Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Carole Taylor for Vancouver Mayor? No thanks, with her record

Bill Tieleman’s 24 Hours Column
Tuesday December 4, 2007

Mayor Taylor? No, thank you


All charming people, I fancy, are spoiled. It is the secret of their attraction.

- Oscar Wilde

Apparently I am one of the few people immune to the charms of Carole Taylor because, to me, the idea of B.C.'s finance minister becoming Vancouver's next mayor is simply appalling.

So while Taylor's announcement that she won't run again for Premier Gordon Campbell's B.C. Liberals has prompted the breathless media attention reserved for a royal abdication, a harder look at Taylor's record shows less than charming results.

Taylor has clearly championed the province's already well-off while bypassing the needy. Among her failures as finance minister and number two power in government:

Child poverty - B.C. has the worst record in Canada for four years in a row, advocacy group
First Call reported last month. B.C.'s proportion of children living in poverty was 21 per cent, yet the government has no plan, despite Taylor's $2 billion budget surplus.

Minimum wage - One way to reduce child poverty would be to raise B.C.'s $8 minimum wage but there hasn't been an increase in eight years. The B.C. Federation of Labour calculates that 250,000 people work for under $10 an hour.

Tax breaks for wealthy - No minimum wage hike but Taylor made sure this year that those owning homes worth up to a whopping $950,000 got the $570
provincial homeowner grant, an increase in the threshold value of $265,000 in just two years. And last year Taylor raised the threshold on the luxury car tax to $55,000 from $49,000, perfect for BMW SUV buyers.

Convention centre - Cost overruns have reached what the Canadian Taxpayers Federation calls an "outrageous" $388 million with Taylor as finance minister - where was her watchful eye on B.C.'s second biggest project?

Cambie Street merchants - Taylor blames TransLink for not compensating small businesses that have lost everything due to the $1.7 billion Canada Line rapid transit construction mess when everyone knows the provincial government is really in charge. And yet many of the suffering merchants are in her own riding.

Public-private partnerships - Taylor recently questioned using a P3 model for the Canada Line but her government's policy is that every single public project over $20 million must consider the P3 approach.

And Taylor said exactly the opposite about the overrun-plagued convention centre, arguing that it should have been a P3. Huh?

B.C. economy - The province is returning to mediocre economic performance after a construction- fuelled boom, with Taylor downgrading gross domestic product growth projections to just 3.1 per cent next year.
That places B.C. fifth in Canada, behind powerhouses like Saskatchewan and Newfoundland.

Vancouver needs a better mayor than the lackluster Sam Sullivan. But the Gucci-heeled Carole Taylor is hardly a good alternative.


DL said...

Taylor has picked up a few federal jobs in her time, and left as things started to go sideways in some of the jobs. Wasn't she around when they decied to cut the port cops and stood by as the crime on the water front got serious? I figure she thought Gordo was a Liberal at heart but soon found out. Did she rebel? Of course not as she was looking for another soft landing. Hell anyone can get the other party to settle if they wave around a ton of money, around one billion at the workers. Of course they took it, they had been shortchanged for years. Don't worry about the poor, underwaged folks is Gordo and her opinions. Many of them like to sleep outside in the cold seems to be the Gordo gangs theory. My God Sam has been a disaster as Mayor and I sure can't see her going for the job. The federal Liberals are working for an election, there must be a nice safe seat in the lower mainland for her. Personally I wouldn't vote for her if the job was rat catcher. Am I biased? of course I am. The government she was part of hurt an awful lot of people and as we are starting to slow economy wise, it's time for her to get back to the golf course.DL

Anonymous said...

Thanks Bill, I thought I was the only one immune to the "charms" of our finance minister.

I had to turn the radio off more than once this week listening to Smyth go on about how wonderful (and hot!) Taylor is.

I don't think I've ever seen a BC politician get such a free ride in the local press.

Anonymous said...

