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COPE-Vision deal ‘looking quite positive’: Woodsworth

For almost three years now, the second most often-asked question among Terminal City political junkies has been: Will COPE and Vision ever heal the rift?

Unlike the question about Sam’s missing millions, the answer to whether or not Vancouver’s two left-of-centre political parties will evade mutually assured destruction will likely be known by the end of this week.

“Talks are looking quite positive,” Ellen Woodsworth told The Tyee. “We hope to be able to make some kind of announcement within the week.”

Woodsworth said that any deal would be put before the membership of the Council of Progressive Electors (COPE) for a vote on Sept. 14.

“That meeting on Sunday afternoon will make the decision. If we are able to work something out with Vision, that meeting will vote on it,” Woodsworth said.

COPE has about 1,500 members. Both current and lapsed members will be able to vote on the 14th. Vision Vancouver has 16,000 members, and claims to be the largest civic party in Canada.

One of the thorniest aspects of any deal will be the question of how many candidates each party will run for city council. No less than 16 candidates are seeking a Vision nomination, and anther five are running with COPE. Conventional wisdom suggests that if the two left-leaning parties run more candidates than seats (there are ten), they would give a mathematical advantage to the ruling Non-Partisan Association.

Though neither side would discuss the negotiations, Vision insiders have been floating the idea of an 8-2 split for months. Incumbents are not protected under Vision rules, but at least three are widely expected to be elected to the party slate. That could leave as many as a dozen high-profile candidates fighting for between three and five seats at the Vision's Sept. 20 nomination meeting.

COPE will likewise be hard pressed to choose only two council candidates, though all sides expect Vision to leave room for incumbent David Cadman. Also seeking COPE council nominations are former councillors Ellen Woodsworth and Tim Louis, as well as former board of variance member Terry Martin and newcomer Meena Wong.

Bill Bargeman, Al Blakey, Jane Bouey, Alnoor Gova, Noel Herron and Allan Wong are seeking COPE nominations to school board. Former park board commissioner Anita Romaniuk, John Irwin, Justin Muir, Imtiaz Popat and Loretta Woodcock are seeking COPE nominations to parks board. Biographies for all COPE candidates are online.

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