Why Young New Democrats don't go to convention to get laid

In the next election, provincial New Democrat leader Carole James will try convincing British Columbians like you and me that her party represent a moderate, fiscally responsible alternative to the Liberals, unless, of course, its members get in the way. Unlike the federal Liberals, whose internal donnybrooks often have more to do with power than policy, the New Democrats - and the Conservatives, for that matter - actually have scraps about what their parties stand for.

The battle lines are usually drawn between the moderates (who might form government) and the traditionalists (who, to put it politely, stand less of a chance of forming government). With a few exceptions, the moderates currently seem to have the keys to the New Democrats' executive washroom. But more importantly, they're also holding the pen that's writing most of James' speeches and filling in her itinerary.

Consider, for example, her recent speech to the Coalition of British Columbia Businesses, where she promised to "ensure there are balanced budgets" and listen to the business community. But, of course, not every New Democrat wants their leader to chart a centrist course.

Among those who would prefer to be sailing through less electable waters: the Young New Democrats. The youngsters have written a charter described on one leftie Internet message board as "an antidote to Carole James cozying up to business."

That Youth Rights Charter is a wish list that includes demands for everything from free public transit for the twentysomething and below set to free post-secondary education. And here's the kicker: the Young New Democrats don't just want to raise taxes to pay for these more than modest proposals.

According to the charter, "Canada is a rich country. If the wealth were spread out evenly, each family would be worth $315,996. What we need is a democratic economy where decisions on what is needed are made by the people and not by the corporate elite." That's one step away from calling on the workers of the world to unite and seize the means of production.

The proposal would be comical if it wasn't such a threat to the James' moderation scheme. Just look at what happened when the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives released its tax-and-spending-spree alternative provincial budget.

The centre may not be directly affiliated with the New Democrats, but that didn't stop Liberal backbenchers from calling it the Carole James budget and blasting it in the legislature. So just think of all the fun they'd have with a document that actually had the words New Democrat somewhere in its title?

Well, it seems party officials were thinking along similar lines, even before the CCPA budget became an issue. So when the New Democrat's provincial council voted to endorse the charter 14 months ago, it did so "pending the approval of the Policy Review Committee."

Some of those officials say the idea was to let that committee iron out the more radical kinks in the charter before the party had to publicly wear it. But no amount of steam from the policy review committee could straighten out the Young New Democrats and their perma-wrinkle document.

According to a letter from the youth executive dated July 22 and leaked to the Times Colonist, its members rejected proposals to water down the charter or turn it into a less authoritative statement of principles. Instead, without the party's endorsement, they went ahead and posted the charter on their Web site, ignoring suggestions from officials to label it a work-in-progress. And now the Young New Democrats are demanding party president Jeff Fox hand over the money they need to print and promote the charter.

The friction between the youth wing and the senior provincial council, however, may only be a temporary problem. The Young New Democrats hold their annual convention in October. The wing's co-chairs, who have been supporting the charter, aren't expected to run for re-election. And there's a good chance the moderates may end up taking over.

However, some of the more radical candidates who are seeking nominations for the next election won't be as easy to deal with. And so far, James has been reluctant to take them behind the woodshed. But she'll need to use a paddle sooner or later, lest her own supporters tank the party's chances of appearing moderate and fiscally responsible.

13 Comments

An absolutely awesome column and if the moderates do take over then what?The Green party platform is already somewhat moderate,so why vote for a moderate version of the NDP when you can get the real thing in the Greens.This next year is going to get real interesting!

The Green Party's platform isn't moderate. Beyond proportional representation and the environment, its non existent. In alot of ways the Green Party is right of the neo conservative BC Liberals. For example, one of their brainy ideas in regards to the softwood lumber dispute (in a province dependant on trade) is to lock the borders off and stop the trading of lumber to the US. Hmmm build a firewall around the province of BC. Doesn't this rhetoric sound familiar (Stephen Harper).

Somehow, they figure that the market will industry will sustain itself on only domestic usage and production of the product. In the last election, people disaffected with the shenanigans going on within the BCNDP parked their votes with the Green Party. They were actively courted to do so by Canworst Gliberal and the BC Liberal party, in much the same message Mr. Bridge has been on this site touting.

One other thing about the Greens being somewhat moderate. I think people are fooled into thinking that the Green Party of BC and Canada is associated with the Worldwide Green Party Movement, when in fact the Canadian arm has cut their ties to the global movement. Adrianne Carr is not the leader of the provincial version of the party you see in europe and australasia. She's the leader of a party in a lot of ways right of Campbell.

Stephen Harper is a moderate,wait and see!

Kegler...If you or any other New Deomcrats think there is anyone in the province stupid enough to believe that the Green Party is to the right of the BC Liberals then....Hey wait a minute!

Oh, I get it this argument is aimed at New Democrats who may have drifted into the Green Party camp. Well, to be fair New Democrats probably are stupid enough to believe that.

Right on John..It's just like gopher bashin at the PNE

An Open Letter to Sean Holman

Hi Sean:

I just read your TC article re the BC Young New Democrats and their Youth Rights Charter. I don't accept your description of Miriam Martin et al as "traditionalists" and the rest of us as moderates". Ms. Martin and her clique have utopian ideals that they believe are not shared by other Young New Democrats. This belief fuels their incredible paranoia about the rest of the party (especially the evil 'party brass') being out to get them. However, the paranoia among the lefter-than-thou crowd really springs from their record of inaction at the helm of the YND and their inability to translate a single one of their Trotskyite ideals into anything relevant to the British Columbians who are being hurt by Gordon Campbell.

