Communist Party activist pleads for Vision Vancouver coalition

Post by Daniel Fontaine in


Kimball Cariou is the editor of a communist journal and also supports Vision Vancouver

As we "anxiously" await the big vote tomorrow regarding whether Mayor Gregor Robertson's coalition with the Coalition of Progressive Electors (COPE) will survive, he's received a big endorsement from one of the more vocal leaders within the Communist Party of Canada. has obtained an email sent by Kimball Cariou to COPE supporters. Cariou pleads with them to support the backroom deal that was struck with Vision Vancouver to help them cling to power this fall.

Kimball Cariou is not just any old Communist Party member, he was also the party's candidate in Vancouver-Kingsway in 2006. He is also the editor of The People's Voice, a Communist Party of Canada newspaper that has written about the need to support Vision before.

I must say that I do chuckle at the prospect of the city's top developers and business leaders rubbing elbows with Communist Party activists at Vision's annual appreciation BBQs. You have to give Mayor Gregor credit for really widening the tent of his coalition!

What follows is a copy of the email Cariou sent out to COPE supporters on Thursday: 

From: Kimball Cariou <>
Date: Thu, Jun 23, 2011 at 10:45 AM
Subject: Vote YES, save COPE
To: [Deleted by Editor]

Hello to my email contacts in Vancouver. Like you, I receive a torrent of emails every day, so I try to send out mass messages as rarely as possible. But this time I consider it extremely urgent - especially in light of the recent federal election, which saw the Harper Tories win a majority in Parliament, even though nearly 60% of Canadians voted for parties which (to varying degrees) campaigned against Harper's far-right agenda. The example of Toronto - where the anti-labour bigot Rob Ford is now Mayor - should also be on our minds as we consider strategies for the Nov. 19 civic election in Vancouver.

Further below you will find a powerful appeal from COPE's former executive director, Rachel Marcuse, urging full support for the cooperation agreement between COPE and Vision at the COPE membership meeting on Sunday, June 26. Nobody knows the membership and activities of COPE better than Rachel. Her outstanding work was crucial in our efforts to rebuild a civic party which had been badly mauled in the 2005 campaign. In particular, she led the way in reaching out to youth activists, people in the cultural industries, and others who were little represented in COPE, especially at the leadership level. And Rachel did this while working closely with our entire executive, our dedicated elected officials, and our longstanding supporters in the labour movement and other important sectors. Under very complicated and difficult conditions, she was among those who ensured that COPE took a principled position for unity against the NPA, while at the same time staking out our civic party's independent positions honestly and without engaging in personal attacks when we differ with our partners.

Rachel writes that "In terms of practicalities, voting down the deal will mean COPE will elect fewer, not more candidates." This is a view based on her comprehensive understanding of the civic electoral system in Vancouver. It would be a terrible mistake to ignore such careful and wise advice.

For my part, I will add that we need to think very carefully before gambling the future of COPE and our city on a poorly-considered proposal to make attacks against against Vision the basis of our 2011 civic campaign. Those who argue for this concept (and I have spoken in person to a number of them) seem to believe that simply nominating more COPE candidates for council, school board and park board will result in winning more positions. A careful review of COPE's history and voting patterns in Vancouver quickly shows that there is no relation between the numbers of nominees and winners. But there is a relation between COPE's ability to help forge broad tactical alliances, and our electoral successes.

Indulge me by thinking about this further. Why is it that the NPA and its bloggers are heavily promoting the view that COPE is about to split or reject the cooperation agreement? Could it be that they have a direct interest in promoting such a turn of events? To ask is to answer - YES. The NPA desperately hopes that turning this election into a three-way fight will give them an undeserved opportunity to retake city hall and the school board.

What would be the consequences? Most likely another brutal, protracted lockout of civic workers, as happened during the Sam Sullivan regime. The shattering of the COPE/Vision school board which has been a beacon of opposition in this province against the Liberal government's campaign to undermine the public education system. I'm sure you can think of others.

Yes, COPE's cooperation with Vision is an uneasy and complex process. If we are able to re-elect majorities, the next three years will see many occasions where the two parties see eye-to-eye - and many occasions where we will not. I wish we lived in a city where COPE had a strong majority among voters. Political life would be simpler - although we would still face the reality that the political powers of city councils and school boards are quite limited. But today, a "go-it-alone" strategy or an alliance with smaller parties is a virtual guarantee of defeat.

