Trouble in Pleasantville

Public Eye has learned the provincial New Democrat's Delta North constituency association, at this hour, is ignoring an order from the party executive to cancel their nomination meeting, which is scheduled to be held this evening. The president of that association, Ernie Fulton, is also saying the executive improperly approved Sukhinder Sandhu, a taxi driver, as one of the riding's nomination candidates. And he seems to have concerns with the validity of some of Mr. Sandhu's membership sign-ups.

According to an email written by Mr. Fulton and leaked to Public Eye, Mr. Sandhu filed a formal complaint with New Democrat provincial secretary Gerry Scott late last month. In that complaint, the cabbie stated he "had not been informed seven days in advance of the meeting at which (the constituency association) intended to set a date for (North Delta's) nomination meetings." On the basis of that complaint, it seems the party executive voted to cancel the nomination meeting.

But the riding's constituency association president claims Mr. Sandhu was informed - even though he may not even be an official candidate. According to Mr. Fulton, the executive approved the cabbie without Mr. Sandhu having filled the submitted the proper forms. And Mr. Sandhu's letter of intent, submitted to the constituency association, stated he was looking to run in "Pleasantville" not Delta North. Pleasantville is the name of the constituency association used on the party's sample letter of intent.

Mr. Fulton then goes onto point out party rules required Mr. Sandhu to address any complaints about the nomination process to the association before going to the executive. As a result, he questions whether the executive has the authority to cancel the nomination meeting. And he asks that all these complaints be discussed at the next provincial council meeting.

Mr. Fulton also writes the constituency association is concerned Mr. Sandhu's supporters include "people he signed up all having only one address, a postal box in Delta. Also his nominators and himself. They seem to have all signed their papers the day before the membership list shows them as members."

The following is a complete copy of Mr. Fulton's emails, which were posted on the Sunrise listserv.

***

----- Original Message -----

From: "Arlene Todd"
To: "Alan Ward"
Sent: Sunday, November 14, 2004 8:00 PM
Subject: Delta North's right to hold nomination meeting on approved date

Alicia, as Provincial Council Delegate, please and your name and distribute to appropriate recipients.

-----

Ernie Fulton
President, Delta North NDP Constituency

Dear Ernie,

On learning of the situation facing your constituency with respect to your upcoming nomination meeting, which had been approved by the Provincial Executive, please accept our support and solidarity. It seems quite odd that a party perceiving itself as democratic, and thus bound by its own Constitution, should act arbitrarily and contravene the Articles of the NDP Constitution.

The Vancouver Kingsway Executive supports the executive of Delta North and your membership in seeking the respect that this constitution demands and that its officers must honour. Please allow us to assist by any means available to us.

Yours truly,
Arlene Schimmelpfennig
president, Vancouver Kingsway NDP

Alicia Barsallo
Provincial Council Delegate, Vancouver Kingsway NDP

----- Original Message -----
From: "Ernie Fulton"
Sent: Thursday, November 11, 2004 3:09 PM

To Provincial Council Executive,

Our Delta North NDP Constituency have a number of complaints concerning the actions of the Provincial Office and the Provincial Executive. At issue is the fact that one member has not been required to follow the rules and guidelines regarding provincial candidate nomination.

The candidate did not file any of the four pieces of the required candidate nomination package until the 2nd November 2004. However, he was approved as a candidate by the Provincial Executive on the 3rd August 2004. When he did present them to me on the 2nd November 2004 his letter of intent is addressed to the President of Pleasantville, (the sample letter), which is the constituency he says he wants to be a candidate in.

Fulfill the requirements under 7. Candidate Rights as stated on page 5 of the nomination package.

Address his complaints to our constituency association first, before having it dealt with by the Provincial Executive as required under article 9.07 of our Constitution

The Provincial Executive then passed a motion to cancel our nomination meeting that is scheduled for the 17th November 2004. The meeting has been approved for that date and the notices mailed out.We question where they have the authority at any time to cancel a meeting they have already approved, but especially when they did not give our Constituency association the opportunity to resolve the complaint, as is required in article 9.07 of our Constitution.