We so-called "moderates" are in fact strongly committed to social democracy, and some like me self-identify as democratic socialists. We just happened to notice when the Iron Curtain fell. We are also aware that most British Columbians aren't ready to cast off the shackles of capitalism for the revolutionary dream world that Ms. Martin seems to think is a mere rally or two away.

Instead, we put forward ideas that are both principled and practical, and that stand a chance of making a difference in the lives of ordinary people. Instead of fighting one another, we're fighting Gordon Campbell. Unless and until Ms. Martin gives up her moral crusade to join the growing movement to defeat the BC Liberals and elect the NDP, she will remain on the sidelines. As a "traditionalist" New Democrat, I'm not sure that's such a bad thing.

Sincerely,

Ryan Stewart
Candidate for Co-Chair
BC Young New Democrats

Any "traditional" NDP ideas are bad things.( See taxing of corpses by your "traditional" Federal NDP leader who you will no doubt "traditionaly" bring in during the next election).

C'mon Jeff, we in BC already pay a death tax. Its called probate. Many of us however were shaking our heads at the proposed inheritance tax. I, along with alot of other New Democrats cringed when that statement was made. I mean, its not like the Conservatives under Mulroney bragged they were going to institute a Goods and Services Tax on anything and everything, plus a surtax on federal income taxes, or the Liberals federally with their Red Faced Book and provincially with their New Era of Breaking Promises booklet, came out and announced possible new tax regimes during a campaign. After all, wasn't it Kim Campbell who said "An election is no time to debate the issues." ?

And John... maybe you should study statements made by Adrienne Carr and some of the rather obnoxious policy statements (ie the softwood lumber solution of the Greens) made during the recently held federal election. As is percieved in Canada, the labour movement is to the left of the spectrum and business is to the right. Well the Greens have no use for the labour movement (and I'm not just talking about CUPE, BCGEU and HEU... traditional pains to the BC Liberals.) In a province whose economy is resource based, they would put a closed for business sign on BC.

The myth perpetrated by both CanWorst Gliberal and Bill "No" Good and his ilk, is that the Greens are a place for those on the centre left to park their vote, should they not like the NDP. Fact is, other than proportional representation and some environmental issues, the Greens and NDP have nothing in common. And as for the party being the same as it was in 2001, well if you want evidence that a party can change direction, just look at the BC Liberals. Under Gordon Wilson, they achieved opposition status in BC as a centre-ist alternative to the pendulum politics of Socred/NDP. And though they are still called BC Liberals, they are no where near the centre position they occupied under Wilson. Campbell has taken them into Conservative Reform Alliance Party (CRAP) territory, as evidenced by his divisive, combative form of governing, not too mention the stupidity and moronic thinking of some of his backwards policies (see offshoring of building of 3 ferry boats).

Mr. Holman,

As the unapologetically radical co-chair of the BC-YND, I am writing to thank Sean Holman for his witty and mostly accurate article “Young NDPers take on the status quo”. We only regret that the NDP Provincial Executive leaked our document before our members had a chance to read it. Regardless, we are happy you have publicized our campaign.

We call on all youth who are fighting for an end to war, quality jobs, free quality education, freedom from harassment, environmental sustainability, and all of the points in our Youth Rights Charter to join the Youth Rights Campaign, join the NDP, and join us in our fight for the implementation of these rights. The left wing of the BC Young New Democrats is committed unapologetically to defending the rights of working people. Unlike some young members who seek careers with the party, we will not compromise this position. Considering that the membership of the NDP Youth has tripled since this executive was elected, we’ll see at our convention in October just how “unelectable” radicals are.

Workers of the world unite!

In Solidarity,

Miriam Martin
BC YND Co-Chair

membership in the party has grown a lot in the past year. i doubt that the radical ynd executive can take credit for it. they couldn't organize a bowel movememt.

Do allmemebers of the BC YND wake up and bow at a statue of Lenin every moring?

Miriam, I hate to break it to you but you're about 50 years or so too late, and on the wrong side of the world. I mean, "worker's of the world unite"? What year DO you think it is?Perhaps you would have better luck in China or North Korea - at least you would be able to see the "glory" of a communist state.

Thankfully the vast majority of young BC voters have the intelligence and common sense to see your group for what it is and how absolutely ridiculous, and scary, your ideas really are.

Good luck out there 'comrade'

Perhaps it is toomuch to expect citizens to all begin with zero and end with zero.
Or is merit not lauded now hmmm?
why should I be forced to compete with generations of accumulated wealth?
REminds one of the consequences of accumulated wealth isolating the elites till they tumble[RE english aristocracy and how that went not so well]
So those who benefit by birth to rich antecedants win a large piece of the pie,
Sounds amazingly like turdeau's family trust arrangement to keep the rich to support him.
A twenty year arrangement that Mr.C's gov't extended for yet another twenty years to great celebration in the manses of westmount,by the way all taxation can be avoided if an estate is kept in a family trust and not disbursed so the investment can still be kept in non taxable area but affect outside investment.
Pretty kewl eh?
Unfortunately all canadians do not have access to this peach of a tax avoidance deal.
YEs Virginia there's a Santa Claus ,the rich will always be with us.
Guess who is Santa now?

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