COPE internal chair Tim Louis responds to Stuart Parker's claims about party's direction
The internal chair of the left-wing Coalition of Progressive Electors says that a high-profile member presented a misleading impression of a proposed amendment to COPE's bylaws.
Tim Louis, a former city councillor, told the Straight by phone that a proposal to create "equity caucuses" will only occur "if the membership—in an open transparent democratic meeting by a majority of 75 percent—vote in favour of creating them".
"They’re only created, if they’re created, by the membership, not by the executive," Louis insisted.
In a blog post earlier today, former B.C. Green party leader Stuart Parker claimed that these "equity representatives" on the board will create "a political feedback loop, whereby the current executive can insulate itself against the democratic will of the members".
Louis declared that this is a false interpretation.
"There is no such self-perpetuating loop," he said. "The equity caucus selects its own rep to sit on the executive. The executive has absolutely no input—not even a recommendation of the composition of the equity caucus."
Furthermore, Louis said that the executive has no influence on the identity of any nominee chosen by an equity caucus.
"It doesn’t even recommend,” he added.
Meanwhile, COPE's executive director, Sean Antrim, told the Straight in a separate phone interview that for the upcoming civic election, his party is developing policy, recruiting candidates, and nominating them "in the most democratic way that we have in a really long time".
Antrim rejected Parker's assertion that a new code of conduct can be used by the party executive to fire candidates after they're chosen by members.
"The code of conduct can’t eliminate nominees who have been nominated by the membership," Antrim said. "The membership makes all of the decision in COPE when it comes down to it. That’s the best thing about the organization. That’s what makes it different from every other political party. And that’s why I got involved.”
He added that COPE passed a motion last November preventing anyone even considering becoming a council candidate from being on the party's election-planning committee.
"So Tim [Louis], for example, is not on our election-planning committee because he’s thinking of running for council," Antrim said.