Group hug, everyone. Mayor Robertson in his own words

Post by Mike Klassen in


gregor hugs

Mayor Gregor Robertson has a reputation for being a bundle of niceness. As a powerhouse of intellect and original thinking, not so much. No matter, Vancouver's mayor is a passionate advocate for the dispossessed, who worked diligently as the MLA for Vancouver-Fairview sticking up for the little guy, and leaving a notable legacy as one of the strongest voices ever to sit in BC's legislature. Right?

In August 2007, just six months before he announced he was running for Mayor, Gregor in his own words posted this message on his "priorities" as the MLA for Vancouver-Fairview on his website:

Two years ago, as a newly-elected politician, I had high hopes for bringing a "fresh approach" to BC politics. Today I'm even more convinced that it's urgently needed, but am frankly aghast by how small-minded our political realm is.

I set three goals to guide my fresh approach:

  • Represent, inspire and engage more people in politics
  • Bring more balance to BC's polarized politics
  • Focus on the big picture

Whaa? You mean to tell me the hero of Vancouver's underclass was really focused on The Big Picture? What about homelessness, what about affordable housing, what about tapping into the city's creativity?

I'm beginning to think we were mislead. You can't tell me he was repackaged for public consumption by Vision Vancouver's public relations machine! Surely there is some substance to MLA Robertson's earnest objectives to change politics and improve The Big Picture.

Robertson continues in his 2006 posting about his accomplishments after 2 years as an MLA...

Time for a check-in at the halfway mark of this first term. In a nutshell:

  • I'm pleased with my representation and engagement goal - this involves all of us and we've risen to the challenge.
  • Despite slight improvement, balance is still way out of whack in our political realm.
  • There's a huge lack of attention on the big picture. This urgently needs more of our collective attention.

What a shame that MLA Robertson wasn't able to finish his good work during his abbreviated term as a rookie MLA, and bring more attention to The Big Picture.


I've enjoyed finding nuggets under-reported stories and leads on your blog since it launched. However, I'm growing steadily disappointed. The party at the Vancouver club was news and newsworthy. This is just another partisan rant that wasted my time. There are so many Robertson-bashing posts on this blog that I'm beginning to wonder if this is what it professes to be -- a civic issues blog about Canadian cities -- or if this is an outlet for an obsession with Robertson. Give it a rest and give me some substance! And variety!

What do they say about the weather in Calgary? If you don't like it now wait five minutes.

The fact is that has consistently raised more new topics than any other blog covering civic affairs. Who else has discussed 311, contracting out, small business on the DTES, the scandalous lack of response to winter storms, politicization of city staff, dubious capital expenditures like Firehall No. 15, and the increasing frequency of "in-camera" decision making?

Trust us when we say there's much more to come. As for Gregor's reputation taking a hit, I'm sure there's plenty of high-priced public relations in reserve to make him seem like Einstein.

Remember, there are 10 members of Council in lock-step, and one opposition member. There are dozens of pro-Vision blogs, and we are just one who does not think they're so great.

So everyone, sit down, have a cup of chamomile and remind yourselves that we are just one little ol' blog.

The Big Picture? Really? Come on, guys. You can do better, and usually do.

Vancouverites seem to choose their Mayor these days as they would a first date. Presents well, good looking, soft spoken & well mannered, makes you feel good about yourself. Then, sadly, your begin to wonder... hmmmm... maybe, he's just not that into you? Vancouver is a stopping point for Mayor Robertson. He's after a much bigger catch that will likely follow the Liberals being re-elected in the spring, the demise of Carol James' leadership of the NDP and his going for gold in another 4 years as their new leader. Where things may well get ugly for him at this point is how much political fallout he will take once the unions get wind that the contracts they signed with the COV following the strike are too rich for the City to afford given the present economic climate and Council instructs management to start to look for some serious concessions over and above the hiring freeze. I think Mr. Meggs worked rather heavily in the background orchestrating the negotiations to assist CUPE during the strike. What will happen to that support base? Sounds like the makings of a very nasty breakup.

This is petty partisan garbage, and silly, and this site seems to be getting worse all the time. If you want people to read you have to stop acting like a public relations firm and start acting like journalists.

"As for Gregor's reputation taking a hit, I'm sure there's plenty of high-priced public relations in reserve to make him seem like Einstein."

I'm not concerned about Gregor's reputation taking a hit. I'm not pro-Vision. But I am beginning to wonder if Sam is planning on staging a comeback, with two ex-staffers expending so much energy on negative Robertson news. What about Toronto? Aren't you guys based in Ottawa? Isn't there something happening out there as well?

You're right, you're one little ol' blog, but if your purpose is to provide the non-existent opposition to Vision, then be up-front about it instead of masquerading as providing "respectful dialogue about Canada's major urban centres." Robertson needs opposition, I agree. But don't pretend to be journalists on civic affairs in general if your real goal in launching this blog is to go after him.

Veronica, I like your thoughtful responses. I dunno, maybe it's just me, but I just think it's noteworthy when the public image is at odds with reality. We are so susceptible to public relations and marketing, especially when it comes to political figures, that it makes sense to me that when you have this kind of evidence you share it. It is not meant be malicious, but it's certainly not meant to be approving.

Think of how the media handled Sarah Palin last year. In the end the person didn't live up to the packaging.

To be more plain, I think Gregor is the proverbial straw man of politics. If he succeeds in proving otherwise, then I'll be quick to acknowledge this.

No, we're not based out east. We are from Vancouver, but we have columnists from Toronto & Ottawa.

Teresa - Partisan garbage? I can assure you I have no political affiliations whatsoever. I am just calling it as I see it. The sense I have since Mayor R. put his hat in the ring we go another "one hit wonder" who has made a lot of deals that he will have to reconcile before getting re-elected or moving on. We seem to eat Mayor's for breakfast in this town lately. Political stripes aside, what I want to see is a Council and Mayor that is not simply interested in stepping over us to get to the next level politically. Homelessness, for example, needs a long long term plan more than the promise of meeting weekly to talk about it and openning some temporary shelters and going on a few tours of the DTES.

Veronica - I don't think you can have a website on Civic affairs without talking politics. Furthermore, I don't think any comeback is planned for Sam S.I do think the right of centre is having a hard time with its idenity in Vancouver. I think part of DF's purpose here is to bring some of their issues to the forefront in order to bring about change and no doubt momentum to their constituency. I don't think this necessarily means a repackaging of the NPA specifically, I think he speaks to something much broader than that. More than anything this website amongst others is trying to figure out what Vancouverites and Canadians at large want their Civic politics to be about. I don't see any harm in that at all.

I've read this site regularly and comment if there is something relevant to go on about or add to...But I have to agree with the above - your affiliations with the former city administration (and alignment in generaly with the prov libs) definetly paints a bias that often comes through in your you mentioned above ...I will look forward to hearing your response when positive things occur....(and they have already occured and been occuring since Dec.)
Lets not forget its not too often that "successful businessmen" in private life bring their talents to the public sector and also fight for the little guy...that in itself is unique ...but is not what you at CCaucus are used would appear!
Anyways I'll keep checking the site to see for the next piece of "substance"...still waiting for the gang violence - blogs / news...

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