COPE board resignations not linked to Vision Vancouver

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      Two members of the board of Vancouver’s oldest left-wing party have quit.

      Ex-MLA David Chudnovsky and former council candidate Rafael “R J” Aquino resigned from the executive of the Coalition of Progressive Electors, foreshadowing a major confrontation within the storied organization in the lead-up to the 2014 local election.

      In the past, the two backed an electoral alliance between COPE and the ruling Vision Vancouver party. They were seen as likely to promote renewed cooperation next year.

      However, they are now outnumbered on the board. The current executive is dominated by those who want to sever ties to the developer-friendly Vision and run distinct slates and a separate mayoral candidate.

      Although Chudnovsky told the Straight last September that he was “very disappointed” with Vision, he declined to say where COPE should go in the 2014 municipal election.

      In a new interview, the former Vancouver NDP MLA asserted that matters relating to COPE’s relationship with Vision were “certainly not at all central” to his decision to leave the COPE board.

      “More and more people have been coming to me and saying that they’re no longer comfortable with the direction that COPE has been taking,” Chudnovsky told the Straight by phone Tuesday (October 22).

      He refused to cite a specific example of the COPE “direction” he referenced, aside from saying that “people are looking for a broad-based, open, welcoming coalition that speaks to the needs of people across the city.” Chudnovsky didn’t rule out the prospect that he and his allies in COPE will try to take back control of the executive at a future general assembly. “I’m talking to a lot of people and looking at options,” he said.

      Stuart Parker is among those in the majority of the COPE board who believe that the party should drop its association with Vision. According to him, the twin board resignations are meant to serve one purpose.

      “Their departure from the executive does free them up to organize full-time against the incumbent executive,” Parker told the Straight in a phone interview.

      He suggested that Chudnovsky and Aquino may try to exploit unresolved disagreements within the anti-Vision block of the COPE board. Parker has been at odds lately with the party’s internal chair, former city councillor Tim Louis.

      “It will be very important for the majority in COPE to reach out to the members of the party who are…more moderate in their politics and to be reassured that they remain welcome in the party,” Parker said. “I think that if we’re ineffective in doing that, the rebuilding COPE has done in the past year will be compromised.”



      Ed D

      Oct 23, 2013 at 12:43pm

      The people who supported Vision are leaving?



      Oct 23, 2013 at 12:46pm

      Excellent news.


      Oct 23, 2013 at 12:59pm

      That's a shame. RJ Aquino was the most exciting and talented candidate not elected last election. I was hoping he would run again.


      Oct 23, 2013 at 1:38pm

      COPE made a very important move to separate from Vision. And it's about time that the Executive holds a majority in this opinion. The internal cracks can now be filled within COPE.

      I just hope they get filled with more than the dirty laundry Parker is airing in this article.


      Oct 23, 2013 at 1:54pm

      I don't support Vision. But I'm also uncomfortable about COPE. Guess I won't have a political home municipally for a while.


      Oct 23, 2013 at 3:49pm

      Electoral agreement or no electoral agreement with Vision, COPE is in trouble. This marks a clear takeover by the hardline ideological zealots that are now in control of the executive. A shame to see the city's oldest progressive political party dismantled by these crazies. Who do they have to run? Stuart Parker for mayor? Tim Louis? And the only thing Parker can do is take shots at Chudnovsky and Aquino? What a joke.


      Oct 23, 2013 at 5:51pm


      “hardline ideological zealots?” That description is more aptly applied to Vision, who is starting to resemble a tyrannical cult devoted to real estate development.

      PS: Don’t forget that anyone opposing Vision is supposed to be labelled NIMBY. I’m sure this was just an oversight on your part


      Oct 23, 2013 at 8:42pm

      I know a number of left-COPE members who have opposed the alliance from day one: they would rather be out of power than act as the "social justice" conscience of a party for the 1%. Vision have used bike lanes, the environment and other "left" issues as a beard over their developer friendly policies. The next few months are vital to the people who run Vision as they need to continue their co-option of the COPE slate to maintain their majority on council through the next civic election. The 1%ers who run Vision need another term in office to complete their "city plan" that will reward their developer friends and leave the rest of us with higher taxes.

      Plans are afoot to give developers more profit from their projects, especially those with ties to Vision. From adjustments to community costs to a proposal that will allow developers to pay the city in return for building fewer parking spaces in their developments to allowing buildings of 4 & 6 stories along and near every arterial & shopping area Vision is fearing up to pay off their developer donors.

      The only chance to undermine Vision's grand design is to break COPE away from that party line: the "right" opposition ranges from the inept NPA to a Vision backed effort to split the right vote. Giving COPE councillors the chance to oppose the developer friendly trend in city hall would help prevent the next phase of the great payoff to developers.

      If Vision retain control of the city council and parks board they will arrange for the closure of Langara Golf Course followed by the sale of approximately half the land, along Cambie and 500 metres to the east, to developers at a very low rate. The closure of Langara may well be announced as a sop to COPE in the hopes that striking a blow against elitists a prior to the AGM will sway the more pragmatic party members. The sale of part of the land to developers will only go through if Vision retain control following the next civic election but if it goes through the Mayor, top bureaucrats and Vision leadership will never need to look for work again.

      Burger King

      Oct 23, 2013 at 9:12pm

      Yeah, super hardline. Looks like they want to build some parks:

      Glissando Remmy

      Oct 23, 2013 at 10:59pm

      Thought of The Night

      "To COPE or not to COPE with VISION, that... was the question..."

      I think COPE answered correctly to that question.
      To stay as far as possible from a party (Vision Vancouver)whose only transferable skills after 5 years in office, are 'street fighting', 'bike lane-ing' and 'generous wanking'... is, IMHO remarkable.
      I might even vote some COPE!

      We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.