Of the two political events, however, the one in Vancouver garnered more online buzz thanks to its unexpected outcome.
Meggs is also one of the few members of the Vision caucus who doesn't suffer from foot in mouth disease when in front of a TV camera or a microphone. Everyone else, including the mayor, is held on chief of staff Mike Magee's tight leash.When Vancouver Courier reporter Mike Howell cornered both Amy Robertson (Gregor's wife) and Magee at the nomination meeting, neither of these NDP members would declare who they voted for. It was a telling sign that neither of them supported Meggs, at least publicly. In fact, I predict that many Vision supporters chose to cast their ballot for Heyman instead. Coincidentally, Magee ran Robertson's Fairview campaign in 2004 where he beat former CUPE national president Judy Darcy. Just as in 2004, today's favoured labour candidate (Meggs) challenged a candidate with strong green credentials (Heyman). Despite having the support of many Vision back-roomers such as Bill Tieleman and Marcella Munro, and school trustee and trade unionist Mike Lombardi, Meggs could not pull out a win. In 2012, as in 2004, green trumped orange.
Geoff Meggs, left, and George Heyman, right, debated on Oct. 15, 2012. A week later, Heyman won the NDP Vancouver-Fairview nomination. (Facebook)One NDP supporter told me that through the vote the members in Fairview sent a message to NDP bigwigs that the people, not party insiders, prevailed. If it was meant as a shot across Dix's bow, it was pretty subtle one. Another political watcher surmised that the Fairview contest was a referendum on Vision's governance. But are people ticked off about stacked townhouses the real reason for Meggs' loss? The folks behind Vision Vancouver have always made it clear that they have much bigger plans than just ruling city hall. Their raison d'être has been to influence Canada's energy policy at the highest level, including stopping oil pipelines and ending oil sands development. To achieve this they have sought to bring NDP members (traditionally linked with big labour) together with environmentally-conscious Liberals. In the U.S.A. a similar movement is dubbed the BlueGreen Alliance (that is blue, as in blue collar). Influencing the Liberal's agenda could explain why powerful environmental advocates are getting behind Justin Trudeau's leadership bid. Gerald Butts, CEO of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), just announced he is leaving his $200,000+ salaried position to work on the Dauphin's campaign.
The speculation on Robertson's political future has pivoted around federal opportunities, not provincial. With Trudeau as leader, Robertson would have the star power to gain or hold on to a Vancouver seat for the Liberals.
So who replaces Gregor as Vision's leader? How about George Heyman?
Heyman just might have all the right stuff to lead Vision. He's got good green credentials as an opponent of mining and aquaculture, and he also has the backing of big labour as a former BCGEU president. He's also well-spoken and telegenic. If he loses to incumbent Dr. Margaret MacDiarmid next year, his next role in life could be as Robertson's heir apparent.
So if people ask how a high profile city councillor could have lost to a relatively unknown former union boss, tell them it was Vision's call.
For Dix, Meggs' loss is a mere glitch. If the NDP leader becomes premier, it is only a matter of time before his friend Geoff will be working beside him in the west wing of the B.C. legislature.
And for political observers, Sunday's vote turns the page on an interesting new chapter in Vancouver politics.