COPE dumping David Cadman an 8.0 on political Richter scale

Post by Daniel Fontaine in


The gathering of 1000 COPE members resulted in the dumping of a veteran politician

**Note, we inadvertently left the comments off on this post. It has been activated.

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 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. 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 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 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.

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


I wonder why there are no comments posted on this topic yet

Our apologies. The no comment button was inadvertently put on. That has now been rectified.

We definitely want to hear from all of you about what you think of COPE's decision to give Cadman the boot. Fire away!


I don't know how this is backstabbing...?

@boohoo. It's been known for a LONG time that Jim Green and his Vision buddies have a hate on for Cadman. They despise the guy and some of them have even told him to his face.

I clicked on the link at the bottom of this post. Here is what Green said about Cadman on CKNW radio:

"You have a lot of new young energetic environmentalists that have taken over the COPE executive. I am hearing rumours that David Cadman is not going to win the nomination next time with COPE." Nov 2009

I wonder if Green and his political buddies are happy this morning? Finally they got their wish.

The only thing they would have liked better was if they could have prevented Louis from making it in the top three as well!

How is that for backstabbing eh?

I still don't get it.

If it's been known for a long time, how could it be backstabbing?

And what does Jim Green have to do with an internal COPE vote? Seems like they wanted to go a different direction, so they voted that way. Isn't that just democracy? I don't get why this is a big deal...

NPA's Jennifer Clarke democratically takes down Philip Owen and COPE calls it "stabbing leader in the back"

NPA's Peter Ladner democratically takes down Sam Sullivan and COPE/Vision calls it "stabbing leader in the back"

Backroom operatives take down veteran councillor David Cadman and boohoo says "What's the big deal? This isn't backstabbing."

Hypocrisy at its worst.

David Cadman's view of the world is archaic. However, as much as I disliked his politics... I have utmost respect for the role he played on Council. He was always thoughtful, articulate and intelligent. Wish I could say the same for his COPE colleagues.

I wonder if Tim Louis is still wearing his Che Guevera T shirt.

Its a great day anytime we get rid of another U.N. shill.Now if we could withdraw our membership in his phony ICLEI I could sleep better.

Just heard Cadman on the radio saying he lost the nomination cuz he was too busy flying around the world on taxpayer dime meeting with other mayors to be be able to find the time to sell memberships.


Enuf said

David Cadman will be missed. By friends and family. Nobody else though. Sad really. Can he do any more damage? Oh yeah, and I can't wait to see that . I would go after Meggs.

It's certainly a setback for those COPE leaders who were in favour of cooperation with Vision. I don't agree with Louis' politics, but he is passionate in his beliefs and absolutely willing to defend them. Didn't he even get a campaign donation from Jimmy Pattison?

I'm not sure I see how this benefits the NPA. I can't see Tim's supporters voting for Anton over Robertson.

Here is how it benefits the NPA and why they are pouring champagne this afternoon at their campaign HQ.

- if Green, COPE and Vision would have all been on the same slate, there would be no vote splitting.

As it stands, voters can now vote for 1 Green, 3 COPE before they even cast a single ballot for Vision.

That only leaves "progressives" with six votes to spread around and assumes that all of the Vision councillors will get elected. Highly unlikely this time. Trust me, this scenario is NOT lost on the Vision operatives.

- The COPE and Green vote is concentrated in only four candidates. This "plumping" of the ballot will help secure their victory over that of their their brothers and sisters in Vision.

- Meanwhile, the centre-right vote is united under one banner. The NPA will own that whole spectrum and it is pretty vote rich. If they get their westside voters back, and that looks likely, then they will likely win at least 4 seats on council. With COPE/Green winning 4 and NPA winning 4 seats, where does that leave Vision?

- By Vision positioning itself in the mushy middle, Vision will be attacked from both sides - left and right.

If you don't believe me, just ask the Federal Liberals (many of whom are running the Vision party)how that scenario can play itself out.

There is now the real potential Vision candidates will simply be squeezed out of the equation.

Now you can see why the NPA types are doing high fives today. They probably sent a box of chocolates over to Louis!

The NPA probably won't win a majority, but they will likely be holding the balance of power in a minority gov't.

I'm sorry, when did I say those things Jason? Can you point that out for me?

Cityhallwatcher - perhaps, though I think the appeal of Carr might be overstated.

no? nothing? how typical...

Cadman would likely be elected as an independent if he chose to run and was not encumbered by the debris of the coalition games

In the 45 years I have lived in Vancouver, I had a sense that Vancouver does like a seasoning of radical politics in it's municipal mix, but it definitely does not like the idea of the alleged "conscience" of Vancouver (ie COPE) playing electoral and coalition games with the likes of VISION to the detriment of the public interest.

Check out!

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