Vision/COPE backroom boys cut a deal to help retain control of City Hall
It was only a matter of time before the backroom boys running Vision/COPE would announce the details regarding their latest "cooperation agreement" between the two parties. As you all know, back in 2008, Vision Vancouver granted COPE the opportunity to run two council candidates on their "cooperative" slate, as long as they didn't run a mayoral candidate.
On Thursday, we found out yet another backroom deal has been struck. On the surface, COPE appears to be the big winners, with the deal allowing them to run one extra candidate on council this fall. However, let me be the first to predict COPE will end up being the biggest losers in this cozy arrangement come the November civic election.
Unlike in 2008 when the NPA imploded under the leadership of then mayoral candidate Peter Ladner, the Vision/COPE team are going to face a much stronger and united opposition this time. In addition, Mayor Gregor will be asking for another mandate while having to defend his abysmal record of the last three years.
There are few political pundits who would argue (beside perhaps the Courier's Allen Garr) that the NPA are unlikely to win at least 3-4 seats in the next Vancouver civic election. If the NPA just happen to run a stellar campaign and another issue like the Mayor's unpaid transit fines comes up, who knows what might happen? As a result, odds are that a number of councillors from the COPE/Vision coalition are going to get turfed come this November.
By signing a deal that concentrates their vote into seven council seats, Vision Vancouver have managed to get the best of all worlds. Here is why:
- With only seven candidates, their vote will be more concentrated. In other words, everyone voting Vision will "plump" up the seven candidates. This will provide them with the best chance at retaining a majority on council.
- With only three spots on the slate and no mayoral candidate, COPE will get squeezed out of the equation. Unless Vision Vancouver promotes heavily with their supporters to vote COPE - which is highly unlikely - they won't stand a chance at the ballot box. This is something Vision operatives are likely well aware of - and counting upon.
- The NPA is no longer facing a voter backlash and thus have a higher likelihood of winning a number of new seats on council. The probability is those seats will come at the expense of COPE candidates, who without a mayoral candidate, simply won't have any profile.
- The battle this fall with be between Vision and the NPA. COPE will be an after thought.
It's hard not to feel a bit sorry for COPE. They've simply been outworked and beaten up by Vision for the past three years. Yet despite this reality, COPE are so desperate to cling on to a bit of power that this backroom deal is the best they could come up with. However, I predict that the biggest winner out of this backroom deal is Vision Vancouver who will likely retain a majority on council, while COPE is once and for all wiped off the political map.