Today may have been the first time that Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara's image ever graced the inside of Vancouver's exclusive Terminal City Club.
That's because former COPE councillor and park commissioner Tim Louis dropped by the West Hastings Street venue, which is a favourite hangout of some of the city's wealthiest residents.
Louis came to speak at the Burgundy Luncheon Club about his efforts to revive his left-of-centre civic party.
The back of his wheelchair featured a large image of Che, an Argentina-born revolutionary who helped Fidel Castro seize power in Cuba.
Louis didn't disappoint the mostly business audience, generating enormous laughter with his wisecracks about Mayor Gregor Robertson's political party.
"Vision Vancouver is the NPA with bicycles," he said at one point.
Louis, a lawyer, also claimed that Vision and the NPA were like "Tweedledee and Tweedledum".
On a more serious note, the former chair of Vancouver's finance committee said that unlike the two other parties, COPE is opposed to expensive megaprojects.
That prompted a question about COPE's position on a proposal for a new $300-million to $350-million art gallery.
It may be built on a city-owned parking lot—known as Larwill Park—across from the Sandman Hotel on West Georgia Street.
In April, Green, NPA, and Vision Vancouver councillors all voted in favour of leasing this $200-million property for free to the Vancouver Art Gallery.
This is provided that the VAG board meets certain conditions, including raising $100 million each from the federal and provincial governments.
Louis conceded that COPE doesn't have a position on this issue.
Speaking personally, he said that he would prefer to monetize the site for affordable housing.
"I'd love to give $200 million to the art gallery but I think it's a question of priorities," Louis commented. "If you asked me to make a very difficult decision—$200 million to the art gallery or $200 million to really address the crisis of homelessness, not by producing shelters but actually affordable housing—I'd give the $200 million to producing housing."
Then he added that perhaps this should be put to the voters in a referendum.
"You've got $200 million," Louis said. "Does it go to the art gallery or does it go to addressing a crisis of homelessness? At the end of the day, life is about choices. You never get to have everything. You have to choose one or the other. So I'm not anti-art gallery. But I don't know that we should be spending $200 million there."