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What Gregor has to say about Gordon Campbell now

April 16th, 2009 · 14 Comments

I notice that other media keep reporting on what people around Gregor have to say about the mayor’s enthusiastic introduction of Gordon Campbell a couple of weeks ago (previous story here). You know, the introduction that would have gone unnoticed if the province weren’t on the brink of an election and if people weren’t looking for signs of hot schism.

First, there was a story in the Georgia Straight about Geoff Meggs saying what he thought the mayor regretted his glowing intro of the premier. Then there was another story today about “someone” in the mayor’s office saying the mayor did not endorse having his comments used in the Liberals’ campaign brochure.

Unless I’m missing something, few people have talked to the Robertson himself, except for Bill Good, who had him on a show recently and questioned him about the kerfuffle.

Out of idle curiosity, I asked the mayor a couple of days ago, while I was interviewing him about something else, what he had to say about the whole thing.

“I was over-exuberant in introducing the premier to an international audience,” he said, sounding a little exasperated but patient. “There were almost no voters there. I wasn’t thinking politically. It was a sport and environment conference. But given that we’re so close to an election, some of my comments were misconstrued by people. There have been people interpreting it as a political statement and it’s not.”

He also notes that he was also supportive of the principle of a carbon tax, though he “voted agains the one that got brought in without debate.” He said the province’s current carbon tax is problematic because it’s revenue neutral, which “doesn’t make any sense.” [For those who might argue that he’s fudging, I asked him about his position on the carbon tax back last July, when he was just running for mayor. He told me that while he wasn’t that happy with the way his former party had focused on the “axe the tax” message, he supported the fact that they had put forward an alternative plan, one that he’d had a part in. He wished they had focused more on that, rather than making it seem as though they were opposed to any attempt at carbon reduction.]

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  • delores

    On some levels I find his comments to Frances fairly helpful and edifying. I actually agree with Gregor when he critiques this specific carbon tax, even NDP’ers like Michael Byers have commented that the party might have been better off using a slogan like “improve the tax” rather than their current approach which comes across as being both opportunistic and crass. Still there’s something rather troubling about Gregor’s comments.

    It seems to me that he is suggesting that its neccesarry for him to speak one way to voters and another to an “international audience”. To the latter Gordon Campbell is Gregor’s new BFF, a hero going for a three peat, who has passed a great carbon tax and left Vancouver in a healthy state. But to voters, Gregor, I guess, would deliver a different political message, one that is critical of the carbon tax and less enthusiastic about Campbell’s legacy. Isnt this kind of opportunist double speak what’s wrong with our political system in the first place?

  • Travis

    I hate to break it to the Mayor, but as a politician speaking about another politician at a sport and environmental conference is political. It doesn’t really matter what his intentions were. I don’t think that it’s unreasonable to make the connection.

  • FABula et al…..

    Do you think that, perhaps, you see poles being put in the ground for a really big provincial tent to house Mr. Robertson off in the distance?


  • not running for mayor

    I wonder what plants they will grow in the yet unannounced gardens on the foot of the legs building in Victoria.

  • LP

    I read that piece by Palmer the day it came out and thought it was hilarious.

    It occured to me that perhaps Gregor had been sitting at a “smoking” table with Ross Rebagliati, with neither inhaling of course. Surely the explanation had to be that there was something causing hallucinations in our dear mayor when giving that introduction.

    If it wasn’t the fumes, the way I see it, it’s one of two things. He’s either nieve and foolish enough to not quite comprehend that as mayor people are paying attention to what he says…..

    Or its all bloody politics and he’s speaking out of both sides of his mouth.

    So, in summary a politician that is nieve, foolish, or lying. Now at least I can rest comfortably knowing we have yet another politician showing their full stripes – who promised to be different in his election campaign.

    “Let’s hear it for the carbon tax,” he urged, triggering an enthusiastic round of applause from the crowd.”

    When Gregor follows his destiny to the NDP throne, it will be good for all of BC to know what he truly supports when there are no politics in play, as Gregor himself explained.

    Put that quote aside people, those sentiments will come back to bite us in the ass one day.

  • Rachel

    I’m just waiting for the news that Carol James is out and Gregor will be running for her job. That time will come…

