Former COPE executives forming new party to challenge Vision Vancouver

A new civic electoral organization is coming out to challenge Vancouver’s ruling party.


Does Vancouver need a new left-wing party?

Yes 30%
38 votes
No 62%
78 votes
Maybe 7%
9 votes

The still-unnamed party will be yet another player in what seems to be shaping up as a crowded field of Vision Vancouver opponents. In addition to existing parties, municipal groups such as The Electors Action Movement, Vancouver First, and the Vancouver Cedar Party have surfaced.

According to former city-council candidate Rafael “RJ” Aquino, the new party will include him and former Vancouver-Kensington NDP MLA David Chudnovsky. They both quit the executive of the Coalition of Progressive Electors last year.

“Why not Vision? It’s too corporate- and developer-friendly. And we feel that they’re not listening to communities and neighbourhoods,” Aquino told the Straight in a February 4 phone interview. “And why not COPE? You’ve written about that: there continues to be a deepening crisis in COPE. And, frankly, it ceased to be a place where I feel I can engage in inclusive and positive politics.”

Aquino also said that the new organization will field candidates in this year’s November municipal election. He added that he will run again for council.

The emergence of this group almost ensures that COPE, under the leadership of lawyer and former city councillor Tim Louis, will no longer enter into an electoral alliance with Vision.

Aquino and Chudnovsky previously supported collaboration between COPE and Vision. When they quit the COPE executive, it was thought that they would mount a comeback to wrest control of the left-wing party from the Louis-led anti-Vision bloc. Their formation of the new group thus means that Vision will lose a part of its left flank. (The developer-backed and pro-bike-lanes Vision enjoys strong support from labour unions.)

According to Aquino, his colleagues include former COPE members, other people who are “unhappy with Vision”, and individuals who haven’t been active in municipal politics before.

“It’s a group of people who care deeply about the future of the city and are concerned with its current trajectory, considering where Vision is at and what the alternatives are,” Aquino said.

He said that the party’s issues include housing affordability, childcare, and transit.

Aquino added: “Of course, I’ll continue to be an advocate and a voice for the Filipino community.”

Comments (26) Add New Comment
Stuart Parker
Another party is the last thing this city needs. We're going to divide the opposition vote so many ways, Vision will be able to capture all the seats with about 35% of the vote. I recommend a provisional name: the Popular Front of Judea.
Rating: +13
Wow. The people who tried to make sure COPE didn't fight against Vision for ten years got kicked out of COPE, and are now trying to ensure a Vision victory.

Politics at its lowest level.
Rating: +10
Stuart Parker assumes everyone thinks like he does and that his assessment of politics in the city is insightful and accurate. Fortunately, that's not the case as he's one of the nutjobs that gave his full-throated support of Tim Louis (aka "alt-Ali Yerevani" or "Fire This Time on Wheels") taking over COPE. Oh, and can someone say intellectual elitism? This guy will never be a viable public servant because he finds talking over people to be rewarding and stimulating in its own right. He's never demonstrated that he can build a connection to people not interested in politics and he's in love with the sound of his own voice (or reading his own tweets).

Yes, count me as one of the many that will be asking, "Another political party?" and sadly yes, I'm resigned to think that Vision will eventually be controlling city hall once again.

But it's really funny that Sophocles' thinks that this directly ensures a victory to Vision. No Sopho-please, non-viable alternatives ensures a victory to Vision. A party out of touch (NPA) and a party with a narrow mandate (COPE) have put much in Vision's reputation as the most viable option to run this city. Oh, and I recall they didn't get kicked out of COPE. They left because they were fed up.

What really speaks to me here is that these are people who were clearly fed up with COPE but didn't ally with Vision even though people were predicting they would. Admit it, after Wong and Granby went over, you all thought (myself included) that Aquino would've followed suit shortly after.

I'm hesitant to lift my suspicions though. They haven't mentioned if they're running a mayor or how many candidates they're going to field. It's clear to anyone who has a firm grasp of municipal politics and the broken at-large system we have, it'll be stupid to run a full slate for a non-party like this. It's just as it's stupid that a real party like COPE is aiming to run a full-slate.

What I'd like to see is more substance from this group of people. Who else is onboard? What do they stand for? Where's a website, for goodness sake? It'll be the worst kind of weird if it turns out that this is just between Aquino and Chudnovsky. How much pull do these two have and who's along for the ride?
Rating: -1
Opposition to Vision needs to ignore the bike lane red herring: it brought plenty of soft headed left support from people who were so busy enjoying the lanes they didn't notice the kowtowing to developers under Mayor Roberston. Vision' masters are desperate for the party to win a majority on council & parks board again this year as they need one more term to push through their program to enrich developers and "green" capitalists. Unless Vision can be kept from having a majority on council and parks board we will lose greenspace to developers and continue to see public funds used to subsidize businesses that happen to support the party.
Rating: +29
Rick in Richmond
COPE has been taken over by a group of 60 bloc voters who owe their allegiance to Ali Yerevani (aka Ali Izadi-Kharrazi) and the political cult he leads. They vote as a group to shore up Internal Chair Tim Louis.

Even Nick Ellan and Kim Hearty, who wasted a hell of a lot of time on the failed Pidgin picket, have gotten out because COPE has become a waste of time.

The internal chaos at COPE means that voters will never trust them with the reins of power in Vancouver. A party at war with itself cannot be elected.

