COPE angles for Vision seats in Vancouver by-elections
Paul Houle is suggesting that Vision Vancouver not field candidates if the city holds byelections.
Houle said that Vision is in a position to make a nice gesture toward his party, the Coalition of Progressive Electors, by leaving the latter to hold open nominations. It should also support whomever is chosen by COPE, he added.
The long-time COPE member and former party executive was responding to questions about possible upcoming by-elections for council and park board. Vision councillor Geoff Meggs and Vision park board commissioner Constance Barnes are currently seeking nominations to represent the B.C. NDP in next year’s provincial balloting.
In recent years, COPE and Vision have cooperated electorally. In 2011, Meggs, Barnes, and the rest of Vision’s candidates won, while COPE was wiped out except for one seat on the school board.
“Given that Vision has a majority of seats in council and COPE is shut out, I think it would be fair for Vision to support COPE running a candidate in any vacancy and leaving it as a free nomination where COPE members decide who will be their candidate,” Houle told the Straight in a phone interview.
Houle stressed that he doesn’t want his party’s candidates to be seen as having been “handpicked by Vision”.
“If it comes to a situation where it’s perceived that Vision is kind of like a puppeteer pulling the strings within COPE and choosing a COPE candidate that’s perceived as very aligned with Vision, to me that would not be in the interest of COPE,” he said.
Vision managing director Stepan Vdovine said that his party would be “interested in having conversations with the COPE executive when the time comes”. But he stressed that it’s “quite premature to comment”.
“It’s so far [away,] and the possibility of by-elections seems quite remote at this point,” Vdovine told the Straight by phone.
COPE executive member David Chudnovsky laid out what the party will do if Meggs and Barnes give up their seats. “The executive would get together and either make a decision or make a recommendation for the membership,” Chudnovsky told the Straight in a phone interview.