Two of Vancouver’s more prominent left-leaning parties might soon be working together ahead of the civic election this November. Coalition of Progressive Electors (COPE) external chair Tim Louis told the Straight he wants voters to have a choice that’s viable but distinct from developer-friendly frontrunners Vision Vancouver and the Non-Partisan Association (NPA).
“For people that are progressive, there is a very clear, very highly organized alternative, and that is COPE and the Vancouver Green Party,” he said in a telephone interview.
Louis explained that he’s “hopeful” the two groups can agree to run complementary numbers of candidates that will together make for a complete slate of 10 nominations for city council. He noted that the Greens have already announced they’ll field three or four candidates, so he’ll be recommending that COPE nominate six or seven.
“That’s not a formal alliance, but it is progressive parties putting the best interests of this city ahead of the best interests of their own parties,” Louis said.
Vancouver’s lone Green city councillor, Adriane Carr, was reluctant to discuss election strategies before a party meeting scheduled for June 19. But she did tell the Straight that Louis’s proposal and cooperation with COPE are items that will be discussed at that conference.
“What’s going to be interesting is the public’s response,” Carr said. “I think there are certainly people who are looking to vote for an alternative to both Vision and the NPA.”
Louis revealed he also wants to work with two smaller left-leaning political organizations, Neighbourhoods for a Sustainable Vancouver (NSV) and Degrowth Vancouver, which he hopes will support the idea of a Green-COPE slate.
“Those four actors on the municipal stage—COPE, the Vancouver Green Party, NSV, and Degrowth—are capable of replacing the current Vision Vancouver developer-oriented city hall with a progressive, people-oriented city hall in November,” Louis maintained.
Former COPE executive member Stuart Parker isn’t convinced that’s the best way to go. He told the Straight there are strong candidates from the left, Louis and Carr chief among them. But Parker argued that electing those candidates now, from separate parties, sends a message that left-wing politicians are only at city hall as “critics” and “gadflies” and are not really there to govern.
“If we want to pursue a long-term strategy, we would actually have to withhold our votes from the candidates that have the best shot,” he added. “R J Aquino, Adriane Carr, Tim Louis—their elections would actually forestall the development of a serious mass party.”
Parker, a former B.C. Green party leader, suggested Vancouver’s left needs time to consolidate and rebuild.