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Communists reclaim municipal government in Vancouver

November 18, 2002

In the dying days of last week’s Vancouver municipal election campaign, the Non-Partisan Association (NPA) unleashed a series of negative ads against the Coalition of Progressive Electors (COPE). In their 11th hour ad campaign, NPA members tried to link COPE to the former provincial NDP.

What a joke! For as bad as the British Columbia NDP is, it is not communist, and communism is what COPE is all about.

The landslide victory of Mayor Larry Campbell and his party, which all but wiped out NPA on council, is a throwback for democracy.

COPE won eight of 10 city council seats and also swept the park and school boards.

When COPE–originally known as Committee of Progressive Electors–was in its heyday in the early ‘80s, a huge public outcry, led by a Jewish rabbi, forced the news media to identify COPE for what is was, Communist.

Up until the public outcry, major media outlets referred to the group as left of centre.

In describing the COPE victory on the Globe & Mail’s Internet site on Sunday, reporter Jane Armstrong describes the party as "a left-of-centre party that has been shut out of power at city hall since its inception in the 1960s.

No mention from Ms. Armstrong that Committee of Progressive Electors is now Coalition of Progressive Electors.

No mention of COPE’s romp through the polls in the 1980s, or of its association with Toronto Councillor Jack Layton.

The re-emergence of COPE as a victor did not come without a touch of irony. Harry Rankin, COPE’s founder died last Tuesday, following heart surgery, at age 81.

Rankin, who signed up with the Seaforth Highlanders in World War II, took advantage of a federal program for war vets and attended the University of British Columbia at the end of the war.

"That," according to Allen Garr of the Vancouver Courier, "is where he joined the Communist Club and entered law.

Says Garr: "When he (Rankin) started running for city council, the province and the city were run by white guys of mostly British ancestry. The Socreds under W.A.C. Bennett were in Victoria and their soulmates, the Non-Partisan Association, represented by West side aldermen, ran the city for the benefit of the developers."

Rankin ran 11 times before he won in 1967. His intervention in Vancouver politics ultimately led to the creation of what is now the Police Complaints Commission.

Campbell, who entered a COPE-backed race, vowed to help the drug addicts of Vancouver’s infamous Downtown Eastside. A plank of his campaign was a promise to set up so-called safe injection sites where addicts can shoot up in a clean, supervised setting.

The resurrection in Vancouver is not the Communists only Canadian success story. Three avowed communist members are currently represented on the Toronto District School Board.

Canada Free Press founding editor Most recent by Judi McLeod is an award-winning journalist with 30 years experience in the print media. Her work has appeared on, Drudge Report,, Glenn Beck. Judi can be reached at: [email protected]

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