Former COPE executives forming new party to challenge Vision Vancouver
A new civic electoral organization is coming out to challenge Vancouver’s ruling party.
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.”