Cabaret
politique: An interactive evening of live music, comedy, theatre, dance and
surprise (March 7)

Only one day left! On March 7th we will have an event
unlike any other event in the history of Vancouver
politics. The Work Less Party, Civic Greens and COPE are organizing a cabaret
for you.

Performers include:
Crucial Taunt, Toot a Lute, and Maria in the Shower

Where: Cambrian Hall, 215 East 17th
When: 8:00 pm

Cost: Sliding scale $15-$25 (no one will be turned
away due to lack of funds)

Dress code: "Cabaret" (interpret at will!)

Tickets are available by contacting the COPE office at
604-255-0400 or at the door.

NPA Park
Board chair Korina Houghton faces COPE non-confidence motion


COPE Park Commissioners Loretta
Woodcock and Spencer Herbert will move a non-confidence motion
(http://vancouver.ca/parks/board/2008/080310/index.htm)
at the March 10 meeting of the Vancouver Park Board that calls
for NPA Commissioner Korina Houghton to be removed as Board chairperson.

Woodcock is submitting the motion because Houghton didn’t consult Park
Commissioners before committing the Park Board to Mayor Sam Sullivan’s
controversial EcoDensity project at the February 26 City Council hearings.

"There is a responsibility attached to the chair position that Houghton
doesn’t seem to comprehend," said Woodcock. "She should have brought
this to the Board for discussion and approval before committing to specific
actions in Mayor Sullivan’s EcoDensity proposals."

Herbert shares Woodcock’s concerns about Houghton.

"Houghton misrepresented the Board’s views. The Board has never voted to
support, or work with the city on EcoDensity, and yet she claims the Park
Board’s support. As chair she has lost
my confidence."

Houghton, a prominent backer of Sullivan’s struggle to fend off NPA Cllr Peter
Ladner’s bid for the NPA mayoral nomination, does not share the support of
those NPA Commissioners who are in the Ladner camp.

If the non-confidence motion is successful, it will be the first time in living
memory that a Park Board chair will be forced to step down. It will also be
seen as a blow to Houghton’s own political aspirations which supposedly include
a run at an NPA council seat nomination in this November’s election.



Homeowners say NO to $23 million tax shift

A
City Hall poll shows that only 16 percent of residents think shifting $23.8
million of business taxes onto ordinary homeowners is a good idea.

The survey results are included in a report by the Property Tax Commission that
Vancouver City Councillors will consider on March 11 as they decide whether to shift
even more of the tax burden from business onto ordinary residential homeowners
and renters. Surprisingly, the poll shows that an underwhelming majority of
only 57 percent of business operators think shifting taxes is fair.

"Sam Sullivan has already raised taxes 15 percent since he has been in
charge," said COPE Cllr David Cadman. "This year will see another
3.77 percent hike, and if Council okays the Tax Commission report, there will
be an incremental yearly shift of taxes onto homeowners."

The Tax Commission was formed in 2006 largely as a result of strong pressure by
the Fair Tax Coalition business lobby. The Tax Commission relied mainly on
input from the business lobby in forming their recommendations to shift taxes
off of Business and onto residents.

"Business lobbyists say businesses will leave because taxes are too high
in Vancouver,"
said Cadman. "Yet the Tax Commission can provide no proof that any
business has left because of high taxes, or that they are not enjoying the
benefits of all the services that make Vancouver
one of the best cities in Canada
in which to operate a business."

The main recommendations that the Tax Commissioner wants Council to approve
would see “a target redistribution of the tax
levy, that would shift $23.8 million proportionately from Classes 2, 4, 5 and
6, to Classes 1, 8 and 9, in order to achieve the Property Tax Policy Review
Commission’s recommended tax levy distribution of 48% non-residential and 52%
residential."

Class 2 is utilities, Class 4 includes big industrial
operations and factories, while all business from the big bank towers to small
mom-and-pop stores are lumped into Class 6.

COPE has long called for a new class that would
include just small business. That call has been consistently rejected by the
provincial government.

NPA Cllr Elizabeth Ball wants public to pay for trip
to Junos

NPA Cllr Elizabeth Ball thinks taxpayers should pay $205 a night for hotels and
$450 for tickets so she can enjoy the April 2 Juno Awards in Calgary.

A report going to the March 11 meeting of Vancouver City Council is recommending
spending more than $2500 to send Ball to the Junos.


