Don’t like Vision? Then blame COPE

Doctors have discovered that COPE’s backbone has completely deteriorated

A lot has been written (and I mean a LOT) regarding Vision Vancouver’s recent verbal tirade against a West End community group pleading with council to listen to its concerns regarding their ill-thought out STIR program. Pundits and commentators have described Gregor Robertson and his Vision colleagues as “out of touch”, “arrogant” and even “pompous”. I’m pretty confident they are expressing the sentiments of many Vancouver residents who are tired of having pet projects rammed down their throat by a council who’s mantra is “we know what’s best for you, just trust us”.

I’ve written here before regarding how Vision winning a massive 10-1 majority government is both a blessing and a curse. On the blessing side, unlike the previous NPA 6-5 majority, you rarely have to worry about losing a vote in the chamber. It would take nothing short of a cataclysmic act of God for something like that to happen.

On the curse side, well, we’re starting to witness what it looks like and I believe there is more to come. At this point, the politicians realize that more of Vision’s mandate is behind them instead of in front of them. Any new big initiatives will have little chance of being implemented and taking effect before the next election. In other words, unless you simply want symbolic changes (which we’ve seen a lot of with this council), Vision will be hard pressed to move forward with any substantive policy items.

By now the novelty of Vision’s government has also worn off and the long nights and lack of family time are starting to have their impact. Vision’s caucus members are beginning to fret as to which of them will be “protected” and which of them will have to run for nomination. That inevitably leads to thoughts of who will and won’t make the cut when the NPA wins at least 3-4 council seats in the next civic election. On that note you can expect councillors Reimer, Meggs, Stevenson and Deal will be having a few sleepless nights in the next few months.

As for how Vision regularly gets away ruling Vancouver in such a heavy-handed manner and ignoring the desperate pleas of local neighbhourhoods, I actually blame COPE for that one. You read that correctly. If COPE woke up to the fact that it actually still controls (at least for another few months) the balance of power at City Hall, it would be standing up to the bully tactics being demonstrated by the majority of elected officials. Instead, by remaining silent both publicly and privately, COPE has empowered Vision to steam-roll over community concerns on issue after issue that’s come before council. I would argue their silence has even encouraged some of the tactics.

All it would take is for COPE’s David Cadman and Ellen Woodsworth to say “enough is enough”. If they publicly declared they were going to stand up for neighbourhood concerns and put Vision on notice, I guarantee you the Mayor and his caucus would be forced to listen. The last thing they want is a split on the left side of the spectrum which would almost secure bozo the clown running for the NPA would win in a cakewalk.

So why has COPE been so silent as one community group after another begs with Council to listen? Why have their elected officials let Vision off the hook and allowed them to mock and deride community groups standing up for what they believe in? I don’t have an answer for that one but I know come 2011 that voters will be looking for someone to blame regarding the lack of consultation on a myriad of issues and COPE will have some explaining to do. That is, unless they can find their political backbone – and soon.

– post by Daniel

"Sam Sullivan made me swear," says Mayor Gregor
Can Vision Vancouver return to its founding principles?

Broken image or link? Click here to report it or visit

About The Author

  • Max

    That would mean Cadman would actually have to be present at council meetings.

  • Frank

    If the good folks at WEN were smart, they would all immediately take out memberships in COPE, then take over the board. If they owned the COPE brand and controlled the board, Vision would then surely have to listen. It would an easy task to take over COPE’s board. It would only take about 100 memberships or so and presto, west end residents have their own political party. There are 7500 people on that petition, surely you could get 10% to become a member of COPE overnight.
    Then watch the Mayor and his vision sidekicks turn every shade of green as they gasp asking what happened to their majority government as the “new” COPE starts calling all the shots. Perhaps the new tagline for COPE could “the party filled with former fu$#@n NPA hacks”
    So WEN and the residents of Vancouver, are you up to it? How do we get started? Count me in.

  • Max

    A very interesting idea….
    Can I split my alliances in order to topple the kingdom….
    ………………….. Yup!
    Sign me up!
    As Obama says : Let’s get er done!

  • Tessa

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t Coun. Woodsworth vote against the motion regarding the advisory committee? That’s what the video says at the bottom of your own website.