In regard to VISION, they are coasting to easy re-election -- but all bets are off if Carole Taylor decides to run as an independent. Her term as SFU Chancellor ends on June 17.
Rating: +18
They got kicked out of COPE when the base of the party decided that they didn't want their leadership anymore, and when David Chudnovsky called the entire membership at a meeting "stupid" for wanting to run a mayor and a majority slate (a full slate is a red herring. I don't think anybody is proposing that).

The sense I get, from reading these Straight articles, is that COPE is ripe for the taking. If Tim Louis beat Stuart Parker by a margin of the 20 or so members of MAWO, does that mean that Chudnovsky has even less support than that?
Rating: +16
Who's on first?
Rating: +7
East Van Mum
I've been to a lot of COPE meetings and I won't go back. They are unpleasant, unfriendly and unwelcoming. I'm up for something new if it's about equity for kids and families, a green agenda that's more than just bike lanes, and development policy that puts people first, not profits. But more than that, I don't want to be yelled at when I attend a meeting. COPE failed on that front miserably.
Aquino seems to be well-integrated into his neighbourhood (Collingwood), I've spoken with people who really like him. More importantly than him or Chudnovsky however, are all the people that don't vote. Who's listening to, and speaking for them?
Rating: +12
Oh Sophocles...

Stick to writing stories about diddling your mother (Oedipal transferance much?) and leave the facts to the journalists and the rest of us in the real world.

It bears repeating, they left on their own accord. It also bears repeating, Tim Louis (aka "alt-Ali Yerevani" aka "Fire This Time on Wheels") and Ali Yerevani are besties. It continues to bear repeating: COPE's "base" is overrun by Fire This Time. Are you besties with Tim/Ali? Did they tell you that they kicked out those that disagreed with them (oh, how wonderfully democratic of them!)? Or did you miss the article here online that outlined that they quit COPE?

Stuart Parker, as nutty as he is, had the sense to jump ship too when he saw the quagmire Wheels Yerevani created for COPE.

Yes, I'm being confrontational but you should be used to that because that's your brand of politics (I wouldn't be surprised if you were just outside of the US Consulate blabbering about some island off of Florida). I have little tolerance for those who have no respect for the facts.
Rating: +12
Stuart Parker
Sisyphus, evidently I once offended you so hard that you developed telepathy. That's a shame as you make a number of worthwhile observations, if you dial back your propensity to ventriloquize others.

At this point, all I can hope is that the NDP MPs and MLAs in this town get together with the Labour Council to knock some heads together and prevent a total wipeout of progressive forces this fall. Leadership needs to come from somewhere.
Rating: +5
Bela Bugliosi
This is sweet. With NPA wankers starting up a couple more faux left wing groups to siphon support away from Vision and with COPE imploding, the best civic party that has ever governed the city is about to easily win their third straight term .

Speaking of wanker formed flops...whatever happened to NSV?

Rating: -20
James Blatchford
Demolition of Progressive Electors?
Rating: +1
bela the bug
Boris, throw a towel over it. You're pitching tent (again) while thinking about misery of those who pretend to be non partisan. It's not fair fight, Boris. These people are delusional and neurotic. They need pity...not contempt.

As for COPE...have some compassion Boris. You used to help them. They have never needed help more than now. You must save them Boris.

What happened to tent?

Rating: -7
Oh right
So Cope was "inclusive" and "positive" place when David Chudnovksy and his allies dominated Cope's executive, crafting it's orientation towards Vision Vancouver, for the previous 10 years. The moment when they are in a minority situation they bolt! Far be it from them to engage the membership and argue for their position within Cope - what others had been doing for awhile. Nope, start a splinter group where David places himself in head position. Colour me unimpressed!
Rating: +23
Please, just give me a viable left wing alternative to Vision. COPE is not viable right now.
Rating: +4
brian crackzilla salmi
Rating: +2
Why do you think the NDP MPs and MLAs in this town would (or could) convince the Labour Council that Vision Vancouver should not be their progressive forces?
You're the man, man. But crackzilla, isn't going to fly. If you want to be mayor, run for COPE. That would be a race I'd really get behind!
Rating: -4
It's good to see that some other people have actual respect for facts.

"...non-viable alternatives ensures a victory to Vision. A party out of touch (NPA) and a party with a narrow mandate (COPE) have put much in Vision's reputation as the most viable option to run this city."

Well. That should be obvious, just look at what I'm stuck with in Surrey. It's one reason why I'm looking to move.

I have hope...that this party has substance backing it. If it doesn't, I don't know what to hope for this election.

"At this point, all I can hope is that the NDP MPs and MLAs in this town get together with the Labour Council to knock some heads together and prevent a total wipeout of progressive forces this fall."
With...what? COPE? As far as I can tell they'd be better off running a brick wall for mayor. As for running some slate of their own, I remember something like that being tried in the 90s and lots of people (I wager the "independent" right-wing mayors out here in the suburbs were among them) cried foul, though I'm too young to remember that and for some reason I do not really know where to start looking for that information =/
Rating: -8
Stuart Parker
Just to be clear, I`m not hopeful the NDP or labour will step in in a positive way. It's just that I cannot imagine the necessary leadership coming from within the civic left as it is presently constituted.

If all this election is is a contest among narrow, secretive cliques, the one that gets $2 million dollars from developers and currently controls the government will annihilate all the others.
Rating: +13
This comment thread is bout the funniest and bestest one on local politics yet. "Wheels Yerevani." OMG. You're a terrible person.

Rating: +10


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