Category Archives: COPE

Challenging the Myth of Non-Partisanship and the NPA’s Stability

Two nights ago during dinner, one of the candidates for the Vancouver Park Board phoned me. He is running with the Non-Partisan Association, the NPA…a group that I have written before [see “The Lie of Non-Partisanship” from July 8, 2005 at]. In fact, the NPA is anything but non-partisan, being all conservative and neoliberal. And it turns out that partisanship is the theme of this article.

Now, I won’t go into who from the NPA ranks phoned me the other night, mostly because I block out trauma, explaining to him that I would never in a million years vote for the NPA. He was jovial, wanting to engage with me despite our differences of opinion: a total waste of time.

He said he phoned me because my sister gave him my number and that I would consider voting for him, so he should call me. Right. I have no sister. Maybe the woman he said who came into his store and gave him a phone number wrote it down incorrectly and this hapless fellow phoned me. Or maybe the NPA candidates are cold-calling people in the phone book because that’s where they’re at now.

The phone book seems to me to be the best explanation. It reflects how desperate the NPA is, poised to lose all their seats on city, school and parks boards as they are, what with the COPE-Vision-Green coordinated slate. Well done Mayor Sam Sullivan, destroying the NPA brand in but one term.

But the synchronicity arrived this evening at dinner time when a pollster phoned. It was Innovative Research Group, another group I’ve written about before [see “Racist Survey Questions on a Survey about Multi-Culturalism” from October 15, 2007 at]. A year ago I wrote about one of their omnibus online polls that asked me many things, including to rank how I felt about a variety of racial groups living in our multi-cultural Canada, on a scale of 0-10 on whether I have a favourable or unfavourable impression of each race. I included a screenshot of those poll questions in my article last year.

Tonight’s IRG poll asked about my awareness and voting intentions in the Vancouver election. And while the poll wasn’t as offensive as last year’s, it did ask one question that bothered me: was I concerned about the number of Vision and COPE school board candidates who have been education union members.

The poll didn’t at all ask how I felt about the number of business owners or candidates with corporate connections in any of the parties. This reflects an ongoing, ingrained mentality in our society that there is a “normal” group of people, and then there are the special interest groups, like unions. This is the same mythology that the NPA has perpetuated for decades, pretending that they are neutral, objective or somehow not beholden to any ideology or group. This is nonsense. Everyone has a bias. Pretending you don’t is a lie.

And while it was far from clear that the NPA commissioned tonight’s IRG poll and loaded it up with that union question, the presence of the question indicates a mindset that special interest groups are treated as marginalized.

Now with the global economic meltdown in full swing and former US Federal Reserve Bank Alan Greenspan testifying before Congress this week that deregulated, neoliberal capitalism doesn’t work, I think that questioning people with corporate connections should be fair game.

An interesting twist came this evening when I swung by the website of Innovative Research Group: It turns out they’ve gone off the radar. Here’s a screenshot of their website tonight:

When you click on the image you can see that their entire website consists of one page saying “Welcome to the future home of This Page is currently under construction.”

Maybe it’s semantics, but honestly, they used to have a full website functioning at that location. Thanks to the marvels of the Way Back Machine, you can see various incarnations of their past websites at*/ There could be lots of reasons why they’ve gone under the radar, no longer promoting the coverage of their polls or letting people easily contact them. But their lack of presence, especially because they used to have one, just looks fishy to me.

Pitying the Conservatives in Vancouver and Nationally, But Not Really

So now I’m thinking NDP-Bloc coalition federally. More on that below, but first…

The Vancouver NPA, multi-generational vanguard of pretend non-partisanship has finished nominating its candidates.

One significant note here: Kanman Wong is the final NPA council candidate. Remember Kanman? He ran a modestly respectable campaign for the January 2006 federal election as the Conservative party candidate for Vancouver-Kingsway. He got a famous 18% of the vote while David Emerson won the riding and within hours of his victory was fielding calls from John Reynolds to cross the floor to Harper’s side.

So here’s Kanman again, working up the public service thing. And strangely Wendy Yuan, who was displaced from her candidacy in Vancouver-Kingsway when Prime Minister Paul Martin parachuted in his star candidate in 2004–one David Emerson–is now again running as the federal Liberal candidate in Kingsway, though she still owns her house in Richmond while renting a place in Collingwood.

It’s quite surreal. It’s almost as if the David Emerson Experience [with apologies to Jimi Hendrix] has hit an unfathomable pause button on the lives of two would-be politicians, who are now free again to pursue office after their trip to the electoral Twilight Zone.

So back to civic politics again, the Green/Vision/COPE coalition is in shape with COPE’s solid endorsement of its deal with Vision. The campaign will be odd, with common themes, yet distinct wedging for competition among the endorsed candidates. But it will also mean cut-throat jockeying for getting those coveted rationed candidacy positions.

And once the election ends with the hated, anti-social NPA unlikely to have any majority on the councils or boards, the coalition will have to live its three years through its own growing pains, like Blade Runner replicants trying to build up a lifetime of emotional experiences in but a few years. Depending on the flavour of which Vision candidates get nominated, and then elected, we will see Vision function in office as a centre-left bloc or a centre/centre-right bloc of opportunism over intent. Time will tell. And if it drifts rightward, expect a fair amount of defections back COPEward over the next 3 years.

