COPE seeks left-wing unity around Vancouver housing affordability

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      Vancouver’s oldest left-wing party wants to form an electoral alliance around the housing issue.

      Connie Hubbs, cochair of the Coalition of Progressive Electors, said COPE is reaching out to OneCity, the Green Party of Vancouver, the team of former council byelection candidate Jean Swanson, and others.

      “We would have to have some agreements on housing affordability if we were to have some kind of electoral alliance,” Hubbs told the Straight in a phone interview.

      According to Hubbs, COPE has no plan at present to talk with Vision Vancouver, the party that has ruled the city since 2008.

      “I don’t think that Vision intended to bring about the kind of housing crisis that we have now. I don’t think that that was their intention at all,” Hubbs said. “I think they thought that by using market-driven solutions, it would work out. That is the way capitalism is supposed to work. But it didn’t work.

      “And a lot of things came together to contribute to that,” she continued. “It wasn’t just the policies of Vision Vancouver. But they were definitely involved with that, and it makes it difficult for COPE to work with Vision.”

      Hubbs did not rule out the possibility that COPE may later consider a dialogue with Vision. There are concerns that the so-called progressive vote may fragment, allowing the right-of-centre Non-Partisan Association (NPA) to take back city hall.

      “What we’re hoping is certainly not to have an NPA government, because I think there’s many things about that that would be very unfortunate, but on the other hand, COPE isn’t going to ally themselves with those that aren’t prepared to be strong on housing,” Hubbs said.

      The next municipal election will be held in October this year.

      According to Raj Hundal, a former Vision park-board chair, discussions about forward-thinking solutions to the city’s problems inevitably involve talking about an electoral cooperation with Vision.

      “It’s important for progressive organizations like Vision, COPE, and other parties to work together…to make sure that the city of Vancouver does not go backwards to the time when the NPA was in power,” Hundal told the Straight by phone.