Happy Planet Juice departure puts the squeeze on Robertson

Post by Daniel Fontaine in


Global TV reports on Happy Planet Juice jobs leaving Vancouver

Last week Bob Mackin over at the Courier broke a very interesting story about how Mayor Gregor Robertson's Happy Planet Juice company had moved out of Vancouver. Last Friday's plane crash at Vancouver international airport may have bumped the story off the front pages, but you can expect it to come up again on the campaign trail.

I must admit that I openly laughed when I heard Mayor Gregor's spin regarding Happy Planet's move to Burnaby. Rather than just admit the loss of jobs was unfortunate and he'd do everything to repatriate HPJ back to his city, Robertson told Global TV's Jennifer Palma:

My focus for economic development is for the whole Metro Vancouver area.

Really now? I'm not sure which Vision Vancouver staffer drafted up that talking point, but it's rather lame if you ask me.

I never knew the current Mayor of Vancouver's saw it as his job to create jobs in Belcarra and Surrey. I'm sure that their economic development commissions must be thrilled to hear Robertson talking about how his number one priority is to create jobs in their city.

I've been talking about the need for a regional economic strategy for years now, so perhaps I should be thrilled to see that Robertson has finally bought into that vision. However, I think he's more interested in putting this story to bed before the election than he is about creating new jobs in Burnaby.

I should note that Palma reported that Vancouver had 4000 new business licenses, but in fact it was only 46 new licenses.

What do you think? Do you care if Happy Planet leaves Vancouver? Do you consider it an embarrassment that the Mayor's company left the city on his watch? Is this all a bit of a tempest in a teapot? Leave your comment below.

PS Happy Halloween to all of our readers!

- Post by Daniel. You can follow us on on Twitter @CityCaucus or you can "like" us on Facebook at facebook.com/citycaucus.


According to Metro Vancouver key facts: 2009 - 2010 saw an increase in business licenses of 982. I have not seen published figures for 2011.

The 49 new licenses is the net gain from 1998 - 2010 - a gain of 0.09% There are wild fluctuations in between but if you compare the entire region, the only jurisdiction that performs worse is Anmore who experienced a net loss of -5.45% over the same period. Township of Langley saw a 159.61% increase over the same period.

If we are going to work on a regional job strategy, we should also work on a regional taxation system as well.

@Daniel, really? It has been pointed out several times in comments that you and the NPA are really misleading people regarding the business licences. Please correct your posting. Your readers deserve the correct information at least.

From Jeff L in the last post on this topic:
From the Vancouver Sun:

"From 1998 to 2010, the city of Vancouver enjoyed a net increase of 83,267 new residents and 50,973 new homes — but added just 46 new businesses.

Indeed, Vancouver’s 50,666 business licence numbers in 1998 actually declined slowly and unsteadily until 2007 when they reached their nadir of 46,555. Then they crept back upwards to 50,712"

Now all they have to do is figure out who was in charge from 1998 up until 2007, and then after 2007. Shouldn't be too hard. One group oversaw a decline of 4,111 licenses. The other group oversaw an increase of 4,157 licenses.

This never made it through your random filter last time, so since you bring this up again...


""We heard the mayor's 2020 target to make Vancouver one of the most green cities in the world," notes Robbie Zhang, managing director of Modern Green Development Canada, in citing one of the reasons why the developer opted to establish its first sustainably designed North American project in this city."

starting prices $449,900 for 600 square feet. It might be inovative but who wants to pay $500,000 with HST for a green shoebox?

Wonder if he is also buying up property on Cambie.

On behalf of the good citizens of Surrey, we'd like to thank voters in Vancouver for selecting this man to be your mayor. Perhaps another term will result in even more jobs coming closer to where workers live.

Sadly, for those Vancouverites who will have to adjust to the reverse commute, the tolls work in both directions.

Thank you so much for bringing our attention to that one, boohoo.
What a glowing endorsement!
Just what the city needs! More $500,000 apartments the size of 3 parking spaces.

Do you want to credit the mayor with bringing a new strain of influenza to the city as well?!


I don't know what to say. There is absolutely nothing this government could do that would make you happy. Business comes to Vancouver? It's Gregor's fault cause it's crappy jobs. Business leaves Vancouver? It's Gregor's fault cause he didn't do this or that. Residential leaves Vancouver? It's Gregor's fault cause he's driving people out. Residential comes to Vancouver? It's Gregor's fault that it's unaffordable.

You'd be funny if you weren't so sad.


"I should note that Palma reported that Vancouver had 4000 new business licenses, but in fact it was only 46 new licenses."

