Former Coalition of Progressive Electors councillor Tim Louis believes the party’s bid for the mayor's chair in the upcoming municipal election could help to boost voter turnout.
“The number one solution to low voter turnout is to give the voter a true option other than the status quo,” Louis said during a news conference today (September 4) at an Arbutus corridor community garden.
The lawyer referred to Vision Vancouver and the Non-Partisan Association as “two sides of the same coin”.
“Vision Vancouver is the NPA with bicycle lanes,” he charged. “COPE is a true alternative. In this election we’re going to prove that, by offering the citizens a mayoral candidate.”
Meena Wong, who Louis described as a “breath of fresh air”, told the Straight this week that she plans to seek the top nomination at a COPE conference this Sunday (September 7).
“The first party…ever in the history of Vancouver to offer as a mayoral candidate a woman of Asian descent,” said Louis. “A woman that has a fabulous track record of advocating on behalf of the underdog, of the little guy.”
Louis used his news conference to formally announce that he plans to seek a city council nomination with COPE. He also called on the city to expropriate the Arbutus corridor land from CP Rail.
“I’m here today to demand that Vision Vancouver expropriate the Arbutus corridor in order to put the corridor where it belongs—back in the hands of neighbourhoods, back in the hands of the neighbourhood gardeners, back in the hands of transit users," he said.
"It’s time CPR got out of the picture and Vision Vancouver did its job and expropriated these properties.”
Louis also detailed some of the issues he plans to campaign on if he secures a city council nomination, including transit and affordable housing.
He described the HandyDart system as “in crisis”, with 42,000 trip denials last year.
“We are talking about a situation where every day of the year, hundreds of individuals are literally sentenced to house arrest simply because TransLink froze HandyDart hours of service many years ago and has repeatedly refused the ongoing requests of HandyDart users to raise those hours of service and demand increases,” he said.
He also targeted Vision Vancouver’s pledge to prioritize a Broadway corridor subway.
“A SkyTrain underground from Commercial to UBC will bankrupt the transit system in the GVRD,” he maintained. “For that amount of money, we could build a network of streetcars on every single corridor in the city of Vancouver, including the Arbutus railway and every other corridor in the city, and still have money left over.”
On housing, Louis reiterated COPE’s promise to create a Vancouver housing authority if elected.
Other COPE candidates seeking council nominations at this Sunday’s meeting are Audrey Siegl, Gayle Gavin, Jennifer O’Keefe, John Yano, Keith Higgins, and Sid Chow Tan.