than 200 enthusiastic COPE members packed COPE’s Annual General Meeting
on June 01, to elect a new executive board and debate crucial issues
leading up to this November’s civic elections.
The meeting opened with Vancouver East MP Libby Davies, and MLAs Jenny Kwan and David Chudnovsky speaking about COPE’s four-decade history of working for progressive change in Vancouver.
External Co-Chairperson Ellen Woodsworth reported on a
year of achievements that included "a successful Park Board fundraiser,
a youth social at the Cambrian Hall, our successful 40th Anniversary
celebration hosted by Labour Council President Bill Saunders,
the Reel Changes film series with Jim Hamm Productions, community
salons from beer-tasting to potlucks, Valentine’s Day street theatre,
monthly dim sums hosted by Meena Wong, and Talking Politics evenings on transportation and women in politics."
"At City Council David Cadman has challenged the NPA at every step," said Woodsworth. "At the Park Board Loretta Woodcock and Spencer Herbert have been green heroes, while School Trustees Al Blakey and Al Wong fought hard for public education."
Internal Co-Chair, Donalda Greenwell-Baker noted that COPE
members monthly giving is at the highest level since 2005, and that an
election-ready database, new website, and new COPE merchandise and
communications materials have been created.
In his report, Councillor Cadman outlined the need to return progressive government to city hall.
"COPE is still the only party in Vancouver that you can count on to
fight for the homeless, for affordable housing, to protect the downtown
eastside, to work for public transit and lower fares, to advocate for a
strong public education system, to expand green space and keep
corporate expansion out of our parks, and to foster respectful labour
relations with the city’s public workers and their unions."
Responding to questions about negotiations with Vision Vancouver,
Woodsworth reported that "unfortunately Vision has not agreed to begin
face-to-face discussions aimed at cooperation. We will continue to work
for unity because we believe it’s the best way forward to defeat the
NPA. But November is coming quickly and we have begun our own
independent campaign if that becomes necessary. COPE’s name, our
politics, our brand and our reputation are well known and remain strong
among progressive voters. Meanwhile very good candidates are coming
forward including Dr John Irwin, Omar Kassis and former Park Board
chair Anita Romaniuk, who are seeking nominations as park board
COPE members then re-elected Woodsworth as external co-chairperson, and
Donalda Greenwell-Baker as internal co-chair. Also re-elected for 2008
are former councillor Tim Louis as recording secretary, Nathan Lusignan
as membership secretary, and Lucas Schuller, Sid Tan and Carlo Bodrogi
Newly elected to the executive are former COPE school trustee Jane Bouey as recording secretary, Connie Hubbs as fundraiser and Terry Martin as treasurer. Meena Wong was elected as a member-at-large. A motion was also passed to have John Irwin join the executive as a fifth member-at-large with voice but no vote, to be ratified at the next general meeting.
"COPE is pleased to welcome Jane, Connie, Terry, Meena and John to the
executive," said Woodsworth. "And we thank outgoing executive members Charlie Demers, Rachel Marcuse (now on staff), Derrick O’Keefe, David Ages and Angelica Gutierrez for their hard work over the past year."
A special resolution was approved to change the by-laws and allow those
who live "or work in the City of Vancouver or the University Endowment
Lands" to be voting members. Previously, only those who lived in
Vancouver or the UEL could vote at COPE meetings. A motion about
running a mayoral candidate was deferred to the COPE Nominating
Conference which is scheduled for early September.