Friday, December 3, 2010

Holding breath and turning blue

Interesting discussions about NDP leadership are underway in online forums. Here, here, here, here, here, etc. Two party heavyweights, Paul Ramsey and Corky Evans entered the fray from different sides of the divide. Here, we examine the contributions of Mr. Evans.

Corky Evans says:
"The Provincial Council of the NDP is a wonderful institution.  . . . democracy inside the Party requires that constituencies have the right to run the Party and oversee it’s activities. In spite of the huge financial costs involved the NDP representatives of every constituency in the Province come together a few times a year to debate issues and hear reports from their committees and their Leader and to meet with their MLA’s."
Provincial Council debated issues and voted to support Carole James. The PC also decided not to consider urging the leader to reinstate ousted Bob Simpson. Using Corky's stated logic, we deduce that he believes dissidents should accept democratic results and return to allegiance.

Did they? No. The malcontents escalated their whining and Jenny Kwan took centre stage to demand an immediate party wide leadership vote. She flatly rejects the Council's decisions and its authority. To her, waiting for the scheduled 2011 leadership review is unacceptable and the entire process set in place by party members is unacceptable.

Despite Corky's alleged respect for the Provincial Council and for internal democracy, he thinks Kwan's ultimatum is the only way of resolving the leadership issue. He even blames James with "orchestrating the public division" of the NDP caucus and finishes with:
"As a citizen, I am hopeful that the democratic process in Canada is being reborn. As her friend and supporter, I will go where Jenny Kwan goes, come what may."
In other words, having refused to accept the rules previously established by the party and refusing to accept the 84% to 16% votes of the Provincial Council, or to be satisfied with a scheduled 2011 leadership review, Corky wants the position of the 16% rump to be operative. No matter what the vast majority of party members decide, Evans and Kwan remain an inseparable pair willing only to accept victory on their own terms. A win would be democratic, failure to win proves tyranny.

The only thing lacking is Evans' promise to hold his breath and stamp his feet until either he turns blue or the other side caves in to their wishes.

I've complimented Corky Evans here before and praised his political rhetoric. He demonstrates now that while his rhetoric may be effective, his judgement is faulty. That may be the reason he is retired from public office. Take for example, his complaint that Carole James orchestrated the public division of her Caucus. Except that Bob Simpson began this public division on October 6. I don't know who all was involved but I know that what followed was an orchestrated campaign aimed at embarrassing the leader. Go back in the archives of Public Eye Online and be aware that most of the negative stories about the NDP have been planted by opponents of James for their own purposes. Sean Holman didn't make those up out of thin air, nor did the Liberals offer the tidbits. Believe me, when inside information is offered to a reporter or blogger, that is done with an intended purpose.

Truth is this division within the NDP did not arise suddenly, nor was the October Williams Lake article Bob Simpson's first and only act of defiance. There have been internal problems known to many for a lengthy period. Although I criticize the dissidents for staying in caucus while being disloyal, I believe that James cannot survive any longer. She has had a crisis proportion internal division and been unable to manage the party out of it. She has had enough time so now must turn the job over to another. However, that new leader will face the same dissident minority. While the party selects a new leader, it needs to dump those who managed this revolt. A party cannot maintain within it a rump group that refuses to act in concert with the others. If dissidents cannot support their current party, they better move to another or run as independents.

After all, intellectual free agents may be the best component we could add to the legislature. I'd love to see people of principle sitting as Independent MLA's. Vicki Huntington of South Delta did that with honour. However, Kwan and her friends want to be independent of NDP leadership but still keep the guaranteed financial and voter support that comes with the party label.

Hypocrites!
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8 comments:

  1. I read your blog faithfully but I must disagree with you. Carol James has stayed too long. The view that I hear over and over again from the public for which all politicians are representing, is that they can not support Carol James and the NDP party she heads. There was also great proof of this when so many people stayed home and didn't vote. Campbell and his crew won by omission and it will happen again.
    The council/caucus must listen to the rumblings of the people. I know from much experience that it takes great guts to speak out in an environment of 'followers'
    Most people will stay in the safe zone.
    As far as I have observed people are madder then hell with the liberals but there is an unfortunate fever of thought that there is no viable alternative with James at the helm. I do not run in the NDP group perhaps you do.
    But if she does not understand that she is giving the votes to the liberals she needs to be educated.
    We all believed that the government would be different the last time around. At least there was not a thought of the overwhelming majority that these asshole won.
    I voted. I did not stay away but I do know far too many people that voted by sitting on their ass at home.
    To clarify I was a teacher who watched as these clowns systematically did and continue to do destroy the public education in this province. If you spoke out against injustice you were crucified. Not only by the liberals but by the followers who did not want their nice little boats rocked.
    So say what you will about discenters but I would like for you to recall some very brave people Galilio, Martin Luther King, JFK, Nelson Mandella, the lone protestor, so many more and ask yourself where would we be without their courage.
    Do we really believe that the world is better off with the likes of the followers of people like Hitler, Regean, Thatcher, Bush.
    James might be a nice women but she might as well be working for Campbell.

