Political sands in Vancouver may be shifting

Post by Daniel Fontaine in


The sand may slowly be shifting underneath the feet of some Vancouver politicians

It’s only been a couple of days since the news broke that veteran COPE city councillor David Cadman was rejected by his political party. As the dust begins to settle, the political pundits are slowly weighing in on exactly what went wrong and what the ramifications will be in the upcoming civic election.

If you don’t already know, Cadman was the primary architect of the deal struck with Vision Vancouver to restrict COPE to only three council candidates on the ballot. The Cadman Accord also prevented COPE from running their own mayoral candidate for the second civic election in a row.

When the nomination results were read out on Sunday, Cadman landed in fourth spot and suddenly found out he's out of a job. Yet despite his political misfortune, Cadman steadfastly continues to praise the flawed political arrangement that resulted in his early retirement from politics. As they say…fool me once…shame on you…fool me twice…

I’ve talked to a number of key politicos and media over the last 48 hours and they all agree that COPE’s decision to select Tim Louis over Cadman will have an impact on the final result.

Firstly, I'm advised that Cadman was consistently polling in the top five preferences of Vancouver voters - regardless of who was doing the polling. His sudden departure means COPE has given up a “secure” seat.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean it will end up hurting their political fortunes in the long run. Barring a major gaffe, I’m suspect both Louis and Woodsworth will make it into the top 10.

Rookie COPE candidate R.J. Aquino also stands a relatively good chance of getting elected. He will be placed high up on the ballot by virtue of his last name starting with an “A”. That always counts for something when a majority of the elected politicians in Vancouver usually have last names beginning with the letters A, B or C.

Aquino also benefits from the fact that many COPE voters may “plump” their ballot and strictly vote for their three candidates and nobody else.

Sticking to the left side of the political spectrum, you also have the Green Party who are throwing everything they have into electing Adriane Carr to council. I suspect Carr’s popularity and media profile may well translate into her garnering support from NPA, Vision and COPE supporters.

If Carr wins, and I think she stands a good chance of doing so, expect it to be a squeaker for the enviro-friendly candidate. She may well take the 10th and last spot on council.

On the centre-right the NPA are doing everything humanly possible to regain a few seats this year. God bless them for trying. They clearly want to expand their current seat total from one to something that resembles more like a caucus. But with Suzanne Anton running for mayor, the NPA doesn’t have a single incumbent on their slate. That means their campaign is clearly behind the eight ball.

However, the NPA is well financed, running a united campaign and appears to have a bit of wind in their sails. It’s highly unlikely they’ll form government this fall, but winning 3-4 seats is within reach if they play their cards right.

So where does this all leave the governing Vision Vancouver and Mayor Gregor Robertson? If COPE and the Greens win 4 seats and the NPA secures a similar amount, the “mushy” middle could well be squeezed out of the equation.

If Mayor Gregor wants to avoid going cap in hand to the opposition parties in order get approval to hire staff and run his office, he better secure the victory of at least five Vision politicians. At only 37% (and dropping) in the opinion polls, this is starting to look rather doubtful.

The nightmare scenario for Robertson is having politicians like his arch-memesis Tim Louis or the NPA’s “effin hack” Michael Klassen hold the balance of power. It’s something the Mayor’s political strategists will do anything to avoid. In other words, they’ll pull out the nukes if necessary.

With Cadman getting the boot and George Chow abandoning Vision Vancouver, the stage is now set for a major shakeup of the current players at 12th and Cambie.

That’s because regardless of what happens to the seven incumbents, there will be at least three new politicians elected to a council seat on November 19th. If a few of the veterans like Geoff Meggs and Andrea Reimer (I’m told both are not polling very well) lose, Vancouverites will wake up to find a wholesale change in the makeup of their council – again.


On another note, I previously indicated that no political pundit had predicted the demise of David Cadman’s career. Well, I stand corrected. Former Vision Vancouver mayoral candidate and CKNW civic affairs panelist Jim Green called it back in November 2009. Here is what he said on air:

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. 

Whether Green really had the inside scoop or this was just wishful thinking on his part, is yet to be determined. But nonetheless, give credit where credit is due. I have no doubt the Jim Green I know will be sleeping a bit more restfully these days knowing that his former COPE colleague has finally been put out to pasture.

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


Cogent, thoughtful analysis, Daniel.

Two months from now, I believe, the most diverse Council we will have seen in years will take power at Vancouver City Hall.

Unless one of the main civic parties, or a candidate running for one of those parties, does something stupid to screw things up, chances are the next Council will look like this ...

NPA, 4 (Klassen, Bickerton, McCreery and Wong)

COPE, 3 (Woodsworth, Louis, Aquino)

Vision, 3 (who the hell knows ... they're all so unpopular) ...

Greens, (Adriane Carr won't quite make it).

And Mayor Moonbeam? Well, he'll be the Mayor for a 2nd term.

And, you know what?

