Conservative George Higgins not picked by me: Colin Metcalfe

Colin Metcalfe is linked to both Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan and his newest aide, George Higgins.

The latter is the mayor’s card-carrying Conservative “signing” at City Hall, hired by Sullivan as caucus coordinator last week.

Metcalfe is director of regional affairs for the Conservative Party of Canada. He worked with Sullivan in 2004 on his Knowards campaign, and in 2005 helped him get the NPA mayoral nomination ahead of Christy Clark.

“But I’m certainly not the one that made the mayor hire George,” Metcalfe told the Straight on January 12. “My role with Sam Sullivan now is him calling me when he has ideas and me telling him what I think. I’ll also help him out if there’s any federal overlap and things like that.”

Metcalfe said Sullivan has been looking for extra help “for a while”.

“He did ask me what I thought of various people, and I said, ”˜Well, here’s what I think,’” he said. “I think George was in that mix at the time.”

It came to light last week that Sullivan had hired Higgins—currently Vancouver AM Tourism Association executive director—using funds from his election-readiness fund, which is not part of his taxpayer-funded mayor’s office.

The mayor hasn’t revealed who is contributing to the mayor’s election-readiness fund, nor which individuals or organizations will pay Higgins’s salary.

Sullivan did not return calls from the Straight by deadline asking for further details.

“I’m not on the payroll yet,” Higgins told the Straight on his way to a January 12 meeting with Sullivan. “I didn’t know about the job until a few weeks ago. At this time I can tell you it’s a partisan position. I haven’t got to the point yet where I can tell you the details of the contract. At this point I haven’t actually seen it.”

Higgins was campaign manager for Vancouver Quadra Conservative candidate Stephen Rogers in the 2006 federal election. Higgins added that he’s also been a member of the civic Non-Partisan Association since the 1980s, and is a “political animal” who has worked with the NPA, former prime minister Kim Campbell, “Socreds” and “federal Conservatives in Ottawa and Vancouver”.

“Yesterday I celebrated my 35th birthday,” Higgins added. “I share my birthday with Jean Chrétien and John A. Macdonald.”