Year Zero

If the provincial Young New Democrats had their way, every Dunsmuir street and park in the province would be re-named after labour activist Ginger Goodwin. That was one of four resolutions passed by the youngsters at an annual general meeting and retreat held in Cumberland last month. According to meeting minutes leaked to Public Eye, the 20 Young New Democrats in attendance, including co-chairs Miriam Martin and Aaron O'Keefe, passed the resolution because British Columbia coal baron Lord Dunsmuir was an "oppressive, racist slave driver, union buster, and an all around excellent example of the Capitalist class." In another resolution, the Young New Democrats decided to eat their own and "criticize the poor leadership of the HEU, BC Fed, and the BC NDP" during the recent Hospital Employees' Union strike. The following is a copy of the Cumberland annual general meeting and retreat policy debate minutes.

Minutes of Policy Debate
Saturday, June 19th

In Attendance:

YND Members: Allyson Roussy, Shea Dewar, MacKenzie Orcherton, Aaron O’Keefe, Rebecca Goldstein, Ian Backus, Michelle Orzechowski, Mathieu Poirier, Dylan Hughes, Kerri Kenna, Chuck Plante, Linsie Landa, Chris Palecek, Brent MacVicar, Mike Palecek, Miriam Martin
Guests: Alex Grant, Rob Lyon, Cory Johnson, Angela Johnson.

Chair: Aaron O'Keefe
Minutes: Allyson Roussy

A. BC YND

1. Resolution on Annual Cumberland Event

Whereas there is a burning need for young British Columbians to learn their labour history and how to fight back against the corporate agenda; and,

Whereas the story of Ginger Goodwin and Miners’ Memorial Day are rich in lessons for working class activists;

Therefore be it resolved that the BC YND make the Cumberland Retreat an annual educational event, aimed at educating youth in labour history, socialist ideas, working class activism, and fight back strategies;

Therefore be it further resolved that from now on, a standing budget item of at least $1500 be allotted to this event, and that this amount increase proportionately to increases in the total BC YND budget;

Therefore be it further resolved that if the BC YND executive council has not delegated a committee to organize the event by March 1st, then a minimum of three interested rank and file members of the BC YND may take on the organizing of the event, with the funds allocated to it in the budget. In the event that more than one group expresses interest, all those committed to working to organize the event will form a committee and elect a committee chair.

Submitted by Miriam Martin

Seconded

Carried unanimously

2. Resolution on the Youth Rights Charter and Campaign

Whereas the BC Young New Democrats must attract new activists; and,

Whereas the BC Young New Democrats must have a clear statement of our principles in order to attract new activists; and,

Whereas the Youth Rights Charter is a clear statement of our principles; and,

Whereas the Youth Rights Charter and Campaign have received wide support in the YND and the NDP, including Provincial Council; and,

Whereas the BC YND is an autonomous body with its own constitution and program which may not contradict the provincial or federal parties’ constitutions and programs; and,

Whereas the Youth Rights Charter and Campaign in no way contradict the constitutions and programs of the provincial or federal NDP;

Therefore be it resolved that the executive be directed to proceed with the Youth Rights Campaign as planned.

Submitted by Brent MacVicar

Seconded

Carried

B. BC FIGHT BACK

1. Resolution on reversing Liberal attacks

Whereas the BC Liberals cut taxes to the rich and corporations by $2 billion, and to finance this tax cut, made cuts to every section of society, privatized, and ripped up collective agreements; and,

Whereas it is NDP Federal Platform to reverse the Federal Liberal corporate tax cuts; and,

Whereas we can only win a provincial election by giving concrete examples of how we are going to improve the lives of working class British Columbians; and,

Whereas nobody will bother voting NDP unless we stand by the positions that we held while in opposition;

Therefore be it resolved that the BC YND lobby the next BC NDP government to, at minimum, reverse all of the cuts and privatizations enacted by the BC Liberals;

Therefore be it further resolved that the BC YND lobby the BC NDP to campaign on this issue in the 2005 Election.

Submitted by Mike Palecek

Seconded

Carried

C. LABOUR

1. Resolution on the HEU Sellout

Whereas labour victories set precedents and have positive repercussions for the living standards of all working people, and labour defeats and sell-outs set negative precedents and serve to lower the living standards and working conditions of all workers; and

Whereas it is a basic tenet of union democracy that no contract is settled on until the workers involved get to vote on it; and

Whereas if workers were not prepared to defy unjust laws then we would not have Unions and democratic rights today;

Therefore be it resolved that the BC YND condemn the dictatorial actions of the Gordon Campbell Government;

Therefore be it further resolved that the BC YND strongly criticize the poor leadership of the HEU, BC Fed, and the BC NDP for being complicit in accepting an unacceptable deal without it being voted on by the workers themselves.