Actually, as reported in the sun, that is correct increase in the number business licences since 2007 and you keep ignoring it. The 46 was the the increase since 1998 meaning that they were decreasing from 1998 to 2007.

Please change your post and acknowledge your mistake.

Really: everyone needs to stop manipulating the facts on the business license saga.

All Don Cayo was saying was there are not enough jobs being created for the population growth.

Something would be really wrong if there were no increase since 2007 given we had an Olympics in the works. We do not have the numbers for 2011 which represents 30% of Gregor's term.

We need to stop trying to make the data into something it isn't.

The only issue- has job growth matched population growth. If the answer is no, there is an elephant in Vancouver's living room that EVERYONE is ignoring regardless of when the elephant turned up.

Sorry, hit submit too fast. Not sure who was loose with the facts on the rebuttal - the media or the NPA in their interpretation. If it was the NPA - they missed the boat. If it was the media... they are nothing short of sloppy.

Re Boohoo's comment on the green development at UBC - I bet it is leasehold so even more expensive. It likely will be marketed primarily to the wealthy in China. I understand that there, a person can only own two properties so little opportunity for speculation. This won't help affordability.

Fascinating history of Gregor Robertson's actual history in "business" at Vivian Krause's site:


We know that Gregor lived on Cortes Island a decade ago, where his family lived, sending the kids to a private farm school, aka "Linnaea", where wife Amy served as president of the school's board. During that same period Linnaea received over $700,000 in grants from the Tides US and Canada foundations.

In his 2002-04 bios Robertson is described as the "founder and chair" of Happy Planet Foods Inc., but he "works" at a garden cooperative, as well as had roles in various non-profits including as Treasurer for Hollyhock, another operation propped up by charitable grants. Robertson's business credentials it seems are more about being a farmer and a board member on a host of charities than being a businessperson.

There is a rumour that Happy Planet has never made a dime, and was in deep financial trouble in 2004 (laying off dozens of staff) when Gregor jumped ship to run as the NDP MLA candidate in Fairview.

I see that the Happy Planet Fund gave "10%" of its "profits" to a worthy cause. If the company never made money one can assume there would be no profits to share.

Also interesting to read that Gregor's land holdings on Cortes Island are not only significant...


...they are adjacent to land bought by Tides USA to put into a park:


Gregor has been preened for public office by his handlers it seems for years. If you think this is a wild theory, just read about the rise and fall of Kash Heed here:


Barinder Sall worked closely with Heed to groom him for an eventual run for the job of BC Premier. If not for an amazing amount of hubris Kash may have actually made it.

The Thought of The Day

"“Life imitates art, more than art imitates life, and remember when you cannot put your hands on the money printing machine...there are always other charitable ways... "

Thanks for posting the links, you just saved me a lot of time, as I came across the same info. recently.

There it is!
There is a man aka Gregor Robertson, and there is a "charity" aka Tides and a place, aka Hollyhock that are intermingled to such extent that even a blind person would be able to distinguished the knots from a mile away.

What we have here, is the best example of a money - lots of money driven utopia.
The only thing these donations ever produced other than enriching the inner circle on the receiving end, is... nothing, zilch, nada, zero crossed over...
Exactly, all this money it's been used for buying property, here and there, on the Island of Cortes, advancing and/ or trying to influence public opinion through bought and propped up "politicians" and to spread disinformation on a number of issues, mostly "environ-'mental' in nature" all while staying in a very closed link to major US businesses in direct competition with their Canadian counterparts.

It may be almost legal, but to me...


Leo Getz it... or what?
So, you are a farmer with a juice press, me a 'charitable bank', him a chicken feed distributor... I give you the money as a charitable donation for your chicken coop, you pay your executive feed distributor a percentage of that amount and your bookkeeper a salary, say 6 figures, but, here's the thing ...you don't have a chicken coop, you don't even like chicken, in fact you don't even make juice, naah, what you do is contribute a part of your cut to a campaign that could prop you into a political seat that could ultimately lead to real jobs, and real monies for you, friends, family... and it's all clean, you see... ok, ok, ok, and here's the beaut' in the end, you'll get a transportation allowance reimbursement on transportation you don't even use! Genius or what?

Tides Us/ Canada are nothing but big squid enterprises with large tentacles waay too deep in too many different muddy puddles, moving from one to another in a covert movement.

It is mind boggling that Vivian Krause is the only one in this country, asking the tough questions, and that she is the only one that does the work of most probably a dozen or so of overpaid, arrogant, self entitled yet totally incompetent to the bone, government employees, who are paid to try to keep this country safe from attacks of a foreign influence nature, instead of providing those entities with a safe heaven.

