Vancouver’s mighty ruling party has a kindred soul out there.
In a field teeming with challengers in the fall election, Vision Vancouver can count on one for some kinship.
In the eyes of Vancouver-Kensington NDP MLA Mable Elmore, that’s not the Non-Partisan Association, a party that is as deeply connected with developers as Vision.
Nor is it the Coalition of Progressive Electors, the erstwhile junior partner of Vision in the last two civic elections.
For Elmore, it’s the upstart OneCity.
That’s the same group whose nucleus is former COPE members who had backed previous electoral cooperation with Vision.
“Last election, I endorsed the COPE-Vision slate. I supported that. They had an agreement,” Elmore told the Straight in a phone interview Thursday (May 22).
“Even though there’s no formal agreement,” Elmore continued, referring to Vision and OneCity, “I see it along those lines, because, it’s, you know, there are generally shared values in terms of OneCity Vancouver and Vision.”
Elmore went on: “And I think the main opponent is going to be NPA.”
How about COPE?
“COPE is definitely in the mix, and a party, you know, on the left of centre,” Elmore said. “They’ve got a long history. And I expect them also to make, you know, a serious run.”
Asked to clarify the bond between Vision and OneCity, the New Democrat representative said: “I see them as more shared values, right, versus, for example, when we talk about NPA.”
But don’t Vision and COPE have some things in common as well?
“They were once united,” noted Elmore, who also recalled that she was a member of the COPE executive back in the early 2000s.
She likewise noted that although she didn’t take a membership with Vision, she has contributed to the city’s ruling party.
The Straight interviewed Elmore because she has supported and continues to back Rafael “RJ” Aquino, a former COPE member and now declared OneCity candidate for council.
Aquino and ex-Vancouver-Kensington MLA David Chudnovsky broke away from COPE last year. Aquino and Chudnovsky were strong supporters of previous Vision-COPE partnerships. They launched OneCity earlier this month. COPE, under the leadership of former councillor Tim Louis, has decided to go its own way.
Elmore is also endorsing Sammie Jo Rumbaua, a youth settlement worker who is seeking a Vision nomination for park board.
Elmore, Aquino, and Rumbaua share ethnic roots in the Filipino community.
The Straight was interested to know whether Elmore thinks she will be in a peculiar position campaigning for both Aquino of OneCity, and Rumbaua if she secures a Vision nomination.
Elmore doesn’t see any difficulty.
“I supported his decision and I support him and he decided to run so I continue to support RJ [Aquino],” she said. “And hopefully, Sammie Jo [Rumbaua] can win the nomination.”
According to Elmore, she actually has some friends who are with OneCity.
Elmore said: “My message is, I want to encourage people to participate, to be involved, to be engaged.”