Would McLean make his mark on NPA?

Post by Daniel Fontaine in


jason mclean.jpg
Jason McLean (r) is the youngest person to hold the Board of Trade Chair's job

As we count down the remaining days of this civic administration, those who want to see a change from the Vision-dominated government are beginning to ask the all important question. Who will take the plunge and put their name on the ballot against Mayor Gregor Robertson and his backyard chicken, vegetable garden, bike lane agenda?

The usual suspects have all but been ruled out. Carol Taylor, John Furlong, Wally Oppal and Christy Clark are essentially out of the game. It would take nothing short of a miracle for either Taylor or Furlong to throw their hat in the ring, while Clark and Oppal are otherwise pre-occupied with work commitments.

Former NPA councillor Tung Chan continues to quietly work behind the scenes and watch carefully as Mayor Robertson's "negatives" continue pile up while his poll numbers head in the other direction. We're  told that although Chan owns a home in Richmond, he's also recently purchased a property in Vancouver. If he does announce a bid for mayor, he will apparently only let us know of his intention to run sometime next spring. If you recall, former COPE Mayor Larry Campbell announced he was going to run for mayor about seven months prior to the 2002 civic election. Same with Gregor Robertson.

One other name that is beginning to emerge, albeit in very limited circles, is that of Jason McLean. The thirty-something businessman is the son of long-time federal Liberal godfather David Maclean. He also happens to be the Chair of the Vancouver Board of Trade as well as the head of the McLean Group of Companies which owns the Vancouver Film Studios on city's the east side.

I've known Jason for a number of years and consider him a personable, intelligent and progressive community leader. A few years ago, former Mayor Sam Sullivan was so impressed with his abilities that he helped secure him an appointment to the Vancouver Police Board. By all accounts, his business acumen have been a tremendous resource to the Board and to the police department as a whole.

McLean is a lawyer by trade and he also served as a senior staffer to former Primer Minister Jean Chretien. So the question is not whether McLean would make a good candidate for Mayor of Vancouver, but rather, could he be convinced to do it? What would it take for him to decide that attending public hearings and listening to councillor Heather Deal drone on about life as an opposition councillor is worth it? Likely a lot more than the NPA would be able to offer at this stage of the game.

However, if he were to watch the Mayor's poll numbers continue to slip in the coming weeks, it may well encourage him to keep his options open. Or perhaps the chorus of business and community leaders asking him to throw his hat in the ring might be a bit too loud for him to ignore.

Although McLean attended a recent trip with Robertson to China, he also wrote a strongly worded letter to him regarding his controversy-plagued Hornby bike lane scheme. He states:

The Vancouver Board of Trade has long been a supporter of road sharing in downtown Vancouver. We were, in fact, one of the first business organizations to champion bicycle lanes as part of the major review of downtown transportation conducted in 2002/2003. Sharing the road then, has always been top of mind when examining the use of Vancouver’s road network, especially when it comes to the downtown peninsula.

It was therefore with great concern that we became aware of the proposed separated bicycle lane along Hornby Street — a proposal being made in isolation of the overall transportation schematic in the area. While we acknowledge that certain safety and convenience benefits for cyclists can be derived from lane separation, such benefits must be considered in the overall context of transportation alternatives. In short, these benefits must have a demonstrable net positive impact on the system...

Based on concerns stemming from these issues, The Vancouver Board of Trade cannot support separated bicycle lanes on Hornby Street at this time.

As we reach the one year countdown to the 2011 civic election, the opposition to Mayor Robertson and his Vision team appears to be gaining momentum. On the other hand, Vision appears to be looking more and more desperate as they lash out and make personal attacks against their critics.

If the NPA is truly interested in seeking a "star" candidate who can take on Robertson, they'd be well served to sit down with the likes of people like McLean to see if their arms can be twisted. He's young, he's bright, he can read a balance sheet and he would have broad appeal throughout the city.

Running for Mayor will be a tough sell to the young entrepreneur who has just taken over his father's business, but who knows, stranger things have happened in Vancouver's wacky and wild world of politics. What do you think? If not McLean, are there any other star candidates who you think could become Robertson's successor? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

- Post by Daniel


I'm sorry to say this but why you people try to push another 'pretty face', 'silver spoon fed', 'daddy's boy' 'entrepreneur' etc. etc. into the limelight of the municipal politics? We had enough of Gregor R and Justin Trudeau alike. What's this? In vitro fertilization? Boy, there is no getting out of this...

Jason would make for an excellent mayor. He would project a young, dynamic image for our west coast city. Think of it. The loud and obnoxious Rob Ford as mayor of Toronto while Jason is mayor of Vancouver. Ha ha. We'd have the last laugh on hogtown.


I think Jason would make for a great mayor, but someone like Tung Chan would have much more experience to do the job. He would get my vote. I know I won't be voting Vision again and nor will any of my friends.

PS Unlike the current mayor, I do believe McLean is more than an empty suit and GQ model look-alike. He's apparently quite a smart guy.

