Vancouver Greens lose former chair over Vision-COPE alliance snub
Ben West is leaving the Green Party of Vancouver. The environmental activist is resigning in protest of the party’s decision not to join an electoral alliance led by the ruling Vision Vancouver.
“In light of [Conservative prime minister] Stephen Harper having a majority government, progressive-coalition politics is more important than ever, and I thought we provided a model, potentially, for how coalitions could be done,” West told the Straight in a phone interview. “We need to do a lot more work to make it work effectively, and I, for one, am not personally interested in being involved in splitting votes among progressive voters in Vancouver.”
West had previously chaired the local Green party. He was last elected as deputy chair.
According to him, the decision reached by the party at an assembly on June 26 was made by a “small clique of sort of Green party partisans”.
“There’s a small group within the party that’s taking the party in the wrong direction at the moment, and I just don’t feel that it’s the direction I want to go in,” West said on June 27.
The Greens joined Vision and the Coalition of Progressive Electors in an alliance during the 2008 election that saw party candidate Stuart Mackinnon elected as park board commissioner.
Mackinnon refused to comment on West’s claim about a “clique” in the party. Asked about West’s negative view of his party’s rejection of another political marriage with Vision and COPE, Mackinnon told the Straight by phone: “That’s his opinion.”
According to Mackinnon, the motion junking the Vision–COPE offer for the Greens to run one candidate for park board and none for council and school board “passed unanimously”.
West acknowledged that “some people” felt that the offer wasn’t the best possible deal that the Greens could get. “But I think given how small the party is, like if we learned anything from [Green Party of Canada leader] Elizabeth May getting elected [to Parliament], we’re better off if we really focus our resources on a small number of candidates and get them elected,” West said.
West also said that the decision to reject the Vision–COPE offer does not reflect the wishes of Green supporters.