Pop quiz: Why is Gregor Robertson lavishing praise on Gordon Campbell?

Most New Democrats know that B.C. has had the worst child-poverty rate in  Canada  for five straight years.

Many New Democrats are also aware that Premier Gordon Campbell's government has treated single mothers abysmally, and that the premier has blown nearly $900 million of public funds on an unnecessary convention centre expansion.

So here's a skill-testing question:  why is Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson, a former NDP MLA, lavishing praise on the premier just before a provincial election? (All the gory details are in Vaughn Palmer's column this morning in the Vancouver Sun.)

a)  Robertson wants NDP Leader Carole James to lose the provincial election so he will have a chance to become NDP leader and catapult into the premier's office when Campbell retires following the 2010 Games.

b) Robertson has a secret agenda to be recruited to run for the federal Liberals in Vancouver Centre after veteran MP Hedy Fry retires. And this is a good time to curry favour with the business community and show some nonpartisan chops by praising the premier.

c) Robertson is a success whore, like other mayors who preceded him.  Robertson perceives that the premier is a successful person because Campbell wins elections, notwithstanding how the premier has failed so miserably to serve poor kids in this province.

d) The premier has been giving Robertson tips on how to be mayor, and Robertson is too dumb to realize he's being used by a man obsessed with the idea of opening the 2010 Games in Vancouver.

e) The premier has proven that sucking up to a senior level of government brings in more booty to the treasury, and Robertson is emulating this approach.

f) none of the above.

(I must give full credit to former COPE councillor Anne Roberts, who demonstrated in a previous post that skill-testing questions are wonderful mechanisms to convey a  blogger's outrage.)




Apr 4, 2009 at 3:25pm

g) Robertson is a doofus who has no political backbone.


Apr 4, 2009 at 5:07pm

h)Vision Vancouver was always a totally unprincipled coalition between the right-wing of the provincial NDP and some key Liberal operatives, so when a party has no real progressive principles this kind of airhead-ish praise for Gordo is par-for-the-course -- remember how Larry Campbell worked closely with Gordo to push through the Olympics and the RAV line.


Apr 4, 2009 at 5:54pm

Gregor Robertson, unlike Carol James and the NDP, has integrity and vision. Why should he lavish praise on Carol James and the NDP when she has championed the "Axe the Tax" campaign of misinformation and lies. He is someone who has from the start spoke about his views on the environment and his support for a carbon tax, so when the party and Carol James throws him and the environmental movement under the bus, he is supposed to talk about what a great job Carol James and the NDP is doing?

I'm not surprised in the slightest that the Georgia Straight, a publication that has no backbone in challenging the NDP and is always its cheerleader, wouldn't understand why an environmentalist and progressive politician wouldn't blindly back a party that has set the environmental movement backwards with their dismissal of the carbon tax. It takes true leadership to stand up for what you believe in - something the NDP under Carol James has no idea about. Instead, it's poll and react, even if it means selling yourself in order to get into power.

Charlie Smith

Apr 4, 2009 at 6:34pm

I almost never get into pissing matches with people who place comments on the site, but the one above requires a response. First of all, I have criticized Carole James on several occasions, including about the carbon tax www.straight.com/article-164132/hard-questions-ndp-leaders-carole-james-... as well as on the impact of her position on NDP MLAs in Vancouver http://www.straight.com/article-146355/is-carole-james-sabotaging-vancou.... I also criticized James's handling of the Mable Elmore situation. Secondly, Gregor Robertson voted against the carbon tax www.straight.com/article-145645/gregor-mum-carbon-tax/. Thirdly, I wrote a cover story that highlighted the benefits of a carbon tax. Fourthly, a day after our paper recommended Green candidate Dan Grice in Vancouver Quadra, then-Liberal leader Stephane Dion called for a national carbon tax. Fifthly, I wonder if "mooks" is actually a B.C. Liberal supporter who is writing the kind of nonsense above simply to advance the interests of the B.C. Liberals in the next election. If so, it's not going to work if he's going to fill his comments with half-truths about our paper. Ask Glen Clark if we were always an NDP cheerleader. Maybe he can tell you about the time we published the first feature article that criticized his beloved fast ferries. Or how about all those articles about his silly natural-gas pipeline proposal to Vancouver Island? Mooks, you should try harder next time. Sure, we've recommended NDP candidates. And we'll recommend them again. But we've also recommended Liberal and Green candidates, as well as NPA candidates and COPE candidates. Oh yeah, we also recommended some Vision Vancouver candidates, including a guy named Gregor Robertson.


