Sunday, January 13, 2008


Oldtown News
Vancouver, BC


There has been much speculation about how the Vision Vancouver and COPE decisions may affect the Vancouver municipal Greens as we move toward an November 16, 2008 election.

The Vancouver Greens have always played a significant role in municipal campaigns and usually does remarkably well if they are supported by other municipal slates or groups.

In 1999, the Vancouver Greens were supported by COPE and CIVIC, a fledgling municipal slate endorsing Green park board candidate Roslyn Cassells, who won the final park board seat.

CIVIC candidates ran four candidates for Council on a mini-slate and collectively received 26,000 votes. CIVIC did not endorse COPE and it should be noted, Ms Cassells was the only non NPA candidate to win a park board seat.

In 2002, Vancouver Green candidate, Andrea Reimer, was supported and endorsed by a prominent teachers union and she won the final trustee position on Vancouver school board.

In the 2005 Vancouver election, Ms Reimer lost her seat. Most likely, this was due to her endorsement in the dying days of the campaign to support Vision Mayoral candidate, Jim Green.
The Vancouver Green party in 2005 made a decision not to endorse Mr. Green, however, Ms Reimer, acted against the Green party decision and this didn't sit well with other Green candidates and party members.

No question, Ms Reimer, has a prominent position in Vancouver Green affairs. Moreover, she is well regarded, extremely intelligent and popular. However, she isn't the only Green in this city, nor can she lay claim to being the first Vancouver Green elected.

Since 2005, Ms Reimer along with a number of other Green organizers, believe their hopes rest in attaching themselves to the Vision party. One assumes that Ms Reimer and others think that Vision will emerge as the dominant opposition party to the NPA rather than the longstanding COPE. Ms Reimer and a few other Green organizers have been hedging their bets and openly supporting Vision.

Ms Reimer and her supporters are keeping a tight grip on the Vancouver Green affairs, remaining silent on municipal issues, no doubt, until Vision makes its decision on January 14, 2008 in relation to how many candidates they plan to run in the Vancouver municipal election.

Sadly, with the stance taken by Ms Reimer, this leaves the Vancouver Green party entering into the Vancouver 2008 race from a weakened position.

Waiting for the Vision crumbs isn't a winning strategy. Current COPE leaders have also placed themselves in the same position, hoping that Vision will not run full slates, leaving some spaces open, they believe to secure a spot or two.

On the eve of the Vision meeting on January 14, Vancouver Greens need to make it clear that they will enter the 2008 municipal race from a strength based position and move toward organizing from this position, regardless of Ms Reimer's preferences.

Municipal Vancouver Green success has been as a result of developing a strong platform and forging ahead with support from like-minded individuals, based on a model of mutual respect, principled unity and solidarity.

Note to Vancouver Greens, waiting for crumbs will only get you crumbs and you the members are way way beyond settling for that.

Jamie Lee Hamilton