Mayor Gregor Robertson involved in hiring of former top Liberal Ian McKay as city's economic chieftain
It's not a smoking gun, but there's yet another indication of a closer relationship between Mayor Gregor Robertson and the federal Liberals.
This week, the board of the Vancouver Economic Commission announced the hiring of the former national director of the Liberal Party of Canada.
Kamloops-born Ian MacKay becomes the VEC's CEO starting September 23. He stepped down as the Liberals' top staffer in May.
There are seven members on the VEC board, including Robertson and city manager Penny Ballem.
Rumours are rife that Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau wants to recruit Robertson as a candidate in the 2015 federal election.
Robertson recently moved into the riding of Liberal MP Joyce Murray.
When the Straight asked Robertson in July if he would rule out running for Parliament in the next federal election in Vancouver Quadra, he replied that he "can't imagine that happening right now".
He also noted: "We have a duly elected MP in Vancouver Quadra [Joyce Murray] who serves the city well."
The city's only other Liberal MP, Hedy Fry, told the Straight last week that she intends on seeking reelection in Vancouver Centre. Fry was a strong backer of Trudeau's leadership campaign.
The mayor's spokesperson, Braeden Caley, also has deep ties to the federal Liberals, serving as youth cochair of the 2008 campaign in B.C.
In a 2012 blog post, fellow Liberal Jeff Jedras wrote this about Caley:
He’s played key roles on riding-level campaigns, on leadership campaigns and on the Young Liberal national executive. Plus as a staffer he got one of my favourite Liberals, Ujjal Dosanjh, onto Twitter.Even though he’s just 24, Braeden has been involved at every level of the party, and he’s fought for it in the trenches. And speaking with him, he recognizes both the importance of policy development to attracting and retaining members, and the need to fix the current policy process. He recognizes that an online policy sandbox can’t be a replacement for in-person, face-to-face policy workshops. Social media must be harnessed as a supplement, not a replacement. He recognizes the need to create a vibrant, inclusive policy process that leads into the platform we’ll all fight for in the next campaign.
Meanwhile, McKay ran for the federal Liberals in West Vancouver–Sunshine Coast in the 2000 election. He was soundly defeated by John Reynolds of the Canadian Alliance.
Later, McKay advised federal Liberal cabinet ministers Allan Rock, David Emerson, and Jack Austin, who was government leader in the Senate.
McKay also has extensive experience in the investment industry. The Straight called the VEC to inquire about McKay's salary, but the spokesperson, Tania Parisella, was away from her phone and has so far been unavailable for comment.
A news release issued by the VEC stated that McKay was hired after a four-month search for the right candidate.