Let's not forget that the Finance Minister also put those whopping (and phony) provincial surpluses towards the provincial debt rather than restoring social supports for Vancouver's most vulnerable children, families and adults. Claimed "increases" were in most cases eaten up by the pay hikes that the Minister herself approved, leaving the "need" gap in Vancouver's less fortunate communities wider than ever.

Sorry, I don't see the charm in donning $800 Guccis to celebrate joining the team that brutally slashed supports to our most vulnerable citizens in the first place, and then turning around and telling developmentally disabled folks who don't see that much disposable income in a year that govt can't afford to do any more to help them survive without turning to the streets.

And then to argue that debt repayment in a period of low and declining interest rates should take precedence over restoring social safety nets as the chasm between the city's rich and poor grows ever wider, threatening everyone's social & economic stability, doesn't make a lot of economic sense to me either.

Bring her on, though. Hopefully she'll split the right-wing vote with Sam and we'll get a Mayor who actually cares about ordinary Vancouverites for a change.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, but the only time that the centre-left has won Vancouver's mayoral chair was with a moderate candidate... Mike Harcourt and Larry Campbell that is, who also seem to be federal Liberal types like Taylor.

Apparently it was Larry Campbell himself who approached Taylor to run for Vision Vancouver's mayoral position.

COPE's David Cadman for mayor of Vancouver? Doubtful.

Budd Campbell said...

I agree that Carole Taylor tends to be quite overated, but what does one expect? She's an amiable and attractive (for 65) sort with good business connections, so if she gets an unduly favourable press, is anyone really surprised?

However Bill, I notice you didn't give Taylor any credit at all for the wave of public sector labour agreements that came one upon the other last Spring. I am wondering if you could tell us if you feel she actually deserves none of the credit, or if you were simply intending for your piece to tell the other side of the Carole Taylor story? Even though I think Taylor is a best a mid range player, I do think it's hard to say she doesn't deserve some points for concluding all those agreements without a disruption.

Also, there's nothing shabby about a 3% real GDP growth rate. This has been the presumptive rate of GDP growth for Canada and the US for the past several years, with any movement above or below that being remarked upon. I wouldn't call 3% any kind of slowdown.

And as for the running-for-Mayor thing, being a Fraser Valley resident I don't really care, but would actually be marginally amused to see 12th and Cambie run by a former Miss Teen Toronto. Watching the WestSide and EastSide property owners united at last, sweating bullets over the prospect of a good-looking light weight carrying the City's flag into meetings with the Metro suburbs and senior governments is really sweet. If her lighter side causes too many problems, it might be the final fracture that breaks the situation open and leads Metro down the slipways to full amalgamation, something that is long overdue.

Gazetteer said...

I too have some ambivalence regarding policy and perhaps ideology.....

However, one of the things I find intriguing is the possibility that, like Mr. Phillips before her, Ms. Taylor might be able to really throw sand in the gears of the NPA machine. That, together a widely reported decency/conciliatory streak, makes me wonder if this might not be such a bad thing.

Regardless, I'm glad to have finally found something I don't agree completely with Mr. T. about.

expanded thoughts on the pluses of an NPABagman-Free mayor are here, if anyone's interested.


Bill Tieleman said...

Thanks Budd - I think other media have presented the Carole Taylor is wonderful side of the story ad nauseum, so that's not my table.

But I will agree that I was pleased to see the BC Liberals reach negotiated collective agreements rather than rip up contracts and impose their own, like they previously did.

The decision maker in such major policy changes is, however, Premier Gordon Campbell. If Taylor influenced him in that direction and in other ways helped pick negotiation instead of confrontation, I have no problem thanking her for that, but her record still leaves much to be desired.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, but Cadman's not the only contender & I thought Senator Larry wanted Louie to be Mayor. And I wonder how that poll went the other day re Sullivan vs. Taylor vs. Robertson...?

Anonymous said...