Ball, who keeps a low profile on Council, was in the limelight last July when,
as the City’s representative on the GVRD Labour Relations Committee, she failed
to inform Council of the state of labour negotiations that resulted in the
bitter civic strike.

Ball’s previous claim to fame was in 2002 when a Supreme Court justice awarded
her more than $300,000 in damages after a mannequin fell on her head while she
was shopping in a high-end Robson
Street
boutique. Ball’s lawyers successfully
argued that she sustained head injuries that "destroyed her ability to
function
" and that she has severe "cognitive deficits."

Taxpayers who feel that city funds should be used for things such as offsetting
proposed cuts to Park Board programs for kids and seniors, instead of flying
Cllr Ball to the Junos, can let Council know by contacting the City Clerk at 604-873-7276,
Fax: 604-873-7419, or email, info@vancouver.ca, and speaking to Council.

More information on speaking to Council can be found on the City’s website

(http://www.city.vancouver.bc.ca/ctyclerk/councilmeetings/howtopresent.htm)

David Cadman calls Vision divisive

(by Carlito Pablo, Georgia Straight, March 06, 2008)

The
Coalition of Progressive Electors has been appealing to Vision Vancouver since
last year to consider a common candidate for mayor, as well as shared slates
and a joint campaign to defeat the Non-Partisan Association.

COPE’s lone councillor, David Cadman—widely regarded as a potential mayoral
candidate—offered a while ago to give way to a contender who can bring the two
parties together for November’s civic election.

For all COPE’s past entreaties—as chronicled in a recent party
newsletter—Vision Vancouver hasn’t even given COPE the benefit of a formal
negotiation. And in scathing remarks in a March 4 interview, Cadman finally
spoke out, describing Vision Vancouver as a “divider” that isn’t interested in
seeing progressive forces unite.

“COPE has sought unity, and Vision has sought division,” Cadman told the Georgia Straight. “I’m an eternal optimist, but I
must say I’m also a realist. And I see the position taken by Vision as being
divisive. It’s been division, not visionary.”

Without naming anyone in particular, Cadman said: “There was disappointment
on my part when people who had been elected on a COPE banner not only left but
left the party in debt for monies that have been used to elect them, and went
off to form a new party knowing fully well that it would handicap COPE.

“Now having lost the mayoralty race, the majority on council, the majority
on school board, and majority on park board, for them not to see that in unity
there’s strength and to continue to want to divide progressive forces in the
city I think is regrettable,” Cadman also said.

In the 2002 election, then-mayor Larry Campbell and Councillors Jim Green,
Tim Stevenson, and Raymond Louie were all elected under the COPE flag. The four
later comprised the core group that broke away from the party and formed Vision
Vancouver. Green eventually ran for mayor but lost in the 2005 election that
saw Mayor Sam Sullivan’s NPA grab majorities on council, the school board, and
the park board.

“Most people understand now that Vision is seeking to divide progressive
forces rather than unite them,” Cadman said. “It’s a classic case of
triangulation. They want to say, ‘[COPE is] too far left, [the NPA is] too far
right, we’re just right.’ ”

It will be ironic, added Cadman, if former NPA fundraiser Allan De Genova,
a long-time developer and current park board commissioner, wins Vision
Vancouver’s mayoral nomination, thereby affirming that, indeed, “they are truly
right.”

By all indications, Vision Vancouver is going ahead with its nominating
contests for mayor, council, school board, and park board. If Vision Vancouver Councillor
George Chow’s thinking is to be considered a measure of his party leadership’s
view, unity as envisioned by COPE is a dim possibility.

In an interview with the Straight, Chow said that although COPE has been
calling for an independent candidate endorsed by both parties, “that’s not
happening.”

“Gregor is actually running under the Vision banner,” Chow said, referring
to Vancouver-Fairview NDP MLA Gregor Robertson. Chow still isn’t saying who he
is supporting among the potential candidates, who could also include Louie.

“I would be looking for someone who can unite diverse voters,” Chow said.
“So the challenge for all three candidates is to actually try to draw those
voters from the COPE side while running as a Vision mayoralty candidate.”

Chow also acknowledged that Robertson may do better than Louie in courting
COPE voters. “On the surface of it, he [Robertson] has not been a COPE member
and he was not in the battle during the split, so obviously he may have an
advantage there,” Chow said.

