Budget cuts

Later this week, Vancouver City Council will vote on the 2010 city budget. It’s your last chance to email mayorandcouncil@vancouver.ca to prevent devastating cuts to our libraries, and iconic sites such as the Bloedel Conservatory.

COPE believes that the budget shortfall can be eliminated with a combination of these additional savings:

*Put a true freeze on hiring. This means freezing management positions as well as city worker positions.
*End the practice of “forgiving” parking tickets.
*Demand that VANOC cover the losses in parking revenue from street closures during the Olympics.
*Sell the $185,000 worth of Olympic tickets the city purchased.
*Ensure the Province pays the Olympic costs they already committed to covering.

Most importantly, we need to cancel the tax shift of 2% from businesses to residents. Is it “fair” for businesses to pay zero when residents pay 4%? COPE would require all businesses and residents to pay equal amounts – about 3% each. In combination with our proposed tax savings, this would save at least $10 million worth of services – and could save the Bloedel Conservatory and Stanley Park farm.

Make your voice heard – email mayorandcouncil@vancouver.ca.

Behind the scenes from Copenhagen

By David Cadman and also at www.straight.com 

As the international president of ICLE: Local Governments for
Sustainability, I have been telling delegates from around the world how
Vancouver continues to prove by example that economic progress is not
mutually exclusive of our collective responsibility to stop climate
change. Mayor Gregor Robertson is here with the same message and
yesterday, we discussed the Carbon War Room collaboration announced earlier today.

 

At the end of the first week in Copenhagen, ICLEI, with over 1200
representatives of local governments, has met with 24 government chief
negotiators to press for an ambitious treaty on climate change. We are
here to push for carbon dioxide reductions of 30 percent by 2020 and 80
percent by 2050. We are also asking for specific language in an
agreement that retains the legally-binding text for the 37
industrialized countries in the Kyoto protocol and for a $100 billion
annual commitment from these same countries to help developing nations
redress and adapt to the damage done by carbon emissions. ICLEI is also
asking for support for the transfer of advanced technologies to help
developing countries adapt and reduce future emissions.

 

As 66 percent of the world’s population will live in cities by 2030,
ICLEI is seeking specific language in the text that will oblige nations
to sit down with cities and sub-national governments to work out a
concerted common strategy to achieve carbon cuts. This will involve
vastly improved building efficiency standards, funding improvements to
public transit, and moving the huge subsidies for oil, gas, and coal,
toward solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, and other renewable sources of
energy.

 

Unfortunately, it is becoming increasing clear that there will be no
legally-binding treaty signed in Copenhagen and that there are
governments actively trying to undermine the commitments made in the
Kyoto protocol. There are real divisions between the group of 37
countries that create the majority of the world’s emissions and the
rest of the planet that is suffering the consequences.

 

The NGO community is clear in pushing for a strong agreement but the
corporate interests–as always–have more access to decision makers and
are very much opposed to a meaningful agreement.

 

This weekend, ministers of the environment went into closed meetings
and their negotiations will continue through today (December 15). Soon,
about 100 heads of state will arrive and an insubstantial political
statement will be spun into a great success story. The ministers know
that the people they represent to want a meaningful agreement. So they
have to put a good face on a bad outcome and will try to convince their
electorates that they have accomplished something. It is doubtless they
will announce a short term fund (2010-2012) with no commitment to the
long term resources required to help developing countries that are most
at risk of failing to adapt and prepare for the consequences of climate
change.

 

There is active denial of responsibility for creating this crisis on
the part of the wealthy countries and real reluctance on behalf of
large emerging economies to curtail emissions for fear of constraining
economic growth.

 

There is denial on all sides as the world’s exposure to the risks of
climate change grow with every hour. The real danger is that soon the
feedback loops of massive methane releases, melting glaciers, and
rising storm activity may put the planet at such risk that there will
be no recourse.

 

Canada, at 34 percent above its Kyoto commitments, has been playing
a very negative role at Copenhagen and has consistently received the
“fossil of the day” award for impeding negotiations. The Yes Men even targeted Canada
with their spoof. Everyone here is aware that Prime Minister Stephen
Harper has indicated that he is planning to use this gathering to
further impede progress towards a meaningful treaty, despite most
Canadians’ wishes to the contrary. Mayor Robertson and I both noticed
that at the opening plenary for heads of state, no one was sitting at
Canada’s table.

