Veteran school trustee Allan Wong crosses the floor from COPE to Vision Vancouver

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      The last remaining elected COPE politician has resigned his party membership and joined Vision Vancouver.

      Allan Wong, a Vancouver school trustee since 1999, made the move today.

      Wong, chair of the board of education's planning and facilities committee, told the Georgia Straight by phone that he has workied well with Vision trustees for many years.

      He specifically cited veteran Vision politicians Patti Bacchus, Mike Lombardi, and Ken Clement. 

      "To me, it's a small transition," Wong said. "I'm still very close to a lot of the COPE ed people."

      Wong said he will still attend COPE education committee meetings and remains in close contact with former COPE trustees Al Blakey, Jane Bouey, and Ruth Herman.

      However, he said he will leave the room if they decide to discuss political matters.

      Wong added that he is eager to continue working on some of the board of education's biggest challenges, including looming Hydro rate increases, seismic upgrades, and the underfunding of education.

      He sidestepped a question about whether he left COPE because of its internal divisions, only saying that the party executive seemed more focused on differences with Vision at the council and park-board level.

      In a Vision Vancouver statement, Bacchus described Wong as a "passionate supporter of public education".

      "His experience, advocacy, and strong record of community service make him a tremendous addition to the Vision Vancouver team, and I look forward to working with him even more closely to support Vancouver students and our public-school system," Bacchus said.

      Mayor Gregor Robertson described Wong as one of the city's "most respected political leaders".

      "I am honoured to welcome Allan to the positive, forward-looking Vision team working for Vancouver's priorities on the school board, park board, and city council," Robertson said in the Vision statement.

      Vision Vancouver now has six of the nine trustees on the board. The three other positions are occupied by the NPA's Fraser Ballantyne, Ken Denike, and Sophia Woo.




      Dec 8, 2013 at 11:25am

      By crossing the floor to sit as a Vision politician, Trustee Trustee Allan Wong seems to be thumbing his nose at Vancouver voters who elected him as a COPE trustee. To demonstrate political integrity Trustee Wong should have resigned, sat as an Independent and then sought re-election as a Vision Trustee in 2014..

      Save Vancouver

      Dec 8, 2013 at 12:15pm

      What's the Chinese word for quisling?


      Dec 8, 2013 at 12:44pm

      Allan Wong was elected, not “COPE trustee”. Otherwise we should just list party names on ballots and let them choose whoever they want.


      Dec 8, 2013 at 1:03pm

      Maybe Bacchus can walk down the hallway in the Vision Vancouver office to the back room and ask one of the Liberal operatives working for Vision if they can increase education funding.


      Dec 8, 2013 at 1:27pm

      Sucks for COPE.

      But really. If he wasn't going to be able to work with Tim Louis, what else was he supposed to do, join the NPA or sit at home twiddling his thumbs?


      Dec 8, 2013 at 1:58pm

      There isn't really much "floor crossing." COPE and Vision Vancouver ran a joint slate last election.


      Dec 8, 2013 at 2:50pm

      hmm-when politicians "cross the floor" there is usually something in it for them.


      Dec 8, 2013 at 3:48pm

      The most notable issue re the Vancouver School Board is its rapidly falling student numbers. We all know the cause of this - Vancouver's real estate circus driving families out of the city.

      Given that, it's hard to see how Wong can in good conscience ally himself with one of the two parties that represent the real estate sector.

      miranda da costa diaz

      Dec 8, 2013 at 4:54pm

      To any discerning observer of Vancouver's civic political scene, it ought to be obvious that Mr. Wong is, indeed, demonstrating considerable political integrity at this time. At the school board level, there is really no "floor" to cross. Trustees from various tendencies have often worked together and Trustee Bacchus has provided solid, informed, tenacious leadership. Mr. Wong has always been a strong, knowledgable and principled advocate for public education and he has worked pretty tirelessly on a number of board committees to ensure that equity, equality, inner city, LBGTQ, and structural issues are addressed. This eats up hours and hours of time. It's not for the frivolous or faint of heart. It's no secret that since 1997, the VBE - underfunded by the province - has had to make a series of cuts to the point where there is no fat left and muscle and bone are on the chopping block. What is needed to address that and other serious problems that threaten public education, is a concerted and unified focus to defend and improve the institution. I suspect that Mr. Wong found this difficult to do in an atmosphere of ongoing infighting, bickering, purity contests and self-righteous, congratulatory puffery (and often just plain silliness) that have plagued the COPE board of late. Could Mr, Wong be expected to ignore or wish away the COPE board member who proudly identifies as a school drop out? I doubt it. And, as that slag against education is what the COPE membership endorses, what in the world would compel him to stay on? To this observer, Mr. Wong's 14 year commitment to ensure that education is inclusive, open and accessible to all and his reliable and informed advocacy is what is important. Who in the world but a glutton for punishment would want to waste valuable time attending COPE meetings when there is more vital and crucial work to be done? While I won't be supporting the current mayor or his council next time up, I will support Allan because doing so makes sense.