About six years ago, Carole Taylor passed up a chance to run for mayor of Vancouver. Nevertheless, time doesn’t seem to have diminished her allure as a prized candidate.
Although there are no public indications that Taylor is being courted again, this time for the November 2014 civic election, the Simon Fraser University chancellor remains highly regarded.
“If she wants to do it, then, yes, the red carpet would be out. No doubt about that: the dream candidate,” former Vancouver councillor Gordon Price said in a phone interview when the Georgia Straight brought up Taylor’s name.
According to Price, Taylor has so much appeal that she could run with an established party, start a group of her own, or go as an independent.
“That would be a hell of a campaign, wouldn’t it? That would be a fun one,” Price said.
Price and Taylor were elected as councillors in 1986, he as a candidate for the Non-Partisan Association and she as an independent.
Taylor, the first host of CTV’s Canada AM, served on council until 1990, returning to politics at the provincial level in 2005, after a stint as chair of the CBC and of the Vancouver Board of Trade. She was elected as B.C. Liberal MLA in Vancouver-Langara and later appointed finance minister. She announced in 2007 that she would not seek another term.
Months after she was encouraged by supporters—such as then–Vancouver park commissioner Allan De Genova—to run for Vancouver mayor in 2008, she announced in January of that year that she wouldn’t make the attempt because she didn’t want to trigger a by-election in Vancouver-Langara.
Taylor’s term as SFU chancellor ends in the summer of 2014. Her husband, former Vancouver mayor Art Phillips, died in March. Taylor couldn’t be reached for comment by the Straight’s deadline.
Former NPA council candidate Michael Geller can’t imagine Taylor returning to civic politics, much less running for mayor.
“I would be very surprised if she chose to give up her current lifestyle for the early-morning and late-night meetings that the position requires,” Geller said in a phone interview when the Straight mentioned her name.
If Taylor does decide to run for mayor, Geller, like Price, believes that she will be a strong contender.
“Carole Taylor is one of the most engaging people you can meet,” Geller said, “and she would be an exceptional candidate.”
Price is also connected to SFU, as the university’s city-program director. However, he noted that he hasn’t spoken to Taylor in years.
Although Price sees a Taylor candidacy producing a “dead heat” with Mayor Gregor Robertson, he also said that the advantage remains with the incumbent and his Vision Vancouver party.
“If the pattern of the past 20 years or so is indicative of the future, parties and mayors don’t get beaten,” Price said. “They don’t get beaten so much as they disintegrate.”
So far, according to Price, Robertson’s Vision is solid and hasn’t shown signs of internal conflict.