Larry Campbell apparently has a preference for Louie over Robertson for Vision Vancouver's mayoral bid.

Meanwhile, Cadman apparently wants to be the COPE/VV unity candidate.

As for the Sullivan-Taylor-Robertson poll, "Taylor came out on top in a comfortable romp", according the the Province's Mike Smythe on Sunday.

It seems that a higher-profile moderate, female candidate has a better than average chance of winning these days... Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts comes to mind.

Anonymous said...

Oh please, Budd, BC's current Finance Minister is responsible for the 3% GDP growth rate? - Is this the same 3% growth rate fuelled by pre-Olympic construction, super low interest rates, buckets of cash flowing in to every city with room for more condos on the Pacific coast, and high world commodity prices -- none of which factors she controls?

So when the real estate market finally dives, or interest rates climb, or the post-Olympic hangover sets in and/or commodity prices flatten out (as is now happening) -- will we blame her for all these things as well?

If you want to assess how well our Finance Minister is doing, why not measure things that she does control - like, say, getting BC's interior in gear to survive the major crisis that's going to hit by 2015 when the bark beetles have finished munching all our interior forests.

And while fiscal policy does of course impact the economy, the Finance Minister's responsibilies encompass all aspects of government as it affects the health of society, not just the economy. Evidence of balance would be a key measure of success, and there's little evidence of that in BC - quite the contrary, imbalances are growing exponentially.

Anonymous said...

Ms. Taylor ran as an Independent for Vancouver Council, served 1 term and moved on.Rumours at that time were that she couldn't put up with Gordo's tantrums in the in-camera meetings--where all decisions were made.
Look to her to go to the Senate.

Anonymous said...

Ummmmm... actually Taylor served two terms as an independent councillor... '86 - '88 and '88 -'90.

Anonymous said...

Of course the rich get most of the tax breaks. There are the ones who pay MOST of the tax.

Horny Toad

Anonymous said...

Anyone who saw Vaughn Palmers revealing interview with Minister Taylor on Shaw must have noted her servile mind-set regarding big business. I was also struck by her inferences regarding public supported health care in this interview...scary.

Anonymous said...

Given you strong knowledge of the political process Bill, I am surprised that you would deliberately attempt to degrade Carole Taylor’s record with governmental items that have zero relation to her role as Finance Minister. It seems this is nothing more than a blatant attempt at spin by you to do nothing more than discredit Taylor to further your own personal political bias.

Why not have a look at Carole Taylor’s entire resume; because that is what voters will be looking at and it is one hell of a lot more impressive than yours. Funny how a guy who is basically a political hack think he is worthy to cut down someone with a long track record of public service. You are pathetic.

secondthought@shaw.ca said...

Thank you Bill . . . . & I'll join the chorus of: "I thought I was the only one . . . " LOL

Firstly Mike Smyth sounded like a raving fool in describing CT - PATHETIC TO THE MAX! I wonder what his reward was for that one;perhaps viewing a job as communications aide to his future would be Mayor CT???? Mike is known to go which way the wind blows for HIS best interests.

Secondly, WHAT Carol's looks are/aren't has zilch to do with her ability to do a good job on behalf of the public!

Thirdly, I do not believe she is suitable for Mayor on her performance record. What pray tell did she do as an independent City councilor? If anyone really believes that Carole actually RAN the Finance . . . think again!

CT not only has a huge administrative staff behind her but everything is run out of Campbell's Office not to mention a husband to boot in the finance world; a well connected father who greased the skids to start with. I wonder how far she would have climbed the ladder as a single female . . . .

What CT had her sights on was the Premier's Office. Notice how Campbell didn't make her Deputy Premier. Gee & to think that he was an aide to her hubby!! Something is wrong with this picture LOL!

No, unfortunately CT has the 'Queen Bee' syndrome not unlike Grace McCarthy - in unison ladies: "Let them eat cake."

