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Robertson stumbles as he tries to answer LaPointe question about union deal

October 27th, 2014 · 46 Comments

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson can be forceful about the issues he has convictions on, but something I’ve noticed over the years is how poorly he handles questions where he thinks he might be accused of doing something wrong but he isn’t quite sure.

That was on display full force Sunday, when the mayor was asked about the audio recording made at a union meeting recently, where Geoff Meggs assured union leaders that the mayor had re-committed to a position of not contracting out any new services. Later, after Meggs and three other members of the Vision team had left, the union talked about who it would support with campaign-finance donations. Vision was the big winner, although COPE, OneCity and PEP (the last two being COPE breakaways), got some too.

Bob Mackin got the audio recording, presumably from a CUPE 1004 member, which you can listen to here and here. (Can’t imagine who that union member might have been, ha ha — see previous stories on CUPE 1004.)

The mayor could have come up with a number of reasonable-sounding arguments and even a counter-attack –i.e. was the NPA planning to privatize city services? A red herring, but, hey, that’s what campaigns are all about.

Instead, he flopped and floundered. He tried to turn the argument to the NPA’s detail-free platform. (People started jeering.) He implied, both in the debate and the scrum afterwards, that somehow Meggs was down there on his own doing some kind of freelance policy improvisation. He didn’t even seem to know that it’s been his own party’s longstanding policy not to add to what is already contracted out. He said there was no iron-clad commitment on that. (My story here.)

Robertson “clarified” all of that this morning. In the meantime, the NPA went out in full force this morning, talking about a corrupt union deal, while other anti-Vision types have been on the phone to me suggesting this is a criminal act of influence peddling.

For those wondering what it takes to be charged with actual influence peddling, a couple of examples here and here.






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