Former Vancouver city councillor Anne Roberts has announced that she hopes to return to politics with this October’s civic election.
The retired college instructor previously held a seat on council with the Coalition of Progressive Electors (COPE) from 2002 to 2005 and, before that, served as Vancouver's school board trustee from 1993 to 1996. She ran for re-election in 2005 but placed 19th with 41,739 votes (compared to the 50,047 that one needed to get elected that year).
This morning (April 27), Roberts said she intends to run with COPE and will seek the party’s nomination at a meeting that’s scheduled for June 10.
A media release states that Roberts was inspired to return to politics after working on Jean Swanson’s campaign in a by-election that was held last October to fill a seat on council that was left vacant.
“I got re-excited and re-energized about civic politics by helping with the Jean Swanson campaign in last year’s by-election,” Roberts said quoted there. “We could really see there’s a mood for change in this city. People recognize that the market has failed to deliver the housing we need, and they’re ready for serious alternatives. I want to be part of that political revolution in Vancouver.”
COPE supported Swanson in the by-election but officially she ran independent. Swanson placed second with 10,263 votes compared to the winner Hector Bremner’s 13,372. Despite failing to get elected, it was an impressive result for the Downtown Eastside activist because the 2017 by-election saw the left’s vote split among several notable candidates while right-leaning voters only had Bremner, who ran with the NPA.
Roberts’ media release states that she’ll campaign with members of the team who worked for Swanson in 2017.
“Supporters of Swanson’s campaign will be launching a People’s Platform called ‘The City We Need’ next Thursday, May 3 with a noon hour rally at city hall that will be addressed by Anne Roberts and other progressive candidates for office,” it reads.
While on council, Roberts stood out in debates on public transit, wherein she argued for more buses. She supported the idea that Vancouver should adopt a ward system for civic elections. In addition, Roberts opposed bringing slot machines to Vancouver and fought against the retail giant Walmart opening a store in south Vancouver.
Roberts is quoted in today's release saying that if elected, she intends to work on housing affordability.
“A lot of voters are skeptical that the politicians at city hall can be trusted, since they’ve been funded by the real estate industry that caused the problem in the first place,” she said. “One of the reasons young people have been asking me to run again is that my record is clear: as a councillor I took a stand when too many councillors started working for corporate campaign contributors instead of for voters. I have experience and a track record, and together with the young people getting involved in COPE I feel we can put this city back on track.”
The last time that COPE won a seat on Vancouver city council was 2008. The party hasn’t had much of an impact on Vancouver politics for some time. But it was a force in the early 2000s and held the mayor’s chair (with Larry Campbell) from 2002 to 2005.
A separate media release issued this morning states that COPE has scheduled a nominations meeting to select candidates for the coming election for June 10. According to that release, anyone who intends to seek a COPE nomination should contact the party “asap” by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The COPE release adds that in order to vote in the June 10 nomination process, one must have been a COPE member for a minimum of the 30 days previous. That makes the deadline to join May 10.