Monday, April 18, 2005


Underbelly News
Downtown Eastside


At the AGM of the ruling COPE party yesterday, the membership voted overwhelmingly in support of a motion put forward by the executive which makes it illegal for members to raise money outside of COPE.

This motion passed and then the meeting became confusing. You see, the break-a-way splinter group--Friends of Larry Campbell--many who are members of COPE, have been raising money separate from COPE and at the annual meeting yesterday, the executive of COPE recommended to the membership that COPE wants to stay in coalition and work in unity with the Mayor and his friends.

This happened even though, the Mayor sent a letter to the COPE executive saying that his group would continue to operate separate from COPE and nothing has changed regarding their departure from COPE.

In response, many a COPE councillor and executive member stood up and publicly stated that Mayor Larry Campbell is a great guy and they want him now and forever more as their leader.

Say what you say--members questioned at the AGM?

The spoken words from a number of councillors and executive members appeared to be very confusing. The rank and file of COPE (members) have been disgusted for some time now by the opportunistic actions and erratic ways of Mayor Larry Campbell.

His continuous belittling of their party has not endeared him many friends with-in the COPE party. Plus, saddling COPE with a very large debt from the last election, than turning his back on COPE has made him more enemies than friends, says David McKay, a longtime COPE member.

After voting in a new executive, whereby all positions were acclaimed, the members had no other choice but to go along with their executive. They knew that if they turned on the executive of their party, this would send a clear message that COPE was in complete disarray and the media sniffing blood, would have seized the opportunity and sealed the fate of COPE.

The membership, were not going to allow their party founded by the late Harry Rankin, to be destroyed because of the treacherous actions of the Mayor and his side-kick, Councillor Jim Green. They would not co-operate in the writing of the COPE obituary.

So what was the final outcome of the meeting and what happens now in COPE?

Toward the end of the meeting, a motion was passed that the executive would send Mayor Campbell and his group a conciliatory letter. This letter would express the desire of COPE wanting to work with the Mayor and his friends group. However, the membership amended the motion, making it very clear, that the Mayor had one month to respond favourably to the letter.

If not, COPE would run a full slate of council, parks and school board candidates, in the 2005 election. COPE would also run a Mayoral candidate directly against Mr. Campbell if the Mayor chooses not to co-operate with COPE.

The COPE battle lines have been drawn in the sand. How it will end is anyone's guess. Is it any wonder though why the public has become disgusted and dis-illusioned by the dis-respectable actions of so many politicians, who always seem to take care of themselves first.

Jamie Lee Hamilton