The gathering of 1000 COPE members resulted in the dumping of a veteran politician
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If you had told me earlier today that COPE would attract 1000 people to its nomination meeting and subsequently stab its veteran councillor in the back, I would have laughed you out of the room. Unfortunately for David Cadman, that's exactly what transpired at the nomination meeting held earlier today at John Oliver high school.
Heading into today's meeting, there was a lot of chattering about whether former COPE councillor and CityCaucus.com contributing writer Tim Louis could mount a comeback. The conventional wisdom was that if Louis won, it would be at the expense of rookie R.J. Aquino. I don't believe there was a single political pundit that predicted the ouster of Cadman from the COPE party.
Cadman is not just any civic politician advocating for social justice. He was first elected in 2002 when Mayor Larry Campbell swept into office with a majority government. He also helped to personally finance the COPE party when it went deeply into debt. Clearly he believes in COPE and what it represents to the city. That's why the backstabbing of COPE's veteran politician is such a shocker to so many political watchers this evening.
As for why he got the boot, I suspect COPE members were tired of all the negative headlines Cadman had generated over the last several years. CityCaucus.com was the first media outlet to document all of the veteran councillor's costly travel bills along with his penchant for racking up thousands of air miles at taxpayer's expense. All of that travel helped earn him the nickname of David "carbon" Cadman.
Here is what veteran civic affairs reporter Frances Bula wrote in the Globe and Mail hours after the meeting wrapped up:
Mr. Cadman led the effort to revive COPE in 1999 after it failed to win a single seat against the governing Non-Partisan Association, even taking out a $30,000 mortgage on his house at one point to help pay campaign expenses.
But in recent years, he has devoted a lot of attention to international groups focused on environmental issues and his attendance at council and neighbourhood meetings has been at a noticeably lower level than Ms. Woodsworth’s.
He’s also been flayed by right-wing bloggers for his international trips and the amount they cost taxpayers.
Ouch Frances...right wing blogger? Is that what you are labeling CityCaucus.com these days?
In terms of Cadman's future, the poll topping councillor has few options at this point. He could ask the COPE board to reconsider its decision not to run a mayoral candidate again during this election. Cadman already unsuccessfully ran for mayor back in 1990's. However, that would be a long shot considering the fact we are only weeks away from the November 19th civic election.
More realistically, Cadman may decide that his name recognition provides him with a realistic opportunity of getting elected as an independent councillor. Although party politics seem to rule the day in Vancouver, it's not completely unrealistic to think that Cadman could make it in the top ten on election day.
However, based on his comments to the Georgia Straight shortly after the nomination meeting, it would appear that Cadman is prepared to simply call it a day and fade away into the sunset. I suspect it's a decision that will be well received by most of his council colleagues - including those both within Vision and the NPA.
What helps to make today's decision by the COPE membership a true earth shaker is the fact Tim Louis is now on the civic slate alongside Mayor Gregor Robertson. As we all know, it's rather doubtful Louis would be considered a major player in His Worship's cheerleading squad.
Louis has left little to the imagination when it comes to what he thinks about Vision Vancouver and the current mayor. He believes they are huge sellouts to the city's development community and are willing to do whatever it takes to stay in power. In other words, they are a completely unprincipled set of politicians.
The immediate problem Louis faces is the fact he is now on the same slate as Vision councillors Tim Stevenson and Raymond Louie. They were both his colleagues before they broke away from COPE in order to set up their own political party.
One of the first questions Louis will likely face is whether he is prepared to provide his unqualified support of Mayor Gregor and his political allies in Vision. He will also be asked whether he will vote for Robertson as mayor. If he says yes to both questions, that's a pretty clear indication he won't be much of a headache for the Mayor's office in the coming weeks.
The media reaction to Cadman's political demise is beginning to trickle online. Here is an excerpt from Jeff Lee at the Vancouver Sun:
Suzanne Anton may be running for mayor against Gregor Robertson, but you have to think she’s now facing a rearguard assault by COPE. Nor should Vision be underestimating any party that can get out nearly 1,000 people on a Sunday to chose a partial slate for council.
Many of those in the crowd were former Vision supporters disenchanted with the party’s direction under Robertson. Recent polls have shown a decline in general support for Vision, which hangs now around the mid-30 per cent. COPE and the NPA are sitting in the mid-20′s but are trending upwards. Robertson, whose still enjoys substantial personal popularity, most be wondering what to make of this new result.
I should note that the latest polls have Vision at 37%, NPA at 32% and COPE at 25%.
Over at the Georgia Straight, Charlie Smith writes:
Barring a comeback, it's a sad end to a distinguished political career for Cadman. He played a pivotal role in rebuilding COPE in the late 1990s. In those days, he put municipal environmental issues on the map, fighting the unnecessary use of pesticides and promoting sensible transit policies. And he was a forceful TransLink director from 2002 to 2005, when he blew the whistle on financial decisions that are having a devastating effect today on the bus system.
Ironically, one of his greatest political accomplishments came before he was elected. In the late 1990s, he led a fight to prevent the privatization of the Seymour water-filtration plant. Had it not been for Cadman, Burnaby mayor Derek Corrigan, and the Canadian Union of Public Employees, Enron could have ended up in charge of the local drinking-water supply.
Cadman even took a bullet for COPE in the 1999 election, investing tens of thousands of his own dollars to rebuild the party. He ran as the lost-cause mayoral candidate against the NPA's Philip Owen. In the process, Cadman helped elect two COPE councillors: Louis and Fred Bass. That set the stage for the party's landslide victory in 2002 under Larry Campbell.
On the heels of the Green Party giving Vision Vancouver a single finger salute last week, the news of Cadman getting the boot will only give the Mayor's office a few more jitters. A year ago Robertson thought he had a majority government in the bag. Tonight, that majority may be a little less assured.
As per Ms. Bula's comments, here are a few of the more noteworthy posts about David "carbon" Cadman we've published over the last few years.
On behalf of the whole CityCaucus.com team...we'll miss you David! There will be a lot less to write about civic politics as a result of what COPE did to you today.
- Know Your Donor: Cadman's Blue Chips
- David "carbon" Cadman's travel expenses making headlines again
- Carbon Cadman abandoned by Vision Vancouver
- Carbon Cadman spends over $110K as municipal affairs minister
- Carbon Cadman MIA for critical budget meetings due to foreign obligations
- Carbon Cadman grounded by Metro Vancouver Board
- Jim Green ponders Cadman's departure from COPE
- Another editorial blasts Carbon Cadman
- President David "carbon" Cadman should focus on potholes, says Vancouver Sun
- Post by Daniel. You can follow us on on Twitter @CityCaucus or you can "like" us on Facebook at Facebook.com/citycaucus.