The Coalition of Progressive Electors is Vancouver’s most democratic municipal party. Anybody who lives, works, or studies in Vancouver can become a member, and our membership makes all of our important decisions. We recognize that many people who work or study in Vancouver – and are therefore part of the community – can no longer afford housing within the city limits.
This page is designed to help those new to COPE learn how we operate, and how they can become involved to help make Vancouver more affordable, sustainable, diverse, and fun.
If you want more information, you can take a look at our Constitution and Bylaws.
COPE has three explicit purposes:
• to unite individuals and groups behind a program of progressive civic reform,
• to involve Vancouver residents and community organizations in public action in furtherance of their interests and the collective interests of Vancouver, and
• 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.
Every four years, Vancouverites vote for new representatives at City Council, the School Board, and the Park Board. This is a big chance to change the direction the city is heading by bringing up important issues and proposing solutions. Our major goal is to elect a slate of candidates that can be a dominant voice and make our policies a reality.
In the lead-up to Election Day, decisions about how many people COPE should run are decided by the membership. Candidates are nominated by membership vote at our Nomination Conference. This year, our nominating conference was held on September 7th, 2014. You can find more information here.
Any COPE member can run for a nomination for COPE’s slate, whether for Mayor, City Council, or the School or Park Board. To run for COPE, you need to:
• be a COPE member in good standing,
• be legally entitled to run for civic office,
• be a resident of the City of Vancouver, and
• pledge your support for the policies and purposes of the Society.
To run for COPE, you must be nominated by another COPE member in good standing.
This election, we held a wide open nominations process, which means that anybody in Vancouver has a shot at becoming a COPE candidate.
More detailed information on COPE elections can be found in our constitution and bylaws here.
Platform & Policy
All of our policy is also approved by our membership. Every year, COPE holds a General Meeting with the particular purpose of developing and approving policy. In non-election years, this is known as the the “Issues Meeting”. In an election year, this is known as the “Policy Conference”.
In 2014, we held our election year Policy Conference on March 29th and 30th. We took in proposals from our members and the general public, and then voted on them all individually. The proposals that were submitted are all available here, and the results from the weekend are available here.
COPE is always welcome to hear your ideas. If you’re interested in an issue or policy in Vancouver, you can send it to one of our committees for consideration. Better yet, you can join the committee and help us flesh out a plan of action to turn your policy idea into reality.
At our next General Meeting, you’ll have an opportunity to present the idea to the COPE membership for approval. If they approve, your idea becomes official COPE policy!
COPE has thousands of members, and we have developed some organizational structure to make sure that we can compete with real-estate developer parties, which have a lot of resources and are much more centralized in their decision making.
This helps to make sure that everyone has an equal opportunity to have their voice heard when important decisions are being made, and helps us organize the work of our many volunteers.
Anybody who lives, works or studies in Vancouver (or the University Endowment Lands) can become a member of COPE. All you need to do is submit a paper membership form or sign up online and pay a yearly membership fee.
COPE’s membership is the highest decision-making body in the organization – even our elected Executive must defer to the will of the membership. The membership meets throughout the year at General Meetings, and makes important decisions about the policies we choose to take on, who we run for office, and who sits on our Executive Committee.
We operate with a series of committees, which (with a few exceptions) any COPE member can join.
Committees make the day-to-day decisions for COPE. They decide when we hold events, what issues we should take on, how we can engage and reach out to different communities, recommending changes to our organizational structure, and more!
There is more information in our bylaws here.
COPE’s Executive Committee
Once a year, at our Annual General Meeting, our membership elects 6 members of our 12 member elected Executive Committee. The Executive Committee is the body that makes important decisions in between our General Meetings. Our Executive is made up of seven “table officers” and five “members-at-large”, one Vancouver & District Labour Council representative, and one member for every three people COPE has elected to City Council, Parks Board, and School Board.
The Executive Committee makes important decisions in-between elections, approves major decisions made by committees, and makes sure that COPE’s records and finances are in order.
Any COPE member can run in Executive Committee elections. Elections for positions are held once a year at our AGM or at the occasional by-election. Executive meetings are open to any COPE member who wishes to be an observer. If you’d like to know when the next Executive meeting is, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.