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

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.”

Comments (20) Add New Comment
Bruce
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?
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Bruce
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.
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frances
Elmore is just another opportunistic hack. Couldn't get her to take a position on anything in the runup to the last provincial election.
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Quick! Find another hack to endorse Vision!
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.
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JamieLee
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.
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Andy
@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.
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Bartleby
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.
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Sarah
What an extraordinarily incoherent interview.
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postandbeam
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.
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Save Vancouver
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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NDP -- What do you expect?
The NDP in B.C. and Canada is the same as the Democratic party in the U.S.A., or the mainstream Labour party in U.K. i.e. they play 'pretend' "I'm on the left", but they are simply the other side of the same party from the Liberal party in BC, the Republicans in the US the Tories in UK. It's a little game they play amongst themselves, but regardless of who is elected you get the same thing: austerity, tax cuts that disproportionately benefit the wealthiest, privatization, etc etc.
Vision Vancouver and One City are NDP farm teams on the municipal level.
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RJ Aquino
OneCity's critique of Vision policies is clear. See for instance my article in the Tyee. Search for: 'Market Rental' Is No Synonym for 'Affordable'

Or my letter in the Courier where I say "city council tries to redefine affordability"

Or the article in the Courier where I explicitly state that Vision isn't a home for me and others in OneCity: "We felt that Vision wasn’t addressing the things that we’re talking about... we do feel very strongly about the influence that corporations and developers have in municipal politics."

Or the article in Rabble where I explicitly state where OneCity stands on electoral agreements: "Aquino and his supporters have said unequivocally however that there are no plans for an alliance with Vision."

I tried to link directly to the articles I reference above but it seems that my comment keeps getting marked as spam when I try to do so.

OneCity emerged from a dissatisfaction with the current political organizations -- especially the growing divide that has been occurring under Vision's watch. Most importantly, we need to draw new people, new communities into politics in this city.

OneCity will run on the issues of equity and affordability – housing, transit, child care – as well as community democracy, encouraging and protecting living wage jobs in Vancouver, and climate justice. You can learn more about us at www [dot] onecityvancouver [dot] ca

We invite all those concerned about these issues to join us in our work.
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Sarah
No offense, RJ, but the timing stinks. Whether or not you have a "formal" agreement with Vision - language you've been very careful to use - one would have to be almost criminally naive to think that a meaningful response to Vision can be mustered by a top-down organization only 6 months from the election. On the other hand, a bland container for union donations that doesn't challenge Vision too hard - that's the scenario I think you'll find it hard to combat.

Splitting the Left because you don't have the patience to work within the party you came from usually means you'll face the exact same problems in 18 months, when your membership decides it doesn't want to vote with Vision all the time. What will you do then? Start another splinter party?
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Anita Romaniuk
How can the "main opponent" be the NPA, when both Vision and the NPA have pro-developer policies, increasing density without decreasing either rent or ownership pricing, displacing low-income renters (some of whom are likely now among the homeless, counted, or not) and forcing reluctant but cash-strapped home buyers to the suburbs. OneCity might talk the talk that sounds suspiciously like the policies COPE has been emphasizing long before OneCity came into being. Presumably, if policies were the issue, they would still be part of COPE. They left when a new group of people who wanted nothing to do with an agreement with Vision formed the majority on the COPE Executive. I think the reason for their actions speaks for itself.
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Southvancouver
Eleven total in council (10 councillors plus the mayor). We could vote in 4 Green councilors plus 4 TEAM plus 2 COPE plus 1 independent. Just like that the developers no longer run our city and we have a balanced council. Council meetings would suddenly become real debates instead of rubber stamping of backroom deals. It’s that easy.
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RUK
Where is the shock and horror that the Straight has, like, quoted someone, like, saying, you know, stuff?
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Miranda Nelson
Oh, RUK. You make me laugh.
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RUK
Oh Miranda! I just want to keep you laughing on those soporific bus rides....
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Stuart Parker
Only a complete fool would believe that One City is anything other than the Zellers to Vision's Bay.

The way RJ and David communicate about the non-alliance with Vision that they totally didn't make is reminiscent of the Mitt Romney 2012 presidential bid. They seem to think that it's not even their responsibility to generate believable lies or a credible narrative for the bullshit they're selling. They're contracting out the work to us -- they're basically saying, "we're not even going to try to fool you again. If you want to act like you believe us, you'll need to cobble together half-truths and dubious justifications on your own."

And COPE is getting in on the act by saying, "we're the only party with no back room"!? COPE is the only party I know of where the back room has a formal membership and takes minutes of its meetings with agendas and everything.

And then there's Vision...

If you can't say true things about yourselves to make you look good, at least go to the trouble of not half-assing your transparent bullshit and pointless lies.
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Total Nonsense
"housing, transit, child care – as well as community democracy, encouraging and protecting living wage jobs in Vancouver, and climate justice"

Not a civic responsibility (except perhaps zoning, electrical regulation, etc.), not a civic responsibility, not a civic responsibility, vague feel-good nonsense, possible, if city contractors/subcontractors are required to pay a living wage, not a civic responsibility.

So you have one real policy point that a reasonable person could get behind, the rest is just empty bubble, but even that, city council isn't able to do much except favorable zoning, other than sweetheart deals on city owned property, which is a bug, not a feature.

Vancouver needs a good right-wing populist party. Leftists are no longer populists---"Bikes Yes, Gays Yes, and...a certain aesthetic style" is a good description of modern left-leaning parties. Where are the right-wing populist parties that want to fix things for the average citizen, not for special interest groups?
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