Here is a summary of organizational and governance-related information of Vancouver civic parties currently in power or who have announced candidates for the November election (info is our best available as of June 25, 2014 — to be updated). This is important public information for transparency and accountability. These organizations seek the privileges and powers of public office — to decide on behalf of society — so the public is right to be curious about how they are structured and operate. We expect Vision Vancouver to uphold the highest standard due to its absolute control of City Council (it has 73% of voting power on Council, despite winning only 12.5% of eligible votes in 2011 election — but that is another story). But many people may be disappointed, and mystified, to discover that it is exceedingly secretive. Green Party of Vancouver and COPE deserve high marks for transparency, as names of their full executive are posted online, constitution and bylaws are readily available, and they provide direct contact info to top execs. COPE wins an extra star for even posting its past election platforms in their entirety for the past three election cycles.
Vision Vancouver (www.votevision.ca)
- Executive/Board: Maria Dobrinskaya (Co-Chair Internal), Paul Nixey (Co-Chair External), Opreet Kang (Treasurer), Clay Suddaby (Membership Secretary), Wei Qiao Zhang (Recording Secretary), Dean Alexander, Martha Burton, David Eaves, Bob Ip, Jody Jollimore, Brittney Kerr, Ninh Nguyen, Sheena Sargeant
Mike Soron (list is from new web page that appeared online late on 26-Jun-2014. All governance information had disappeared from Vision’s website. Note that Vision’s site provides no info about directors other than the name, in contrast to COPE, which provides detailed bios.)
- Constitution: Not posted online, but we have our archived version. Vision Vancouver Constitution, UNDATED maybe 2013. Not sure if this is current. Vision Vancouver has not responded.
- Election promises/platforms: 2011 platform has been removed from their website, but it is still available here (http://www.scribd.com/mobile/doc/73147464 — posted by The Georgia Straight). Previous platform, which CityHallWatch kept as archive (no longer available from Vision Vancouver): Vision Vancouver platform 2008 election. These platforms are useful for anyone to compare election promises with outcomes.
- Voting behaviour and caucus meetings: In practice, during 2008-2011 and 2011-2014 council terms, Vision Councillor consistently votes as a bloc, apparently based on decisions made in caucus meetings.
- Community-level organization: Admits to having local “caucuses” in at least the four neighbourhoods recently undergoing community planning (West End, Marpole, Grandview-Woodland and Downtown Eastside), but does not disclose activities or names of their representatives. Some are known to actively intervene at as public speakers to City Council or Public Hearings, without disclosing the fact they they are actually part of the Vision Vancouver organization.
- Campaign contribution policy: No stated policy. No limits. Any person, company, union, or organization from anywhere in the world can donate an unlimited amount of money to Vision Vancouver.
- Executive/Board (http://npavancouver.ca/npa-team/board-of-directors/): Peter Armstrong (President), Rob Macdonald (Vice President), Jason King (Treasurer), Katerina Anastasiadis (Under 40 Chair), Mark Angus, Rob Boyko, Gurjit Dhillon, Nicola Fairweather, Susan Gagnon, David Gratton, Peter Kvarnstrom, Tim Laidler, Tanveer Siddiqui
- Constitution: We have obtained a 2012 constitution. Not sure if this is the current one, as NPA amended it on December 11 of that year, though it could be found on the NPA website. Will will confirm, but for the moment, here is the version we have: NPA Constitution 2012-OCR
- Election promises/platforms: Principles and goals are published – http://npavancouver.ca/about-us/principles-goals/. We have saved the NPA platform from the 2011 election campaign: NPA_platform_WEB, 2011
- Voting behaviour and caucus meetings: In past regimes (e.g., under Mayor Sam Sullivan) the NPA voted just as Vision Vancouver does now. Bloc voting was by the majority, based on private caucus meetings. Current two councillors in office sometimes vote differently.
- Community-level organizing: None at present, as far as we know.
- Campaign contribution policy: To be added.
Green Party of Vancouver (www.vangreens.ca)
- Executive (http://www.vangreens.ca/contact): Jacquie Miller (Chairperson), Don Barthel (Vice Chairperson), Paul George (Secretary), Jordan Bober (Membership and Communications), John Whistler (Treasurer). At-Large Directors: Kevin Dale McKeown, Louise Boutin, Steve Kisby, Regan-Heng Zhang, Sid Hayes, Jordana Dhahan. Note that Vancouver Greens even provide direct phone numbers for top executives.
- Constitution and bylaws: Available in full for download here: http://www.vangreens.ca/documents
- Voting behaviour: Only one councillor currently on Council. Has a reputation for voting closely with the community sentiments.
- Community-level organizing: Not known. To be confirmed.
- Campaign contribution policy: It looks like Vancouver Greens are the best in the class, with a formal policy published: http://www.vangreens.ca/donation_policy. The gist is …(1) accepts amounts from any one individual to a maximum $5,000 annually, (2) will not knowingly accept donations from property development companies and corporations in the fossil fuel sector, including donations from those corporations’ CEOs, owners, executive and board members, (3) limits donations to a maximum of $5,000 annually from any non-profit society, union and non-prohibited corporation, (4) accepts donations only from Canadian sources, and (5) Executive reserves the right to review and prohibit other donations.
COPE (http://cope.bc.ca). See our post on the 2014 AGM here. https://cityhallwatch.wordpress.com/2014/07/06/cope-agm-new-board_platform/. Information below will be updated soon.
- Executive (http://cope.bc.ca/about/our-executive-board/): Tim Louis (External Chair), Maria Wallstam (Recording Secretary), Heather Gies (Corresponding Secretary), Gretchen Dulmage (Membership Secretary), Paul Houle (Treasurer), Maureen Bourke (Fundraiser), Ifny Lachance (Member-at-Large), Anita Romaniuk (Member-at-Large), Tristan Markle (Member-at-Large), Wilson Munoz (Member-at-Large), Maria Melendez (Member-at-Large). Note that COPE provides detailed info on each member, including when they started on Board. They also even provide a list of office staff members.
- Constitution: Full text is available online here: http://cope.bc.ca/about/our-constitution/
- Election promises/platforms: COPE has a policy page (http://cope.bc.ca/policy/), is very transparent in reporting on its 2014 policy conference (http://cope.bc.ca/cope-policy-conference-quarterly-general-meeting/) including policy proposals and outcomes, and even lists past platforms (http://cope.bc.ca/policy/past-platforms/) going back three elections. This disclosure is best in class.
- Campaign contribution policy: The donate page (http://cope.bc.ca/donate/) says “We don’t accept donations from real-estate developers.”
Reporter Frances Bula shared the list of Vision Vancouver board members from Provincial records as of June 26, 2014, based on an online search or records: Martha Burton, Maria Dobrinskaya, David Eaves, Ross Gentleman, Naveen Girn, Bob Ip, Jody Jollimore, Opreet Kang, Brittney Kerr, Ron Laufer, Adrien Le, Ninh Nguyen, Paul Nixey, John Suddaby, Wei Qiao Zhang. We note that Naveen Girn is listed here as a director, but on June 22, he won the nomination to be one of four candidates for Park Board slate under Vision Vancouver. Vision mambers may wish to check for records as to whether he was formally removed from the Board before being nominated for public office, and whether all was done in compliance with the organization’s own constitution.