Vancouver’s left-wing electoral organization has one less member.
Having resigned from the executive of the Coalition of Progressive Electors in November, Stuart Parker has now quit the party altogether. Parker, who describes himself on his blog as a “historian, political activist and itinerant lecturer in the humanities”, came out swinging—and not just against the party he helped rebuild.
In a letter to his supporters, Parker lashed out at those who created the ruling Vision Vancouver party out of a split within COPE, blaming them, in part, for the lost opportunity to “remake our city as a compassionate, diverse place”.
“When I came back to Vancouver in 2012, after an eight-year absence, it seemed clear to me who was at fault and what was to be done,” Parker wrote. “It seemed obvious to me that the people who crossed from COPE and the Green Party to form Vision were the culprits, their betrayal leveraged by developer donations and the small cadre of federal Liberals and Shaughnessy and West Point Grey whose strategic alliances have kept them in continuous control of our city for three quarters of a century.”
He continued: “It seemed to me that Vision was comprised of the cheapest sort of sell-outs, people willing to [do] the bidding of big business for a fraction of the perks, donations and invisible exchanges NPA [Non-Partisan Association] representatives would demand.”
Parker went on: “It seemed like America after Lincoln’s assassination, when the human rights gains of the Civil War were squandered by a corrupt, incoherent and unfocused presidency. Like US president Andrew Johnson’s relationship with the planter aristocracy of Dixie, the class insecurities of the former communists, socialists and Greens populating Vision’s front bench just greased the wheels for sweetheart deals, concession and corruption.”
Vision executive director Stepan Vdovine didn’t grant the Straight an interview, stating in an email that he has no comment to offer.
In his letter, Parker also wrote that COPE is “equally to blame” for the city’s state of affairs.
“COPE’s toxic, meeting-intensive culture of interminable, acrimonious, incoherent nonsense that is politely called ‘debate’ would drive any sane person out of active participation within two years,” Parker wrote. “This is not an accident. This is the plan.”
In a phone interview with the Straight, COPE executive director Sean Antrim disagreed that his party is dysfunctional: “We’re perfectly functional.”
Parker, a New Democrat and former leader of the B.C. Green Party, said he cancelled his COPE membership on March 5.
A day later, Parker told the Straight by phone about COPE: “I’ve decided the thing is just…unsalvageable.”