Members of the Coalition of Progressive Electors have selected their slate for the upcoming election, including the party's first mayoral candidate since 2002.
At a nomination meeting in the Downtown Eastside today (September 7), Meena Wong secured 193 of 216 votes for the top COPE position.
“I believe that COPE will have a lot of opportunities to let the people of Vancouver know what COPE stands for,” Wong said in an interview.
“And COPE being the second-oldest party in Vancouver, it has a history and it has a track record in providing a more accessible city, in providing a more equitable city, in providing a city that’s environmentally more friendly, and diverse.”
Vying for seats on council will be candidates Lisa Barrett, Gayle Gavin, Keith Higgins, Tim Louis, Jennifer O’Keeffe, Audrey Siegl, and Sid Chow Tan. A vote recount found Wilson Munoz and John Yano tied for an eighth council position, and a decision will be announced soon, according to the party.
The largest number of council ballots were cast for Louis, who secured 179 votes, Tan, who drew 178, and Siegl, who garnered 165.
COPE bylaws call for at least half of each slate to consist of female candidates, and for one indigenous candidate on each slate.
COPE's park board candidates are Ezra Bloom Fulford, Urooba Jamal, Imtiaz Popat, and Anita Romaniuk, with one more candidate to be ratified later.
Diana Day, Ralph Fraatz, Kombii Nanjalah, Heidi Nagtegaal, and Ilana Shecter will vie for school trustee positions.
Wong ran against one other candidate for the mayoral nomination, identified as Anthony Guitar on the ballot, who secured 18 votes.
COPE executive director Sean Antrim said the party has a long history in Vancouver.
“We have been the voice of the progressive side of the city for 50 years, but even longer than that,” he told the Straight in an interview.
“It’s taken a lot of work to get everybody organized again…a lot of the people in this meeting have called their friends, have had dinner parties trying to talk about the issues, reminding people that there is this movement.
"And in the next nine weeks, we’re going to be doing more of that mobilizing with all of the people who are part of this strong, radical, progressive tradition in the city.”
A leaflet circulated at the meeting touted a list of "Left Front" endorsed candidates, including Siegl, Tan, Barrett, Higgins, O'Keeffe, and Louis.
The council candidates confirmed by party members come from backgrounds including community organizing, the arts, and law.
Musqueam First Nation activist Siegl has been involved in the Idle No More movement, demonstrations to protect a Marpole Midden site from development, and the Oppenheimer Park tent city protest.
Barrett is a former mayor of Bowen Island, Gavin is a trial laywer and community activist, and Higgins is an artist and co-owner of Publication Studio Vancouver. O'Keeffe is an education activist and arts student, Louis is a lawyer and former city councillor, and Tan is an anti-racism activist and community organizer.
The COPE nomination meeting took place the same day the Vancouver Greens confirmed their election slate. Vancouver voters head to the polls on November 15.