Finally, consider the future of COPE itself. Voting down this agreement will send an immediate signal that the historic basis of our progressive civic movement is being rejected. That basis is the de facto alliance between the labour movement, community groups, and activists on the broadly-defined political left. On Tuesday evening, the Vancouver and District Labour Council voted unanimously to support the cooperation agreement, and also voted to urge labour backing for COPE. This decision certainly took into consideration the need for a Vision/COPE majority on city council to prevent another NPA attack against municipal workers. If COPE and Vision run competing campaigns - or if COPE decides to make Vision the "main enemy" as some suggest - what reason would the labour movement have to give financial and volunteer support to either party? This is not a matter of "big labour" supposedly dictating its views - it is a solid and realistic calculation that if a split between COPE and Vision allows the NPA to win, civic unions will need their resources for urgent problems from fighting grievances all the way up to building strike/lockout funds. If we turn our backs on the labour movement, it would be extremely difficult to rebuild trust and support in future. This would be a tragic ending for a civic party which has its origins in the 1968 meetings convened by the Labour Council to establish COPE.

I know this has been a lengthy message. Thank you for taking the time if you have read this far. Please continue to read Rachel's message. And please attend the COPE membership meeting on Sunday to support the agreement!

Kimball Cariou

For the record, I really don't care what happens at tomorrow's vote. That's because it won't make any real difference to the final outcome.

I believe the upcoming election in November is going to be a battle between Vision and the NPA. COPE will simply be squeezed out of the equation. And that's a prospect both Vision and the NPA are quietly cheering on. After years of tolerating the likes of councillors David Cadman and Ellen Woodsworth, many Visionistas (and NPAers) are silently praying voters will send them all packing.

It will take nothing short of a miracle for Vancouver's voice of the left to retain even one seat on council. Based on what I'm reading from Communist Party reps, I don't see a divine intervention any time soon.

- Post by Daniel. You can follow us on Twitter @CityCaucus. Or you can "like" us on Facebook at Facebook/CityCaucus 


Curious - when did the, who first wrote on this topic, become and NPA blog?

Max thanks for pointing that out. We've spent very little time here at talking about the COPE/Vision backroom deal. Yet over at many of the left-leaning blogs, it's been "the" topic of discussion for weeks now.

Very few of the popular urban affairs blogs have focused any attention on COPE's meeting tomorrow. My suspicion is most of us believe COPE members will vote in favour of the coalition, then eventually get wiped off of the political map in November.

Maybe COPE being wiped out is what Vision is jonsing for.

That way it opens seats up to true Visionista down the road.

No more having to give into compromise or negotiate 'deals'...

Max, shame on you for suggesting that Vision has any ulterior motives than just supporting their friends in COPE. Why on earth would Vision want to wipe out the party of David Cadman and Tim Louis, and get rid of the perpetual burr in their saddle?

No, tomorrow, COPE will gladly take the doggy snacks and pat on the head from Mike Magee, while they are softly marched to the vets to be euthanized in November.

now that was quite a visual...LMAO..

I can't get the vision of Cadman with a doggie's body, walking on a leash, to the vet's...oh my... that was funny!!

for the most part, I have always appreciated the intellect and conviction of David Cadman. I won't say I always agree with him (strike me dead) but I appreciate his articulate arguments and another perspective on issues. Woodsworth is a totally different subject - no comment.

One thing that strikes me when listening to Cadman is it seems like he is stuck in a different era. The labour movement train has left the station long ago and the cry for justice almost sounds like a joke. Look at the contracts, look at the pensions and look at the benefits - really... tell me where to sign up.

Off topic;

Just came in from delivery sandwiches to 4 homeless in my neighborhood.

4 homeless guys in exactly 1/2 block.

There are no services in my area - Kits. No Church soup kitchens, no social service agencies - nothing.

Old Wayne is sleeping on the sidewalk, not even blanket - his head on a paper bag. He, along with Chris are both in their 60's.