 

It is clear to everyone that oil, gas, and coal interests are more
important to Harper that either the Canadian or global public’s
long-term welfare. In 10, 20, or 30 years from now, our children and
grandchildren will look back and ask how it was possible that despite
so much scientific evidence, the short term interests of big oil, gas,
and coal we allowed to put the entire planet at risk.

 

Vancouver is indeed on its way to becoming the greenest city in the
world. In 2002, the COPE-led city council committed to not just meet,
but surpass, Kyoto targets. And today we continue to work hard to
achieve our goal with the Greenest City initiative.

 

However, as this is a global crisis, our local action must be
replicated globally. It is my hope that the prize for greenest city
will in fact be a hard fight, with thousands of communities around the
world striving together to save our planet’s future.

 

David Cadman is the International President of ICLEI: Local
Governments for Sustainability and a COPE city councillor for
Vancouver. You can watch his day-five debrief from Copenhagen and many
other videos here


Missing Women Inquiry

COPE Coun. Ellen Woodsworth will press city council this week to petition British Columbia’s Attorney General for a public inquiry into the investigation of the missing women case once legal proceedings against serial killer Robert Pickton have concluded.

"The horror of the Pickton trial has brought to everyone’s attention what’s happening," she said. "People started to raise this question in 1985 and said women were going missing but nothing was done.

Vancouver police supported an inquiry in a letter last month to a victim’s family. More than 50 women have disappeared from the area with Pickton found responsible for six killings.

Councillor Woodsworth’s motion will come to city council this Thursday. To speak to the motion, email mayorandcouncil@vancouver.ca. 

Pub night

Our pub night was such a success last month, we’re doing it again!

Please join your COPE electeds from Parks Board, School Board, and City Council, as well as executive members for a night of politics and drinks at Original Joe’s (Cambie and Broadway), on January 6 starting at 8:00pm.

Original Joe’s is at 500 W Broadway on the second floor (wheelchair accessible).

Contact cope@cope.bc.ca for more info. FREE. 

 

 


Thanks Roger!

Roger Kayo, COPE’s fundraiser through our successful 2008 election campaign, has left us to become the Manager of Development for Ballet BC.

Roger has been a wonderful, amiable member of the team and will be missed.

We’d like to wish Roger good luck at Ballet BC on behalf of the COPE Executive, staff, electeds, members and supporters.

ONLY COPE

As we head into the New Year, we at COPE, have been thinking about some of our successes for our first year of this term in office.

ONLY COPE opposed the tax shift from businesses to residences so homeowners and renters would be protected.

ONLY COPE called for the Campbell Liberals to commit to a timeline on the 14 affordable housing sites they keep promising.

ONLY COPE stood with the residents of Little Mountain and housing advocates to demand 224 units of affordable family housing be re-opened.

ONLY COPE brings international leadership on climate change and waste management.

ONLY COPE proposed a two-bike-lane solution for the Burrard Street Bridge.

ONLY COPE brought forward a motion to restore investment in the arts

ONLY COPE brought forward innovative motions such as installing wireless internet services in civic buildings, starting a city-wide “freebie” give away program and increasing scooter parking

ONLY COPE brought forward motions on campaign finance reform to cap the extraordinary election expenses in Vancouver

ONLY COPE stood in favour of preserving the iconic Bloedel Conservatory and Stanley Park farm and preventing privatization

ONLY COPE brought a motion to council against the BC Liberal’s “kidnapping act”

ONLY COPE brought a motion to the Vancouver Board of Education on the International Day for Climate Action

ONLY COPE is committed to putting electoral reform on the agenda for the 2011 election and is carrying out a neighbourhood engagement process

ONLY COPE has consistently stood up for civil liberties and in defense of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in the face of repressive Olympic security plans 

T-Shirts and Undies

Our fourth – that’s right, fourth! – printing of “I am a Free Speech Zone” t-shirts and undies have been ordered. They make a great present for the holidays! To order, email cope@cope.bc.ca.

Happy Holidays

On behalf of the COPE executive, staff and electeds, happy holidays!

The COPE office will be closed December 24-26 and December 30-January 2.

Peace on Earth, Homes for All, a Sharing of Wealth and Good Will Between People.


 

December 16, 2009: budget, behind the scenes at Copenhagen, missing women, thanks to Roger, happy holidays and more!

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