I would like the problems outlined above to be put on the agenda for discussion at the next provincial Council meeting in December so that our constituency can return to fighting the liberals instead of our Provincial Office and Provincial Executive.

I have enclosed some of the letters that have been going back and forth between Jeff Fox and I over the last few weeks starting with my latest one to him last night.

Sincerely,

Ernie Fulton
President
Delta North NDP
Constituency Association

-----

10 November, 2004

Jeff Fox, President
BC New Democratic Party
3110 Boundary, BCV5M 4A2

Dear President,

On the 5th November, 2004, I filed a formal complaint to you pointing out a specific violation of Article 1X of the BC NDP Constitution.This complaint did not contain the remedy sought as per article 16.04 of our Constitution so on the 9th November, 2004 I refiled the same complaint but this time with the remedy sought added.

Today I received an e-mail from you informing me of a provincial executive's decision which appears to involve my formal complaint to you filed on the 5th and 9th November, 2004. Article 16.05 of our Constitution requires explicit steps to be taken by you, before this complaint can be referred to the Provincial Executive.

So please advise me if you are going to abide by the BC NDP Constitution by taking the first step required, which is for you or persons appointed by you to meet with me and endeavour to achieve an amicable settlement as per article 16.05 of our Constitution.

If you believe I am wrong on any of my understanding of our constitution involving prospective candidate's requirement, how complaints are processed, what the provincial executive's mandate is or anything else you believe I am wrong in, please tell me. But, and this is a very big but, please show me where I am wrong by referring me to the appropriate clause in our Constitution.

Sincerely,

Ernie Fulton
President
Delta North NDP
Constituency Association

-----

From: "Fox, Jeff"
To: "Ernie Fulton"
Cc: "Gerry Scott"
Date: Wed, 10 Nov 2004 08:29:50 -0800

Subject: FW: delta north letter

Dear Ernie,

The Provincial Executive discussed your submissions at length and considered all of the points that you raised in your submissions of October 31, November 5 and November 9 as well as your verbal presentation.

In the end the following motions were passed: "That the Provincial Executive re-affirm its decision to rescind the Delta North nomination date of November 17th, 2004" and "That written notification go to all Delta North members from the Provincial NDP informing them that the November 17th nomination meeting is cancelled and that automated phone call follow to all members." By way of copies of this letter, I am also informing all three declared candidates of this decision.

I want to also inform you that the Provincial Executive remains committed to working with the Executive and membership of Delta North to secure an outcome which maintains the strong electoral opportunity for your constituency and our Party as we work towards May 17, 2005.

Yours truly


Jeff Fox, President

CC. Provincial Executive

-----

9th November, 2004

Jeff Fox, President
BC New Democratic Party
3110 Burnaby, BC V5M 4A2

Dear President,

I herewith file a formal complaint of a violation of Article 1X 9. 07 of the BC NDP Constitutional Provisions For Nominations

The violation is as follows.

On Thursday 21st October 2004 Jerry Scott received a formal complaint from Sukh Sandhu concerning the nomination process in Delta North.

Article 1X 9. 07 of the BC NDP Constitutional Provisions For Nominations states: Notwithstanding the provisions of Article 16, complaints arising from the conduct of Nominating Conventions for public office shall be referred first to the Constituency Executive.

Article 16 reads: Complaints about the nominating process that cannot be
resolved by the local rules and procedures committee, and/or Constituency Association Executive, shall be referred to the Provincial Executive as outlined in Article 9.07 of the BC NDP Constitution.

Sukh Sandhu, Jerry Scott as the provincial sectary, You, Jeff Fox the Provincial President, and the Provincial Executive did not follow this procedure.

This refusal to follow the proper provisions for formal complaints resulted in the Provincial Executive ruling on a complaint they had no authority to rule on.

