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Former B.C. Liberal candidate to join Vancouver city hall

July 16th, 2009 · 18 Comments

It’s not formally announced yet, but one more body is about to be added to the crew at 12th and Cambie — former journalist and recent B.C. Liberal candidate Robin Adair. He’ll be handling “intergovernmental relations” and, for the time being, communications — something that Laurie Best was doing until recently, but she’s being moved over to head up online and web stuff, I’ve been told.

Adair hasn’t started his job yet — start date is yet to be announced, but I’m hearing that he’s being brought in so that the city has some kind of formal staff channel to talk to the provincial government. For the last decade, the city’s staff connections to the province have been maintained in a kind of ad hoc way. Various departments each had their own links to people in Victoria, while city manager Judy Rogers could always call her former boss, deputy premier Ken Dobell.

With Rogers having been evacuated from city hall — or whatever the current euphemism is for fired/replaced/dumped — and various senior people retiring, the new crew wants a designated hitter in place for calling Victoria. Hence Adair — interesting choice. Also interesting: the previous designated hitter for intergovernmental stuff was Brent Humphreys, now departed from the mayor’s office and doing, I think, some kind of contract work. But Adair will be a regular staffer. Hmmm.

I don’t know much about him, so all informative comments welcome.

(BTW, some of this news got leaked previously to the NPA’s attack team,, while I was still away, which did not at all make the mayor’s team happy. Lots of talk of heads rolling.)

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  • Hi Frances,

    Just as you are not the Vision attack team, neither is the NPA attack team. I think the inference is beneath you.

    The truth is that we don’t much like what they write about us at all, and I’ve argued publicly with Daniel on their site because of it.

    We agree occasionally with positions they have taken independently, such as the poor implementation and lack of adequate services and consultation for homeless shelters shoved under the Granville Street Bridge, but we also agree with positions you have taken. And no one is accusing you of coordinating with the NPA.

    The truth is that the new NPA Board is the most diverse board in our history, and has five new members under 30. Our elected councillor, Suzanne Anton, is a committed environmentalist who rides her bike enthusiastically to work every day. We are not your father’s NPA, in other words. And we’re not affiliated or associated in any way with the folks behind city caucus anymore than we’re secretly in league with you …

  • Des

    While CityCaucus was a touch snarky about how they broke the Adair news – the leak was a coup for them – surely this was going to be announced eventually regardless. Why hire someone you’d want to be secretive about? Surely CityCaucus was going to comment on this at some point anyways, so again, why all the hush-hush?

  • Frances Bula

    Sean — Give me another term and I’ll happily use it. (“Fair and balanced” is already taken.) As you know, other media also have used similar descriptors to try to describe this new form of point-of-view commentary in the form of new-media journalism. Any suggestions?

  • Vancouverism

    I have to agree with Des and Sean. Taking pokes at the CityCaucasians for scooping the media on a story is really out of character for you, Frances.

    Is Adair really headed to the mayor’s team to replace Humphreys, or was the information about him being hired by the city instead correct? It’s one thing for a BC Lib to be hired as a city liaison, but it’s another to be hired as political staff among NDP and Greens.

  • Frances Bula

    Not sure what you guys are talking about. I reported that the mayor’s office not happy about the scoop — and I’m sure the citycaucans are thrilled to read on my blog that they have caused annoyance at city hall. I expressed no opinion on it. If I started dumping on people for getting scoops, I’d have a pretty bitter blog since I get scooped at least every week by someone or another, as do we all.

  • Frances Bula

    Re your second comment: He really is being hired as a staffer, as I’ve been assured multiple times in a round of emails.

  • jane

    Soooo happy that you are back Frances…

  • Frances Bula

    Well, I’m glad someone is happy I’m back. And I am soooo happy to be home.

  • Brian

    It’s good to have someone so connected with the inside track from Robertson’s desk. We really appreciate the info, Frances.

  • Inside the building

    City caucus is to the NPA what Rush Limbaugh is to the Republican party – the political parties claim independence and moderation but are happy to let talking heads do their dirty work

  • Frothingham

    “ form of point-of-view commentary in the form of new-media journalism.”


  • You occupy a unique place in the blogosphere, Frances, and I guess we hold you to a higher standard, but from me I want you to know it’s a mark of respect and written as a loyal reader.

    On a more human note, welcome back – your letters from Europe and the innovations in urban living there were great to read.

  • Frothingham

    You nailed them between their beady little eyes.

  • Lots of scoopier backgrounder stuff on the good Mr. Adair over at Sean Holman’s place.

    For the record, to my mind at least an Holman/Bula tag-team effort on Provincial/Lotuslandian intergovernmental relations would be the Public’s Attack Team – especially if it were to suddenly start snowing in August.


  • Gassy Jack’s Ghost

    Kinda ironic to post this story today, the same day there were courthouse revelations that someone in the Provincial upper echelon apparently ordered emails related to the BC Rail case deleted in May during the election campaign! Couple this potentially government-toppling news with an ever-ballooning provincial deficit and massive budget cuts, and I doubt even getting Ken Dobell back on the City payroll would make any difference – the Liberals are bankrupt in every sense of the word.

  • I count all the usual suspects. Are there no other voices in town?

    “The role of government has been framed so narrowly by material aims and hollowed out by a misguided vision of unbounded consumer freedoms. The concept of governance itself stands in urgent need of renewal.”

    Ummmm do I detect the manufacturing of some kind of conspiracy here . . . is the summer news doldrums so bereft?

    Another hurricane in a thimble?

    . . . next thing you know we’ll have a cyclist on staff and oooooh la la Susan Anton rides her bike to work . . . the enviro is saved . . . we are saved . . . sheeesh!

  • PS Next thing we know gmgw will be threatening to bop us all . . . metaphorically of course.

  • PPS question for Scoop Bula . . .

    Has Mafeking been relieved yet?