But back on the federal side of the things, Layton being ahead of Dion in the leadership preference polls has serious traction. The NDP have been the de facto opposition for 2.5 years especially as Dion’s gang has abstained their way to greener electoral pastures that never emerged. In fact about a year ago, federal parties were polling almost identically to their results in the federal election 18 months earlier. It’s no different last month.

So now the Conservatives have announced that they’re campaigning against the NDP and the Greens. This means they will preemptively concede a majority by not trying to defeat the Bloc in Quebec, as if the Reform Party [ok, called the Conservatives now] can actually get Quebecers to vote for them without moving to the oil patch first. It also means that by announcing they aren’t competing against the Liberals, that the barely cohesive Liberals should become wary of 1992 when the Progressive Conservatives [remember that party that existed before the Reform Party took over?] were decimated to 2 seats.

But it’s all game theory. Whatever the Conservatives say is designed to cause ripples that they can then surf.

But wait, there’s more. In trying to figure out who is even running for David Emerson’s “Conservative” seat, I’ve finally discovered that it is Solomon Rayek, or Salomon Rayek, depending on who you check with. The Conservative Party website lists the candidate as Solomon, whereas the fellow at spells his name with an “a.”

Maybe it’s a typo, maybe it’s an irrelevancy. Whatever the case, you’d think they’d try to keep their story straight. And even though they may address this inconsistency some time soon, I wonder how it will be spelled on the ballot. In the end, it presents the feel of this being a throw-away riding, though for the life of me I can’t figure out why the Conservatives would think they have no chance of keeping this riding. Oh ya, David Emerson.

And that brings me back to Kanman Wong…right, he’s running municipally.

But as much as Wendy Yuan is more at home in Richmond, Salomon Rayek is reported as president of the Conservative Party’s Delta-Richmond East constituency association, a position he is still holding according to their website, he is the president of Jewish Advocacy for the Conservative Party, he has also sought the party’s nomination in Burnaby-Douglas, it seems for this election as well. So it appears that he is a candidate in name only in Vancouver-Kingsway as he doesn’t seem to stuck on location. I wonder if he’ll rent an apartment in the same Collingwood building as Wendy Yuan. He owns a home in Capistrano townhouses in Richmond. That would be awkward elevator conversations.

So it seems that we have the Liberals running someone from Richmond who rented an apartment in the riding, against someone for the Conservatives deeply involved in a Richmond riding as well, but who calls Kingsway his home, perhaps only because his youngest son was “born and raised” there. I wonder how much the Vancouver-Kingsway voters will feel like theirs is a proxy riding for a Richmond turf war.

Oh, and some of Salomon Rayek’s published letters to various newspaper editors are here.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, the Georgia Strait reports that Ryan Windsor is running for the Green Party though its website says this today of Vancouver Kingsway. Maybe they actually have a candidate but wish to keep it a secret:

Vancouver Kingsway

Nominated Candidate – Candidat(e) nominé(e)

If you would like to be a candidate or volunteer for this riding, please contact the Electoral District Association listed below. If there is no Electoral District Association in your riding contact your Provincial Organizer, Rob Hines, Office: 604-689-9200, Cell: 778-689-6666,

There are many ways to contact us, from e-mail and snail mail to simply walking into our office at Get Connected

And in case you care about recent history, I received this email below as part of a mass mailout on July 9, 2008, showing that the Greens were at least looking to begin setting up an electoral presence in the riding then. And as of today, the website says there are still about a dozen BC ridings without Green Party candidates, including a bunch without constituency associations yet. Unless of course their website is hiding them too. But in the end, they’ll run a candidate even without a constituency association…wild!

The Green Party of Canada is currently seeking to engage individuals in your riding. We support local grassroots democracy and there is no better way to become involved than at a local level. We’re trying to start a local association of the Green Party of Canada in Vancouver Kingsway! The local association, called an EDA (Electoral District Association) has the power to raise funds, issue tax receipts, hold events, elect officers, nominate candidates, and so much more. In fact, the Green Party of Canada is the only national political party that allows EDA’s to have fundraising capabilities.

The local association is the vehicle through which party members organize. The GPC office in Vancouver provides assistance to EDA’s to help organize them. Contact us for any questions regarding what to do next.Once an EDA is registered the GPC automatically starts sharing funds. It is an excellent way to start saving and investing for the next election. Setting up an EDA is easy!

We’re also looking for a candidate to step forward in the riding. The Green Party has run a full slate of candidates in the last two federal elections and intends to do the same for the next election. Even if there is no local association we will have a candidate running.

For more information on how you can get involved today call the BC Organizer, Rob Hines at 778 689 6666 or by email at I’ll help you navigate through the process of establishing an EDA, attend your inaugural meeting, and provide ongoing support and training.

Rob Hines
Organizer BC & North
Green Party of Canada
F 604 689 9200
T 778 689 6666

301-207 W Hastings St
Vancouver BC V6B 1H7

So in the end, The Greens’ website reports no candidate, the Conservatives and Liberals are running folks from Richmond and the NDP have Don Davies. Whew, representation lives!