COPE executive member Rachel Marcuse noted that COPE has formed a
candidate-selection committee, and that the executive committee is now acting
as the party’s election-planning committee.

“We’re very much moving ahead regardless of what happens in Vision,”
Marcuse told the Straight.

Although highly doubtful, Cadman isn’t ruling out the prospect that the two
parties may still be able to strike an arrangement for the election. Marcuse
had this to say regarding such a scenario: “We haven’t seen a lot of leadership
from them [Vision Vancouver] on this yet, but we’re still hopeful.”

COPE’s February 21 newsletter stated that the party wrote to Vision Vancouver
on January 24, asking the newly elected Vision Vancouver executive to enter
into formal negotiations for a common campaign. Interviewed on March 3, Marcuse
said that COPE was still waiting for a response.

Civil City’s Geoff Plant waives big stick

Mayor
Sam Sullivan’s handpicked Civil City Commissioner, Geoff Plant, is apparently a
fan of Teddy Roosevelt; at least the part about waving a big stick.

While he isn’t offering any carrots, Plant is wielding a big stick of hefty
fines and by-law infractions that he says will make Vancouver streets safer from jaywalkers,
miscreant dog walkers, illegal buskers and others whom Sullivan and the NPA are
targeting in their zeal to create a "civil city." Bigger fines are
among recommendations Plant is submitting to Vancouver City Council on March
11. Fines could rise from the current $2000, to over $10,000 for some
infractions.

Plant also wants ICBC to do his dirty work by withholding driver’s licences
until by-law deviants cough up their fines. The only problem is that no one
bothered to tell ICBC, who say they have no intention of acting as Plant and
Sullivan’s fine collectors.

This latest Civil
City
scheme follows on
last December’s decision by NPA city councillors to hand over more than 800,000
tax dollars to fund the Downtown Business Improvement Association’s private
Ambassador rent-a-guard service.

Plant chairs a Civil
City
advisory board,
which comes up with these ideas. The panel is made up of a former deputy police
chief who now works for the Downtown Business Improvement Association, senior
city staff from parking enforcement and legal services, the police, and the
Board of Trade.

There is one member of the board, Sheryl Williamson-Harms, who is there as a
representative of the general public.
Williamson-Harms’ credentials for developing Civil City policy
apparently stems from her work with law-and-order MLA Lorne Mayencourt’s Safe
Streets Coalition. And she does have one
other very big plus, as far as Plant and Sullivan are concerned – in the 2005
civic election she ran as an unsuccessful NPA candidate for the Vancouver Park
Board.

 

Provincial Liberals squeezing school playgrounds, says
COPE Trustee

The
controversy over the use of a playground improvement grant by Queen Mary
School‘s parent advisory committee
highlights the lack of Ministry of Education funding for school playgrounds.

The BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils, which made the $10,000 grant
on behalf of Victoria, blocked a decision by
the west-side Queen Mary group to give the money to a more needy East End school.

"It’s pathetic that the provincial government can spend billions of
dollars on a two-week Olympic event, yet it cannot seem to make sure every
playground is safe and adequate in all schools," said Vancouver COPE
School Trustee Sharon Gregson.

David Cubberley, NDP education critic, agrees. "Victoria needs to either create a universal
program for funding school playgrounds, or target schools that have the least
capacity to fundraise in order to be eligible for these grants."

Dim Sum luncheon “meet and greet”- helping locals and
immigrant communi
ties

What
could be better than a delicious meal with friends? How about an opportunity of
making new friends?



That is what COPE activist Meena Wong has been doing for the past three years
on the
first Saturday of every month.
Meena has been organizing COPE’s Dim Sum "Meet and Greet"
where the talk ranges from politics to sports and is always flavoured by tasty
dim sum treats.

"This is a good opportunity for new comers to meet locals who are
active in different levels of local government and community
organizations," said Meena. "I
hope these luncheons facilitate exchanges, dialogues, mutual learning, and networking
between individuals, as well as between organizations; particularly to enhance
understanding and support of the immigrant communities."

Past participants includes MPs, local MLAs, City Councillors, Park
Commissioners and School Trustees, as well as community representatives,
teachers and new immigrants.