This sounds like a press release from the McLean Group

We dont need someone who is not ready for a slugfest during the election. It will be bloody...

Jason looks like a nice enough of a guy but will get eaten alive by the Visionista's

@gregory. Are you kidding me? McLean went to the Jean Chretien street school of politics. I don't think you have to be worried that he's not up to the battle. I think Jean may have taught him a thing or two.

I'll see your Jason and raise you Kenny G!
Can he play soprano saxophone? If he can then he will have a contest with gregor's tuba and we'll see. Anyway, are you kidding me? The guy I see in the picture looks like he would rather be surfing instead of doing photo-ops. So, no thank you. Not another new young buck that's too lazy or to arrogant to apply for a top job with nothing on his resume, and then for people like Meggs or Magee ready to oblige in showing him the ropes. Geeez! . We already have Gregor, Penny, Sadhu...do you want me to continue? What we need as the next mayor is a 'team'. Like someone with Gregor's height, Jason hair, Philip Owen charisma, Larry Campbell meanness, Tim luis rhetoric, M Buble's voice and stage presence and Glissando's wit. Then we'll talk.

I could care less what the person looks like, I don't need to feel warm and fuzzy about it - I want someone who is capable, has a business background, understands the city and its citizens and leans neither to the left or to the right.

Someone who can do the job they are tasked to do and in a professional manner.

Oh yes, lefties. We need more qualified people then Jason.

We need more clean cut braniacs like Raymond Louie.
"Born and raised in East Vancouver, with ancestry from Zhongshan, Guangdong his family ran a local bakery.[1] He was the youngest of three siblings.[1] He attended Nootka Elementary School and Windermere Secondary School.[1] After graduating from high school he attended British Columbia Institute of Technology, yet never graduated.[1] Louie worked at Mail-O-Matic Services, a local mailing house, and as a mailer with Pacific Newspaper Group.[1] While working at Pacific Newspaper Group, Louie became a National Representative for the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada.

Who needs a top St.Georges grad, Queens undergrad, UBC Law, Board of Trade chairs when we can find more qualified people in the mail room.

Shame on Jason and his qualifications!!!

I'm not a 'leftie'. Now that we cleared that out...I can't stand the Raymond Louie and brethren. However, as per your Bio of J :" a top St.Georges grad, Queens undergrad, UBC Law, Board of Trade chairs ..." what are you, his school councilor? There are thousands of bright graduates out there like your fellow Jason, the only difference is, this guy is fatherly loaded and daddy' connected. Period. He would have made the V B of T with his only qualifications in about the same amount of time my dog would learn to speak French. When are you guys going to wake up to the reality that so far there is no candidate to take Vision & Mayor on a hand to hand combat. Sooner you start looking at serious candidates sooner you'll start brewing something. Someone said it earlier, this article sounds like a PR exercise from the Mclean family. Oh wait he wrote a letter of dissent re the Hornby bike lane...my bad. LOL

@rf. LOL. I never thought reading Raymond Louie's bio would have me laughing in the ailes. But it did. I agree with you. I'll take one Jason over 10 Raymond Louie's or 20 Gregor's any day. He'd be a great mayor for this city. Heck, we can't do worse than what we got.

There is your problem, right there (typical of the NPA)! Your comments, rf, are on the verge of discrimination against race and income. Nothing wrong with being of an Asian descent, a working man,or for having East Van roots or is it? Your comment demonstrates one thing,that some people had it easier in life, had more monies to spend on schooling and more time on their hands to do it. I for one have the same amount of education as your man Jason and let me tell you, 20 years after graduation in Business and after building a local enterprise, no one had invited me/ or considered me for the Board of Trade. I tried... So drop your arrogant, elitist shtick, will you?

Wow, since when does cutting and pasting something of a guys Wikipedia bio constitute racism?

Discounting someones accomplishments because they come from a successful father is no different than discounting someone because they come from nothing.
You want to tear this guy down because his Dad is wealthy and successful? Really?

I don't know what the word for "opposite of elitist" is(how about 'petty' or 'jealous'?), but you represent it.

And I'm pretty sure to join the Board of Trade you just need to go get an application (and a clue).


Here's the link to apply. Consider yourself invited! (or is your "enterprise" less than you make it out to be? ...Are you Marc Emery's wife?

Gosh, I Iike you guys on a personal level, but the volatility of your thinking is really something.

Pay attention, Daniel (and Mike).

1) McLean's father is inextricably intertwined with the sale of BC Rail, since it's under his helmsmanship that a perfectly operating crown asset was sold to CN, by one of David's best friends, the Premier (And his govt). Add to that that David has been a HUGE bagman for Gordon and I can already see the headlines screaming from Jeff Lee's blog, never mind the bellyaching from Garr's rocking chair or Ferris Bueller's space in the Mop and Pail.

(If you stop here and go no further, it shows the clear lack of thinking behind a Jason McLean candidacy...but's lets' continue--I'll try to be gentle.)

