NDP MLA Mable Elmore says it’s OneCity and Vision Vancouver against the NPA

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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.”

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Bruce

May 23, 2014 at 10:47am

It's amazing to me that the NDP doesn't see Vision as a danger to its identity, even to its reason for being. So all a party has to do to be allied with the NDP is Bikes Yes, Gays Yes, and have a certain aesthetic style? The only differences between Vision and the NPA is whether their core support is in the Arbutus Club, or whether they worship at a Church or Hollyhock.

What is it that's going on here? Pure careerism? A full sellout?

Bruce

May 23, 2014 at 10:52am

For the uninformed: the purpose of OneCity is as an arms-length team to support Vision. It's nothing more than a sponge to sop up left votes. The organized behind it has played this game for several election cycles.

frances

May 23, 2014 at 11:39am

Elmore is just another opportunistic hack. Couldn't get her to take a position on anything in the runup to the last provincial election.

Quick! Find another hack to endorse Vision!

May 23, 2014 at 2:58pm

I am sure my wonderful MLA is cozy with Vision and supports their efforts to attract new voters to the cause of developers. I wonder how long it took her to respond to this "interview" or whatever it was as I haven't even had a form letter back from her in response to letters & emails since she ascended to office.

JamieLee

May 23, 2014 at 3:18pm

Well this article is interesting. One City forms we are told because they are concerned with the growing divide in Vancouver. On the other hand One City claims to share the same values as Vision who many suggest has exacerbated this divide. In fact as we know homelessness has risen sharply under Vision rule.

Andy

May 23, 2014 at 3:48pm

@Bruce

As someone involved in OneCity, it is not "an arms-length team to support Vision". OneCity does not have electoral agreements with any party. RJ Aquino has been clear in the media that there is no agreement with Vision Vancouver.

Some of us come from COPE, some of us have not been involved in politics in this city at all. We are deeply concerned about the growing divide in this city, and certainly development policies under Vision are make the situation worse.

There is a need to engage people from different communities across this city, and work with neighbourhoods in ways that other political parties are not doing. There is not only an electoral crisis in this city of people who don't vote (and who we hope to engage), but there is also a growing crisis of social inequality in this city that is directly linked affordable housing, living wage jobs, and affordable and accessible public transit. Development policies under Vision Vancouver are eroding existing affordable housing -- and new developments far exceed what most middle- and low-income people can afford. We can -- and must -- do better, otherwise Vancouver will cease to be home for many of us. But for me, OneCity is an exciting new movement. It is a political home to address these critical issues, having people speak about their own experiences and struggles in this city.

And in doing so, it is absolutely about challenging the direction of the city under Vision Vancouver. There is lots of wok to be done, and many voices need to be part of work towards solutions and building strength across neighbourhoods and communities.

Bartleby

May 23, 2014 at 4:48pm

With all due respect Andy, your organizational outfit "OneCity" is neither exciting nor particularly new. In so far that it lacks democratic mechanisms - open nominations, member driven process - and was formed by way of invite only consultations, OneCity embraces the same top down operating principles, where all the important decisions are made behind closed doors, as your supposed adversaries in Vision Vancouver. And where are the alternatives to the development policies you correctly identify as fostering crisis in Vancouver? Certainly not on OneCity's website which is bereft of a single policy but heavy on platitude. This is not a serious project. No, what we have is a vanity vehicle build around a small group of people and their associated circles. OneCity as an extension of a long brewing family fight within COPE and as such should be shunned by all people genuinely desiring to push back against the hegemony of developer/monied interests that has long dominated our municipal political scene. Their are no doubt some good people along for the ride with OneCity, but this doesn't alter the truth. OneCity doesn't deserve our collective support. Sorry man.

Sarah

May 23, 2014 at 5:30pm

What an extraordinarily incoherent interview.

postandbeam

May 23, 2014 at 10:51pm

Lets vote Vision back in. We must keep this town an exclusive resort for those that can afford world-class downtown condo living (sustainable LEED Gold). Expensive? Maybe. So what? The more expensive Vancouver becomes, the more the world's wealthy will come. More high-rises, more culture, more bikes, more chickens, more Green.

Save Vancouver

May 24, 2014 at 5:03pm

Well than there's really no point to OneCity then. Or is just to give RJ Aquino a platform? I'll vote for whoever has the best chance to getting the neighbourhood wrecking Visionistas out.

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