Former B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union president George Heyman won the race to become the B.C. NDP candidate in Vancouver-Fraserview on Oct. 21 against Vancouver city councillor Geoff Meggs.
But what kind of MLA might Heyman be, if he can unseat B.C. Liberal incumbent Margaret MacDiarmid in the May 2013 provincial election?
MacDiarmid was the Citizens’ Services minister who was the titular lead for the privatization of the Liquor Distribution Branch’s warehousing and distribution, before she was shuffled to the Health Ministry in September.
MacDiarmid, to her credit, agreed to an interview with me. Liquor minister Rich Coleman, whose hands were all over the file, behind-the-scenes, did not.
Heyman was a key player in the years-long saga during his 1999 to 2008 tenure as BCEGU president. Under his watch, the BCGEU successfully thwarted the Liberals’ 2003 bid to privatize LDB’s retail and logistics. But, from 2005 to 2008, Heyman and BCGEU organizing director Jeff Fox held closed-door meetings with Exel Logistics’ lobbyists Mark Jiles and Rob Madore. Exel expressed confidence it had support from the BCGEU in its Oct. 6, 2009 “Project Last Spike” internal memo. In a nutshell, the memo said the BCGEU was willing to sacrifice the warehouse workers in Vancouver and Kamloops warehouses in order to keep the workers who are employed across the province in the LDB retail chain. Current president Darryl Walker, who succeeded Heyman, denied that was the case.
News and views on Vancouver 2010 (and beyond) from Bob Mackin.