Green Party to Mayor Gregor: Thanks, but no thanks

Post by Daniel Fontaine in

11 comments

adrianecarr.jpg
Will Green Party politico Adriane Carr become a major factor in civic election?

They may not have garnered much attention due to the non-stop coverage of Robertson's Riot, but two significant political meetings took place over the weekend. They involved the COPE and Green parties who were mapping out their strategy leading up to Vancouver's civic election in November.

First up to bat on Saturday was the Green Party. They had to decide whether they would accept Mayor Gregor's anemic offer of one seat on the park board slate. If they gave it a thumbs up, the Greens would have been shut out of running any candidates on the council and school board slates. Those seats would have been reserved exclusively for Vision and COPE candidates.

As you can imagine, members of the Green Party weren't too impressed with what Mayor Gregor put on the table. In the end, it was Park Board Commissioner Stuart Mackinnon who drafted a motion which essentially severed the formal relationship between Vision Vancouver and the Green Party.

The jist of Mackinnon's motion was that the Green Party would be prepared to work with a "progressive" COPE, but not with the "developer-friendly" Vision Vancouver. Further, it stated that they would only work with COPE if they chose not to link arms with Vision. The motion was overwhelmingly endorsed.

If you recall, Mackinnon has been on the receiving end of a lot of vitriol and attacks from Vision Vancouver over the last three years. That's because he dared speak out regarding massive cutbacks the Mayor and his council colleagues were forcing upon the Park Board. One could well argue Mackinnon's motion is kind of a "what goes around, comes around."

With the Green Party meeting wrapped up by early afternoon, a few folks then headed over to COPE's meeting later to see what they would decide. They too had a motion on the floor to determine if their membership would be willing to continue its dysfunctional arrangement with Vision Vancouver.

Back in 2008, the coalition concept between COPE and Vision Vancouver received almost unanimous approval. Not so this time. Despite the heroic efforts of former NDP MLA David Chudnovsky to stack the meeting, almost 1/3 of the membership voted against continuing with the coalition.

Clearly there are some members who realize the light at the end of the tunnel is a train and their political party is heading off the tracks fast. Here is an excerpt of what COPE activist Paul Houle had to say about in a column published in the Georgia Straight:

This one-third no vote on the COPE-Vision deal appears to me to be a substantial increase in dissatisfaction among COPE members with Vision compared to the 2008 COPE-Vision deal, which, by all reports, was approved almost unanimously (no counted vote results from 2008 were released to show the exact total).

This should be a real concern to the COPE executive board that the organization is going into a fall election with such a high level of its membership unhappy. The present board has done little to try to address the concerns of members of its organization who are displeased with Vision. Instead, they have gone out of their way to defeat and isolate them

He goes on to state:

According to [Jamie Lee] Hamilton, the Greens rejected an alliance, "Mainly because Vision is a developer party, no different than the NPA. No amount of chicken coops or bike lanes take away from the fact that they are a developer-friendly party." Hamilton added, "We can't support Vision because they won't support campaign finance and electoral reform."

...But, one-third of the COPE members appeared to share Hamilton's view: seeing Vision as completely allied with developers, failing in addressing the homelessness issue, shifting the tax burden from business to homeowners in a massive way, and making Vancouver less and less affordable for low and middle income earners. Many of the one-third are union activists themselves who question whether their own unions would reject COPE simply because COPE rejects Vision.

As for who was in favour of the COPE/Vision alliance, Houle states:

Also in evidence supporting the deal were some of the usual NDP and labour heavies: MLAs Shane Simpson, Jenny Kwan, Spencer Chandra Herbert, and former BCGEU president George Heyman.

With COPE agreeing to get back into bed with Vision, it now appears the Green Party will be on its own this fall. There is a lot of talk that a number of high profile candidates such as Adriane Carr might run for council or park board. At this point, I think it's unlikely she'll go for the top job, but there are many within the party encouraging her to do just that.

Regardless of Carr's final decision, the departure of the Green Party from the Mayor's coalition is a big blow to his Vision Vancouver party. After touting themselves over the last three years as nothing short of a godsend for environmental issues, their political operatives couldn't even secure support from the Green Party.

