David Cadman blames Tim Louis for COPE’s election drubbing
Outgoing COPE councillorDavid Cadman blames Tim Louis for the near wipeout of the Coalition of Progressive Electors in the November 19 civic election in Vancouver.
Cadman also attributes to the former councillor and 2011 council candidate some of the significant political setbacks suffered by the party in recent years, from the formation of Vision Vancouver by a group that bolted from COPE after the party won city hall in 2002, to the poor showing of COPE in the 2005 election.
“There are a number of times historically where Tim, I think, has done the party a disservice,” Cadman told the Straight in a phone interview today (November 21).
According to Cadman, Louis’s past actions have been “detrimental” to COPE.
Cadman lost the chance to run for another term when he failed to secure the party’s nomination on September 18. Cadman, incumbent councillor Ellen Woodsworth, and neophyte Rafael "RJ" Aquino ran as a slate for the three council slots alloted to COPE under its partnership with Vision.
Louis ran in the nomination, and on the day of the contest, the former councillor distributed a flyer urging party members to vote for him, Woodsworth, and Terry Martin.
This is where Louis made a “strategic” mistake, Cadman claims.
“Look, every time, historically that a party has disposed of somebody who was elected, who the electorate had elected, whether it’s [then Non-Partisan Association mayor] Philip Owen or [then NPA mayor] Sam Sullivan, the party suffers as a consequence,” Cadman said.
“And I think there’s no doubt about it that our tracking polls in August indicated that we were at 24 percent and the next tracking poll after the nomination indicated that we dropped to 11 percent. So I think losing your incumbent, losing your largest vote getter, losing somebody who’s perceived as being the voice of the party, I think was detrimental. I think in all honesty that Tim Louis has to take some responsibility for that.
“Tim put out a sheet saying, ‘Vote for Ellen [Woodsworth], vote for Terry Martin, and vote for me’. So by trying to eliminate me from that nomination process, he’s taken COPE’s largest vote getter and taken him off the vote.”
Cadman continued: “There are a number of times historically where Tim, I think, has done the party a disservice . I think the whole fracas that he and [then COPE councillor] Fred Bass got in with [then COPE mayor] Larry [Campbell] and with [then COPE councillor] Jim [Green] was detrimental to COPE. I think when the labour movement had worked out an agreement whereby COPE and Vision would run together [in 2005] and Tim turned out the membership to vote that down, that cost everyone but me a seat on council. Four incumbents lost.
“And I think this time it’s cost the party a huge amount. It’s operating on the notion that it’s the party that has the loyalty and I think there is a base of loyalty for the party. But I think you have to reach out to other voters besides the party if you’re going to win. And somehow I have been able to do that. And historically the school board has been able to do that. [Outgoing COPE park commissioner] Loretta [Woodwock] had been able to do that on park board. And this time with the exception of our one Chinese candidate, Allan Wong, everyone else lost,” Cadman said.
There is no doubt in Cadman’s mind about the likelihood he would have won another term on council had he not been turfed in the nomination.
“I’m absolutely sure I would have,” Cadman said.