COPE MUST MOVE FORWARD - WITHOUT VISION
COPE MUST MOVE FORWARD - WITHOUT VISION
The Coalition of Progressive Electors (COPE) since being defeated in the Vancouver 2005 municipal election seemed to have lost much of its spunk. Disorganized and disgruntled, a number of Cope'rs turned on popular and iconic former Councillor, Tim Louis.
These malcontents, aided by a few corporate media types zeroed in on Mr. Louis, blaming him for the departure of a number of COPE Councillors, including Jim Green, Tim Stevenson and Raymond Louie. Led by Mayor Larry Campbell, these former COPE representatives continually slashed away at Mr. Louis, claiming he was responsible for a divided COPE. They went on to form Vision, an electoral association without any political policies.
Led by Ellen Woodsworth, one of the defeated 2005 COPE Councillors, a number of folks in COPE (thankfully not the membership), seemed focused on a plan, hatched by Vision backroom boys to isolate Mr. Louis. Vision claimed that the only way unity to be achieved was for Mr. Louis to be stripped of any political power within COPE. Their bottom-line? They wanted Mr. Louis gone, however, the plan backfired as many COPE grassroots members were simply not willing to go along with this treacherous action and stood by their beloved Leader, Mr. Louis.
For the last year, COPE has drifted and under the current tenure of President, Ellen Woodsworth, who suggested the path to redemption was for COPE to have unity with Vision and apparently at all costs. This action created messy problems since the members didn't believe COPE had lost relevance with the people. Vision wanted COPE to atone for their sins but the problem was there wasn't any. If anyone had sinned, it was Vision, the betrayer.
Not content, the cut-throat Vision back-roomers continually propagated that for unity to proceed, COPE must do away with Mr. Louis and while a few misguided COPE'rs went along with this shady plan, the mea-culpa Vision hoped for hasn't happened.
A few COPE leaders, like really bad battered-wife-syndrome continued to stick by the opportunistic Vision crowd and this has politically weakened COPE. Not a good place to be if your desiring a political comeback.
COPE though has just been handed a silver bullet by former Councillor, Jim Green, the man who has taken cut-throat politics to a whole new level, very American-style. It is up to COPE what it now does with this bullet.
While it was one thing to betray COPE, Mr. Green, a co-founder of Vision, has moved on and now turned his back on the very people who consistently voted and supported him. These people are the lower-income citizens of the Downtown Eastside and in his zealous quest to make money (see post below), Mr. Green is lobbying the City, on behalf of his employer to allow really high towers in the DTES area which will spell disaster for Oldtown residents.
This Eco-density support by Mr. Green and one must assume Vision will condo-size this historic area and the prevailing aftermath is crystal clear. Severe repercussions for the lower-income people living here will take place. Just like Expo. No question, homelessness will occur in far greater numbers as people are displaced to make way for the new inhabitants. Greater hardship will occur and the displaced will most likely wind up in city morgues.
COPE now has a real dilemma on its hands.
Longtime stalwart of COPE, Jean Swanson, who once ran for Mayor under the COPE banner and who now works at the Carnegie Centre, opposes the plan to build higher-density. She correctly points out that the Downtown Eastside already has higher density than many other areas of the city. Ms Swanson is no fool and she knows tower-sizing the area will be disastrous for the longtime inhabitants of the neighborhood.
COPE must move forward and has no other choice but to once and for all sever all connections to Vision. Not to do so will cement that it also, like the treacherous Jim Green, has turned its back on one of its core group of supporters.
If COPE is seen as hesitating, this will spell disaster for them. David Cadman, the lone City Councillor must clearly position COPE as standing together with the people, they have historically represented.
The days of dancing to the tune of Vision is over.
If a dumb-growth initiative for higher towers in the Downtown Eastside moves forward, the greater the divide will become in the city.
Jamie Lee Hamilton