COPE infighting follows Vancouver election disaster

Cadman blames Louis for party's near extinction

A retiring COPE city councillor is pointing the finger at COPE council candidate Tim Louis for the left-leaning party's inability to elect someone to council in the civic election.

Coun. David Cadman was left off COPE's council slate in Saturday's election after he lost an earlier nomination battle that saw Louis, R.J. Aquino and Ellen Woodsworth run for seats on council.

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"I don't think you throw away an incumbent who has led the polls for your party for years-as lightly as that was done-and I think Tim Louis needs to take responsibility for this," said Cadman, noting Louis didn't support him in the nomination race. "He has to take responsibility for the fact that he sought to bump off the leading vote getter for COPE and he succeeded."

COPE ran nine candidates in the Nov. 19 election but only Allan Wong managed to retain his seat on school board. Woodsworth missed being re-elected by 91 votes, Louis placed 17th and Aquino finished 20th.

Cadman ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 1999, got elected to council in 2002 and was re-elected in 2005 and 2008. But he failed to get nominated at COPE's meeting in September.

"There's a history of Vancouver voters punishing parties who take somebody who's an incumbent and dump them-whether that's Philip Owen or whether it's Sam Sullivan or whether it's me," he said, referring to both previous NPA mayors who were replaced by other candidates only to see their successors lose on election day.

He added that many COPE members he spoke to chose to vote for Green Party council candidate Adriane Carr, who was the person who beat out Woodsworth by 91 votes, instead of Louis.

Told of Cadman's comments, Louis denied he was responsible for the demise of Cadman or COPE. He noted that it was Woodsworth who finished first at the nomination meeting. He finished second and Aquino third.

He said he supported Woodsworth over Cadman simply because he had to make a decision between the two. Terry Martin was the other person he named on his three-person slate.

"I never ran against David, I just didn't help him out," said Louis, noting he didn't support Aquino. "I had to pick one or the other, and I would be damned if I did and damned if I didn't. So if I had picked David then everybody would have said I'm anti-Ellen. If I had have picked Ellen, everybody would have said I'm anti-David."

Louis said he predicted COPE's demise in the election several weeks ago and pointed to the deal that COPE made with Vision Vancouver to run a coordinated campaign.

Louis opposed the deal and said he was muzzled by COPE and unable to speak out on issues that would have been critical of Vision Vancouver.

"Anybody with any common sense would have predicted the outcome-of course, not about the Vision-NPA contest between Tweedledee and Tweedledum, the two developer-controlled parties in Vancouver-I'm talking about the annihilation of the party that used to stand for ethics and principles and decided that it would aim instead for power and the way to get power would be to go to bed with one of the two developer-controlled parties in Vancouver."

Alvin Singh, COPE's executive director, said Louis was never muzzled and free to speak his mind during the campaign.

"We don't tell our candidates not to say things-we don't do that," Singh said. "But it's not a free-for-all. We do manage our candidates but by no means was anybody muzzled."

mhowell@vancourier.com

Twitter: @Howellings

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