George Heyman wins NDP nomination over Geoff Meggs in Vancouver-Fairview

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      Call it a triumph of the green New Democrats.

      George Heyman, executive director of the Sierra Club of B.C., handily defeated Vancouver councillor Geoff Meggs in a battle of NDP titans for the party's nomination in Vancouver-Fairview.

      Heyman took 58 percent of the votes in a constituency that was represented by former NDP MLA and current mayor Gregor Robertson from 2005 to 2008.

      Vancouver-Fairview has been represented by B.C. Liberal health minister Margaret MacDiarmid since the 2009 election.

      Heyman, a former president of the B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union, attracted support from many New Democrats with a strong environmental ethic, including Gwen Barlee, Joe Foy, Ben West, and Tria Donaldson.

      Meggs, who officially entered the race after being elected to council for a second term in 2008, had the backing of former NDP leader Joy MacPhail, political columnist Bill Tieleman, CUPE Local 15 president Paul Faoro, and former MP and MLA Ian Waddell.

      Greenish New Democrats also demonstrated their clout in last year's federal contest when Thomas Mulcair was elected leader and Nathan Cullen ran a strong third. Cullen's national comanager, Lynda Gerty, was among those who endorsed Heyman, as did Michael Byers, who cochaired Mulcair's campaign in B.C.

      However, New Democrats with a strong environmental bent weren't as successful in the party's provincial leadership campaign last year: many of them backed Mike Farnworth, who came second behind Adrian Dix.

      Ironically, Meggs was supported by communications advisor Marcella Munro, who was one of Farnworth's key operatives.

      Prior to the vote, the Straight reported that Heyman and Meggs had different positions regarding the use of hydraulic fracturing to extract natural gas.

      Heyman said that he will try to reverse the NDP's stance in favour of the practice, whereas Meggs said he would stick to the party's position, notwithstanding his concerns about the environmental effects.

      The NDP appears fairly united these days under the leadership of Adrian Dix. However when it comes to fracking—which involves injecting chemicals and water underground to free up the fuel—there are some cracks.

      We'll probably have to wait until after the next election to see if that develops into a wider chasm.

      In the meantime, Vancouver taxpayers may have been spared the likelihood of a by-election, which might have been necessary had Meggs gotten elected to the legislature next year.



      The Committee of the 86

      Oct 21, 2012 at 9:23pm

      It is great to see George Heyman nominated for Vancouver-Fairview and a wonderful demonstration of direct democracy. Geoff Meggs, who has close ties to developers, voted to renovict 86 families from Heather Place. The Committee of the 86 worked hard for Mr Heyman and to let Mr Meggs know that he cannot just throw us out on the street and expect to sail to Victoria.


      Oct 21, 2012 at 11:24pm

      During his time as Vision councillor, Meggs has been too disrespectful to citizens and neighborhood groups. I think this is a big reason why he lost.


      Oct 22, 2012 at 12:38am

      Geoff Meggs’ flippant disrespect for democracy and his close ties with the local development community aren’t doing much for his political popularity. This was a good test of how popular Vision Vancouver councilors really are, when tested against real opposition (which they didn’t face in the last election).

      James G

      Oct 22, 2012 at 1:37pm

      Although I am relieved that the nomination went as it did, isn't it likely that the members of the riding association merely selected the candidate most likely to win the riding? That was what they were tasked with and not a punitive measure against City Hall.

      The reason this is significant is that politicians often portray themselves as having 'being punished enough' after a loss. Richard Nixon's "you won't have Nixon to kick around any more" after his defeat by Pat Brown in the California 1962 gubernatorial race was a classic example. He nonetheless did manage two successful campaigns for the American presidency.

      To want to remove the bad idea factory that is Councilor Meggs from City Hall is noble but to presume this is a body blow to his ambitions is premature. Could it be that his defeat in this contest itself was a contingency prepared for and was to serve as a paper tiger defeat to mollify criticism? Would that not be perfectly Meggsiavellian?

      Given the infuriating lack of wards, the defeat of the worst and most harmful figures on City Council remains amazingly difficult so long as they are able to ride that slate vote. Start celebrating after defeating the slim toady majority keeping COPE in a COMA and severing the link to Vision.

      William Gibbens of Influency

      Oct 22, 2012 at 3:18pm

      Congratulations George.

      Let Vancouver-Fairview's NDP nomination vote serve as an object demonstration of how quickly a touted “Political Heavyweight” such as for example, Mr. Meggs can suffer a fledgling capsize only to become a mere political “Deadweight”.

      By the way, it is my understanding that all those placards wildly waving in front of the Holiday Inn on Broadway this past Sunday (and all around the sleepy Fairview slopes over the past few weeks) wasn't really meant to be personal Geoff. In fact, I'm told (and perhaps the public should be duly-and-fairly informed) they were, justifyably, trying to fend-off the stench.

      Indeed, astute political observers (whom are prepared to hold their noses) all expect Vision Vancouver's own “Crash Test Dummy” to quickly swirl to the surface of Vancouver's self-made City Council “Chamber Pot”.

      On my part, I predict that Mr. Meggs will shortly pronounce that it only was his bicycle helmet which saved him - serving to float him to the top of a heap of city councillors...

      But, with his nascent provincial political careen now all in a tizzy, what's left for Mr. Meggs? It's a safe bet he's already primping for a “Dixonian” political appointment...

      Vancouverites will be hoping it's sooner rather than later and in honour of this - rumour has it - a new smart-phone-app will shortly be released to all “Engaged Citizens” for “Free!”. Is called simply “Flush!”