:

    “Elected officials must conduct themselves in an open, transparent and accountable manner and avoid situations that may bring their integrity or the integrity of the council or the board into question.”

  • Brilliant

    The resource sector lies devastated? Better not tell the resource sector that Walt..LOL

  • Thought of The Day

    “You’re either with us or … you’re with us!”

    in response to last comment from teririch (btw Mike, could we have a number attached to the comment so we could easily refer to it? Thanks)

    NDP, in typical Vision spirit, or vice verso, have always wanted to “plant” their people in “consultant” positions… more like the communists did in theirs, and FYI they were called “local party secretaries” in the majority of big corporations, main industries.

    As the majority of them have refused their offer politely, they ended up …”inconvenienced”.

    Twas like this:

    Only remember what the Vision Vancouver cronies have done to the City Hall, now extrapolate and think what the NDP will do with the rest of the Province.
    In all fairness, if I’m honest… not that the BC Liberals are better! 🙂

    Maybe, with this new wave of different media out there, with people being connected over the internet, having no boundaries, maybe it’s the best time in the history, for voters to look out of the box and empower Independent Politicians.
    Just saying.

    We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.

    • Ron

      “Maybe, with this new wave of different media out there, with people being connected over the internet, having no boundaries, maybe it’s the best time in the history, for voters to look out of the box and empower Independent Politicians.
      Just saying.

      That would require independant thought. Good luck on that one!

      They don’t call us sheeple for nothing!

  • Ron

    How is this news btw? The only thing that would be shocking was people not running for Vancouver city hall NOT as a stepping stone for provincial politics?