Jamie Lee Hamilton leaves COPE, alleges Left Front blocking her nomination

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      On August 22, one of the most outspoken activists in Vancouver officially announced that she was seeking a nomination with the left-leaning Coalition of Progressive Electors.

      Parks and green space are a passion for Jamie Lee Hamilton, a long-time advocate for the rights of sex workers and LGBT people who joined the city's first gay-pride march during the ’70s.

      However, when COPE members meet at the Japanese Hall (487 Alexander Street at Jackson Avenue) on Sunday (September 7) to pick their candidates for the fall municipal election, Hamilton will not be there to stand for a slot on the party’s park board slate.

      Hamilton resigned today (September 5) as a COPE member.

      According to Hamilton, she has no choice but to leave because a faction within COPE called the Left Front is intent on preventing her from getting a nomination.

      COPE’s policy mandates that one spot on each of its slates for council, school board, and park board is reserved for aboriginal candidates.

      Hamilton is aboriginal, and she was hoping that she could win one of the spots allocated by COPE for Native people.

      However, Hamilton claimed that the Left Front plans to run two aboriginal candidates against her. These two candidates will supposedly come from the tent city that homeless people have established at Oppenheimer Park.

      According to Hamilton, she appears to have earned the ire of the Left Front after she spoke out about the relocation of this year’s Powell Street Festival, which celebrated Japanese Canadian art and culture, from Oppenheimer Park because of the tent city on the park’s grounds.

      In an interview with Georgia Straight editor Charlie Smith in July, Hamilton said that the festival’s relocation troubled her because of how her colleagues at COPE have supported the homeless protest.

      “Why would that issue trump another community’s history of welcoming everyone to celebrate together as allies, as communities in solidarity, as friends?” Hamilton asked in that interview.

      In between sobs, Hamilton today (September 4) told the Straight by phone that she has heard from a COPE insider of talk from the Left Front to the effect that “Jamie Lee does not look like a Native Indian because her skin is white”.

      “My mother was a long-time aboriginal activist in the city, and just to have that used against me that way is really, really awful,” Hamilton said.

      Nathan Crompton of the Left Front told the Straight by phone that his group is endorsing candidates seeking COPE nominations. According to Crompton, Hamilton is not one of them.

      Crompton said that the Left Front is supporting candidates who identify closely with its policies.

      As to Hamilton’s claim that she’s not considered Native enough because of her white skin, Crompton said: “We never had that conversation.”



      Oh please

      Sep 5, 2014 at 5:13pm

      I'm sorry, I didn't hear her making ridiculous allegations because my eyes were rolled so far back in my head I could see my brain. Good riddance.


      Sep 5, 2014 at 5:37pm

      Do they understand that "X Front" names are traditionally taken by racially obsessed, fascist and/or cultish political movements? "National Front", "Storm Front", "Christian Front", etc?

      What a load....

      Sep 5, 2014 at 6:31pm

      Right, the most left wing group in the city thinks Hamilton is "not Indian enough"? What a crock.
      1. Not a word anyone on the left who is white would EVER EVER use
      2. Jamie Lee's entire history has been storming out of meetings and denouncing others.

      Let's just say - if you're surprised by this, you are not paying attention.

      What is more likely is that she didn't get the Left Front endorsement she was seeking and so is trying to blow the party up on the way out. Again. Ask the Npa about her behaviour.


      Sep 5, 2014 at 7:25pm

      This is largely irrelevant. COPE is not a political force, the Left Front have ensured it week dinnertime to be consigned to the ash can of Vancouver politics. This only qualifies as as news because of Jamie Lee Hamilton.

      No Credible Left Wing

      Sep 5, 2014 at 10:16pm

      It's too bad---most people are left-wingers, but they're not "Left Front" types. They're decent, hard-working Canadians who believe in sharing, not on the basis of fruity historical narratives of "oppression" but because they're not stupid: they know everyone needs clothing, a home, food, healthcare, etc. What turns people off of the contemporary left-wing is that it has become a University-thing, that is, a Corporate thing, with its own jargon and corporatespeak just like the right-wing. And say what you will say about right-wing jargon and corporatism, it's difficult to defend the idea that people are merely coerced into buying petrochemicals, for example---they really want clock radios and so forth. Contrast this with the leftist jargon, which exists largely due to state-funded Universities, that is, corporations that are funded by coercive taxation. It's worse than Ma Bell ever was, people---there's more diversity in phone companies than there is in English or Gender Studies departments.

      What we really need is the equivalent of an anti-trust movement against the academic left, who have appropriated what was always a people's movement and rendered it stupid and worthless---and this is a bad thing because there are problems to which the left-wing (in its economic form, where 1 Human = 1 Human, not in its sociological/cultural theory form where some humans are more equal than others) has better solutions than the right-wing, moderate or radical. But the radical academic left is simply not credible.

      Running aboriginals because they're aboriginal? Wasn't it horrible when white people were run just because they were right? Maybe we should run the best people with the greatest commitment to public equality who are the most proven effective? Running two nobodies from the tent-city plays strongly into academic left-wing values, but it will likely do very little to help normal, working-class canadians who want a left-wing government but who are not interested in academic identity politics and who find it insulting to be talked down to by a bunch of undergraduate degree holders whose understanding of politics is little more than what their radical left-wing professors marked "correct."


      Sep 5, 2014 at 11:21pm

      Is there really anyone credulous enough to believe this nonsense?


      Sep 6, 2014 at 12:28am

      Which nonsense, Erling? That COPE can't see beyond its desperate-to-be-progressive, stunningly awful racialism? That JLH was sobbing? I find both plausible.

      Imtiaz Popat

      Sep 6, 2014 at 1:14am

      Just to be clear. There is only one Candidate seeing COPE nomination that has come out of Tent City and that is Aurdrey Segal who is seeking nomination for City Council.


      Sep 6, 2014 at 7:49am

      @No Credible Left Wing.

      I buy a lot of what you are saying. The university HAS promoted victimization; BUT, and this is a big but...when you attack the university left as a category you merely clear a space for the business right. Sadly the world of business and the world of victims have a lot in common. Neither wants to take responsibility for their own actions.

      The university as an institution is being attacked on two fronts--by victims on the one hand, and business on the other. Your healthy leftism, an ECONOMIC leftism (as opposed to merely a social leftism) needs the university. It it the reform of the university and other public economic/cultural institutions--mostly achieved by throwing more money at them--that represents our one best chance for social reform.


      Sep 6, 2014 at 9:04am

      I don't get why the straight keeps promoting Jamie Lee Hamilton. She used to be NPA, then she was Green, then she was Vision, now she's trying to be COPE, and now she's run off again "sobbing".

      "Sobbing'? Gimme a break.

      She has always been a party of one. This story makes it look like she's hard done by. Fact is she has quit every party she ever belonged to. You don't hear them complaining about it either. Why does the Straight conplain?

      If Jamie Lee Hamilton doesn't get her way she runs away. That'll be the story next time too.