In case anyone had any doubts, The Tyee has extensive quotes from Tim Louis about how and why he’s going to try to negate the “co-operative agreement” that the parties have reached on slate-splitting.
The interesting part of this news is the way Louis identifies what is the almost the only issue that the two parties really seem to disagree on any more: development. The issues that originally split the two — gambling, the RAV line, and the Olympics — are all faits accomplis, with little left to argue. (Although I suppose they could start up a brawl about the 10-years-off Millennium line.)
But what stance to take about development — oppose it all, try to shape it, let everyone run wild — that’s still an ongoing debate. For years, COPE was the stalwart anti-developer party and it even won votes from the west side for that.
But the people who eventually joined Vision tended to have a different approach. When I was talking to city councillor Heather Deal today about what the two parties actually disagree on, growth and development was the only one that she came up with easily. I remember Anita Zaenker (former COPE board, later Vision supporter) saying to me once something along the lines of, “The fact is that Vancouver is a growing city. Are you just going to oppose everything or are you going to try to work with the good developers and get them to build something that adds to the city in a positive way?”
Louis still talks about developers as though they are unmitigated demons from hell and blasts Vision (or “the NPA lite,” as he calls it) for accepting so much money from them. He says that he would push to get 8,000 new units of social housing in the city instead. While that’s a noble goal to fight for, it’s hard to imagine that it will ever happen — or at least not in the time frame that Louis would like.
But whether it’s possible or not, the issue of development is going to be an interesting one to watch the two parties dance around during the campaign.