THE COALITION OF PROGRESSIVE ELECTORS:

Constitution and By-Laws (As circulated July 6th, 2014 with subsequent amendments approved 20150927,20160228 and 20160417)

BACKGROUND:

The Coalition of Progressive Electors (the “Society”) is a civic reform organization, which unites individuals and groups seeking a progressive orientation in Vancouver’s civic life, by means of continuous organizing and campaigning around issues affecting the people of Vancouver, and by nominating and electing candidates to civic office.

The Society is based on the labour movement, and was initiated by the Vancouver and District Labour Council in 1968.

CONSTITUTION:

1.  The name of the society is The Coalition of Progressive Electors.

2.  The purposes of the Society are:

a) to unite individuals and groups behind a program of progressive civic  reform;

b) to involve Vancouver residents and community organizations in public action in furtherance of their interests and the collective interests of  Vancouver; and

c) to nominate and endorse candidates for election to civic office in order to promote these purposes, and to provide direction and guidance to such candidates, both before and after they have been elected.

BY-LAWS:

PART 1 – DEFINITIONS

1. In these bylaws, unless the context otherwise requires:

a) “Caucus” means those members of the Society holding elected office on each of Vancouver City Council, Vancouver Park Board and  Vancouver School Board, respectively, and “Caucuses” means all such members.

b) “Council” means Vancouver City Council.

c) “Directors of the Society” means the elected COPE Executive (per Part 4 Bylaw 2)

d) “Nominating Conference” has the meaning set out in Part 7;

e) “Park Board” means Vancouver Park Board;

f) “School Board” means Vancouver Board of Education;

g) “Society Act” means the Society Act of British Columbia from time to time in force and all amendments to it;

h) “Voting Delegate” means a delegate of an affiliated organization entitled to vote upon each question put to a general meeting, in accordance with Part 2 Bylaw 2(c);

i) “Voting Member” means a member of the Society entitled to vote upon each question put to a general meeting, in accordance with Part 2 Bylaw 1(a).

2. The definitions in the Society Act on the date these bylaws become effective apply to these bylaws.

3. Except where the context otherwise requires, words importing the singular include the plural and vice versa, and words importing a male person include a female person and a corporation.

PART 2 – MEMBERSHIP

1.  MEMBERSHIP

a) Any person who endorses the purposes of the Society may apply to the Executive for membership and, upon acceptance as a member and payment of the annual membership fee, is a member in good standing with full membership rights in the Society, subject to the following provisions:

i) at the time of determination, an individual member who ordinarily resides, studies or works in the City of Vancouver or the University Endowment Lands (the “UEL”) shall be a Voting Member, provided that

a) they are not a member of another civic party and

b) they have not been a member of another civic party for no less than 45 days,

ii) a member who is not a Voting Member shall be a Non-Voting Member. Non-Voting Members shall have voice at COPE Membership Meetings

b)  A copy of the Society’s Constitution, Bylaws, policy and current platform or, where the platform is extensive, a summary thereof, shall be made available upon request to each member of the Society.

c) A person ceases to be a member of the society:

i) by delivering his or her resignation in writing to the secretary of the society or by mailing or delivering it to the address of the society,

ii) on his or her death,

iii) on being expelled, or

iv) on having been a member not in good standing for 24 consecutive months.

d) A member may be expelled by a vote of two-thirds of the Voting Members present at any general meeting, provided that:

i) The notice of a resolution for expulsion must be accompanied by a brief statement of the reasons for the proposed expulsion; and

ii) The person who is the subject of the proposed resolution for expulsion must be given an opportunity to be heard at the general meeting before the resolution is put to a vote.

e)  Subject to Part 2, Bylaw 3(c), a member ceases to be in good standing upon failure to pay the annual membership fee within 2 months of the date when it falls due.

f) New members whose membership applications were received fewer than 30 days preceding a Nomination Conference, General Meeting, Special General Meeting, Issues Meeting, Policy Conference, or Annual General Meeting will not be eligible to vote at that meeting.

g) No later than 21 days prior to a General Meeting, COPE will process new applications, and notify applicants of acceptance, or rejection including rationale.

h) No later than 14 days prior to a General Meeting, persons whose applications were rejected and who wish to appeal the decision may do so.

i) No later than 7 days prior to a General Meeting, COPE will process appeals and notify appealing applicants.