Apr 4, 2009 at 8:47pm

c) Robertson is a success whore.
I voted for Robertson hoping to see real change in the city but so far I've been disappointed with quite a few decisions the Mayor and Councillors have made.


Apr 5, 2009 at 3:26pm

I'm sorry, but your criticisms of Carole James and her party have been little more than gentle wags of the finger. I would like to see you really hold her feet to the fire, but instead you choose to go after Gregor Robertson for standing up for what he believes in and speaking in a non-partisan manner.

How can you try and make the claim you're objective, and then put together a poll that insinuates he's either selfish, a traitor, a success whore, stupid, or greedy. Of course, the answer couldn't possibly have anything to do with Carole James and the NDP's shameless campaign of lies against the Carbon Tax. And despite your feelings towards Gordon Campbell and his government, you should also stand up and praise him for his efforts in this area despite what you think about his government. This is exactly what environmental groups such as The Suzuki Foundation and Pembina Institute did, but instead of taking these groups at their word, the media have spent as much time attacking the credibility of these groups like Republicans challenging the science of global warming. Authors like Bill Tieleman have gone hard after environmentalists, challenging their integrity as if to suggest they're in bed with the Liberals or have some sort of vested interest in propping up a right wing government. The vast majority of people out there are still confused about the carbon tax and don't believe it's revenue neutral mostly because the media haven't done their job properly in explaining that it is actually revenue neutral. Instead, they've given as much time for the lies that have come out of the NDP camp.

As for myself, I'm a 30 year old who was born into a staunch NDP household and has voted and volunteered for the NDP more than once. I believe in social justice, the environment, building a knowledge based economy, and believe a political party and its leader must have a vision and a plan. I volunteered my own time canvasing when Gregor Robertson was running as an NDP candidate, and did so again when he ran for mayor. I despise Steven Harper and the federal conservatives, and have somewhat mixed feelings about the provincial Liberals. I'm currently enraged with the current leadership of the NDP, and think they've completely sold themselves out after years of trying to brand themselves as the party of compassion, social justice, and the environment. They clearly went in the face of the environmental movement, and in doing so sold out their values and morals in the process. I don't believe anything Carole James says any longer, and I will return to the party when the party divorces its special interests, and becomes a progressive, forward thinking, centrist party, whose core values are social justice and respect for the environment. That means never abandoning these values, like Carole James did when it was opportunistic to dump the environmentalists and pander to the "Axe the Tax" demographic in a shameless attempt to gain power.

Charlie Smith

Apr 5, 2009 at 4:41pm

I suggested that Carole James might be a dimwit in this post. www.straight.com/article-209187/mable-elmore-controversy-over-zionism-tr...
I would hardly call that a "gentle wag of the finger", but we can agree to disagree on that.
We have also highlighted James's refusal to pay attention to peak oil. www.straight.com/article-119333/ndp-yet-to-break-its-silence-on-peak-oil
The "Axe the Tax" campaign is a disgrace in comparison to what the NDP should be focusing on: Campbell's record on child poverty, changing legislation (including environmental laws) to benefit big business, and promoting the region's biggest roadbuilding frenzy in history at a time when he is expressing concerns about climate change. Hey, the poll was all in good fun. And Gregor voted against the carbon tax. Let's not forget that.


Apr 6, 2009 at 2:29am

It's not a disgrace because it's the wrong strategy to curry votes, it's a disgrace because it was morally wrong and went against everything the NDP had been marketing themselves as for years. It's one thing to not support it, it's another thing to launch a campaign to kill it. How are you supposed to trust a leader and a party that demonstrates such opportunism and lack of morales? I don't trust they will do anything they say they will until I see a leader running the party that has beliefs and values and doesn't flip flop all over the place according to how issues are polling.

