COPE members ratify board's deal with Vision Vancouver and Greens

Today, a large crowd of Coalition of Progressive Electors members ratified an agreement to work cooperatively with Vision Vancouver and the Vancouver Civic Greens in the November civic election.

The deal lets COPE nominate two candidates for council, five candidates for school board, and two candidates for park board. They would support Vision Vancouver's mayoral candidate Gregor Robertson.

Vision is allowed to run eight candidates for council, four for school board, and four for park board. The Greens will have one spot on the ballot for a park board candidate.

COPE spokesperson Ivan Bulic told the Straight that he estimated there were more than 400 members present in the overflow crowd at St. James Community Square on the city's west side.

"It wasn't the deal that everyone wanted, but given the electoral circumstances that exist in Vancouver now, probably the best for COPE and the best the City of Vancouver in terms of ensuring there is an alliance, a progressive alliance, between COPE, Vision, and the Civic Greens," Bulic said. "It passed overwhelmingly."

Those speaking in favour of the deal included Vancouver-Kensington NDP MLA David Chudnovsky, Vancouver East NDP MP Libby Davies, former NDP MP Margaret Mitchell, and B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union president George Heyman.

Former COPE councillor Tim Louis, labour activist Gretchen Dalmage, and former NDP candidate Alicia Barsallo were among those who spoke against the deal.

Bulic said that Robertson and COPE councillor David Cadman will hold a news conference at City Hall on Monday morning at 11:30 a.m.

COPE will hold a nomination meeting on September 28 to choose its slate of candidates.