2.  AFFILIATED ORGANIZATIONS

a)  Any organization which endorses the purposes of the Society may  apply to the Executive for affiliation, and upon acceptance as an affiliate  and payment of the affiliation fee is an affiliated organization in good  standing.

b)  The provisions concerning good standing and ceasing to be a member set out in Part 2 Bylaw 1(c), (d) and (e) hereof will apply equally to affiliate organizations.

c)  Each affiliated organization is entitled to be represented by five delegates for its first five hundred members or part thereof, and one further delegate for each additional five hundred members or part thereof, at General Meetings and, provided that the affiliated organization is in good standing and has authorized such delegates.

d) Each delegate of an affiliated organization who meets the residency requirement set out in Part 2 Bylaw 1(a) (a “Voting Delegate”) shall have the same voting rights as any Voting Member in good standing.

3.  ANNUAL FEES,

a)  The annual membership fee and affiliation fee shall be determined by the Executive from time to time, subject to ratification by majority vote at the next following general meeting.

b)  All annual fees fall due on the anniversary of the date when the member’s or affiliate organization’s application for membership or affiliation was accepted.

c) The Executive, by simple majority approval, may waive the payment of initial or annual membership or affiliation fees upon reasonable request, such waiver to be effective only for the year in which the request is made.

4.  VOTING RIGHTS

a)  Each member determined to be a Voting Member in good standing is entitled to one vote upon each question put to a general meeting.

b)  Proxy voting is prohibited.

PART 3 – GENERAL MEETINGS

1.  General meetings shall be held at the time and place, in accordance with the Society Act, that the directors shall decide.

2. Notice of a General Meeting, Special Meeting, Issues Meeting, Policy Conference, Annual General Meeting, or Nominating Conference shall specify the time day and in general terms the nature of the business to be discussed, no later than 45 days prior to the date of the specified meeting. Notice of meeting place shall be given no later than 14 days before the specified meeting. These meeting notices shall be given in writing to all members in good standing and may, without limitation, be given by email, fax, personal delivery, or mail.

Notice of Motions for amendments to the Constitution and/or Bylaws shall be similarly submitted to the membership no later than 45 days before a General Meeting or AGM, or may be given at a preceding General Meeting or AGM.

3.  The accidental omission to give notice of a general meeting to any member does not invalidate the proceedings at that meeting.

4.  The Annual General Meeting shall be held once in every calendar year, not more than fifteen months following the last preceding meeting.

5.  All proceedings at a general meeting shall be governed by Robert’s Rules of Order.

6.  All policy and the Society’s election platform must be approved by a simple majority of the Voting Members present at a general meeting.

7.  During each election year, there shall be held a one-day general meeting known as the “Policy Conference”.  Subject to Part 2 Bylaw 4(a), at the Policy Conference members shall discuss and develop, and approve new policy, affirm or revise existing policy, and discuss and adopt the Society’s election platform.

8.  In each non-election year, there shall be held a one-day general meeting, dedicated to the discussion of topical issues, and known as the “Issues Meeting”.  Wherever possible, information on key topical issues shall be included with the notice of meeting. A summary of the Issues Meeting shall be published on the Society’s website. Any policy recommendations developed at the Issues Meeting shall be referred for consideration to the next Policy Conference.

9.  Where referral of the issue to a Policy Conference would be untimely, such issue shall be referred to the Executive, and the Executive shall meet and develop a position statement on such issue for the guidance of those elected officials endorsed by the Society.  In so doing, the Executive will make every reasonable attempt to obtain input from members and will then inform the general membership of the position statement developed by the Executive as soon as possible.

