His Worship John Furlong?

Post by Daniel Fontaine in ,


John Furlong
John Furlong (l), CEO of the 2010 Winter Olympics with Federal Minister of Sport Gary Lunn

As the number of people dissatisfied with the current Vision administration seems to grow daily, the one question on people's mind is "if not Mayor Gregor, then who?" With the NPA in sleep mode, armchair political pundits are throwing around a number of names as possible mayoral candidates including Carole Taylor, Arthur Griffiths and Tung Chan. Any one of these individuals would give Gregor a run for his money, with Taylor being a virtual shoe-in if she decided to take the plunge.

Increasingly, however, another name seems to be making it to the top of the podium. The person I am referring to is the ever-popular John Furlong, CEO of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympics Games. Not only is Furlong admired in every corner of the city, he has a number of things going in his favour if he wants to make a bid for mayor in 2011.

Right off the top, Furlong is still relatively a young man. I suspect that by 2011, he probably has at least two civic terms in him if he really wanted to go that far. He also has a very high profile and name recognition with the public, which in civic politics is worth its weight in gold.

Having been the CEO of the Olympics for so many years, he also knows every nook and cranny of Vancouver better than most city engineers. Therefore, the learning curve would be minimal.

Post March 2010, Furlong will also be basking in what will be considered one of the most successful Olympic Games ever held. Much of that credit will be attributed to its CEO, who despite all the odds, was able to keep his dynamic team together without any major scandals or disruptions. This is an incredible feat worthy of an Olympic medal unto itself.

If Furlong were to decide to throw his hat in the ring for Mayor of Vancouver, he would have no problem raising the kind of money needed to run a successful campaign. His "star" power would also be a real draw to attract the kind of talented individuals that council sorely lacks at the moment. Furlong's oratory skills and ability to motivate are also off the charts.

Another big positive for Furlong is that he appeals to both the left and right of the political spectrum. In many ways, you could consider him the ultimate "non-partisan" candidate. His track record of securing big dollars from senior levels of government to build a number of world-class facilities also demonstrates his inter-governmental relations skills.

As for his "green" track record, Furlong committed that he would run the most enviro-friendly Games ever. Here is an excerpt of what he wrote in VANOC's sustainability report back in 2007/2008:

We have completed our inventory of carbon emissions and are consolidating our carbon reduction efforts. We will be announcing our Carbon Management Program and hope it will help inspire all those touched by our Games to also take responsibility for reducing their carbon footprint.

So far Furlong has been coy about his future prospects post-Olympics. He has indicated he will take a few months off and head out to the cabin for a well-deserved bit of rest and relaxation.

Most doubt that his trip to the countryside will last very long and that he will be back in the spotlight before you can say His Worship. If he were to announce sometime next summer that he planned on running for mayor, he would have 12 months to mount a very credible campaign.

At what point the folks I'm talking to actually make a formal proposition to Furlong is yet unknown, but rest assured it's bound to happen. If Furlong were to throw his hat in the ring, it would clearly be his election to lose.

Electing John Furlong as Mayor would also be a fitting tribute by the citizens of Vancouver for a man who dedicated himself to successfully putting the city on the world stage. We'll keep you posted if we hear anything more concrete from the elusive group of individuals volunteering on the Recruit John Furlong for Mayor Ad-Hoc Committee.


Answer the CityCaucus.com Poll Question! Which of the following individuals do you think would stand the best chance of defeating Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson in 2011?

Update: The Vancouver Sun writes a great opinion piece on John Furlong's performance as CEO


"Right off the top, Furlong is still relatively a young man."


I double checked, and the picture above is correctly labeled. Mr. Furlong is indeed the wrinkled/bejoweled/grey haired gentleman on the left. Not to be ageist but a comment like that demands a response.

Not sure if citycaucus noticed but "the torch has been passed" so to speak. Both the popular Mayors of Vancouver and Surrey and a number of other local municipalities are members of generation X.

Admired in every corner of the city? All I can observe about that is that many many people are second guessing our priorities in hosting the Games, including people who voted yes in the referendum like myself.

I'm sure he's quite a nice guy and he seems very genuine but really what has citycaucus been smoking?

I was merely trying to point out that 60 is the new 50. We no longer put out our politicians to pasture once they hit the "golden age".

I for one would rather have a few grey hairs, substance and charisma over someone without any depth.

Wasn't Larry Campbell "retired" as Chief Coroner and an ex-RCMP before that before becoming COPE's mayoralty candidate? Age aside, Furlong might be a long shot to decide to run, but he would definitely be a welcome change. Unlike Gregor the man has substance, a compelling personal story, and a clear ability to be the boss. This is a very interesting proposition.

It's difficult to imagine why John Furlong would want the job, when the qualifications seem to include a big ego and few management skills.

If John indeed needs further employment, I would expect he could land a real job.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a REAL Mayor for Vancouver? Either John Furlong or Carole Taylor.

Someone who has common sense, a visionary and business savvy – instead we have the current Vision/Cope folks who really are clueless to what keeps a city vibrant and alive..... Working People and Businesses!

Doesn’t Vision realize that they are forcing people to move out of Vancouver so that they can find a place that is more liveable? That is Safe? That is family friendly? That is Business friendly?

Sorry but I am done with these far-left-wing impractical idiots. Put some real people in City Hall – Vancouver and Vancouverites deserve this as we pay for this with our taxes!

John is fabulous. I hope he decides to run for mayor. He'd have my support and the support of every single one of my neighbours. It's time to start thinking about getting rid of Robertson and his left-wing nutties. We need someone with class, dignity and smarts to be our mayor.

Mayor ?

How about Premier

So if the Olympics turn into a huge cash drain on the city and province, you then would want one of the actors to be mayor of the city?

Please Fred, don't give him any ideas. We desperately need him to take over the helm in Vancouver and rid us of Vision. There are a lot of other folks capable of running the province. We have first dibs.

Campaigning for a job in 2011, CityCaucus?

I'm sure there are a number of people that will consider a run for mayor either with or without the NPA, and Furlong may very well be one of them, but your boosterism is a bit odd right now.

"Another big positive for Furlong is that he appeals to both the left and right of the political spectrum." and "Not only is Furlong admired in every corner of the city..."

Really? You do mean Vancouver, right? Can you point me in the direction of groups on the traditional left that he appeals to? And by "appeals to", I mean groups that would support his mayoral bid. I can't think of any off the top of my head. And by "every corner of the city" do you include Red Square, Hastings-Sunrise, the Nanaimo-Renfrew strip, and south Main/Fraser?

His ability to keep his dynamic team together was lubricated by millions of dollars; whether his leadership played a key role in that aspect I don't know, but I do know people that hated and people that loved working for VANOC.

I think you hit on some of his strengths well: fundraising, name recognition, (upcoming) green record, and intergovernmental work. And apologies to the above poster, but despite his gray hair he looks pretty youthful to me.

John Furlong appears to be way too tall for a politician at any level. Just look at your photograph with him and Gary Lunn.

Mayor? Premier?

He appears to have more dignity than that.

Why would the man take a step down?

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