Since Vancouver’s mayor announced he would not seek reelection in October, many have been touting his “ten years” in office as record-breaking (even the mayor himself said as much). In fact, Gregor Robertson will fall about a month short of a full decade in office. He was sworn in on December 4, 2008. The next mayor is expected to be sworn in this November.
Robertson was one of several mayors in the past generation that we re-elected twice. Mike Harcourt was elected in 1980, when terms were only two years. He left office before being succeeded by Gordon Campbell. During Campbell’s time in office terms were extended from two years to three, so instead of six years in office, he served seven as mayor. Philip Owen succeeded Campbell in 1993, and he and his council won majorities in 1996 and 1999.
During Robertson’s time in office, council terms were extended again — this time to four years. So like Harcourt, Campbell, and Owen, he served three back-to-back terms. Robertson can thank the Union of BC Muncipalities and the provincial government for his “record” term as mayor. Only Mayor Louis D. Taylor served a longer time as mayor of Vancouver — 11 years — though Taylor’s terms were not consecutive.
Taylor was elected seven times between 1910 and 1934.
Last summer I wrote a column published in several Metro Vancouver newspapers asking if mayors should serve no longer than 10 years in office.