At least they're not the Gang of Four

The Group of Seven is an organization of industrialized nations, an association of Canadian landscape painters and now a slate running for the Coalition of Progressive Electors executive. In an email sent to friends and supporters, former Vancouver councillor Ellen Woodsworth - a member of the slate - writes, "We are committed to bring progressive people from within and outside COPE to start organizing the defeat of the NPA in 2008. People across this city have been asking me how we can defeat the NPA. I think we can do that by creating a coalition of progressive forces, bringing together COPE, Vision and others." Other slate members include retired BC Nurses Union labour relations officer Dave Ages, coalition internal chair Donalda Geenwell-Baker, former coalition fundraising organizer Carlo Bodrogi, Vancouver School Board community coordinator Nathan Lusignan, Vancouver Fringe Festial operations coordinator Rachel Marcuse, and Festival Distribution Inc. development vice-president Lucas Schuller. Coalition executive elections are scheduled for May 27. The following is a complete copy of that email.

From: Ellen Woodsworth
Sent: May 2, 2007 1:48 PM
Subject: Together we can shape the future of Vancouver!

Dear Friends,

I wanted to let you know that I've decided to join six colleagues running for the COPE executive at the AGM on May 27, 1:00 at the Capri Hall (3925 Fraser St.).

We are committed to bring progressive people from within and outside COPE to start organizing the defeat of the NPA in 2008. People across this city have been asking me how we can defeat the NPA. I think we can do that by creating a coalition of progressive forces, bringing together COPE, Vision and others. The time to start building principled unity is now. Our organization needs to be reenergized and mobilized to fight the NPA. COPE has a proud tradition of activism and coalition-building; we want to stay true to the party's values and keep that legacy active. Each of us needs to participate. You can help by coming to the AGM on Sunday May 27 at 1:00 and voting at the AGM. (See below for membership details.)

I am pleased to be running with 6 other energetic, experienced candidates. Our group includes young activists with new blood for the party as well as experienced COPE members (for complete bios, see the attached pdf).

Nathan Lusignan is a 22 year-old political science student from East Vancouver. Nathan has at various times been an employee of the Social Planning Department, Sea Breeze Power Corp., a director of Families for School Seismic Safety, and president of the Vancouver District Student Council. He is currently a Community Coordinator for the VSB and can be found playing street hockey at Garden Park when the sun comes out.

Dave Ages has been a long time activist including in trade unions, anti-racist and progressive organizations and the peace movement. The first half of his working life included factory work, construction, shipbuilding and fishpacking. He then began a career in industrial relations and recently retired as a Labour Relations Officer with the BC Nurses' Union. He continues to be active in local and international issues.

Rachel Marcuse, 23, completed a BA Hon. in sociology from McGill and has returned to her home town of Vancouver where she is working with the Fringe Festival. She has been active as a facilitator, around youth engagement, anti-oppression, global justice, health promotion (with over 35 service providers and street-involved youth in Vancouver), student politics, art for social change and more. She spearheaded a project to implement the first ethical purchasing policy for a student society and was recently in Argentina working with the recovered/occupied factory movement.

Donalda Geenwell-Baker has been a COPE member for many years and has worked on numerous campaigns. She has held several different positions on the COPE Executive and is currently the Internal Chair. In addition, Donalda is very active in her union, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) currently servicing as the full time Secretary Treasurer of CUPE Local 15. She is also a member of the Executive Board of the Vancouver and District Labour Council (VDLC.)

Carlo Bodrogi, 25, is the the son of immigrant Philippino and Hungarian parents. At the age of 18, he co-orchestrated a successful organizing campaign of over 120 young workers at his workplace for the Canadian Auto workers. Carlo has since been employed in co-ordination positions with for the Canadian Federation of Students, The World Peace Forum, McGill University, the World Urban Festival, the Just for Laughs Festival, and most recently as the organizer of COPE fundraising events. He also recently completed work with filmmaker Nettie Wild on a DVD and teaching program about Vancouver's Street Nurse outreach program.

Ellen Woodsworth is a community organizer working for social justice, economic equality and environmentally sound planning. She was a COPE City Councillor from 2002 to 2005. Since then she has been organizing Climate Change forums and was the Secretary and Cities Coordinator of the World Peace Forum Board. Ellen believes that a strong coalition of progressive forces can defeat the NPA in the next municipal election. Working together with other like minded individuals and organizations, we have the ideas, the track record and the energy to win!