Should the above prediction come to pass, we'd have a helluva Council - focused on the issues and working for the people of Vancouver. In other words: good government.

The Thought Of The Evening

"Where there are no COPE-hones there is no Reward!"

David Cadman and his Swiss Knife are going to be very busy this week, carving away in the Council Chambers: "David was here... and he didn't do nothing"

As for Jim Green (what was the chance for this guy to be called Green, and talk about energetic environmentalists?) here's something for the Connoisseurs...

In the 'WHO SAID WHAT?' Category

"Give me just one generation of youth, and I'll transform the whole world.”
(Solomon; Green; Magee)

“The best way to control the opposition is to lead it ourselves.”
(Dale; Robertson; Jang)

"There are no morals in politics; there is only experience. A scoundrel may be of use because he is a scoundrel”
(Reimer; Chow; Stevenson)

“A lie told often enough becomes the truth.”
(Vancouver Observer; CivicScene; Allen Garr)

Naah! I was only playing with you, none of the above have said that. You really need one with a twisted mind in order to think of that, right? Naah, I am playing again, but seriosly if he was alive today he would have joined Vision. His name... Vladimir Ilyich Lenin.
And he was on Santa's Naughty List, BTW.

To conclude:
David Cadman would not be in this pathetic situation if COPE would not have put out to "No Vision Vancouver". Period.
Last I heard any party could fill a complete slate of candidates, right? Who knows... maybe he goes after Gregor LOL!

What's "Left" for him if he doesn't take a stance... a stand... a Missionary position?
Crucifixion... one cross each... to his left... to his very left...


We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.

I couldn't help but notice that David Cadman's 15 minutes of fame turned out to be about less than 9 minutes.

The Thought Of The Evening

" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UPw-3e_pzqU "

2nd Term for this Meeyor?
No, not on my watch City Observer. This guy doesn't deserve an ice cream cone from the Ice Cream Truck, if the Truck was ran by the Tides Foundation (sic)if you ask me.
I rather throw my hat into the ring just so I could debate the punk, on the issues, on the real issues... not on how the Planet is doing, if you catch my drift.

I'll be on the Ballot as Robert Gregorson, so now you know. Time to redo your list, eh!

We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.

That would be a reasonable outcome - I like diversity and minority governments. Having to forge a consensus issue-by-issue can be good discipline.

Should names be randomized onballots rather than put in alphabetical order?

@ Steven - in theory I think you might have a point. The reality of minority governments in very little gets done. Having said that, it might be the lesser to two evils. Majority VV that does dumb things or a minority that does very few good things – I guess I would choose the latter.

Colorful list you have there!
But on what rational?
Based on what? Just picked them out of the air? Cope will not make it! Vision will get another majority and will kick NPA /Green/ Cope butt. let the best funded win my friend!
Continue to live in your dream, WE will make vancouver Green by 2020 wethere you like it or not!!!! Go Gregor!

A few very good things works for me. And Vision could work with some very good people on the NPA side on development issues and with COPE and the Greens (if elected, I hope some are) on environment and sustainability. I am optimistic that Klassen and Bickerton would be responsible councilors and both have some good ideas (this is not a comment on McCreery and Wong, I just don't know much about them). There is a discipline that comes from consensus and it is a good test of leadership for all involved. We can punish obstructionists in the next election if necessary. What we don't want is the polarized mess they have in the US. That and attack ads rot the polis.

There are certain issues that must have a conclusion - city budget and tax distribution - otherwise the city grinds to a stop. So, they will have to motion and amend until they get it right. That allows 75% of the city to function without interference.

Everything else they can debate until they explode into a puff of hot air. If they can't agree - nothing gets done. oh well. At least nothing stupid happens either.


You should get to know Wong better, he is smart and articlate.

He also has a very interesting insight on bringing real green jobs to the city - not symbolic green jobs.

Jobs that are sustainable.

Did you know Ford's fuel cell technology and the design of their hybrid vehicles come from a local office/plant? That the engineering department is located locally? I didn't. Sad to think that the government(Federal/Provincial/Municipal)can't find away to get the manufacturing done here as well rather than allowing ithat portion to go to the US and UK.

The problem with these hoped for outcomes is that the city's current electoral system is a tombola where, thanks to the parties receiving multiple votes from individual voters, the largest minority can sweep the board with maybe a consolation prize going to a token candidate from the beginning of the phone book. In the last election Ms Anton was the lonely beneficiary, there is absolutely no reason to discount a similar result again, this time with Mr Bickerton slipping through the net. If we get a result even vaguely representing the spectrum of the electorate it will be sheer chance and the system will revert to type next time round.

No system is perfect but combined with a disengaged electorate and supine media ours is beyond ridiculous!

Let us know when Uber Scold Cadman get's a real job - hopefully in a far distant pasture.

what an incredibly distasteful comment..what you seem to forget my friend is that one day you too will grow older.. ageism... join the other ignorant "isms"

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