10.  The Executive shall hold general meetings regularly throughout the year to address topical civic issues.   Such meetings shall be held no less than quarterly, unless a Policy Conference, Issues Meeting, AGM or Nominations Meeting is held in the relevant quarter. Any policy recommendations developed by the general membership at these meetings will be referred to the next Policy Conference or, where referral to a Policy Conference would be untimely, may be referred to the Executive for the purpose of developing position statements in respect of them in order to provide guidance to those elected officials nominated and endorsed by the Society.

PART 4 – THE EXECUTIVE

1.  The Executive shall consist of the following persons (the “Voting Executive Members”):

(a) the Table Officers;

(b) nine (prev.five?) members-at-large, each of which must be a Voting Member, and

(c) representatives of each Caucus, who may be so designated by the respective Caucuses in the following proportions:

(i) one Voting Executive Member position for up to the first three members in such Caucus, and

(ii) one additional Voting Executive Member position for every three additional members in such Caucus.

d) representatives of each Equity Caucus, who may be so designated by the respective Caucuses and ratified at a general meeting.

(i) one Voting Executive Member position for each Equity Caucus

2.  The Executive shall be the directors of the Society and may exercise all the powers and do all the things that the society may exercise and do, subject to these Bylaws and the Society Act.

3. The following persons (the “Non-Voting Executive Delegates”) may participate in but not vote at Executive meetings:

(a) the chief organizer appointed by the Executive;

(b)  elected officials not designated as voting Executive members;

(c) one delegate from each of the Education, Park Board, and Council Committees;

(d) one delegate from the Standing Policy and Constitution Committee

(e) one representative from the Vancouver and District Labour Council; and

(f) one delegate from such other committees as are established from time to time by the Society, provided that such delegates have been elected to participate in Executive meetings by members of their respective committees.

4. No Executive member shall be remunerated for being or acting as an Executive member, but an Executive member may be reimbursed for all expenses necessarily and reasonably incurred by the Executive member while engaged in the affairs of the Society.

5.   A member of the Executive shall resign upon accepting an offer of employment with the Society. A member of the Executive who contracts with the society to perform a fee for service shall be a Non-Voting Executive Member for the duration of the contract, and may participate but not vote at Executive meetings

6.  Each Executive member shall cease to be an Executive member upon:

a) ceasing to fall within the provisions of Part 4, Bylaw 1;

b) ceasing to maintain regular attendance at meetings per Part 4 Bylaw 12 (effective April 2014 ).

c) ceasing to be a member in good standing, or a delegate from an affiliated organization in good standing, as the case may be; or

d) his or her resignation, retirement or death.

7. If a Table Officer or Member-at-Large ceases to hold office,

(a) an election for the vacant position shall be held at the next general meeting, provided it is possible to give 45 days’ notice  of the election to the membership

(b) where 45 days’ notice cannot be given, the election shall be announced at the next general meeting and take place at the following meeting

(c) if the vacated position is a table officer position, the Executive may appoint another Executive member to fulfil the duties of the position until a new incumbent is elected.

8.  Executive members must retire from office at the Annual General Meeting when their successors are elected.

9.   An act or proceeding of the Executive is not invalid merely because there are fewer than the prescribed number of Executive members in office.

10. Regular meetings of the Executive shall be held monthly at the call of the Internal Chair, save that the executive shall have  the right to cancel up to 2 meetings per calendar year. Executive members may attend in person, by teleconference, voip or other effective technology.

In the event that decisions must be made between regular  meetings, the Internal Chair may call a Special Executive Meeting, teleconference,  or email vote.

11. Quorum for Executive Meetings, teleconferences or email votes shall be 50 percent plus one of incumbent Voting Executive Members including at least  one Table Officer.

12. Voting Executive Members are required to attend a minimum of 7 Executive Meetings and 3 General Meetings per year.

a) Where an Executive member is unable to attend an Executive Meeting or General Meeting because the member is carrying out COPE duties, the Executive member shall be credited with attendance.

b) Where an Executive Member is unable to attend an Executive Meeting or General Meeting due to personal circumstances, the member may choose to so advise the Internal Chair in writing within 1 week of the meeting, and  on this basis shall be credited with attendance at up to 2 meetings per year.

