COPE slate for Vancouver election includes Meena Wong, eight council candidates

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      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.



      Xander Davis

      Sep 7, 2014 at 7:07pm

      So COPE is disappearing into the background then with such a tight range of candidates?


      Sep 8, 2014 at 12:43am

      Is this picture suitable considering there is a tie vote? John Yano is not in the picture and he tied with Wilson. The picture makes it appear that Wilson has won.

      Martin Dunphy

      Sep 8, 2014 at 1:14am

      Jamie Lee:

      That fact is clearly explained in both the cutline and the article.


      Sep 8, 2014 at 4:05am

      It appears that COPE is led by "angry old white men," unlike Vision Vancouver.

      Anita Romaniuk

      Sep 8, 2014 at 5:55am

      Tight range? COPE has a candidate for Mayor who immigrated to Canada from China via Hong Kong, and for Council, a First Nations activist, another candidate with Chinese ancestry who has organized around the Head Tax issue, housing in Chinatown, and countless other issues, a young woman who was recently a student activist at Capilano College, two people with disabilities (both lawyers, coincidently), an artist, and an environmental activist who is a former mayor of Bowen Island. Depending on who comes out of the tie situation, Wilson Munoz came to Canada from El Salvador and has organized around immigrant and refugee issues, and John Yano is the LGBQ rep on the COPE Exec, a labour activist, and his parents were Japanese Canadians who were transported inland during WWII. This is the most varied slate of any civic party that I know of!

      John Beeching

      Sep 8, 2014 at 10:24am

      As a founding member of COPE I believe it closest Vancouver residents have to what I call a people's program. I am hoping the COPE program will be published somewhere in its entirety for us to print out.

      Kim Washburn

      Sep 8, 2014 at 12:13pm

      Diana Day? One example of a bad choice. No account newbie. Not from here. Nepotism party. Desperate choices...Sad


      Sep 8, 2014 at 1:26pm

      Toooo many candidates. Most left voters will pick a few favourites from vision, the greens, etc. Even if most of a person's votes go to COPE, a slate this large will compete against itself, badly. That doesn't just affect the ballot box, it affects team morale because any but the truly naive candidate will be fully aware of this; they will know their true competitor is standing next to them.

      This is such a basic strategic mistake that it's hard to have any faith at all in COPE.


      Sep 8, 2014 at 3:06pm

      @Miranda Nelson,

      Both of you are wrong. Racism is the assignment of good or bad traits based upon genetic differences between races. What TheTruth is talking about is cultural in nature. At one time 'white' people complained about other groups of 'white' people (Irish, Italians etc) ruining their cities because of their cultural practices and ideology. It would not be called racism, by the likes of you, because they all have white skin. But the accusations are the same. Another example was a one that I encountered myself in the early 90's. A Chinese woman I worked with, who was from the original Chinese immigrants, was complaining vehemently about the new immigrants from Hong Kong. She said they were loud, arrogant and lacked compassion. She felt that they would ruin the city. You would never call her a racist though, since she is the same race as the people she was complaining about.

      Do you understand the difference?


      Sep 8, 2014 at 4:02pm

      @NotQuiteTheTruthButCloseEnough I try to explain this to my colleagues daily...