Yeah, Robertson's ending homeless or street homelessness is coming along real fine.

off topic...UPDATE:

My homeless friend is doing well, still on the street rough, getting a few days work here and there..

Doing as well as can be expected..but still has a positive outlook...He is still moving upward and thinking ahead to when he has a home..

Honestly George, I would rather have these guys here in this area, especially the old timers, than in the DTES where they are just another dollar in the poverty pimp change purse.

After voluneering in one of the shelters in the area, you are quick to learn where the majority of the money goes to - wages (union wages) and how politicised all the groups are.

Nothing will change in the DTES because that would mean, union paying jobs that would be gone.

Screw actaully helping people.

A short while ago there was an ad on CL for a shelter worker. The only true qualification indicated was having first aide. Start wage was $18 - $21.

I ran into one of the 'participants' at the shelter I used to work at and she told me in an attempt to get off drugs and alcohol, she no longer goes to the shelter and even though she got into housing in the DTES, most the time stays with her friend who lives at Cambie and Marine.

agree Max

I'm getting the same information...

I think the poverty pimps/Vision/Cope.. should be ashamed.

I've been told that most residents in the shelters need to be on sedating drugs ordered by their doctors,oddly the same drug... untrained, unqualified workers, such as the ones you mention found on CL are handing out those meds.. things that make you go WOW..

I have seriously considered doing the article that many have asked for...

At the present time someone, that is in a position, has documented and confirmed, and is writing an article and will be putting their name to it..

The Thought of The Day

'You are not a Communist until they put you in jail for being a Communist. Advocating for Communism from behind a sheltered life in Canada doesn't cut it. So, to me, a Pretend Practicing Communist advising COPE to take the deal from Vision is like a Horny Adam advising Eve to take the forbidden apple from the slimy Serpent.'

What is funny though, is the fact that an advocate for labor movement is endorsing a deal with a group of people born in privilege, they've seen not one day of honest work (as workers) in their entire lives, that they are in fact the benefactors of decades of decadence and capitalist exploitation of the exact workforce that the advocate is trying to represent... and which means one thing, it is all Bullshit folks!

The only outcome I en-Vision from this COPE-ulation is that sooner than later someone is going to get dumped as a Single Party with... Debt.
And as all single parents out there know, it is a hard life.


I said the following a couple of days ago, though they fit well in here as well:

The Thought of The White Elephant

'The white elephant would never make a great spy. Never. The white elephant is big and white, duh! And because of that, the white elephant in particular, is easily spotted inside any room he might wonder into. But here's the upside. The white elephant never forgets.'


COPE Classic
COPE Classic & Lite
COPE Lite & Classic
COPE Lite & Classic & Friends Of Larry
COPE Lite & Friends of Larry & Classic
COPE Lite & Friends of Larry
COPE Lite & Friends of Larry's VISION
COPE & Friends of Larry's VISION
COPE & Hollyhock Friends of Larry's VISION
COPE & Hollyhock Friends of VISION
COPE & Hollyhock VISION
Hollyhock VISION & COPE
Hollyhock VISION

Sorry COPE comrades, but COPE is 'damaged goods' is a 'toxic brand' like cigarettes if you may, COPE is like Camille Cansino ... in eternal denial.

Back in September of 2010 I wrote this here on city Caucus under( Cadman deserves credit for gutsy motion
20 Sep 2010;Post by Daniel in Editorial;18 comments)

The Thought of The Day

"COPE vs. Vision. Vancouver's version of the Dumb Cop - Devil Cop routine."

Cadman deserves credit for this motion as much as OJ Simpson deserves to play golf with his buddies.

He was never part of any solution; he was in fact, part of the problem. COPE 'put out' to Vision in the previous election in a deplorable manner. Where was their mayoral candidate? How many COPE 'activists, jump ship to Vision, for the kicks? My point, exactly. As a matter of fact I would give Carbon credit for staying put with COPE, if for anything else. I give him that.

So please, Daniel, do yourself a favour, drop the praise, let’s be serious here, it doesn't help, the motion is for show and you know it, and definitely it will not change the equation:

[(7VV + 2COPE) x 1M(BS)] = 1NPA(C)

Following this line of thought, what’s to come next? Gordon Campbell‘s announcement of him scaling back the HST to 8%? I think not.
BTW I heard it on the radio, Jasper the Merry Realtor and his band of friends plus the rest of the VPB voted ‘unanimously’ to save the ‘Bloody Hell’ Conservatory... but not the Petting Zoo in Stanley Park. So it seems it’s not a good time to be a sheep or a goat in the City of Vancouver if you are not 'connected’.

