For Immediate Release
Dec 2nd, 2019
COAST SALISH TERRITORIES — The Coalition of Progressive Electors (COPE) held its Annual General Meeting on Sunday December 1st, which included elections for half of the party's Executive board. The seven new Executive members reflect COPE's growing solidarity with union, tenant, student, and migrant justice movements.
“We’re putting Landlord BC on notice for killing rent control policies at Vancouver city hall,” said incoming COPE co-chair Tristan Markle. “The new COPE Executive is committed to winning full rent control in Vancouver to stop the epidemic of rent hikes and evictions. We’ll fight the landlord and developer lobby on this issue, and shine a light on any councillors who do their bidding.”
On Nov 26th, 2019, Vancouver city council placed Landlord BC in charge of administering a grant to retrofit old rental buildings without displacing tenants. Council also adopted Jean Swanson’s proposal to make full rent control part of the program. One hour later, Landlord BC threatened to pull the plug on the project, triggering a majority of council to rescind the policy — the second time this year they’ve rescinded one of Swanson’s rent control policies under pressure from the landlord and developer lobby.
Vince Tao, new COPE Executive member, is a labour organizer with the Teaching Assistant and Support Staff Union (TSSU). This fall, Tao organized the TSSU’s successful drive to unionize 1,500 researchers at Simon Fraser University.
"The way for the working class to win power is to organize, organize, organize," said Tao. “To stop the developers who run city hall from bleeding us dry, we’ve got to build a broad, militant movement of renters and workers."
New COPE Executive member Nym Calvez is a union organizer with Unite Here Local 40, which recently won contracts after a 28 day strike at the Pinnacle, Hyatt Regency, and Four Seasons hotels, and a 59 day strike at the Hotel Georgia.
"By working together with other trade unions, tenant unions, grassroots organizations, and allied parties like COPE, we were able to win the longest strike in the industry's history," said Calvez. "That spirit of solidarity can help strike a blow against the powerful corporate interests at city hall."
COPE is Vancouver’s second oldest political party. COPE is represented by Jean Swanson on City Council, Gwen Giesbrecht and John Irwin on Parks Board, and Barb Parrott on School Board. The other new Executive members are Giovanni Hosang, Rocco Trigueros, and Nadia Revelo.