The Coalition of Progressive Electors has a new rival on the left side of the political spectrum in Vancouver.
Today (May 1) at 12:30 pm, a new party called VOTE Socialist will be kicking off in Grandview Park.
“This year, Defund the VPD will be on the ballot,” party member Noah Poursartip said in a press release. “Tax the Rich will be on the ballot. Tenants’ rights will be on the ballot. A clear and socialist option will be on the ballot.”
He argued that it is time to go beyond “cosmetic reforms.”
“All the crises facing the people of Vancouver come down to the systemic inequality, exploitation and alienation caused by capitalism,” Poursartip stated. “It’s time to name the problem and name our solution: VOTE Socialist will offer voters this clear choice. .”
The party plans to field candidates for mayor, council, school board and parks board.
The Vancouver Democratic Socialists passed a resolution earlier this year to create the party. The DSOV website includes a 10-point plan to win the election.
It includes commitments to return land to indigenous peoples, promote real climate action like free transit, and keep all hands on deck to fight COVID-19 and other public health emergencies, and “not give in to other levels of government”.
Vancouver has a long tradition of far-left politics.
In the 1920s, socialist Angus MacInnis served four terms on the council before being elected to Parliament in Vancouver South in 1930. He joined the Commonwealth Cooperative Federation and spoke out against discrimination against Japanese Canadians in the 1930s and early 1940s.
His wife, Grace MacInnis, was the daughter of then-CCF leader JS Woodworth. Grace MacInnis was elected to the BC legislature in 1941 in Vancouver-Burrard and went on to serve three terms in Parliament representing Vancouver Kingsway.
Then there was suffragette, public housing campaigner and socialist Helena Gutteridge, who became the first woman elected to the council in 1937.
Others who fit this mold included tenant activists Bruce Eriksen, Libby Davies, and Bruce Yorke, who were elected to the council in the 1980s, and Pat Wilson, who came to the council in 1990.
Of course, there was Councilman Harry Rankin, who was first elected in 1966 and whose final term ended in 1993.
Rankin, Eriksen, Davies, Yorke and Wilson were elected as members of COPE.
Last month, COPE released its list for the 2022 election. It includes incumbent Councilmember Jean Swanson, Métis attorney Breen Ouellette, human rights activist Nancy Trigueros, and Dene-German community organizer and advocacy case manager. of AIDS Vancouver Indigenous Health Tanya Webking as council nominees.