The way I see it... Money Talks, Donkey Walks.

We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.
Glissando Remmy | September 20, 2010 11:56 PM

If for anything, COPE will be remembered as a nursery for great Vision plank jumpers. Here's a few:

Tim Stevenson -jumped ship 2005
Raymond Louie - jumped ship 2005
Jim Green - RIP
Larry Campbell - RIP
Aaron Jasper - jumped ship 2008
Sharon Gregson - jumped ship 2008

But there are still good people out there. take this one for example.
Spencer Herbert the former COPE VPB Commissioner, presently an NDP MLA almost lost his political virginity in 2008 when he was approached by the Vision hacks, but he played the fidelity game and stayed with COPE.

He said:
“I’m coping with COPE,” he said. “I think the question should be, ‘Can COPE cope with Vision, and can Vision cope with COPE?’”

Well, COPE members, honestly, you do remind me of a guy from a movie (I can’t remember its name) I've seen...

Here, picture this:

Street - Night shot

We are at the place of a crime scene.
Our guy, already inside an unzipped body bag is lying on his back, on a gurney, the ambulance is nearby. He’s still alive and fully aware of what’s going on around him.
One Doctor approaches and looks down at him.
The guy, full of hope, lifts his head and asks,barely audible:

‘Is it bad, Doc?’ Am I going to make it?

to which The Doctor replies:

‘Sure, 'fogettabadit', you’ll be fine!’

...then The Doctor pulls the zipper over the guy’s head...

Now add to this, David Cadman's Top Ten magazine front covers from around the world:

10 “Councillor Cadman riding his Donkey down to the Mall”...‘Rio Grande Sun’ - New Mexico

9 “Vancouver COPE politician caught
with pants Down Under” ...‘Sidney News’ - Australia

8 “Local Mormon offers Cad man a Bountiful massage”...‘Salt Lake City Daily’ - Utah

7 “BigFoot shows Councillor Cadman how to leave smaller footprints”...’Montreal Gazzette’ – Quebec

6 “What you smoke in Amsterdam...stays in the Amsterdam council”...‘The Amsterdam Chronicles’ - Holland

5 “Cannibal tribe, frees Canadian politician unharmed. Apparently, they don't eat pork”...‘Abidjan Times’ - Ivory Coast

4 “Councillor Cadman talks Televangelist into Despicability”...‘Chicago Newas’ - USA

3 “David Cadman of Vancouver wears the Emperors’ New Suit at Reception”...‘Kolding Post’ - Denmark

2 “Vedi Napoli , e poi...Milan, Rome, Pisa, Udinese...”...‘Milan Buona Giornale’ - Italy

1 “David Cadman - `Better Mileage than Santa!”...‘The North Pole Elf’ - Greenland

Yup, that's your $120,000 traveling man, COPE!
The White Elephant never forgets!

We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.
Glissando Remmy | June 22, 2011 12:08 PM | Reply


You ended this post with two statements.If it was me I would not have gone there:

'For the record, I really don't care what happens at tomorrow's vote.'
...but you do, Daniel, you do.

'That's because it won't make any real difference to the final outcome.'
...but it could, Daniel, and it will.

We just don't know to what extent.

George, coupons are waiting for me to pick up!

I hope COPE does break free of Vision. Given the origin of their split and Vision's subsequent behaviour the coalition can only be described as an abusive relationship.

Whether one agrees with COPE or NPA positions at least two parties offer clear political and moral positions, as well as some sincere politicians. In other words a clear choice at the next election. Contrast this with Vision, born from opportunist personal ambition, governing in a miasma of ineptitude, betraying its promises, sold out to the highest bidder. Neither truly progressive nor honestly conservative, it's all about money, influence and bizarre obsession.

The criticisms on this site were always to be expected, given the opinions of its founders and readers, those to be found on are in many ways far more encouraging because they show that the scales are falling from the eyes of people across the political spectrum.