I think Solomon/ Renewal/ Tides/ Robertson/ Happy Planet/ City Hall/ Hollyhock/ shall become an election issue.
And I am not suggesting it, naah, ... in fact I insist upon it!
Some might say: "Why bother?"
Well, it seems it didn't bother the Visionistas to mingle into Rocky Mountaineer's affairs either.

You know that... it's not over until the fat lady sings!

We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.

Frank,great post,I wonder how long it will take the public to wake up?Vivian does what the MSM gets paid not to do,she is a breath of fresh air.

Off track yet on track:

I had to smile when Robertson got the 'first poppy' considering Vision's stance against granting the Billy Bishop Legion ... a much needed tax break.

That Legion struggled to get the needed $20K together.

On that note, please consider visiting them on November 11! (And you don't need to drive, they are along a bus route...)

Lol, does the "G" in Glissando stands for 'Genius'? :-)

And hell yeah...
"I think Solomon/ Renewal/ Tides/ Robertson/ Happy Planet/ City Hall/ Hollyhock/ shall become an election issue.
And I am not suggesting it, naah, ... in fact I insist upon it!"
Bang on and bang on!
Other party candidates, independents and non partisans, are you reading this?
Vivian, kudos to you for such an impeccable research and presentation.

I totally agree with you! after making them suffer from unnecessary cuts this punk and charlatan of a Mayor puts on a poppy and shows 'his respects" by not being bothered with spending 1/2$M per week for Occupy Vancouver...
Simply Despicable!


There is no way that Occupy 'camp' is only costing tax payers $1,000 additional per day.

You look at the police and fire presence around the area, which I would think would be extra officers and such, not just the daily roster.

That does not include businesses in the area that have brought in extra security to protect them. (Guess they are not counting on the Mayor after the riot)

I see film trucks are parked off the Howe Street side and I did read that the new Superman movie is in the works.

What a ringing endorsement for the City and our film industry, as the tents are not only on the 'lawn' of the VAG, they are now creeping up the sides.

But hey, these occupiers are have fun -there was a DJ spinning tunes and people were up dancing. Life is easy -especially when others are paying for it.

It is looking more like a slum in the city, than a camp of sorts. I've come across better orgnaization in poor parts of Mexico and Cuba - where there is no 'social' welfare to help you while away your days. No free music, no free food, no free clothes, no yoga classes, no free medical and no welfare cheques.

My dad taught us - you either were in school or you worked, but you weren't a bum.

Max, had a conversation with city sanitation workers from the site...City is not allowing media to hear of damages and costs...information lock down..it is election season don't you know..there have been broken windows and bank machines etc..

Hey Max; Why don't you go down to the Vag and explain to them what you just explained to us here? Take a megaphone if you have to. They need to hear about what your father taught you and about your brilliant analogy between their "camp" and the lawless outskirts of Me-heee-co and Cuba. They have been deprived of your genius insights for far too long regarding their meritless cause.

Leon, many have not gone down there for one main reason.

It is very stinky.


Answer me this:

Where are these people - who Judy Graves claims are not homeless, getting the $$ from to support themselves while at the 'camp?

If it is welfare, then they should be handing the housing portion back to the government - which head's up, are all of us working people.

After all, if you are on welfare and land in hospital for a stay, that rent portion is held back. (unless this has change).

If you are on EI - you are required to give a statement attesting to the fact you are looking for work.

I can tell you right now, the Mexican and Cuban people are far from lazy. You see, they don't have the government giving them free money or free housing or free food or free medical....

One of the signs that is posted at the Occupy commune is about bringing in foreign labor. Another heads up - our local farmers can't get people to come harvest the crops because that job seems to be looked down on by too many 'Canadains'. But hey, why do an honest day's labor when you can sit on your backside, bitch about what is wrong, smoke pot and live off the work of others?

A fews years back I watched an interview with Jimmy Pattison, a self made billionaire who for points sake, grew up in the DTES. When asked, he said that he didn't think there would be a lot more like him because the young people of today want everything without having to work too hard to get it.

That is the difference betweem people like me, and people like you. I will work come hell or high water at whatever job I need to do before sitting on welfare.

"I can tell you right now, the Mexican and Cuban people are far from lazy. You see, they don't have the government giving them free money or free housing or free food or free medical...."

Seriously? Are you kidding?

Cubans are actually guaranteed government-provided housing, food, and medical care. They have one of the most effective (in terms of outcomes vs. cost) health care systems in the world. It is actualy illegal to privately sell or buy a home. Wish the food was better...