    ReplyDelete
  2. With respect, I think you miss my point. First, I too have concluded that James should be replaced by her party because she has been an ineffective Leader of the Official Opposition and been an ineffective political leader of the NDP. Her current problem with one third of her caucus proves that fact.

    I admire dissenters but it is hypocritical for the dozen people who were rebuffed in their effort to force James out to stay in the party for its benefits, publicly refuse to accept NDP policies and continue sniping at the leader. My point is they are welcome to do that but from outside the party, not inside.

    Personally, I've spoiled my ballot purposely a few times in recent elections because none of the candidates were acceptable. I despise what the Liberals are doing but I don't see a present alternative and that is a disaster. My hope is that ten or twelve strong Independents soon force the Liberals into a minority position by leaving the government benches. I believe a multi-party government could not impose unpopular policies (such as the present form of HST) that have had no public discussion.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Norm, thank you for responding. I see that I have spelled dissenter incorrectly but hey it is hard to type on an iPhone this late at night.
    With respect to you, as an individual not affiliated with any party except the one called the 'human race', I would only like to ask one question, if not from within where she must listen, (even thought she may not want to and uses the 'party line to not do so'), then from where? Inside. outside, Jenny Kwan et al are on the inside whether approved by caucus/council as they are NDP.
    I watched that press conference that James did with her follows behind her. Scary bunch, don't know or recognize any of them. Isn't that a statement about who the 'insiders' are?
    I really don't wish to make this an issue as I respect your writing and your point of view.
    I do believe however that you are or once were, an insider. I was just trying to point out the view from one who is really an 'outsider' and who has felt the wrath of liberals.
    I left teaching and would not wish that profession on anyone. The liberals philosophy is that of Hitler's such that it is most beneficial to all unethical politicians to keep the people as stupid as possible. Break the system and it is achieved.
    Thanks again for all your work.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I appreciate your point of view and it helps me organize my own thoughts. I have not been an insider of any political party. As a youth I was attracted to the Liberal Party under Lester Pearson and then Pierre Trudeau. Two friends spent time in the office of Ministers in Ottawa so I've a little outdated knowledge from that. I worked on provincial campaigns was one of MP Paul St. Pierre's campaign managers in a federal election. I had high personal regard for him. I think he left politics because he could not take the intellectual dishonesty and the self serving objectives of almost everybody around him. Those are the reasons I left the Liberal Party of Canada.

    I didn't lose my interest in politics - I studied Political Science at UBC long ago - only in parties as they exist. I have concluded that government is managed entirely for special interests with very little idealism involved. The only way that democracy can survive in a meaningless way is for real reform. At the heart of reform, we must have absolute transparency, near complete freedom of information and more meaningful roles for individual elected members. All of that will be for nothing unless we have change in media.

    There is more commentary (like this site and other good blogs) but almost no one is doing independent investigation and detailed reporting. We need to find a way to fund a non-profit investigative journalism project like ProPublica in the USA. They had a very wealthy couple pledge $10 million a year for five years and then they recruited top young talent and focus their inquiries. We need that kind of operation in BC to dig through the layers of cover to find real facts about public business.

    Example, I feel certain that a skilled researcher following the ownership trails of ex BC Rail lands would discover major scandal.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Provincial council doesn't represent the members of the party; they represent their own best interests.

    They sure don't represent me or others I know who have been, in the past, members of Provincial Council.

    Rump? I don't think so. Sick and tired of having a leader who doesn't do her job, lead.

    ReplyDelete
  6. The provincial council don't have to answer to the public. They are not elected, but loyal NDP'ers. If the NDP had a representative that brings to the table the thoughts of the voters, then maybe Carole would leave as that person would have a lot to say. That is what this is about. She does not have voter appeal. That is what some people are trying to tell her. Why keep and support Carole knowing this?

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  7. I agree that Carole James is finished as NDP leader but I suspect the Official Opposition is finished as a viable alternative to the Liberal Government. A new leader will have to rebuild the party and that will take time.

    The NDP dissidents have succeeded in kneecapping Carole James but they presented the next election to the BC Liberal Coalition which will soar like a falcon.

    ReplyDelete
  8. "Personally, I've spoiled my ballot purposely a few times in recent elections because none of the candidates were acceptable."

    Wow, I'm really impressed with your "grown up" attitude- maybe if we get everybody to be like you I CAN BE KING!

    ReplyDelete

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