Some good old fashioned desperation from a guy trying to manipulate the leftist vote. In Vancouver Council there are left and then there are "friggin" left and both are trying to save their jobs.

What he doesn't mention is that in the recent federal election 70% of the people voted against the NDP and more than 80% of the people voted against the Liberals.


Let's face it, Quebec through the NDP a lifeline.

Did you know Quebec is looking to adopt their own national anthem and separation is back up for discussion?

It will be interesting to see how far left the NDP bends to appease this new (and I will bet, temporary)following, and in the meantime, screw the rest of the country over.

At the risk of upsetting you.

I have known Chris for over 30 years.

Help has been extended time after time, after time.

It simply not gone anywhere.

Life is very complicated.

And Kits does have many services.
They just aren't advertised.

Hi Chris:

Thank you for that.

He has mention that 'they' check up on him- I wish he would see a doctor - he has a huge lump on his skull. I noticed it last summer and you can really see it when his hair is wet.

I don't know, he seems to have declined a bit over the past while.

Regardless, I will still take him food - he lives in my back alley and I can't ignore him. And honestly, he works harder than many paid folk. I swear I have one of the cleanest alleys in all of Vancouver - he is always sweeping and picking up things.

Also, his free stuff corner is very popular.

As for the services in Kits Chris, I honestly do not know of any, so a very well kept secret!

PSA time:

As previously mentioned, the merchants
from Balsam to Macdonld have been working on creating a festive atmosphere for the upcoming Khatsalano Music Festival, July 23.

I am happy to confirm that we will be offering our own live stage at 4th and Trafalgar, and will feature the lovely Ms. Deborah Ledon as one of the entertainers.

Deborah is a Latin/Jazz singer and has perfomed at the Vancovuer International Jazz Festival, the Cellar as well as the RiverRock.

We are happy to have her aboard!


Kits has always had group homes for people with mental health problems.
More than you may realize

Churches with soup kitchens. Quite a few.

The real issue is:

People with severe mental health problems can not or will not get help unless they are a risk to themselves or others.

What is a risk to themselves?
Or others?

I have fought this for years.

The Thought of The Evening

'No Riots. How come? Their country team just lost the home.Hmmmm, maybe they are better at organizing things in LA. Dios Mio, it must be nice to live in a city with a Real Mayor!'

Background info...

CONCACAF Gold Cup Final
(This would be soccer, BTW)
The game just ended a few minute ago.
USA - MEXICO (2-4)
It was a play of beauty.

Location: USA, Los Angeles, @ Rose Bowl
Paying spectators: 93, 420

Dos Santos, Goooooooool, Gol, Gol, Gol, Gol, Gol, Gooooooooooooooool, Meeexicooooooo...

Tell you what, by the sound of it, you would have thought the whole stadium was in the middle of a riot, yeah, but, no, simple men and women with their kids were enjoying an evening out at the game.

The tickets...affordable.
Family priced.
Like the game of soccer as a matter of fact. The BBQ's are going to lit the Los Angelitos skies until the early morning, and the beer will flow home, in the back yards.
Happy people. Not wealthy, but happy.

It turns out it is a Spanish celebration in LA... after all, in the past two decades the city's population has become more Mongoes and Avocadoes than Juniper berries and Plums.

Dios Mio!
No disturbios de Los Ángeles!
Ay, Caramba!

We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.

Hoary old commies, smelly old hippies, whacko greenies, out-of-touch Hollyhockers . . . what a screwed up bunch of dangerous idiots.

I can smell the rot from here. The only question is how much damage Vision can do to Vancouver before the voters see past the slick PR and Mayor Moonbeam's pearly white smile and vote their skanky butts to the curb.

Hi max (again)

I'm a life long resident of Kits and because of that I have personally seen many of the buildings that offer services here.
I have always been someone who walked a lot and quite often :) (understatement) I'd stop to talk to people I knew or got to recognize.

I've never worked in the social service field but like many people I've known families (including my own) who had someone who needed help.

I see the biggest problem is just like the DTES there are services ,services,services but nothing is coordinated. Follow up is infrequent and when someone is in a really bad way everything tends to go round and round and round.

Because the biggest issue is , where will they go?

