Gregor Robertson wades into the Jamie Lee Hamilton controversy

Yesterday, I wrote on this blog that Vision Vancouver mayoral candidate Gregor Robertson was "not interested in commenting on the Jamie Lee Hamilton issue".

This was based on an e-mail I received from a Vision media-relations person, who used those precise words.

The NPA board denied Hamilton, a transgender sex-trade workers' advocate, a chance to seek a party nomination for park board.

This morning, however, Robertson left a message on my answering machine conveying a different perspective. He said he was busy with meetings and did not feel like commenting "on the personal issues that Jamie Lee is contending with".

"But on the larger issues of the NPA not being inclusive and democratic, I think it's abhorrent and really speaks to the kind of politics we don't need in this city any more," Robertson said. "And Vision is taking a very different approach in letting our members decide who should represent them on the ballot, and let the voters of Vancouver decide who represents them at City Hall.

"I do take real issue with the move that has happened in excluding Jamie Lee," Robertson added. "I just wanted to clarify that. It's something that is obviously a big part of our momentum in Vision, being inclusive, and I just wanted to make sure you know that. I am by no means trying to dodge a story that I think deserves real attention."

NPA councillor Suzanne Anton told the Straight in a phone interview that she would like Hamilton not to give up on politics in the future.  

"I hope she will try again because we all benefit from having a variety of people and a variety of backgrounds in the political process," Anton said, adding that she has "utmost faith" in the NPA board. "They make decisions for reasons they know and I'm not going to comment on."

NPA mayoral candidate Peter Ladner's spokesperson said he wouldn't comment and recommended that the Straight seek a response from NPA president Ned Pottinger.

Pottinger told the Straight that Hamilton was not vetoed because of her gender or her past as a sex-trade worker. Pottinger refused to elaborate on the reasons why the board nixed allowing her name to go forward to the membership at a nomination meeting later this month.




Sep 3, 2008 at 12:27pm

Looking forward to seeing Jamie Lee become a key player in the Vision "kitchen cabinet", Gregor. When can we expect to hear the announcement??

David Wong

Sep 3, 2008 at 12:47pm

One thing for sure in BC and Vancouver politics... it's sure as hell great entertainment. Where else in Canada can you get such juicy stuff?

As I had mentioned on some other commentaries, I'm fairly sure that all the other civic parties will get maximum mileage out of this. You know, "their Party" being one of inclusiveness, tolerance, accepting, blah blah blah.

I know all the players of this westcoast Tragedy... and it truly is a tragedy. There's one thing I've observed over the years, and that is, it's better to have a good shit disturber on your team, than to spite him/her, and have him/her work against you.

And Jamie Lee Hamilton, she is a force to contend with.

I can't think of another civic politico who can get an impromptu rally and attract 50+ passionate supporters from across the political, socio-economic and cultural spectrum. No groupies or young Liberals/Conservative fillers as in so many other "rallies".

Interesting times indeed. As insignificant this slight may appear, it may be a watershed of sorts - giving COPE and Vision another point to hang their hat on. It is especially interesting that political observer, Francis Bula summarized her piece yesterday with a fairly sexist remark attributed to the NPA :
"...the days have gone by where we look at women and give them a job based on how great their legs are. And we don't need any pretty boys, referring to Gregor Robertson, we don't need to elect any pretty boys."

Yikes. Even I don't have the balls to make that sort of public remark.

Maybe our City should look over at a real diverse and open minded place - New Zealand, where they elected the first transgender Mayor and Member of Parliament, Georgina Beyer ...and I've been informed that Ms Beyer had to also endure a tough uphill battle before, during and after her trailblazing. She had to endure not just the heckling, but also having shit thrown at her.

The Vancouver civic race. Break out the Beer and sushi, it will be an interesting civic slugfest.


Sep 3, 2008 at 10:18pm

Oh, for the love of god - I hope Robertson has the sense to steer well clear of Hamilton. She can't get elected. She can't mobilize votes. And if you piss her off - and believe me, you eventually will - she'll come after you like a rabid pit bull.