The Village Scold

An irregular column on West Vancouver matters (the logo stolen from the great Bruce Hutchison)

By Trevor Lautens

Give this a workout on your tongue:

Premier Pamela Goldsmith-Jones  

Pam for Premier!

Standing ovation? Or screams of horror? Is Halloween over?

My Agent 5%jwKnD7, who knows his or her way around town, states that Pamela Goldsmith-Jones, former West Vancouver mayor and one-term Liberal MP for West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country, is casting a covetous eye on the premiership of British Columbia.

Such secrets are impossible to keep. I may be the last to know. If wrong, I will plead, as Humphrey Bogart famously said in Casablanca: “I was misinformed.”

Of course I reacted with journalistic professionalism to this awesome rumour. I emailed Ms. Goldsmith-Jones and put it to her.

She replied instantly. With classic political boilerplate: “Thank you very much for writing to me.  This is to acknowledge that I have received your correspondence and will read it and reply as soon as I can. …”

I’m ashamed if I sound cynical. No reasonable person expects a political leader to drop everything, even a large campaign contribution, to immediately answer a constituent. Then again, someone has to speak up for the unreasonable. We are so numerous.

Moving on: Ms. Goldsmith-Jones’s email then helpfully furnished the link to a media aide, Morgan McCullough.

I explained my mission to him and named a deadline.

Mr. McCullough didn’t even provide a sincere pretense. Didn’t respond.

The political playbook here is join-the-dots convention to any astute reader, of which I have no other. Two possibilities.

One: Goldsmith-Jones really is seeking the premiership.

Second: She isn’t.

But if she isn’t, the well-thumbed guide to the theatre that is politics teaches that there is no such thing as bad publicity, short of abusing animals or the discovery of being a closet Christian.

And if she is, there’s only the annoyance that it slipped out. Such announcements are about as spontaneous as Greek tragedy. They are carefully plotted and shrewdly timed theatre. You knew that.

Don’t confirm. Don’t deny. Either way it’s a story for the media. Of course it’s humiliating to be one of the  manipulated, but would I rather be delivering telegrams on my Humber bicycle for CP Telegraphs? Damn right, if I were 15 again and with a huge secret crush on the meltingly lovely Gloria Greenfield.

At any rate if Goldsmith-Jones harbours the ambition to replace John Horgan, the incumbent premier in Victoria, there are some roadblocks to leap or outflank, including many of her own making. And obviously she must dispatch the present provincial Liberal party leader, Andrew Wilkinson. He may not dispatch lightly.

But, as outstanding legislative columnist Vaughn Palmer often writes, that’s for another day. The sure thing is that Goldsmith-Jones leaves her present gig with $98,000, hardly a living allowance, in severance pay. And with a touch of bitterness? Agent wuH3wbCsb5, one of my quietly polite spies, suggests: She left because she was disgruntled that she never got a cabinet post. Well, I never got Gloria Greenfield either. D’you hear me grumbling?

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Meanwhile, all is not sweetness and light down at West Vancouver town hall. With an Angus Reid poll indicating that Mary-Ann Booth has a 41 per cent approval rating, she’s secure in the mayor’s chair – a hot seat some council meetings. 

Like at last Monday’s (Nov. 4) not untypical session. At one point first-term councillor Marcus Wong spoke with quietly measured respect for councillors he disagreed with on the issue at hand. When he finished, Booth in effect accused him of bad faith.

Murmurs from the public gallery – which has become more unruly as council personal antipathies have blurted into the open. Booth’s looks were severe. “I am the chair and I can speak to Coun. Wong,” she said. “This is nothing improper.”

The gallery volume was turned up. As was Booth’s discomfiture. “If anyone speaks up I will ask you to leave,” Booth warned. “And I am serious about that.”

Nigel Malkin’s West Vancouver Community Stakeholders isolated this contretemps and circulated it on the internet with arguably unseemly glee. Booth must hope that Malkin’s movement will run out of energy – and novelty – before the 2022 election. But her next three years don’t look enviable.

Trevor Lautens has been apprenticing in the newspaper business for 66 years. The above may be quoted liberally with attribution. Copyright Holland House Communications Ltd., 2019.