  • Patrick

    @Tessa. That and 25 cents (plus HST) will get you a cup of coffee. She may have voted against it, but if she had any political smarts she would never allowed it to happen in the first place. That’s what flexing your political clout is all about.
    I think this strategy of taking over COPE’s board is simply brilliant. Why didn’t I think of that? I am more than willing to sign up for a COPE membership knowing that it will bring Vision to their knees. Let’s go for it!!! Anyone at WEN willing to get the ball rolling? Should we set up phone banks to start calling the people on the petition? They would be a good first start.

  • boohoo

    This is exactly what’s wrong with politics in Vancouver. It’s disgusting how you just see it as different groups struggling for power rather than individuals serving the greater good. You sound like a petty 12 year old trying to tag along with the winning team.

  • Harold

    What a great strategy to take over the COPE board and put it under WEN’s control. But I also think we should extend the invitation to all those residents and businesses impacted by the HEAT shelters, the Killarney barricade, the Burrard Bridge, the Dunsmuir disaster and so on and so on. It’s called grassroots democracy and you don’t need facebook or twitter to pull it off.
    The strategy is simple yet it would be extremely effective at neutering an arrogant Vision Vancouver. Enough talk on this blog already, let’s get to work by selling some COPE memberships NOW. By September, we should have the numbers to quickly dump those vision sympathizers on the board and get someone who will stand up to the mayor. I’m actually now feeling like there is some hope we may not have to be ruled by Vision for much longer. Where do I sign up?

  • Frank

    @ boohoo. Surprising. Vision’s top cheerleader is attacking me for participating in a democratic act that might actually force his pals to LISTEN to local residents. Are you a bit nervous at the thought? I’m so sorry if I offended you with my comment. As you would say, boo hoo to you.
    What’s wrong with selling a few hundred memberships in COPE, cleaning it up a bit and having it keep Vision accountable. What are you afraid of? That democracy might break out in Vancouver?
    As I said, all it would take is a few hundred people to sign up to COPE and presto, you have cut off Vision at the knees. No more citizens trotting up to city hall begging to be heard. No more community groups spending countless hours filling out petitions to fight massive changes to their neighbourhoods without consultation. Nope, you instantly have a mayor and politicians that are forced to listen to voters. What a novel concept.
    Boo hoo, it’s apologists like you that blindly support vision no matter what they do that have so quickly turned them into an arrogant bunch of politicians. Don’t you see that you are part of the problem. Become part of the solution and sign up for COPE, it may our only hope.

  • boohoo

    I would ask you to provide one comment of mine that suggests I’m a ‘vision cheerleader’ or ‘blindly support vision’ other than the fact that I’m not just dumping on Gregor whenever possible. Go on, I look forward to it.
    Can’t find anything? Right.
    I don’t give a rat’s ass about the political parties. I think they’re all a joke. It’s ridiculous that this mayor thinks people who don’t think like he does are hacks of a certain party. The whole premise of your little proposed coup d’etat is just as, if not more ridiculous.
    I’m not apologizing for anyone. It’s so sad that our political discourse as boiled down to ‘if you’re not with us you’re against us’. This blog bleeds that childish position. Grow up.

  • Scott

    Signing up for COPE as a way of taming Vision. This is a spectacular strategy. I’m going to bring it up at the next WEN meeting. It should be top on the agenda.

  • Daniel, I submit that we can find many to fault for the Vision election, but surely we must really fault the Vancouver voters. That is all Vancouver voters, those that did and those who stayed home. The ones who voted Vision and those who stayed home that election day bought into Gregor’s babblygook. Using the James Jones metaphor, they drank the Kool Aid. Now as always when people get sucked into the nice sounding promises, they wonder why. Why indeed?
    Considering the nature of our friends from Cortes Island, the Jim Jones metaphor is not far fetched is it?

  • Max

    To the WEN people – read Alex G.’s blog today – you will be shocked at what he has unearthed about the supposed STIR program!

  • Hollyhock = Jonestown?
    Wow, there’s a stretch to challenge even the most accomplished yogi.

  • Coffee for 25 cents? Where?