Heather Gies: Why settle for Vision Vancouver or the NPA?

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      Yesterday (July 14), after the NPA announced its mayoral candidate, the NPA and Vision began criticizing each other immediately. They are both correct in their criticisms: it is true that Vision doesn’t listen to Vancouverites and it is true that the NPA would represent a step backwards for this city.

      But why settle for either when the Coalition of Progressive Electors fixes the faults of both? Only COPE privileges the voices of residents and renters over corporate donors. Only COPE develops strong progressive policies by way of member collaboration.

      The NPA says Vision doesn’t listen to residents, but they neglect to mention the real reason behind this. Big real-estate companies donated over $1 million to Vision Vancouver in the last election. The NPA also relies on these developers and corporations to fund their campaigns. The idea that they could "listen" more effectively than Vision is outrageous: they are beholden to the same corrupting financial interests.

      It comes as no surprise that Vision's and the NPA’s housing policies are essentially the same. Both are proposing tax cuts for developers and cutting “red tape” at city hall to make things easier for the real-estate industry. Only COPE is willing to tax the real-estate corporations and implement a luxury housing tax to fund and maintain public housing. Only COPE will sweep the real-estate corporations out of the backrooms of city hall and commit to fixing Vancouver’s housing crisis. COPE’s housing-authority plan will build 800 units of social housing each year to end homelessness as well as thousands of real affordable public rental homes.

      The real question of this election is: who do you trust to keep your rent more affordable? The parties in the pockets of the corporations who stand to profit from high rents and skyrocketing homelessness levels? Or a party with the integrity to refuse developer funding? The answer is clear: COPE is the only option to build a Vancouver everyone can afford.




      Jul 15, 2014 at 3:30pm

      Heather unfortunately COPE has burdened itself with so much Marxist rhetoric it is not a viable choice for most voters. I will be considering the Green party as a true alternative though.

      Tommy Khang

      Jul 15, 2014 at 3:35pm

      Help! Someone please save me from death by laughter! COPE's own policy on housing clearly states that they will: Make use of the strong private market and direct CACs and DLCs toward the social and affordable housing. Last time I checked CACs and DLCs are generated by DEVELOPERS.

      Boris Moris

      Jul 15, 2014 at 3:40pm

      Sorry Heather, voting for a party with Marxist underpinnings isn't an option for close to 90% of voters anymore. Lose the commies, the cultists and the latent anarchists and you might just manage to elect a park board member or 2.


      Jul 15, 2014 at 3:44pm

      I was at that COPE Annual General Meeting, and it was really exciting to see new faces getting involved who have the principles of Vancouver's long-time no-developer-money party.

      If they can get some reasonable candidates before the election, I'm hopeful we'll get the a voice for the city's renters, seniors, and young people back on council.

      Burger King

      Jul 15, 2014 at 3:50pm

      If taxing developers and building affordable is "Marxist", I'm in.


      Jul 15, 2014 at 3:54pm

      This municipal election should be an easy decision for Vancouverites - there's a party with a corrupt Vision, a Non-Partisan Association of developers, and COPE.

      Mr Practical

      Jul 15, 2014 at 4:04pm

      What do you mean you want to keep rents down? I want the rents to double, aye to triple! And then blame it on anyone else except city hall and the real estate industry.


      Jul 15, 2014 at 4:06pm

      Way too radical, way too ridiculous. I'm already in the frying pan, no need to jump into the fire.


      Jul 15, 2014 at 4:12pm

      @TommyKhang - you are crying "gotcha" a little prematurely. Where does the profit go from private developments? To the owner/shareholders, yes? Where does the profit go from developments the "one stop shop" at City Hall will okay? Private developers.

      Now, where does the profit go in a public system? Back to the City. These CACs and DCLs you speak of with such ease are a pittance thrown to the city to ease consciences about huge new amounts of people in neighbourhoods that aren't designed for them.

      Developing market-priced housing and selling it to fund social housing - like they do at UBC Trust for education - is not crazy. It's done all over the world. What - you think Vancouver should shut down development altogether? Or not take the pittances of CACs and DLCs? I think you read your Vision playbook wrong.


      Jul 15, 2014 at 4:58pm

      You guys will have my vote if you can overcome certain stereotypes.

      My understanding is that the COPE intelligensia are behind The Mainlander, that opaque screeds which leads the charge against restaurants in the DTES.

      While parsing and dissecting various types of privilege can be a fun past-time, one fears that a COPE-led council will spend its entire term apologizing for colonialism, accusing each other of being closet reactionaries, and urging Parliament to appoint Harsha Walia as Minister of Immigration.

      My concern is that you not drive away the filthy, dirty, capitalist money that is needed to build the utopia of Vandustan in unceded Coast Salish Territory.

      The CoV doesn't really have many other income sources. Are you going to raise community centre gym fees to make up the difference? Or massively lay off your staff and/or bring in un-unionized contractors? Clearly not.

      And you can't just go into deficit financing because the city doesn't allow it.

      So, I wanna hear that COPE does not just have its heart (and Foucault-infused brain) in the right place. I wanna hear about pragmatic business models, precedents that have worked in other places, skills, relationship-building.

      VISION has been just this side of acceptable to me because they at least give a veneer of greenwash to their cooperation with business, which we would not get with the NPA. I've been ok with VISION because of low expectations, basically. A bike lane is at least something.

      I'm sure that City Hall can be done even better but you need to sell the specifics, the nuts and/or bolts. Good luck COPE!!!