NDP Leader John Horgan hires former business partner John Heaney as new chief of staff

Comments8

Vancouver Sun political columnist Vaughn Palmer has tweeted that a familiar face from the 1990s NDP government is back in a key position.

According to Palmer, Victoria lawyer John Heaney has been hired as chief of staff to NDP Leader John Horgan.

Heaney was director of policy and legislation and later, served as assistant deputy minister in the NDP government between 1991 and 1996. 

For less than a year in 1999, Heaney was director of NDP caucus services; in 2000 and 2001, he was a deputy minister.

Similarly, Horgan was a major backroom player in the NDP governments of that era, working alongside Heaney.

The Straight reported in 2004 that Heaney was a business partner with Horgan in a company called IdeaWorks. The other partners were NDP caucus research director Mary O'Donoghue, and Ian Reid, former chief of staff to ex-NDP leader Carole James.

IdeaWorks was retained by casino operators Gary Jackson and Len Libin in 2003 to persuade the then-COPE-controlled Vancouver city council to lift a moratorium on slot machines.

At the time, Horgan told the Straight that the company's objective was to bring diverse groups together to demonstrate how slot machines would yield benefits for charities, fund city projects, and provide jobs for trade unionists.

“Once the fabric all came together, the cloth looked pretty impressive for a majority of council, and that’s why we were successful,” Horgan told the Straight at the time.

Horgan, Heaney, and Reid had all previously worked for the B.C. Ministry of Management Services, which spearheaded the expansion of gambling when the NDP was in control of the provincial government.

The gambling issue dogged two NDP premiers during the 1990s.

Harcourt resigned after a relentless series of news reports about the finances of the Nanaimo Commonwealth Holding Society, which raised money for the NDP. The society's central figure, former NDP cabinet minister Dave Stupich, was found guilty of fraud and running an illegal lottery.

Harcourt was never personally implicated with NCHS, but he stepped aside as premier to give his party a better chance of winning the 1996 election. While working in the Harcourt government, Heaney bird-dogged the NCHS file.

Harcourt's successor, Glen Clark, eventually resigned after a gambling licence was awarded to a company co-owned by a friend. Clark was never convicted of wrongdoing.

In 2007, NDP supporter and 24 hours columnist Bill Tieleman wrote on his blog that New Democrats and labour leaders "may be shocked to learn that John Heaney, a longtime senior aide in several NDP provincial governments and former BC Federation of Labour staff person has joined the law firm of Heenan Blaikie and is working with longtime management side lawyer Peter Gall on labour relations files".

"Heaney is currently assisting Gall in representing the employer at the BC Human Rights Tribunal hearing on the case of foreign workers employed in construction of the Canada Line or Richmond-Airport-Vancouver Line who are alleging discrimination in wages based on racial origin," Tieleman wrote at the time.

Tieleman printed Heaney's response, which is available here.

On his Twitter account, Heaney identifies himself as an ENTJ.

Under the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, which is rooted in the research of Swiss psychologist Carl Jung, ENTJs are inclined to make plans and direct other people.

They're also decisive. Famous ENTJs, according to the typelogic.com website, include Franklin D. Roosevelt, Richard Nixon, Steve Jobs, Rahm Emanuel, Margaret Thatcher, and David Letterman.

E refers to extraversion; N refers to the person's intuitive nature; T suggests they are more dominant with thinking over their feelings; and J refers to their interest in having a planned and orderly way of life.

Comments (8) Add New Comment
MarkFornataro
This pro-gambling duo may result in an exodus of votes to the Green Party
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Rating: -14
blah
Wonder how it feels to be leader of a party nobody else wanted to be the leader of. Especially after the last leader lost an election even though he held a 20 point lead. NDP Now Dead Party
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Rating: -15
Shepsil
I support John Horgan and his progressive values in stark contrast to Christy Clark's conservative moral values, any day!
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Rating: +7
Pedro Mora
Rather than empowering political parities, one day, citizens will realize the individual right to legislate policies by initiative and referendum. A framework of direct democracy is demonstrated on Nowpolling.ca
The question is are we the people ready to participate?
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Rating: -6
Arthur Vandelay
This party is like a chronic substance abuser ... you can't help it until it admits it has a problem. How the NDP cannot see that linking the current crew to the dark days of the 1990's and the most hated government in the province's history, is a fundamental deal breaker is beyond comprehension. I mean seriously.
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Forest
I think that the title "'most hated government" has already been taken by the Campbell/ Clark Liberals.
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Rating: +12
charles
This is unbelievable. Just becomes leader and we're back to the 90's. The more things change with this party, the more they stay the same. I wasted my vote on a lost cause the last time, but I won't do it again. What a lost opportunity to start fresh with new faces. I'll never vote for this party again.
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Cherry Pie
Now, I ask you has anything changed? The answer is yes just one thing.
The Union bosses have a new bitch and her name is Horgan.
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