The very fact that you're writing about Gregor Robertson as a traitor makes me feel like he's doing a good job, since the easy way out is simply to tow party lines and regurgitate the same old stuff you've heard a million times before. Why should he not be able to praise Gordon Campbell for introducing a carbon tax, something he's supported for years and even Carole James pretended to support when she wooed him into the party? He voted with the party at the time, but he never said he was against a carbon tax, but rather wanted the Libs to eliminate some loopholes that he identified. He never supported the "Axe the Tax" campaign, and surely felt abandoned by a party that was supposed to be moving towards becoming a more progressive and centrist party, which it subsequently never became under James. I would have loved to have seen him dump her and the party at the time of the vote, but he did his best to be a team player and still stand up for his values. And as much as I hate Gordon Campbell, I am proud that we will be one of the first to introduce such a progressive tax, and I believe it will give us competitive advantage as the world transitions towards a green economy. It`s kind of hard for Gregor to make Vancouver the greenest city on the planet when the NDP refuse to put a price on carbon and believe everyone has the right to pollute to their hearts desire. So call Gordo out on other issues, but give him his due on this one (or don`t attack Gregor for doing as much).

You won't get much argument from me when it comes to various other Liberal policies. I can't stand Kevin Falcon, aside from being an arrogant prick, I don't agree with a lot of the Gateway investments including the Port Mann bridge and expansion of highways. But again, where does the NDP stand on the very same issue under Carole James? They support the Port Mann Bridge just the same - another policy decision by Carole James decided by the polling figures of the day. There are a lot of issues where I vehemently disagree with the Liberal positions, but quite often the NDP are nowhere to be found and often infuriate me with even more perplexing positions. Take the latest NDP ad campaign that advocates getting tougher on crime and building more prisons for example. Does she understand the real issues, or is she once again letting polling dictate her policy?

I'd love to read some of your posts talking less about all the things Gordon Campbell has screwed up (we know), but rather where Carole James and the NDP will take us. You`ve written in great length about all the issues you disagree with the Liberals, but how about where the NDP is supposedly going to take us? How is this NDP government different from NDP governments in the past? How will we capitalize on green business opportunities and compete with our American and global counterparts given the huge tax incentives and investments they are making? What will our economy look like in 20 years and what will the jobs be? How will we do our part in addressing climate change? Etc.


Apr 6, 2009 at 12:37pm

Two more of what the Neocons love to call useful idiots Mook and Gregor Robertson.

We all disagree with Carole James on a lot of points - progressives are always fighting amongst themselves. But can't y'all shut up about it until after the election. Until then reserve your ammo for the Greenies and Gordo.

She has to somehow win an election and sometimes that means comprimises that progressives hate. Look at Obama's appointments and tell me why all of a sudden all those Neocons are on his team. Whatever Carol James is she is not Obama.

After the election have at her. Buy a party membership. Stack constituency meetings with your homies. Elect your own board if directors. Get on policy conference. Give her the boot if she doesn't toe the line.

But lets get rid of Gordo first!!!!


Apr 7, 2009 at 3:52am

Seth - You talk about being a progressive and working together, and in the same breath turn around and call anyone who doesn't agree with you a neocon or idiot. I read your posts calling David Suzuki an "idiot", "sellout", and a "neocon apologist", so I guess I should be honored to hear you hold me in the same regard.

Speaking of neocons and how they behave, I have to say your denial of science and strategy to attack scientists reminds me a lot of the actions of a certain right wing neo-con US party. You preach to all that will listen that the environmentalists are not to be trusted, and suggest strategies to discredit them. When it comes to crime and punishment, you back Carole James getting "tough on crime", and attack progressive Green Party policy that addresses the real issues centering around the "war on drugs" and the multi-billion dollar industry we've created and now have these idiots killing themselves over. Regarding tax policy, you're against the carbon tax and moving towards a system that more closely resembles what they have in progressive nations like Sweden.

So while you accuse anyone and everyone that doesn't agree with you or doesn't declare their absolute support for Carole James a "neocon", maybe you should take a long hard look in the mirror and ask yourself what you are and/or what you are propping up.

Those of us with green values are not for you and Carole James to round up like a bunch of cattle and direct through the gates on election day. You have to demonstrate shared values and compromise - instead you decided to sell out to the right in an attempt to pander to rural voters and the business community. So good luck winning over your new target demographic, but don't count on true progressives to be there for you come election day.