COPE will revisit Vision’s condo plans across the city, ban corporate donations, create Anti-Corruption Office, and reduce mayor and council’s salaries
For Immediate Release
Vancouver, Unceded Coast Salish Territories - Today, COPE candidates announced a concrete plan to address corporate influence at City Hall. While Vision’s policies are for property developers, COPE’s policies are for everyone.
In 2014 Vision took over $1,400,000 from corporations, including over $1,080,000 from real estate corporations alone. Vision is in a real or perceived conflict-of-interest involving redevelopment plans in neighbourhoods across the city. Municipal reform is urgently needed.
- Reevaluate condo development plans created by Vision over the past 3 years.
- Ban corporate donations to political parties.
- Create an Anti-Corruption Office.
- Roll back the salaries of the Mayor and City Councilors and take a pay cut.
1. COPE will reevaluate condo plans created by Vision over the past 3 years.
- This election Vision took $25,000 from Solterra, the corporation that evicted the Waldorf Hotel.
- COPE will cancel Vision’s unpopular condo development plan for Grandview-Woodlands.
- This election Vision took $34,500 from Rize, the corporation behind the luxury tower at Main and Broadway.
- COPE will refuse to enact any zoning change to the land and refuse to issue the final building permit, effectively killing this highly unpopular project.
- This election Vision took $75,000 from Holborn Holdings, the corporation behind the destruction of Little Mountain Housing.
- COPE will make sure Little Mountain is redeveloped as social and affordable housing, not luxury condos.
- This election Vision took $25,000 from Gordon Nelson Inc, the corporation behind the evictions at Seafield Apartments, where the term “renovictions” was coined.
- On our first day in office COPE will ban renovictions.
- COPE will change the DTES Local Area Plan and put a moratorium on all condo development in the DTES.
- This election Vision took $8,000 from Steve Lippman and his numerous holding companies, who are buying-up and renovicting tenants across the DTES.
COPE will also look closely at the pending applications of other donors to Vision:
- Aquilini Development, who gave $60,000 in 2014 have a zoning inquiry on Main between 2nd and 3rd avenue.
- Edgar Development, who bought a table at Vision's recent fundraiser for $2,500, and the proponents behind a tower at Kingsway & 11th Avenue.
These contributions put the current City Council in a position of perceived or real conflict of interest.
2. COPE will ban corporate donations to political parties.
COPE will continue to pressure the province to enact municipal campaign finance reform and ban corporate and union donations in municipal elections. In the interim, a COPE Council will instruct staffers to provide donation information on relevant staff reports.
Under this new process:
- Submissions to Council will be prefaced with a list of relevant donations to members of office and their endorsing political parties.
- COPE Councillors will pressure recipients of such donations to recuse themselves from the decision making process.
On November 7th, 2014 COPE recommended to the Special Committee on Local Elections Expense Limits the following reforms to the Local Elections Act:
- Contribution limits that replicate those of the City of Toronto
- $2,500 for mayoralty candidates
- $750 for councillor or trustee candidates;
- Banning contributions to mayor and council candidates from corporations;
- Prohibiting numbered companies and holding enterprises that camouflage the identify of donors;
- The institution of tax credits or rebates for municipal campaign contributions.
3. COPE will create an Anti-Corruption Office
COPE will create an independent Anti-Corruption Office to investigate and enforce high standards of openness, fairness, and integrity at City Hall.
A COPE City Council will institute strict rules for all civic bodies, ensuring that:
- Residents will have complete, timely, and understandable information about upcoming meetings, resolutions, and decisions;
- The public is informed of the justification for, and results of, in-camera sessions;
- the details of competitive bidding processes, and of grant competitions, are available to the public after those processes are concluded, and exceptions to those processes are revealed promptly;
- Residents will be able to easily find detailed information on the activities of lobbyists at City Hall, as this information will be transparently available to the public;
- Strong penalties will be imposed on those who violate these rules.
The Anti-Corruption Office will have a mandate to proactively investigate instances and appearances of conflicts of interest, corruption, and unnecessary secrecy. It will also respond to complaints regarding the appearance of irregularities, political interference, or political favouritism in city hiring processes, bidding processes, granting processes, issuing of permits and licences, and the actions of all elected and appointed civic bodies.
4. A Pay Decrease
Earlier this year, Vancouver's City Council gave themselves a raise. COPE council candidates pledge to roll back the mayor and council’s salary increase and take a further 15% cut in salary, in solidarity with the movement for a living wage.
On September 25th, COPE mayoral candidate Meena Wong announced COPE’s plan to give Vancouver a raise. A living wage in Vancouver is $20.10, according to the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. COPE’s platform calls for immediate implementation of a living wage for city workers and city contractors and a program to phase in a local minimum wage of $15 per hour, starting with big chain hotels and big box stores.