  • glissando remmy

    I have a confession to make. It’s my entire fault. Gregor has nothing on these shenanigans.
    Let me explain. Few years back, I think it was in the beginning of 2005 I’ve sent G’s campaign team my book on wicked human behaviour titled “The fine art of sucking up!”, you know, with all the personal touch crap included.
    I don’t know if he read it thoroughly or not but for sure he browsed it. How do I know that? Easy! Did he suck up to the constituents, enough for them to give him their vote? You bet. That would be teachings from chapter four “Smile, wave and kiss the baby”
    But, I have the feeling he never read the first two chapters “Sucking up to your boss” and “Life’s a bitch, taxes are for ever”
    That’s superficial, man.
    For two and a half boring, painful, anonymous years in the Victoria Legislature he could not get out the answer to that simple question. Who’s the boss?
    He tried and tried to climb up the ladder toward higher grounds and ask, but the way to Carol’s office was guarded by too many old, farting knights and bishops. Pity, it seems that chapter seven “Stepped in shit? Change shoes!” would have been a good read.
    Maybe he wanted to rub shoulders with Gordo El Maximus. We will never know. Then of course there was the limelight, or the lack of it I may say. Ah, to say he did not like the new found public exposure is similar to saying a wolf will never adjust to lamb chops. Then in a moment of brilliance (more or less – see chapters ten:” If it pays more, take it! ” and eleven: “Screw them gently, in instalments”) he recognized the potential, seized the opportunity and having the right backing he embarked on a new adventure.
    The Mayor’s ottoman was up for grabbing. No boss, imagine that! One single good thing came out of it so far: Stephen Herbert!
    Now, Gregor is the Vancouver’s El Comandante and he still doesn’t understand who the boss is, because he thinks he is. Poor him, he may be confused.
    He didn’t know who his boss (BC people) was when playing the MLA. He doesn’t know who his boss (Vancouver people) is now either?
    Him becoming Mayor reminded me of that saying:” Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me”
    So, you see it is my entire fault! I omitted to insert a note with “Read the first two chapters, first!” and/or a chapter priority list within my book.
    Do I have a final thought for him on this? Yes I do. Read chapter Eight: “Media interviews. Never suck up on an empty stomach!” For “Gordo”ness sake, easy on the Happy Juice.
    We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.
    Another favourite of mine, this time an Aesop fable. It goes so well with Gregor’s entire Leo performance. It feels so familiar, like a glove on a gardener’s hand, like a saddle on horse’s back, like a Royal Biltmore on a “naked” head…

    The Lion and the Hare

    A LION came across a Hare, who was fast asleep. He was just in the act of seizing her, when a fine young Hart trotted by, and he left the Hare to follow him. The Hare, scared by the noise, awoke and scudded away. The Lion was unable after a long chase to catch the Hart, and returned to feed upon the Hare. On finding that the Hare also had run off, he said, “I am rightly served, for having let go of the food that I had in my hand for the chance of obtaining more.”

  • Darcy McGee

    > but as a politician speaking about another politician
    > at a sport and environmental conference is political.

    He didn’t say it wasn’t. He said he “wasn’t thinking politically” which is, essentially, admitting his own failing.

    Gregor isn’t terribly experienced, and one should expect such things to happen.

  • LP


    “Gregor isn’t terribly experienced….”, oh come on now.

    He’s founded a successful business, he entered provincial politics and won his seat in a former Liberal riding, and he’s now mayor of Vancouver. He’s also in his 40’s and keeps a pretty decent rolodex of friends and associates.

    I think its about time that everyone stops thinking gregor is the deer caught in the headlights already. He left the big boy pottie years ago and I’m also pretty sure the apron strings to his mommie were cut as well.

    Time to either strap up that jock and play in the big leagues or go back to squeezing fruit into overpriced juice.

    So everyone please stop making excuses for the man already, and see him for what he is – another politician talking out of both sides of his mouth and getting caught in the act.

    Oh, and don’t forget that he’s another tax loving, hand in your pocket politician. Everyone give a round of applause for the carbon tax!!

  • Gassy Jack’s Ghost

    I believe Mr. Robertson was a member of the Greens before he was NDP, wasn’t he? And his election in Fairview was helped immensely by the backing of the former (2001) and current Green candidate in that riding, Vanessa Violini. So his comments about the carbon tax aren’t so out of character – the Greens even side with Gordo on this one.

    The rest of the bag-scrubbing was certainly over the top, and I don’t think it can be underestimated how many people he turned off – myself included. But I do like Ross’ suggestion: I would find Gregor the future provincial Liberal leader a lot more palatable than Gregor the future provincial NDP leader. After all, pre-Gordo, the Libs were a moderate party, not the banana republic-style dictators they have become.

    Or am I just being gassy?

  • Denis

    He may not be perfect but sure beats the guy before him and previous right wingers? Would we prefer he follows a script written by someone else. Ladner stuck his onw mayor and look where he ended up

  • glissando remmy

    Just in!
    Enough about the Gees, what a waste of time with these guys, just terrible! I am kicking myself for spending time on them.
    Watch the following seven minutes on YouTube. Following is the link:

    It will make your day.
    Her name: Susan Boyle, a wannabe singer or maybe… something more? You be the judge.

  • Darcy McGee

    LP: Gregor isn’t terribly experience in politics.

    The fact that he “won his seat in a form LIberal riding” doesn’t make a difference.

    The fact that that he keeps a “rolodex of friends and associates” doesn’t equal experience in politics, where the wrong words at the wrong time can be construed as an endorsement.

    I’m not making excuses for the man. I think he never should have run for mayor. He should have spent some time on council first or–better yet–not broken his promise to the people who elected him their NDP representative.

    He should have at least finished one term prior to running for mayor.

    As for the Carbon Tax, I think it’s wonderful. Then again, I cycle to work a minimum of four days a week. The NDP is trying to label it a “gas tax” which it is not, and their promise to abolish it is regressive and backward looking.

  • MB

    I may stand to be corrected, but I thought the carbon tax added up to 2 point something cents per litre of gasoline intially, then 7 point something cents after a few years.

    Big hairy deal. Oil company excecs, who have a history if stimulating price swings orders of magnitude larger, must be snickering under their breath.

    What I don’t like about it is that it doesn’t fund anything. The creators are happy enough to let it spin its way into neutrality under the inane hope people will diminish their consumption of fossil fuels while few alternatives are being provided.