The remedy sought: Declare the decision of the provincial executive to cancel the Delta North NDP Constituency Association of 17th November 2004 null and void, and have any complaint regarding nominations go through the procedural rules as required in Article 1X (9.07) of the BC NDP Constitution.

Sincerely

Ernie Fulton
President
Delta North NDP
Constituency association

Cc Gerry Scott
Carol James

-----

5th November, 2004

Jeff Fox, President
BC New Democratic Party
3110 Burnaby, BC V5M 4A2

Dear President,

I herewith file a formal complaint of a violation of Article 1X . 07 of the BC NDP Constitutional Provisions For Nominations

The violation is as follows.On Thursday 21st October 2004 Jerry Scott received a formal complaint from Sukh Sandhu concerning the nomination process in Delta North.

Article 1X 9. 07 of the BC NDP Constitutional Provisions For Nominations states: Notwithstanding the provisions of Article 16, complaints arising from the conduct of Nominating Conventions for public office shall be referred first to the Constituency Executive.

Article 16 reads: Complaints about the nominating process that cannot be resolved by the local rules and procedures committee, and /or Constituency Association Executive, shall be referred to the Provincial Executive as outlined in Article 9.07 of the BC NDP Constitution.

Sukh Sandhu, Jerry Scott as the provincial sectary, You, Jeff Fox the
Provincial President, and the Provincial Executive did not follow this procedure.

This refusal to follow the proper provisions for formal complaints resulted in the Provincial Executive ruling on a complaint they had no authority to rule on.

Sincerely

Ernie Fulton
President
Delta North NDP
Constituency association

-----

Reply To All
From: Nikki Hill
To: "Ernie Fulton"

Date: Tue, 9 Nov 2004 16:35:13 -0800

Subject: Approval of Sukhjinder Sandhu

Dear Ernie,

Please accept this email as confirmation of the August 3, 2004 Provincial Executive approval of Sukhjinder Sandhu as a candidate for nomination in Delta North who has met all the requirements of a candidate for nomination in the BC NDP.

Sincerely,


Nikki

Nicola Hill
Director of Organization
BC New Democrats
(604) 430-8600, ext 258
-----

31st October, 2004

Jeff Fox, President
BC New Democratic Party
3110 Burnaby, BC V5M 4A2

Dear President,

Our constituency association hereby request reconsideration of the Decision by the provincial executive on the 30th October, 2004 to cancel our nomination meeting scheduled for the 17th November, 2004. There are a number of reasons for this request one of which is the informal and improper way one candidate was approved as a declared candidate in our constituency.

It is not equitable for the provincial executive to require a very formal procedure for notifying candidates of meetings while at the same time not following this formal process themselves.

In this instance, approval of a candidate, Mr. Suk Sandu, was given on
The 26th July, 2004 without Mr. Sandu or the provincial executive having followed the procedures required at that date. Our contention is, if the executive did not make Mr. Sandu follow the four very explicit steps in the approval process they should not cancel our nomination meeting just because we did not inform him in writing of a meeting.

Conversely, If Mr. Sandu did not fulfill all the requirements to get approval he was not a declared candidate and did not have to be informed of any meetings whatsoever. In which case we should be allowed to proceed with our nomination meeting.

The approval process in effect on the 26th July, 2004 required all four (4) pieces of the required candidate nomination package to be submitted to the president of the provincial constituency association directly. This was not done. Next, the president of the association is responsible for submitting the completed package to the provincial office. As I did not receive any of these four (4) key components I did not submit anything on his behalf to the Provincial office.

The Provincial Candidate for Nomination Information Package election 2005 version: August 5, 2004 has a slight change in the wording regarding the approval process. However, with the same sample letter as before from the constituency association executive to the provincial council still in this August 5, 2004 version, any reasonable person would deduce the process is the same as it was previous to this date?

The sample letter already referred to also contains the wording in the last paragraph "Please advise me of the Provincial Executive's approval of these names". This wording along with the fact that I have received from the provincial office in writing, the names of two candidates who have received approval allows me to expect to be informed in writing of any other approved candidates in our constituency.

