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COPE's Louis to oppose Vision deal

Former city councilor and everlasting COPE stalwart Tim Louis is leading a charge against the COPE/Vision deal announced this morning.

“I’m very strongly opposed to the deal,” Louis told The Tyee. “I’m going to speak against this deal. And I’m going to vote against the deal.”

Louis explained his reasoning this way:

“Forty years ago, a number of people got together – community activists, labour leaders, neighbourhood groups – to offer citizens a clear alternative to the developers’ agenda; they created the Council of Progressive Electors. And for 40 years, COPE has been that alternative,” he said.

“For the first time ever, in 2005, there was in Vancouver a municipal party that received more money in donations from developers and the gambling industry than the NPA. That party was, and is, Vision Vancouver,” Louis said. “This 8-2 deal does not offer the citizens of Vancouver a clear alternative to the developers’ agenda."

“I am not now and have never been opposed to a deal with Vision. But I’m strongly opposed to this deal, which would ensure that the majority of council is backed by developers,” he said. “I’m concerned that after we defeat the Non-Partisan Association, what we’re going to end up with is NPA lite – an NPA with a little more polish and a little more photogenic capacity, but fundamentally no difference.”

Louis offered an example: “The NPA has shifted millions of tax dollars off of businesses an on to homeowners. Gregor Robertson promises not only to leave that massive tax shift in place, but to double it over the next three years.”

But Louis said he will abide by the decision of the COPE members at this Sunday’s policy meeting.

“At the end of the day, the membership will decide what’s right. And in a true membership-driven party, the members are always right. I will be bound by whatever those members decide.”

Louis, who served two terms on parks board and two terms on city council, is one of five candidates running for what would – if the new pact is ratified – be only two slots on the COPE council slate. He said that if he is re-elected, he will make homelessness his top priority.

“No more talk. We need action. We need to build 8,000 units of social housing in Vancouver,” Louis said.

He named transit as his second priority: “We need dedicated bus lanes on all bus routes. We need traffic signal priority for busses. And we need to look into the idea of the city purchasing off-peak passes for every citizen. It would cost TransLink nothing to give away empty seats.”

Monte Paulsen edits The Hook.

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