 

PART 5 – TABLE OFFICERS

1.  The Table Officers shall consist of the following:

a) two Co-Chairs of different genders who shall be the chief executive officers of the Society and the principal spokespersons of the Society, co-chair all Society meetings and supervise the internal affairs of the organization

b) the recording secretary, who shall issue notices and keep minutes of all meetings;

c) the corresponding secretary, who shall be responsible for receipt of, responding to and dealing with all correspondence received by the organization;

d) the membership secretary, who shall be the chair of the membership committee and maintain membership records;

e) the treasurer, who shall keep financial records in accordance with the Society Act, render financial statements to the Executive and members as required and be a member of the finance committee.

f)the fundraiser, who shall monitor COPE’s fundraising capacity and opportunities,  recommend fundraising plans and events, and supervise the implementation of those that are approved,  chair the fundraising committee, and be a  member of the finance committee.

3. The Table Officers shall exercise all the powers of the Executive between meetings of the Executive.

PART 6 – EXECUTIVE ELECTIONS

1. The term of office for Table Officers and Members-at-Large shall be two (2) years as follows:
One Co-chair, the Recording Secretary, the Membership Secretary, the Fundraiser and four (4) Members-at-Large shall be elected at the Annual General Meeting on even-numbered years; and
One Co-Chair, the Corresponding Secretary, the Treasurer and five (5) Members-at-Large shall be elected a the Annual General Meeting on odd-numbered years.

2.    Table officers and members-at-large  (the “Voting Executive Members”) shall be Voting Members in good standing who do not, at the applicable Annual General Meeting, hold civic office.

3.    Nominations can be accepted from the floor only if the consent of the nominee can be shown by:

a. oral consent of the nominee if s/he is present at the meeting, or

b. written consent if the nominee is absent from the meeting.

4. Separate elections must be held for each office to be filled.

5. An election may be by acclamation, otherwise it must be by ballot.

6.  Any marked ballot for election of members-at-large to the Executive shall be deemed spoiled if fewer than or more than the number of positions to be elected are marked on it.

7. Those candidates who receive the most votes shall form the new executive.

8. If a successor is not elected, the person previously elected or appointed continues to hold office until a successor is elected or appointed.

PART 7 – COMMITTEES

1. AREA COMMITTEES

(a)  The Executive may establish committees to function in such areas of the City of Vancouver from time to time as the Executive sees fit.

(b)  The area committees shall consist of those members residing in each designated area, and shall operate under the guidance of, and be answerable to, the Executive.

(c) The purpose of each area committee shall be:

(i)  to take up local community issues;

(ii)  to integrate the Society more closely into the local communities;

(iii)  to build the Society ‘s membership and support;

(iv)  to maximize the involvement of members in the Society ‘s activities;

(v)  to provide a nucleus for the Society’s election work; and

(vi)  generally to promote the purposes and policies of the Society at the local level.

(d)  Each area committee shall elect a chairperson, vice chairperson, and secretary as well as such other officers as the committee considers necessary for its activities, and shall elect a delegate to the Executive.

2. POLICY AND CONSTITUTION COMMITTEE

(a)  There shall be a standing Policy and Constitution Committee (the “PCC”) of the Executive.

(b)  The PCC shall consist of any Executive members who wish to participate, one member from each Caucus and at least three members from the general membership of the Society.

(c)  The PCC shall be responsible for reviewing the Constitution and making recommendations on constitutional change to the Executive who shall ensure that notice of any constitutional amendments are included in the notice of Annual General Meeting.  Members in good  standing may submit proposed policy or constitutional amendments to the PCC for consideration or for referral to the next Policy Conference.

3. ELECTION PLANNING COMMITTEE

(a)  In good time prior to the holding of a civic election the Executive shall strike an Election Planning Committee and shall appoint its chair and co-chair. The term of the Election Planning Committee shall end at the Nominating Conference.

4. CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE

(a) During the civic election campaign, the Executive shall constitute the Campaign Committee together with such other persons as the Executive deems appropriate.

