Tim Louis not sure if COPE will endorse Jean Swanson in Vancouver council by-election

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      The oldest left-wing civic party of Vancouver may support the election for council of the city’s most distinguished crusader against poverty and homelessness.

      Jean Swanson could earn the endorsement of the Coalition of Progressive Electors when the party holds its nomination meeting on August 29.

      The long-time crusader against poverty and homelessness is running as an independent candidate in the October 14 by-election.

      “The membership will decide whether or not to run a candidate, and if we’re running a candidate, who to run, or to endorse Jean Swanson,” COPE co-chair Tim Louis told the Georgia Straight in a phone interview Thursday (August 10).

      According to Louis, he is not aware of any COPE member who has signified an intention to seek the nomination for council.

      However, Louis also indicated that the nomination will not be uncontested.

      “There will be candidates. No doubt about that come the meeting,” he said.

      When asked, the former city councillor said that he has no plan to seek the nomination.

      As to why COPE may consider endorsing Swanson, Louis replied: “I don’t know. You see, I’m not taking a position on this. So I don’t know what the view of the people is. I guess I wouldn’t want to speak for them. I might be speaking inaccurately.”

      Louis was also asked why room is being made for COPE to consider endorsing an independent candidate like Swanson.

      “Well, because she is seeking the endorsation of COPE,” Louis said.

      Swanson is no stranger to COPE, a party that was founded in 1968 and holds a proud tradition of fighting for progressive causes like low-cost housing.

      Swanson ran for council under COPE many years ago. In 1988, she was the unity candidate of COPE and other groups for mayor in the election that was won by Gordon Campbell, who later became B.C. premier.

      Swanson awarded the Order of Canada in 2016 for her devotion to social justice.

      In the interview, Louis was also asked what happens if there will be COPE members who will try to win the nomination for council.

      “It will be up to the membership. The membership might decide to support Jean Swanson,” Louis said.

      COPE will also choose its candidates for school board on August 29.