Personally, I don't care whether the Mayor is left or right - male/female - just please give us someone with ethics, a grasp of the real world instead of their own vested interests, with a heavy dose of common sense & compassion . . . & NOT part of the incestuous CIRCLE that is controlling British Columbia for their own ends.


DL said...

And whose team are you, Anon 8:00 working for?
Tielman has a pretty good record on things political, what's your background. Oh I forgot you are anon. I go back to days her husband was mayor and they lived at city expense ina nice apartment, over looking the river. Cambie and around 65th . Do other mayors get thier apartment provided for free? I rather doubt it.The landy is supposedly the second most powerful MLa right now. I've never heard her offer some more dollars of care of seniors homes for example. she no Avita for sure. But all of us have opinions and can usual promote them without insulting the blog operator. Calling some one with a opinion other than yours,) and one other folks who agree with the blog guys opinion) Pathetic sounds like cooments from running a bit scared.

Anonymous said...

What's certainly bizarre is former COPE mayor Larry Campbell seemingly falling all over himself to have Taylor run for mayor.

He's quoted in today's G & M stating that he would even be her campaign manager.

Politics certainly can make stange bedfellows!

G West said...

anon 8:00

Let's look at Carole's resume then:

A Toronto native, Carole Goss's first job at 17 was selling hotdogs at Woodbine Raceway. She won the Miss Toronto pageant in 1964 while in high school and embarked on a TV and modelling career. She fit in an arts degree in Toronto as well.

The Toronto Telegram hired her to head the newspaper's new section aimed at teenagers, called After Four. That quickly turned into a TV show with the same name, hosted by Taylor with media big-wig Johnny Bassett (Carole has always known how to leverage her best assets to advantage after all).

In 1967 she married Bryce Taylor, quarterback of the University of Toronto Varsity Blues football team. (Big man on Campus no doubt). They divorced seven years later.

During the early 1970s, Taylor hosted CTV's Canada AM. She also became the first female anchor for the network's investigative newsmagazine W5.

Taylor regularly conducted year-end interviews for CTV with former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, covered the Yom Kippur War in Israel and the coup in Chile. She was even offered a job by legendary CBS anchor Walter Cronkite. So we know she can read a teleprompter.

An interview with Vancouver's then-mayor Art Phillips in 1974 turned into a love affair. Taylor married Phillips, who was 15 years older, and had a daughter with him. She has a son by her first marriage. The fact Phillips had a family of his own back in Vancouver seems to have been not much of an impediment and, once again, Carole was leveraging her assets with a guy with cash and influence…even if he was a little long in the tooth.

Nice work if you can get it.

I don’t know which of these two would be the trophy spouse – Phillips had political ambition beyond Cambie Street at the time.

A decade later she entered Vancouver civic politics, winning a seat on city council when Campbell (remember Gordon had been Phillips’ assistant when he was mayor – prior to moving over to Marathon where the real money was) was mayor of Vancouver. Much has been made of Phillips’ independence from the NPA – don’t be fooled – these characters always supped at the same table – and it wasn’t with the working plebes either.

Former Prime Minister Jean Chretien then appointed her to head the CBC in 2001.

She and Phillips were always on federal and provincial dream-candidate wish lists and Taylor was finally recruited into B.C. politics by Campbell in 2005.

Now what is it about that resume that makes you think Carole Taylor is more qualified to be mayor of Vancouver than someone like, say Bill Tieleman?

I admit Bill hasn't got quite the same coiffure power...but then he didn't get where he is by marrying the mayor either.

It's nice to have a pretty face - but actually knowing something helps a lot too - in most jobs.

You might want to check with some senior staff members of the Finance Ministry in Victoria on that score..

I think we have quite enough pretty faces in politics already - maybe it's time for a few bald heads and paunches (no offence 'bout the hair Bill).

Anonymous said...