5. ADVISORY COMMITTEES

(a) There shall be three standing committees of the Society designated and known as the “COPE Education Committee”, “COPE Park Committee” and “COPE Council Committee”, for the purposes of providing advice and support to the respective Caucuses from time to time.

6. EQUITY STANDING COMMITTEES

There shall be five (5) Equity Standing Committees: Aboriginal, Differently Abled, Racialized, LGBQQPP2S, and TTIP. The Committees shall be selected by their respective Equity Caucuses.

6. ADDITIONAL COMMITTEES

(a)  The Executive and the Table Officers may establish such committees, and delegate such of their powers, as they consider desirable for the better carrying out of the purposes of the Society and the exercise of their functions.

PART 8 – NOMINATION OF CIVIC CANDIDATES

1.  In good time before each civic election, a general meeting to be known as a “Nominating Conference” shall be held, for the nomination of candidates to run for civic office with the Society’s endorsement.

2.  To be eligible for nomination, a candidate must:

(a) be a member in good standing,

(b) be legally entitled to run for civic office,

(c) be a current or former resident of the City of Vancouver, and

(d) pledge his or her support for the policies and purposes of the Society.

3. At each Nominating Conference, the Election Planning Committee shall recommend how many candidates the Society will nominate and endorse to run for each of Mayor Council, Park Board and School Board.  The Voting Membership shall, by simple majority vote:

a) approve one or more of the Election Planning Committee’s recommendations; or

b) to the extent that a recommendation of the Election Planning Committee is not approved, approve a motion from the floor, made and seconded by Voting Members (or Voting Delegates from affiliated organizations, as the case may be) who are in good standing.

4. Nomination shall take place by way of ballots (the “Nomination Ballots”) bearing the names of all candidates put forward and approved to stand for nomination to run for Council, Park Board and School Board, respectively.

5. A candidate’s name may be included on a Nomination Ballot provided:

  1. A completed application of intention to run is received by COPE no later than 15 days prior to the Nominating Conference
  2. The candidate has signed off on the eligibility requirements in Point 2
  3. The candidate has submitted nomination papers signed by 10 COPE Voting Members in good standing
  4. The candidate has been vetted and approved by the Election Planning Committee.

6. Candidates may run for one(1) of Council, Parks Board or School Board.

7. Nominees for Mayoral Candidate may be included in the Council ballot, and may run for Council if not elected as Mayoral Candidate provided they have stated this intention in 5(a).

8. In order to ensure gender parity when electing our 3 candidate slates for Council, Parks Board and School Board, no more than 50 percent male-identified candidates may be elected on a single slate.

a) Before the voting begins, the presiding officer shall announce how many male-identified candidates may be elected on the slate (the threshold)

b) when the votes are counted, should the threshold  be reached no more male-identified candidates may be elected to that slate.

9. In order to ensure the presence of Aboriginal candidates on our COPE slates for Council, Parks Board and School Board; one (1) position on each slate shall be reserved for an Aboriginal candidate.

a) Aboriginal persons running for election to a slate may self-identify in their candidate speech should they choose to do so.

b) when one self-identified Aboriginal person is elected, any others on the ballot will continue in the election process.

10. All Voting Members and Voting Delegates from affiliated organizations, who are in each case in good standing and present at the Nominating Conference, are entitled to vote to nominate candidates by marking a Nomination Ballot in respect of each of Council, Park Board and School Board.

11. A marked Nomination Ballot shall be deemed spoiled if more than the maximum number of candidates for nomination, determined in accordance with Part 7 Bylaw 3, are marked.

12. The Nominating Conference and the Policy Conference may be combined in one general meeting.

PART 9 – MISCELLANEOUS

1.  Borrowing Powers: In order to carry out the purposes of the Society, the Executive may, on behalf of and in the name of the Society, raise or secure the payment or repayment of money in the manner they decide and, in particular but without limiting that power, by the issue of debentures.

2. A debenture must not be issued without the authorization of a special resolution.