Max; I am not going to expend too much effort speaking to comments which are mostly comprised of self-serving conjecture (welfare recipients are the protesters) made into a sophistic straw men to be easily battered, and which have nothing to do with with the issue at hand - eg protesting broad-reaching financial malfeasance begun on Wall St. facilitated by corrupted international government institutions and individuals which has led to a global financial crises that are so deep and complex that they have yet to play out or be fully addressed. As Karen Carpenter once said: "We've only just begun"...

I will say this, though,(even if only %5 gets through your angry, hopelessly biased noggin): I have worked in Finance, Business, and Politics for 20 years and I have been an observer and then a student of what is now coming home to roost. The financial crisis still plaguing the world is every bit as devastating as the climate change we are beginning to really feel. There has been so much larceny going on for so long that it is impossible to resolve it honestly. "Dishonest" attempts at addressing it, including trillions of $$ in stimulus, massive debt forgiveness, so-called austerity, currency value manipulation and dilution, the issuance of unprecedented conventional debt, the artificial suppression of interest rates, etc., etc., etc. (To give you just a whiff of what I mean, just google these 2 terms: "American foreclosure pipeline" and "outstanding derivatives scandal". That should give you a hint of the scale and the corresponding Kabuki dance required to keep the meltdown to a not-quite-revolution-catalyzing minimum (for now).

The kids are down there, Max, because they are beginning to realize that they, their children, and their grandchildren have been sold out in the most despicable way imaginable. There has been a dearth of accountability and they are saying enough is enough. As I said before; you should go down there if you aren't too lazy or afraid to express your righteous disapproval in person. I'll even pay for your gas.


I have walked through that camp and there is a mish mash of reasons as to why they are there: the financial crisis seems to be only a small part of it according to the various signage and their own 'speakers'.

These protesters are the usual groups that we see at every protest that takes place in Vancouver and I include the Olympics. They all have their own agenda and are not even close to what the Occupy Wall Street people stand for.

Them I can understand. Here it is everything from soup to nuts, like I said, the usual suspects jumping on the protest bandwagon de jour.

And if these people aren't on welfare or EI - where are they getting the $$ from to hang out - indefinitely? Are mom and dad footing the bill? Do they have a job that they can periods of time off as needed?

There is greed in this world, but there is also this growing sense of entitlement.

Look back at some of the initial TV interviews - many of them can't tell you why they are down there. The world financial situation didn't even come into play for most. Head over to AGT's blog and you get the middle east issue from some of those you are defending.

And I have no doubt some are down there just for the hell of it - because they can.

I point out that they were on-line suggesting that MEC (one of those corps whether they accept to believe it or not) should be hit up for free camping gear - because they (MEC) could write it off on their taxes. No hypocrisy in that thinking.

And everyday that this goes on, the money to support it comes out of the pockets of those that work - whether it be at am $8.00/hr job or a $25/hour job.

For you and them just to expect the rest of us to suck it up is nothing short of arrogant.

Mux; Every time you post a comment you clearly elucidate how incredibly uninformed you are regarding an issue on which you are compelled to ceaselessly pontificate. It's also plain to see how bitter and hateful you are, and all of the conclusions you are so comfortable leaping to (none of them have jobs! where are they gettin' their GD money!!?) only exacerbate the ignorance you are producing and attempting to spread. It's time to revisit your dosage level...

I have wasted time combing your comments for even the slightest inkling of any coherant position on the myriad issues being protested about down at your sacred VAG. I am done with that fool's errand (just like most of the people you know, no doubt). It's time for you to explore, on your own, the frightful realities of life after the pathologies have breached the tipping point. Good luck.

(you said) "For you and them just to expect the rest of us to suck it up is nothing short of arrogant."

What you are expected to do as a member of a community where we all have a right to exist is *to listen*. That's not arrogant, that's a responsibility. If you have a relevant counterpoint that is not based on judgmental conjecture about the gravitas of the protesters, you have every right and are even welcome to respond constructively. My guess is that you cannot do this because you know virtually nothing significant about what is causing all of the current international activism. If you understood, you might deploy your tool of choice - angry, breathless screeds - at the perpetrators who have looted the global economy and have possibly left it in irreparable tatters.

Leon...it is blatantly obvious that you have no idea who Max really is LMAO...silly silly Leon.hahahahah

And you have no clue who I am. So what? I have addressed his position and anyone else is free to address mine, regardless of who we actually may or may not be in analog life. Anyone who confidently believes they know who they are speaking to on a blog like this is a child...

Why don't you enlighten us all instead of playing immature games? Or is that all you are capable of?

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