Lucas Schuller has lived 24 of his 25 years in East Vancouver. He is a graduate of the music programmes at VCC and SFU. He has served on the boards of the Canadian Federation of Students, Vancouver Community College and the Van East Cultural Centre and is currently VP of development at Festival Distribution, an independent record label and distributor. He is an avid cyclist, hockey fan and softball player.

To vote at the AGM, you must be a member of COPE. To sign-up or renew your membership, please be in touch with me at . All membership applications, available on line at , must be received by May 23 for approval before the AGM on May 27 at 1pm at Capri Hall (3925 Fraser St.).

Together we can make this a great party and Vancouver a great city.

Join us on May 27!

Ellen Woodsworth


There's a political credential one would expect to find that appears to be missing in this contingent. Can anyone guess what I have in mind?

"bringing together COPE, Vision and others"..
That makes me laugh.

Why again are we trying to make COPE relevant?
VV is going to nominate a full slate of candidates in 2007 and given the back-stabby-ness of VV ever since the time of their founding father, COPE may be forced to run their own candidates and soon be wiped out of the city council.

Ellen, a wonderful woman, and COPE are clearly aiming for the non-business community.

My guess is that they will aim to make the 8 per cent tax hike for homeowners versus the zero per cent burden for business a very large part of their upcoming campaign.

"A strong tradition of activism..." claims Ms. Woodsworth, is what's required.....lovely...

Until COPE awakens to the reality that Vancouverites are done with "activism", they will continue to flounder. Look at all the resumes! They're all strident left-wing ers. COPE is the same militant group they always were. Harry, God rest his ashes over Siwash Rock, may have come across as militant, but he was pragmatic, more than anything else.

As long as COPE are led by dogmatic individuals who glorify murderous thugs like Che Guevera, they don't stand a hope of sweeping the NPA, or anyone else, from office.

Vision that's a completely different story...looks like they may find a big enough broom, but it's early for that still...

Sounds like it could be another interesting AGM for COPE. Woodsworth was one of the moderates on council, and COPE is currently controlled by a more hardline faction led by Tim Louis.

I can't believe Tsakumis is still pushing his Vision mantra. COPE is the only real alternative to the NPA...despite what AG (I used to be loved by the NPA) Tsakumis would like us to believe. It appears his utter dislike of Sullivan is clouding his political prognostictor.

COPE has the brand name, and we have a history in this city. Vision is nothing but a conglomerate of special interest groups (gambling, liquor, developers, etc...)

I really like Woodsworth, but she better not peddle this "we should join with Vision" garbage. She will lose all of us left leaning supporters (and union support) if she tries to amalgamate these two parties. This will be all out WAR at the AGM. Vision has more in common with the NPA than it does COPE. That's why Louis is on the right track.

Vision was born out of the ashes of treason. Larry Campbell and Jim Green left us with a massive debt (which we are still paying off one bake sale at a time!!) and set up their own rump party. When push comes to shove, Vision will fold like the bad suit they is, and COPE will rule the day.

Yeah, Vision sure does have a lot in common with the NPA. That whole voting against the NPA on SE False Creek-SRO moratorium-childcare-brittania hours-cops-civil city-rejection of translink changes-lack of VANOC transparency-cuts to sustainability office - the Vision gang of four just keeps toeing that Sullivan line.

And last time I checked, Larry threw a number of fundraisers with the money going to COPE even after he started holding the independent caucus. If COPE has the history, the name recognition, and Vision is just a bunch of bloodsucking capitalist pigs, how come they can't pay off their debt? How about I Copemon show us how much COPE has paid off their debt since 05? Oh wait, it's increased....

Vision doesn't want to join COPE. The Woodsworth slate doesn't want to join Vision. Nobody on either side wants them to re-join. All Woodsworth et al are trying to do is have people on the exec who will not be hostile to Vision to make sure there isn't openwarfare in 08, guaranteeing NPA victory.

And as for your hero Louis, how about this classic quote:

Louis is happy NPA candidate Sam Sullivan beat out former COPE councillor Green for the mayor's race.

"We had two businessmen running for office and the one that was elected has honesty and integrity,"
Vancouver Courier November 25th, 2005

Let me know when COPE rules the day.

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