The Saturday Dim Sum’s are held at the Rich Ocean Restaurant, 777 West
Broadway (by Willow), Vancouver. Cost is a reasonable $15 per
person, all inclusive (financial assistance for those of fixed income).

Contact Meena Wong at meena@cope.bc.ca or call 604-603-7447 to book for
the next COPE Dim Sum.

Say NO to Violence against Women

UNIFEM Goodwill Ambassador Nicole Kidman invites you to Say NO to Violence
against Women.

Your signature brings $1 to help end violence against women: The UN Trust Fund
to End Violence against Women will receive $100,000 from the United Nations
Foundation for 100,000 signatures

65361 people have already signed up!!

Meet the challenge! http://www.saynotoviolence.org/

Last chance
for tickets to the IWD bunch!

Join Park Board Commissioner Loretta Woodcock at her
home for a brunch in celebration of International Women’s Day! Afterwards we
will join the International Women’s Day March.

What: Brunch for International Women’s Day
When: March 8, 9:30-11:30AM
Where: The home of Parks Board Commissioner, Loretta
Woodcock

Why: To celebrate women of all ages doing work in
politics and community. All funds go to the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre
and the Coalition of Progressive Electors.

All ages and genders welcome!

Tickets are $10-20 (sliding scale).

Please contact Rachel at rachel@cope.bc.ca
or 604-255-0400 for tickets and more details.



Lager for Lefties: A COPE Beer Tasting Salon

Saturday March 8th, 7-9:30pm

Participants will have an opportunity to taste 10 different beers along with
appetizers. Local, international, light and dark beers will grace your palate
amid discussion led by knowledgeable beer and wine maker Doug Lusignan.
Vancouver25 writers Lucas Van Meer Mass and Daniel Oleksiuk will also be giving
a short talk on centralized vs. decentralized drinking bylaws.

If you like beer, you should come. If you like progressive politics, you should
come. If you like both, then this is a can’t miss event!

Tickets: $15-25 sliding scale at door.

Location: Please contact Nathan Lusignan at 604-813-0100 or nathan@cope.bc.ca.

Stipulations: Please bring an appetizer of your choice!



On March 11, TAKE BACK THE POWER!

Rally Against Private Power
Development

Not Public, Not Green, Not
Wanted

British Columbians must stand
up for our public utility and our wilderness areas. These private power projects threaten both
the integrity of BC Hydro as well as wildlife and fish habitat. Take a
stand on Tuesday, March 11 at the BC Power Summit and let the private power
companies and the provincial government know that BC wants clean, public, and
responsible energy – for generations.

What: Rally
Against the BC Government’s Development of Private Power
When: Tuesday March 11 – Meet: 12:30 PM, Rally:
1:00 PM

Where:
Meet – SFU Harbour Centre, corner of Hastings and Richards (12:30 PM)
Rally – SFU Wosk Centre, on Seymour Street between Hastings and Pender (1:00
PM)

In 2002 the BC Government announced a new Energy Plan that forbade BC Hydro
from investing in new sources of hydroelectricity. The provincial government
turned to private power providers, creating a gold rush race, with private
interests snapping up water licenses on wild streams and rivers throughout BC.
Over 60 water licenses have been granted to private hydro projects in the last
7 years, and there are 433 more applications pending.

These power developments are NOT small hydro – many are massive mega projects
with serious environmental impacts, including transmission lines through
provincial parks and old growth forests, as well as irreparable damage to
wildlife and fish habitat.

The government calls this green power. It isn’t. Let’s send the BC government a
strong message and stop the giveaway of our resources.

Organized by the Canadian office and Professional Employees Union Local 378,
Western Canadian Wilderness Committee, the Council of Canadians, West Kootenay
EcoSociety, and BC Citizens for Public Power.

Contact:
Take Back the Power at tbtp@cope378.ca

On the
5th anniversary of the Iraq
War, join the World Against War Days of Action…

What:
Rally

When:
March 15, 12 Noon
Where: Vancouver Art
Gallery,
(Georgia side, at Hornby)
Music by Vancouver‘s legendary D.O.A.

What: Picket
When: March 19, 11am to 1pm
Where: U.S.
Consulate
(1075 W. Pender, at Thurlow)

Website with
more information on March actions against war:

http://stopwar.ca/
http://theworldagainstwar.org/
http://canadiansagainstwar.org/

March 6 2008 Newsletter Full Version

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