The Coalition of Progressive Electors (COPE) and Vision Vancouver have reached a tentative agreement to once again cooperate on election efforts
and run a common slate of candidates.
This is not a backroom deal akin to the HST or TILMA, where the Provincial
Liberals negotiated deals in secret and no one got to vote on them. Both COPE and Vision were quite open about the fact that we were in discussions regarding the upcoming civic elections over the several months it took to reach this tentative agreement. It is also clear from the agreement that it needs to be approved. In the case of COPE that approval must come from a vote of its membership at a meeting that will be announced shortly.
It is certainly not an unprecedented agreement; after all, it is the third such agreement between COPE and Vision. Although the first of these was not
in writing, this tentative agreement is clearly based on the written agreement that was in place for the 2008 civic election. It should also be noted that, historically, there have been other agreements for cooperation between COPE and other progressive political groups in Vancouver. Team Vancouver and Mike Harcourt come to mind.
I will admit to not being an unbiased observer; as a member of both the COPE executive and the negotiating team appointed by them, I am somewhat offended by suggestions that the COPE negotiating team did not have a mandate to seek an agreement on electoral cooperation with Vision. I and all of the other members of the COPE executive ran on a platform that clearly indicated we would continue the tradition of working with Vision and other progressives, while playing a leading role in making Vancouver a more liveable city – one that is focused on Ecological, Economical and Social Justice for all of its citizens. The membership of COPE elected us with that clear mandate and, I believe, had we not sought an agreement with vision that would have been a betrayal of the membership.
As for the merits of this agreement, I will leave those to a future post. In the meantime I look forward to debating whether or not this is a good agreement with other members of COPE at the upcoming meeting.
For more on the tentative COPE/ Vision agreement > http://cope.bc.ca/news
It is my understanding that COPE never formed a coalition with TEAM. They did form coalitions with the Civic NDP and they did form an alliance with Harcourt’s Civic Independents, after Harcourt left TEAM.
But no arrangements with TEAM, because they were not progressive, just as Vision is not.
I stand corrected in so far as what came to mind was in fact the alliance with the Harcourt CIVIC NDP. As for the fact that there was not such an arrangement with Team, I think that was due at least in part because both it and COPE were relatively new parties. I also believe that the Harcourt’s Civic Independents, and Vision are so similar, that to suggest one was progressive, and the other is not depends on how you define progressive. And whether or not you you accept that there are degrees of progressiveness. To say that Vision is not progressive at all, requires an exclusionary look at them with respect to School Board and Education issues in Vancouver (where COPE and Vision have essentially agreed on every major issue). And with respect to Park Board, you need to overlook the agreement on almost all major issues. Of course where there is the greatest divergence on issues between COPE and Vision, one could argue that Vision is not progressive at all, however that requires ignoring their record on a number of non-development issues, including labour relations, and focusing on those relatively few but very important issues where COPE (in my opinion) is significantly more progressive and demonstrated that very forcefully over the past 2 and 1/2 years. In any event, from a historical perspective, while COPE has had alliances with other civic parties in the past, there have always been those within COPE who have opposed them, as there are COPE members today who oppose the currently tentative agreement between COPE and Vision. This is hardly surprising in a broad based political coalition, and not necessarily unhealthy as long as we maintain our civility towards each other. I look forward to our meeting on Sunday, and a respectful debate on the proposed agreement.
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