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Little debate in politics, says Taylor

Carole Taylor isn’t going back to politics because she wants to actually get things done.

The former finance minister, perpetually touted as a potential replacement for Gordon Campbell, was named Simon Fraser University’s next chancellor Wednesday.

And though the position can be merely a ceremonial one at many universities, Taylor means business once she takes over June 2011.

And that means no time for a shallow Victoria.

“I’ve been saying publicly and privately for two years that I have no intention of running for the Liberal leadership,” she told 24 hours.

When she’s not sitting on the boards of TD Bank and Bell Canada, Taylor says her attention will be on her unpaid figurehead role at SFU.

Her top priority will be to foster true debate on issues like health care and climate change.

Taylor – perhaps revealing why public life is not longer on her mind – said having those kind of debates and higher-level thinking are impossible in politics.

“Honestly, you don’t get good debate in politics. Take health care for instance, if you try to have a debate you get accused of being opposed to the health care system,” she said. “Debate has to happen somewhere else. You need to be able to discuss ideas without hostility and getting defensive … where people can challenge ideas and ask questions. The academic world is where it can happen.”

And politicians won’t be the people with society’s solutions.

“Change and policy happens when the community decides it wants it,” she said. “Big ideas and big movements start with individuals and groups.”

Taylor’s career:

1964 – Miss Toronto

1972 – First host of Canada AM

1986 - 1990 – Vancouver city councillor

2001- 2002 – Vancouver Board of Trade chair

2001 - 2005 – CBC chair

2005 - 2008 – MLA for Vancouver-Langara and Finance Minister

Matt Kieltyka reports for 24 Hours

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