Scared ? The only one that is scared is Tieleman and the rest of the loony lefties who are terrified that Carole Taylor will blow Juice Boy out of the water next November. Hence Tielemans lame spin attack job.

BC Mary said...

I like it!




Anonymous said...

The fawning media coverage of Miss Toronto's departure from the provincial scene (subtitle: please, Miss Toronto, don't go) can be summarized in one quote from the erudite Michael Smythe, who called her "the hottest 62-year-old on the planet". Nobody mentions that her looks are store-bought, by the way, because that would be just tacky, apparently. But it's less tacky to lust after someone's gramma.

Yes, let's give her credit for what she has done: she has used her charm and grace to get herself the second most powerful position in BC politics. She was certainly savvy enough to dangle big money in front of the public sector unions.

But let's not pretend that BC's financial position has much of anything to do with the Divine Miss T. She rode a strong economy driven mostly by low interest rates, high commodity prices and, until six months ago, a so-so dollar. Now two of those factors have gone bye-bye and C.Taylor is on the first horse out of town. Again, nobody said she was stupid.

She's just not the genius that the hormone-driven sausage factory that is BC's press pool would like to claim.

Anonymous said...

Hey, one thing though... the NDP just passed a resolution to guarantee women a certain percentage of provincial nominations in 2009.

No wonder women don't run for political office based upon some of the stuff I read on here.

While on Vancouver city council, I also recall that COPE's Harry Rankin used to degrade Taylor as nothing more than a "barbie doll" in an attempt to oppose her positions and speak down to her.

Very sexist stuff.

G West said...

Anon 8:06
Nothing sexist about it - simply credit where credit's due.

BTW plenty of progressive people have been screaming about Carole James's quotas ever since - the idea is bad one - look to see that one changed before too long.

Harry Rankin (RIP) did more good for more people - people who actually needed help - in the city of Vancouver than Carole Taylor ever will - hyperbole aside.

If she had a better resume, I would have posted it. You tell me how far she'd have got sans looks, sans CTV’s Bassett and sans Phillips?

I rest my case. And there's nothing sexist about it - our pretty boy spandex premier amounts to little more than a Ken to Taylor's 'Barbie' - but at least Taylor knows when it's time to go.

I will give her that!

Anonymous said...

A couple of things for you all to consider:

1) Does anyone remember Minister Taylor's so-called "Housing Budget" of 2007? That was a huge success, eh? It amounted to diddley in the way of new housing but ramped up the Home Owner Grant on Vancouver's Westside to make sure they wouldn't pay anymore taxes.

2) While it was a shrewd political move, Carole Taylor pointed out in several speeches last year that she was able to pay the signing bonuses for 150 labour agreements thanks to Hurricane Katrina.

WHAT!! you ask? One of BC's largest income generator's is natural gas. When Katrina hit in Sept. 2005, it shut down refineries on the Gulf Coast. The price of natural gas quickly skyrocketed, providing a reported $700 million worth of unexpected revenue on BC's ledger.

Katrina solved a VERY big problem facing the Minister. What to do about all those public sector agreements ending all at once in the Spring of 2006. Simple, use the $700M of "free" money to pay one-time bonuses amounting to $1 Billion. Problem apparently solved, and sadly, on the backs of about 400,000 poor people left homeless by a hurricane.

I'm sure that $4000 bonus our workers got went into home renos or some consumer goods, a fund for the kids' education, or something nice. We just have to remember that nothing comes for free, and Carole Taylor's magical accomplishments sometimes require slight of hand.

Anonymous said...

Yes Bill you are like always right on the button.
The $800 Gucci shoes has had nothing but soft jobs with good pay and accomplished nothing. She was on the Vancouver Council when Gordi was the mayor. At the time they were fighting secondary suites in the City. Gucci shoes was responsible for this problem. She once came to a meeting in my community on the East side to discuss the problem. On the expression on her face and how she conducted herself you could tell
that we were not good enough for Gucci shoes.