I have to ask...if the Greens don't think Mayor Gregor is green enough, then why should anyone else believe the hype coming out of the Mayor's office?

The partial breakup of the Mayor's coalition may not be enough to topple him in November, but we've yet to see how this will all fallout in the coming weeks. If Carr does in fact decide to throw her hat in the ring, the upcoming civic election will suddenly get a whole lot more interesting.

As for COPE, their decision on the weekend means we are seeing the last days of what has been a formidable force on the political scene for generations. That cheering you hear in the background is Vision/NPA supporters counting down the days.

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

11 Comments

I would vote Green before burning a vote on Robertson or Anton.

The media likes to make much of "administrative background." Except for the fact that they supported Rich Coleman, who was a RCMP street cop, with a few years in Fraser Valley politics, and about as qualified to serve as Solicitor General as a dish washer. Once in charge, Mayors defer everything to the departments. Robertson-Ballem didn't even read the 1994 riot report.

Anyone in the phone book - without Robertson's political debt baggage - would be better than the cop-doormats and coverup artists at Vision/COPE.

@ Jack in Vancouver:

Other persons and parties are rising up.

NPA, COPE, Vision and Green will not be the only choices come this fall.

@Max. You gotta be kidding me. Another party to further split the vote on the right? Gawd. Gregor must be laughing as he slurps back his Happy Planet juice.

Let's get real here folks. If the free enterprise (non-hollyhock) crowd has any chance of taking back city government, it won't be if we all work at cross purposes. Just check out what COPE did on the weekend. They seem to get the picture.

You may not like Anton, but she's our best hope of getting rid of the moron who occupies the mayor's chair at the moment. Don't f**k it up.

Sorry, but Vancouver Citizen's Voice is just that, and we expect to be attractive to all but the most extreme political polarities. There's more than enough room for a party that espouses moderation and good government-and delivers. Neither NPA, COPE, Vision or the Greens offer that.

Jason:

Who mentioned pulling from the NPA?

The other parities are just as vulnerable.

Gerry McGuire is running for Mayor. He and others are forming a grass roots party and I am hearing talk of others doing the same. September may be interesting.

For all of the big '4' parties gearing up, this type of change is something to note. Many people aren't happy for whatever reason. So doing the same old, same old - that led to the NPA almost getting wiped out, which may lead to COPE's demise this go around, and we can only pray will cut the legs off of Vision - isn't working.

There are some very interesting candidates running - new candidates that can bring new perspective to the various parties. But they need to remember what went wrong the last time and learn from that. For some, I don't see that happening.

I must say based on the amount of times Gerry has created and posted, informative videos, plus every time I've gone to council, Gerry is there...to put that many hours into something...

Speaks volumes about his interest in our City..

It would be interesting to have a Mayor that is willing to stand behind the camera and do the work, rather than always strutting for photo ops..

@Gerry. Hate to break it to you, but the upcoming race will be between Vision and the NPA. The best a rump party will do is 2-3% Don't you remember 2002 when Valerie Maclean ran for the Vancouver Civic Action Team. What a waste of time that was.

I don't think it's a shortage of political parties or candidates that should be of concern. It's getting rid of Robertson and backing the only political party that can accomplish this task.

I think Carr should have actually run on the NPA slate. To bad she didn't.

Adrianne Carr and the NPA. There's a match made in heaven-NOT!

Meanwhile, here's some more topical coverage. Unfortunately, cameras were not allowed inside. The vote to support Vision was a straw poll, and was probably more like 55-45% than the 66-34% reported. Vision's lovefest (aka nomination event), was a poorly attended, low energy event. COPE and Vision are like two drowning swimmers.

http://www.google.ca/search?sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8&q=vcvtv+cope

Max, can you say more about what you think went wrong last time and what you think should be done differently this time?

Hi Daniel - How Green is Green enough? And what does it mean to be Green? Is the NPA Green enough for people? I believe that Suzanne Anton and several council candidates have at least green policies. But what are the Green policies that are most meaningful to Vancouver?

Steven,
sorry, I'm playful today...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RIOiwg2iHio

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