Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Oldtown News
Vancouver, BC

Could Tim Louis Enter The Mayoral Race?

With so much jockeying and shifting taking place on the local municipal scene, it has become hard keeping up wiith all the goings on.

This past Sunday, MLA Gregor Robertson announced his intention to seek the Mayor's seat and members of his campaign team are drawing parallels between Mr. Robertson and Mr. Barack Obama down south. Councillor Stevenson did this on Sunday night's CTV Newscast. I was left shaking my head but I expect this will occur lots more. The Gregor 08 slogan I'm certain isn't coincidental. Interesting that Mr. Obama uses the Obama 08 campaign theme.

Another Robertson supporter, Andrea Reimer, has inserted herself into the American Presidential election. She was on CBC monday night, As It Happens, declaring that she is making calls to American voters on behalf of Barack Obama.

Wow Andrea, I'm totally shocked since you were an elected School Trustee and how you can reconcile supporting a candidate who doesn't support Universal Health Care is odd. In case you haven't noticed Ms Reimer, his plan will leave millions and millions of American citizens without health insurance, including quite tragically, many many children. I'm so disappointed in you Andrea. I never expected this from you.

On to Councillor Raymond Louie, who also has friends from the south. Mr. Louie on February 18, 2008, registered the domains raymond louie dot ca and com. The address provided for domain registration is the same as Councillor Louie's address on nomination papers filed from 2005. Expect Mr. Louie to officially announce his candidacy for Mayor any day now, possibly even on anti-bullying day.

Councillor Louie, I suspect will have some pretty impressive supporters attached to his candidacy. MLA and former Councillor, Jenny Kwan, I think will endorse Mr. Louie. A number of Union heads will also probably support Mr. Louie, including Bill Saunders of the Vancouver and District Labour Council and Dave Coles, national President of the Communications Energy and Paperworkers Union (CEP) is another potential supporter. The son of the elder Mr. Coles, Josh Coles, was initially the chief organizer when Vision started. Mr. Louie worked for years as a member of CEP.

A number of developers may also announce their support of Councillor Louie since Mr. Louie has been a developer-friendly Councillor. He supported many of them, most notably, of course was Councillor Louie's support of the Casino in Hastings Park. I'm certain there will be some payback for him as a result. Mr. Louie will have a number of prominent Chinese Leaders supporting him. Gabriel Yiu, would top that list.

While there has been much speculation that Councillor David Cadman of COPE is contemplating running for Mayor, but according to him, only if he can be the unity candidate with Vision. Sorry Mr. Cadman that isn't going to happen so you better make up your mind for COPE's sake whether you're in or out. For COPE to have any electoral success this election, it must put forward a candidate for Mayor, separate from Vision otherwise COPE will do poorly.

Many longtime members of COPE though are concerned with the new inexperienced executive team and this could electorally, be disastrous for COPE.

There is a strong bloc of Harry Rankin followers left in COPE and these members, including a number of left-leaning Vancouver Green party members are lobbying former Councillor Tim Louis to run. Mr. Louis, who has a successful law practise, remains a popular politician in Vancouver leftist circles. Almost iconic-like just like the beloved and late Harry Rankin was. Mr Louis , is best positioned to keep Mr. Rankin's legacy alive. As such, much pressure is resting on the shoulders of Mr. Louis. A COPE comeback, rests with him.

Traditional COPE members and supporters do not see Vision as a strong opposition party, mainly because Vision presents itself as an electoral party focused on winning rather than a party with principles and policies. Vision champions itself as a centrist party but most voters reserve that space for the Non-Partisan association (NPA). With Sam Sullivan, the NPA is perceived as drifting right-ward on the political scale but that could change if Councillor Ladner wins the upcoming Mayoral contest.

Whether Vancouver citizens want two centrist parties I guess only time will tell.

But one thing is clear, if Vision forms government, the NPA would be finished. After its horrible defeat in 2002, it could not endure another crushing blow coming so close after the other near wipe-out.

COPE to have relevance just needs to stay on the political spectrum where it always has been.

Historically, citizens have been loyal to COPE, conferring on it, their choice of being the official and loyal municipal opposition .

Socialist members such as former COPE Councillor, Bruce Yorke, had no problem being elected and re-elected a number of times. Citizens knew he would champion the public interest rather than his own. It didn't matter to them that he is a socialist.

For COPE's history to prevail, Mr. Louis, needs to firmly grasp the leadership mantle away from COPE leader, Ellen Woodsworth and her electorally untested and unproven gang of supporters.

Coalitions serve no useful purpose unless there is some common goal. In the case of Vision and COPE, there is none. Just being focused on defeating the NPA and calling it unity politics is zany politics and this would be a huge departure from COPE's proud 40 year history.

Mr. Louis has no choice but to save COPE from the wrecking ball.

And the same applies to Mr. Ladner of the NPA.

Jamie Lee Hamilton