If you support COPE and the kind of progressive policies it stands for, I’ve got good news for you.
Last Sunday, I attended the COPE nomination meeting — the first COPE meeting I’ve attended in almost a year since I started stepping away from my executive role with the party. What a breath of fresh air! The meeting started precisely on time, went smoothly throughout, and was totally absent division and the procedural wrangles that have so frequently taken place at previous COPE membership meetings the past few years.
The room was filled to overflowing without an empty chair. I think there’s a mood in the air for genuine progressive politics. I also think our decision not to run a candidate and, instead, endorse Jean Swanson in the 2017 by-election for city council won us a lot of friends and supporters.
The membership nominated one of the strongest slates to run for elected office under the COPE banner in a long time. For city council, they nominated Jean Swanson, Anne Roberts and Derrick O’Keefe. For school board, it’s Barb Parrott and Diana Day. And for park board, Gwen Giesbrech and John Irwin.
When it came to the fundraising pitch I was knocked right over! Mel Lehan, a longtime COPE member and former candidate, did the pitch. He began by asking if there was anyone present willing to donate $1000. To my shock and amazement over 15 people came up to the mic, each pledging $1000. I have never seen that before at COPE! Clearly, enthusiasm for COPE is back.
The meeting wrapped up with a debate with 3 mayoral candidates — Shauna Sylvester, independent candidate; Kennedy Stewart, independent candidate; and UBC professor and urban design expert Patrick Condon, who is seeking the COPE mayoral nomination. (We will nominate our mayoral candidate at a membership meeting in August.)
The debate was lively and highlighted the stark differences between these 3 individuals on issues such as housing and transportation. My full support goes to Patrick Condon — I hope he succeeds in getting COPE’s mayoral nomination.
All in all, the meeting was a great success. COPE is back!