2) Jason is a too recent graduate of St. George's School. The stigma against those of us privileged enough to have attended and graduated is thick and weepy. In a city that considers it a slight, there's another knock. You need to put some distance, some hair on your chest, some blood on your knuckles, and even then most idiots will cast you as a privileged bloke without a hint of life experience. Jason needs to go fail somewhere for a short while or get caught with two hookers in the back of Vegas limo. The great redeemer...

3) David's stature with the federal Liberal party is the reason Jason was made a VERY YOUNG assistant to Jean Cretin. Nice to have seen him apply on merit and get the job--that didn't happen. Everyone knows the drill with the federal Liberals. The entitlement culture reigns supreme.

4) While the accomplishment of being the youngest Chair of the Board of Trade is significant and applaud worthy, at least to me, it is so, only to those of us who also do not consider it's dwindling influence and blind support of a mindless Premier of a morally bankrupt provincial govt, to be be anything but a death knell to young Jason's possible municipal political aspirations.

5) Sam appointed Jason to the police board on what credentials? It didn't happen to have anything to do with the $25,000 cheque which I personally saw that Jason's father David wrote to the NPA in 2005...the year Sam was elected....? Old Sam sure was good that way...

6) Other than graduating from law school and assuming the position as Dad's surrogate (if you think a guy like David got to where he is by laying off the kids even though they've "taken over" you've got another thing coming) can you name one specific job Jason has had that hasn't been a result of either a) nepotism or b) a cheque trail from dear old Dad?

7) What significant community work has he done? Worked on the DTES? Helped any addicts? Inspired anyone to do anything substantial? Getting the porter at the Vancouver Club to restock his locker with another favorite bottle doesn't count.

Daniel, instead of the big search, face the facts:

There are only four people who could challenge Gregor and POSSIBLY win.

In order of greatest chance to dance at the inaugural ball:

1) Carole Taylor
2) Christy Clark
3) Ian Robertson
4) Rick Peterson

And contrary to your information, NONE are out of the game.

You are badly fooling yourself is you think that if Art said, "do it" Carole wouldn't drop everything in a heartbeat. Or if Christy took a leave from her contract at NW (if they'd let her). Or Ian Robertson could get a leave from Rocky Mountaineer. Or if more people got to learn about a single Dad that lives on the eastside and has one of the best political minds in the province, that being Rick Peterson....that Gregor for a variety of different reasons wouldn't have MUCH to fear.

He'd lose for certain against Carole Taylor Christy would wipe the floor with him. Ian having located his kill button could do it and Rick suffers from not having greater name recognition, although that could be an advantage...

With all due respect Tung hasn't a hope of winning. Wonderful man, but not a hope.

Vision already know they are in deep trouble and will throw EVERYTHING at any NPA candidate. Lies, innuendo, it's already started.

Jason would last like a snowflake in hell. Sorry. Not ready for prime time. One day, but not today.

Glad to know that someone is paying attention to the history...especially with the BC Rail trial going on right now.
Great comment Alex!

I'm just in the process of reading the McLean's article on Canada's mayors, many running in elections this month or next.

It would seem the same momentum at play in the US that gives the crazy broad from Alaska so much support is taking hold in cities like Toronto and Calgary. While I would welcome McLean as a mayor I'm afraid that the new and strong sentiment against the educated, rich and elite type candidates may work against him and allow the populist Gregor another term. Taylor and Furlong might garner a certain populist pull of their own. I wouldn't hold out much hope for the success of Clark or Opal, not with Vision's ability and inclination to take a whiff of something and turn it into false innuendos or out right lies. Look at the success Harper's team has had besmirching Dion and Ignatieff and there wasn't even a whiff.

However, I'd still support McLean but it will take a careful campaign that anticipates and heads off the current attitudes of the average voter to which Vision appeals and who will be motivated to vote.

And the Liberal banner isn't doing too well lately, just getting committed liberals out to vote will be a challenge.

The Thought of The Day

"I totally agree. NPA needs Jason! Only not the McLean. Bourne. That one!"


Put aside the elitism, the education the most probable nepotism...or not, the rationale behind this 'candidate' is thinner than an optic nerve fiber layer.

How on Earth a carefully crafted resume, a red carpeted advancement path, and a nice PR (read prop-up)campaign can equate a Real-Palpable-Experienced-Community Involved...it's beyond me. I mean I'm dealing with smart people here, right?

To the ones (based on some commentaries in here) that 'would throw their support behind JM, I have this to say: 'This is the exact type of thinking and blind partisanship and the main reason of why we had 'The Gregor' land on our heads two years ago).

To me, it's like looking at Mr. Deja-Vu, only younger. Never again.

On second thought, I could see Johny Depp as a good contender. Great hair, family man, he's loaded, Hollywood connected, he played a travelling gypsy in Chocolat so he could easily identify with the average Vancouver voter, weird enough in order to leave the door open to the question 'gay or not gay?', plus, he has that Jack Sparrow quality that could come in ever so handy in a municipal election lie ours.
Pirates, eh? Arrrrgh!

We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.

I love that song Glissy!
Jason Bourne. A classic.

Check out BCWineLover.com!

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