A new collective comprised of a broad group of activists from diverse organizations in Vancouver, B.C. has been meeting over the past few months to bring radical politics back to the municipal arena. Calling themselves the Left Front, the collective intends to “connect social movements in order to affect policy and generate dialogue that reflects the realities of the renter-majority, marginalized communities and the working class living in one of the most unaffordable cities in the world.”

The Left Front is putting forward a diverse range of policy proposals at the Coalition of Progressive Electors’ (COPE) policy conference this Saturday March 29, where COPE members will vote on the municipal party’s November 2014 election platform.

Proposals include a Sanctuary City policy, municipal rent control, and allocating millions for investment in social housing. According to the socialist-leaning proposals, programs will be funded by development levies, significant tax increases on luxury properties, and municipal restructuring, including a transfer of funds away from police services and into essential social services.  

“We are from overlapping, yet different, social movements in the city,” says organizer Daniel Tseghay, “so the policies are coming out of real experiences of the effects of Vision Vancouver’s aggressive neoliberal agenda — an agenda which has established municipal austerity and gentrification-induced displacement, among other devastating effects.”

The group works and meets independent of parties, aligning itself with grassroots movements before political institutions, while striving to build lines solidarity with Indigenous struggles.

Additional proposals include a municipal minimum wage policy, better and more affordable public transit, and increasing the production and exchange of local food, among many others.

According to Left Front member Erica Holt, the group has produced concrete and informed policy proposals with real teeth.

“Our Rent Control policy, for instance, is a statement of principles, but it also outlines exactly how a progressive municipality would actually deliver rent control, implement real constraints on landlord profits at the municipal level,” says Holt. “Our End Renovictions policy is similarly strong on principle but also shows exactly how the city’s permitting department can intervene in the for-profit market.”

The Left Front is also endorsing candidates at COPE’s executive elections, also taking place this weekend, in order to amplify radical voices on the municipal’s party’s board. The candidates — who are also members of Left Front — include Maria Wallstam, Heather Gies, Maureen Bourke, and Riaz Behra.

Michael Stewart is a proud member of The Left Front.

Michael Stewart

Michael Stewart

Michael Stewart is the blogs coordinator at and a freelance writer. He is a bad editor, a PhD dropout and a union thug. He lives in Victoria, B.C. Follow him on Twitter @m_r_stewart