Monday, September 15, 2008


Oldtown News
Vancouver, BC


Yesterday I attended what turned out to be a battle royale at the COPE policy meeting.

At 3:30pm, COPE members were being asked to vote on a tentative deal with Vision Vancouver which gave COPE nine (9) spots to run candidates for Council, School and Park boards. With the deal, COPE will not run a mayoral candidate.

The deal does not include COPE endorsing Gregor Robertson for Mayor, moreover, it is not an agreement to a joint slate or coalition.

So what is it exactly?

Well the deal which took 12 months to negotiate included 12(twelve) face to face meetings between negotiators for Vision and COPE. The negotiations started in August 2007 according to Dave Ages, one of the COPE negotiators.

Many members at the meeting were disgusted by the deal, with many calling it "a stinking deal".

The crowd was speckled with NDP elected representatives, past elected officials and many prominent union officials.

Observed at the meeting were former MP for Van-East, Margaret Mitchell, current MP for Van-East, Libby Davies and provincial NDP MLA's Jenny Kwan & David Chudnovsky. Federal NDP candidate for Van-Kingsway Don Davies arrived at the meeting late and NDP candidate for the new West End riding, Spencer Herbert also was present.

Union officials included Judy Darcy, secretary-treasurer of the Hospital Employees Union and George Heyman, head honcho of the BC Government Employees Union.

COPE stalwart and former Councillor Tim Louis and many of his supporters spoke up against the deal which didn't involve any discussions surrounding the $50,000 Vision still owes COPE which is left-over from the Friends of Larry Campbell consortium days. Also left off the negotiation table was any agreement on policies. Perhaps this is why many called it "a stinking deal", yet COPE elected officials David Cadman, Allan Wong and Loretta Woodcock passionately defended it.

Tim Louis said this agreement amounted to "suicide by installment" for COPE. Mr Louis was very critical of the pact as were many of his supporters.

At the end of the day those supporting the deal easily won out. No surprise there since the bums in the seats were filled mostly by NDP members.

Longtime COPE member, Dr Penny Parry , summed up the meeting with these prophetic words, "when you sell your principles, someone will give you money".

Many grassroots members of COPE believe their party now will be controlled by the same Vision purse-string holders who at least in the 2005 election were Developers, Casino's, Union leaders and the Bar industry.

Watch for a repeat in 2008.

Jamie Lee Hamilton