COPE and the Vancouver Greens eye a shared election slate

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      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.


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      Jun 18, 2014 at 11:43am

      Is it the general anti-labour stance, pro corporate tax cuts, or ambiguity on a women's right to choose that make the Greens a "left leaning" party ?

      I can never quite tell.

      Travis Lupick

      Jun 18, 2014 at 11:50am

      I should have noted somewhere that during our interview, councillor Adriane Carr quickly took issue with my characterization of the Vancouver Greens as a party from the "left".

      An excerpt from her response: "The Greens really span the political spectrum. You can't peg us down as left or right. We really are ahead of that whole old spectrum. We draw support from a wide range of people, which is why in the last election, the Green Party of Vancouver made a decision to not have an alliance with any other party, to stand as a strong, independent choice for Vancouverites, no matter what other choices they might make.”


      Jun 18, 2014 at 11:50am

      What a difference a few years can make...remember waaaay back in 2011 when the Greens and the NPA were having strategy meetings and Adriane Carr told the Georgia Straight that she was open to an NPA alliance?

      Nicholas Ellan

      Jun 18, 2014 at 1:16pm

      Carr is right. In 2011 she didn't win by being the most popular left-wing politician, she won by being the most credible protest vote, receiving significant support from NPA and Vision voters which allowed her to beat Ellen Woodsworth for the 10th spot.

      In 2014, she won't be re-elected by siding with fringe parties, but rather by continuing to build on her record of credible opposition, open politics, and strong on-the-ground campaigning. She will likely have to beat an NPA candidate for 10th spot this time - no small feat. But if the right is split enough, the NPA incoherent enough, and the pipeline opposition strong enough, then it's certainly possible that she'll be returned to office. Good luck.


      Jun 18, 2014 at 2:29pm

      Cool so both parties really want to continue their losing streak?

      Mark Bowen

      Jun 19, 2014 at 9:54am

      Adriane Carr is a lot like an eggplant... Only "green" at the tip.

      Stuart Parker

      Jun 20, 2014 at 7:58am

      As I have stated elsewhere, I was, at no time, asked about a COPE-Green alliance in the interview from which my quotation was extracted. For the record, I think a COPE-Green alliance would be an incremental improvement over the present state of affairs.

      Nicholas Ellan

      Jun 20, 2014 at 11:30am

      The day after this article was published, a special general meeting of the Vancouver Greens, which had been scheduled a month prior, decided unanimously that the Green Party will not make any alliances with any other municipal parties. Their press release is here: