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COPE: A party evenly divided or evenly matched within itself

February 20th, 2012 · 17 Comments

Those of you following my tweets Sunday know that the COPE annual general meeting continued what has now been 10 years of struggling over where it wants to put itself on the political spectrum.

The meeting split almost evenly between the two contenders for external co-chair, with 145 votes for RJ Aquino and 141 for Tim Louis.

The rest of the executive saw mostly people from the “incumbent” group (aka, the non-Tim Louis group that has managed to dominate the last few years and might be called the moderates, the compromisers, the work-with-Vision-to-keep-the-NPA-out group) elected to the function positions, while the independents won the five at-large seats — partly because the incumbents left some of those seats open.

That will result in a slightly more diverse executive and, some are hoping, will result in a conversation between the two sides, instead of the win-or-lose cage matches at general meetings and nominations that have been going on for the last decade — ever since COPE won council for the first time ever and then promptly split into two groups.

What will happen by the time the next election rolls around is anyone’s guess. The independents seem fairly determined to turn COPE into a no-compromise anti-developer party with Vision now identified in their minds as the party that’s bought and sold by developers.

How that will square with the other group’s position that COPE needs to work with Vision, while maintaining different positions, in order to keep out the NPA is going to be an interesting conversation to watch.

Almost as interesting as watching the Conservatives in this province decide whether to back Cummins, and thereby ensure an NDP victory, or compromise and unite behind Christy Clark.

Other interesting notes from the meeting:

– COPE raised and spent $340,000 on the election, with $280,000 coming from unions, mostly CUPE

– The party identified 30,000 voters intent on voting for COPE, which gave the combined Vision/COPE slate 80,000 “marks” altogether, as they’re known in election lingo. That means almost half of Vision’s ID’d voters.

– The party is still carrying a $90,000 deficit from the 2002 election, when they spent a million dollars for the first time ever and elected Larry Campbell and eight COPE councillors.

– David Cadman and Tim Louis, who lent the party some of that money, are asking for some of it back — $20,000 to be exact. Money that COPE doesn’t have.

Here is the actual list of those elected.

RJ Aqunio as External Chair (previously a member at large)
Sarena Talbot as Internal Chair (continuing the same role)
Donalda Greenwell-Baker as Recording Secretary (continuing the same role)
Kim Hearty as Corresponding Secretary (newly elected)
Aaron Eddie as Treasurer (newly elected, former COPE staff member)
Kate Van Meer-Mass as Membership Secretary (previously a member at large)
David Chudnovsky as Fundraiser (continuing the same role)
Anita Romaniuk as Member at Large (newly elected)
Richard Marquez as Member at Large (newly elected)
Tristan Markle as Member at Large (newly elected)
Wilson Munoz as Member at Large (newly elected)
Ifny Lachance as Member at Large (newly elected)


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