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HomeMiscellanyColeman’s future, Mira for Mayor? and Chow’s tax bill

Coleman’s future, Mira for Mayor? and Chow’s tax bill

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Bob Mackin

The B.C. Legislature sits until May 31 and then breaks for four months. 

Will Rich Coleman be back in the fall? 

A source tells theBreaker that polling has been underway in Surrey and Langley, testing the waters for Coleman’s name as a potential candidate for mayor and potential candidate for the federal Conservatives. 

Rich Coleman (right) and Woodfibre LNG owner Sukanto Tanoto, holding documents the B.C. government refuses to release.

Coleman was interim BC Liberal leader after Christy Clark quit last summer. When he broke from tradition and endorsed Mike de Jong for leader early this year, his fate was sealed. New leader Andrew Wilkinson relegated both Coleman and de Jong to non-critic roles in the BC Liberal opposition caucus. Runner-up Dianne Watts was prepared to do the same to Coleman, had she won. 

The ex-deputy premier is 62 and has enjoyed six election victories in Langley ridings that earned him several cabinet posts during the 16-year BC Liberal dynasty. He is also a master fundraiser, but the rules have changed. No more six-figure donations from tycoons, like the Walls and the Redekops, are allowed. With the NDP/Green alliance looking like it could hold until 2021, now is the time for new career challenges, as they say. 

There are municipal elections this October and the federal election in October 2019. 

Neither Langley City Mayor Ted Schaffer nor Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner are running this fall. Speculation is that Coleman’s best-bet would be to snag the federal Tory nomination for Cloverdale-Langley City to challenge Liberal John Aldag. 

Coleman’s time in office since 1996 means he is eligible for an annual provincial pension of approximately $83,000.

Ex-Robertson aide to seek Vision nod? 

When Geoff Meggs quit as a Vision Vancouver city councillor to join Premier John Horgan’s office as chief of staff, he brought Mira Oreck with him.

Oreck was the 2015 federal election runner-up to Liberal Jody Wilson-Raybould in Vancouver-Granville. She took the $120,000-a-year job last July as Horgan’s director of stakeholder relations, but she hasn’t lost the itch to run for public office. A source told theBreaker that she is interested in the $169,000-a-year job as Mayor of Vancouver and was exploring a run for the nomination with Vision Vancouver. She did not respond for comment.

Oreck and Vdovine (Twitter)

Mayor Gregor Robertson is bowing out after three terms in office. Oreck was originally Robertson’s aide when he was an NDP MLA from 2005 to 2008 and later a key member of his mayoral campaign backroom. She also took detours to the Ottawa-based Broadbent Institute and a New York political action committee’s pro-Obama campaign aimed at Jewish voters.

Oreck’s husband is ex-Vision  executive director Stepan Vdovine. In February, Vdovine joined the De Cotiis famiglia’s Amacon development company as director of business development. 

Chez Chow 

Minister of State for Trade George Chow finds himself between a rock and a hard place. 

The Vancouver-Fraserview NDP MLA didn’t respond to theBreaker’s request for comment about how he is dealing with the NDP government’s additional school tax. 

Horgan (left) and Chow.

Chow’s name is on the deed for his residence in the Vancouver-Fairview riding. Last year, it was assessed at $5.085 million. That means his property is more than $2 million above the threshold for the controversial tax that the BC Liberals call a wealth tax. Former NDP Premier Mike Harcourt calls it a “tax on a tax,” and suggested to theBreaker that Horgan would be wise to take a second look at the levy.

Chow’s 2017 property tax bill was $14,451.66, which included $5,065 for schools. 

By theBreaker’s calculation, the new tax means that Chow will owe another $6,340. Unless he defers payment.

In his disclosure statement last August, Chow reported receiving not only his MLA and ministerial salary, but income from the BC Hydro pension plan and Canada Pension Plan. 

Chow had a 30-year career as an engineer with the electric company before sitting on city council for Vision Vancouver from 2005 to 2011. His 2017 political comeback ended BC Liberal Attorney General Suzanne Anton’s term in the South Vancouver riding. 

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