Hospitals, crowded.
Mid term facilities? Don't have enough.

Long term facility? not enough space.

The systems are not coordinated (and a few of them are dependent on people NOT getting help- the more the better I say in a very sad tone)

Where will all of this go?
I don't know.

Vancouver has become way too political(and not just the politicians) for me.

chris(one of many)

you are very accurate... a large part of the problem are that these services are not staffed with properly trained professionals (social workers or psychiatric nurses... most times a 3 month program at Douglas College is the only requirement ..if that.. many older workers haven't any qualifications but under union rules, they get grandfathered..

These sites are merely available for folks to go hang out for the day, use a bathroom etc.

Perhaps they have a computer to access, a phone,some places provide a shower which entitles the non profit to receive more in funding monies, to hand out the soap and towel... at union wages..

That is why the "sign in book policy" is rigidly followed, the more signatures, the more funds...You would hope that these services would have counseling or outreach to services... but alas no...

Some agencies offer groups to talk about how they quit smoking... but really it is just a group gab, with free coffee...wonder how much funders pay for these services..

Now we have non profits that grow gardens.... wonder what the tax incentives for land are, and I wonder how much the funders (us, both privately and through government) pay to run those green initiatives.

Free/or minimum wage labor to further a sustainable green agenda, tax incentives to do so on our dime...

yes chris you are right sounds pretty political to me. It really is sad..

We see the results sleeping on the streets when those group shelters close for the season...

but we can have parties in the street and even the disadvantaged benefit, because they get to pick up our empty bottles and garbage!

The 2 COPE Councilors are the weakest, after Vision's Andrea Reimer, who does an imitation of wall paper. However, they could put up a good Mayoral candidate. Robertson could be made extremely vulnerable of Police budget overruns. Less than half of VPD members have contact with the Public, as patrol officers. Other VPD departments do not take direct calls.

I maintain that at any given time, Chu's briefcase playpen entity, delivers "response team" service equal to 1 cop for each 7,000 of their wage-payers. Try to shake the illusion that VPD serves and protects. They need outside control, in the worst way.

The NPA has nothing but a bunch of reactionary myopics like Alex T.

Mount Pleasant activists are exposing an insane development at the Kingsway/Broadway/Main junctions. Nevermind if they have the parking for same; there would be no easy access for vehicle entry and exit, at any side, given a 26 storey structure. They seek to replace 2 storey structures that integrated well into the area.

The "Lido Gallery" at 518 Broadway is seeking a liquor licence to operate as a "neighbourhood pub." That property has been vacant for all but 2 of the last 10 years, so I support development.

where is Harry Rankin when we really need him?

Jack Vancouver ...

my understanding is they have scaled back to 19 stories...
the little Park they've put out front right now, where the fire destroyed buildings, is a trade off for less stir units.... ahhh the deals they make...

@ chris (one of many)

I may be wrong, but I heard one of the facilities - a group home at Oak is being closed down and those residents have been moved or are being moved to the new facility at Dunbar.

The property at Oak is being sold off -which means social housing units lost.

Otherwise, the only social housing units are the 14 sites the Province initiated back in 2007 - with the NPA.

Don't you find it curious that the SRO's etc that were bought up to insure that stock remained were handed to PHS to run, yet, when it came to the Oly Village, the PHS was turned down. Mark Townsend was quite shocked they weren't the chosen ones.

Perhaps the Minister did not want the PHS allowing no barrier housing/residents at the Village, or, maybe there is something else.

Sorry Jack,
I wasn't clear..
the park only stays until the building begins... it just makes the area prettier while they wait for the rezoning then construction to begin..

@ Jack:

But you are getting all those alley way art shows in the Main Street, Kingsway, Broadway area...

Don't get me started about what I think of binning.

An entire industry set up to look ECO, that has a very dark core of addiction, mental health and poverty.

It reminds me of some slums I've seen where people lived on the top of a garbage dump and gleaned what they could.

It's Vancouver's version prettied up to make it look like we are so benevolent when we leave bottles out.

BCTF delegates showed up en masse and voted in favour of amalgamating COPE with Vision Vancouver. Over 60% in favour. All I can say is bye, bye COPE. It's been nice knowing ya.

Check out!

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