Submitted by Mike Palecek

Seconded

Amendment moved to separate first and second “be it resolved”.

Seconded

Defeated

Original motion:

Carried

D. BC GENERAL

Resolution on re-naming of Ginger Goodwin Way

Whereas Ginger Goodwin is infinitely more worthy of praise than Lord Dunsmuir, and yet there are Dunsmuir Streets throughout British Columbia; and

Whereas Lord Dunsmuir was an oppressive, racist slave driver, union buster, and an all around excellent example of the Capitalist class; and

Whereas the name of Ginger Goodwin represents the fight of thousands against this heartless oppressor for the cause of workers;

Therefore be it resolved that the BC YND lobby current and future governments to formally rename the highway formerly known as Ginger Goodwin Way "Ginger Goodwin Way";

Therefore be it further resolved that the BC YND lobby current and future governments that all Dunsmuir streets, roads, avenues, boulevards, parks etc be renamed "Ginger Goodwin" street, avenue, boulevard, park etc.

Submitted by Chris Palecek

Seconded

Carried

5 Comments

The Meeting That Nobody Wanted

The following e-mail was posted to the Young New Democrat listserv in May and argued that a general meeting should not be held during an election. Over the course of the debate, 21 Young New Democrats agreed it should be postponed while only 6 disagreed. The current Executive went ahead with the meeting anyway.

-----Original Message-----
From: Ryan Stewart [mailto:rks@novuscom.net]
Sent: May 31, 2004 2:31 AM
To: bcynd@yahoogroups.com
Subject: [bcynd] A General Meeting During the Campaign?!
Importance: High

Dear Members of the Executive and Young New Democrats:

I am writing to express my strong opposition to the decision to hold a major YND event in Cumberland on June 18th to 20th. This is just over a week before E-day in the most important federal election our party has seen in years! I would argue that the executive has not really 'compromised' by forcing Young New Democrats to choose between a big-budget YND event and helping their local candidate.

Differences aside, now is the time for New Democrats to turn our swords on the real enemies: Paul Martin's tired old Liberals, Stephen Harper's extremist Alliance-Conservative Party and turncoat former New Democrats like Ujjal Dosanjh, Shirley Chan and until recently YND Visible Minorities Coordinator Michael Hejazi (who is now managing a Green campaign).

I believe there is meaning in the statement that we are working to 'build a green and prosperous Canada that leaves no-one behind' and I question the commitment of those who choose to hold a party-funded event during an election. The BC NDP's provincial council meeting has been postponed, and here in Vancouver, even the non-affiliated Coalition of Progressive Electors has delayed its general meeting so its New Democrat activists can work on our campaigns. No, life doesn't stop when an election is called; but surely members of a national political party should get their priorities straight and work together to elect members of parliament!

'Life' will draw all of us away from our campaigns at some point during the current election. However, that does not justify the decision to proceed with a YND event that could easily be postponed.

I again urge the executive to reconsider its decision to hold a general meeting in the midst of an election that might leave our party holding the balance of power in a minority government.

I'll see you at the local campaign office.

In solidarity,

Ryan Stewart

That corporate agenda that they want to slash and burn: Would it be the same one that hires them and gives them jobs? Maybe they think grow-ops are the employement craze of the future?

God bless the Young New democrats. Keep up the great work kids! All British Columbians should ge given the opportunity to see what New Democrats really stand for.

The minutes are inaccurate I was not present for these resolutions and if I had been I would not have supported any of them. I appreciate the efforts of Ryan Stewart in the defence of all non-communist thinking young members of this party. I mean no disrespect to anyone with an individual ideological slant but when using funding received from the party, it is in the best interest of everyone involved to prevent this kind of divisive rhetoric. We are beginning to act like the federal liberals with this bitter infighting. The Young New Democrats should not be a vehicle from which to launch a socialist tirade on those the leadership finds repulsive. In this province, we are a party with strong governmental experience and are the only reasonable antidote to BCLiberals, with this in mind comes the responsibility to work in a united manor for the good of the province.

Dylan Hughes,

You speak of an "individual ideological slant" as if the democratization of large scale industry doesn't strike a note outside the YND, you're wrong sir.

You speak of "work in a united manor for the good of the province" but you neglect to see that a program for production of the needs of society on behalf of society rather than private individuals, is precicely the required prescription.

If "bitter infighting" ie: inner party democracy, is the only option for the YND to push forward policy alternatives, then get on with it!

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