After receiving this written approval information I requested to be given the written approval information for Mr. Suk Sandu. This request by me to the provincial office was refused. So while I support the position that Mr. Sandu must be treated the same as the other candidates by our association and was, I contend he and the Provincial executive must also follow the same process for approval as the other candidates do.

Finally, regarding the letter of intent to seek nomination that Mr. Sandu gave for consideration to the Provincial Executive. Mr. Sandu does not state in that letter that he is seeking nomination in the Delta North NDP Constituency Association, which is our constituency. Mr. Sandu is seeking nomination in the Pleasantville NDP Constituency association.

It's difficult not to see the humor of the obvious mistake on his part of not understanding that this was a sample letter; however if we go a little deeper this mistake becomes more serious. Either Mr.Sandu did not pay enough attention to what he was doing when he and his nominators completed this very important letter, or he did not understand it. Either one of these mistakes are I think rather serious mistakes for someone to make that the Provincial executive gives approval to in one of the steps to being an MLA.

It is our contention that Mr. Sandu displayed this same lack of due diligence to listen, when he was informed on at least three occasions regarding our meetings.

Our meetings, and questions to me by the Provincial Executive regarding notification and Mr. Sandu's position on notification requirements to
candidates are also reasons I believe the decision on this issue should be reconsidered.

Mr. Sandu kept repeating that he had not been informed seven days in advance of the meeting at which we intended to set a date for our nominations. This I am sure prompted at least one board member to ask me if I had informed Mr. Sandu seven days in advance that we were having a meeting to set the date for our nominations. My answer to that question was "no." As we were told shortly after this question that we were finished I don't know how pivotal my answer was on your decision. However, assuming it was I would like to address it.

First, as we all know, what questions are asked is very important. Especially if they are closed questions that are best answered with a yes or no. This question and my answer could very easily leave one with the impression that we had not followed the regulations in Appendix A. Nominating Conventions: General Regulations when in fact we did. My explanation on this is as follows Section 9.0613. Of these regulations states: Candidates shall be given seven days notice of any Constituency Association meeting at which issues concerning the nomination are to be discussed. As can be seen it does not say "date for nominations" it, says "issues concerning the nominations". If the question had been "did you inform Mr. Sandu seven days in advance that we were having a meeting at which issues concerning the nominations were to be discussed" the answer would have been yes. The only question and the one on which I stand to be corrected on if necessary is, would more than seven days notice be ok?

Mr. Sandu was present at our Constituency meeting on the 7th September, 2004 when amongst other issues concerning nomination we set the date of 23rd October, 2004 for our nomination meeting. He spoke against our decision and participated in other discussions on nominations. He was not given seven days formal notice of any kind for this meeting, made no complaint regarding this, and did not tell us he had been approved by the provincial executive to stand as a candidate for nomination.

This meeting was the first time we had met him and at the end of the meeting we discussed part of what would be on the agenda for our next meeting scheduled for the first Tuesday in October. This included issues that we would have to address regarding the nomination meeting. So anyone attending this meeting knew without a doubt that we would be discussing the nomination meeting at the next months meeting.

Furthermore, the fact that we had a motion which was moved seconded and carried setting the nomination date ensured that nominations would be one of the issues discussed at the next meeting simply by the reading of the minutes from the previous meeting. At Bob Turners home on the 23rd September while we did not say we were going to set a new date for the nominations it was made very clear to him we would be discussing issues regarding the nominations. A person would have to be pretty stupid to think we would not be doing so at all our meetings leading up to nominations.

It is our opinion that having lost the numbers game Mr. Sandu is attempting to win on a technicality. If he had used the proper broader wording contained in 9:06, 13 of "issues concerning the nominations" instead of the more specific "setting the date for nominations" it would have been clear he was in fact given the required notification.

Mr. Sandu is hanging his hat on the wording "setting the date for nominations" He new very well what issues would be discussed as he was part of these issues. They included but were not limited to a number of people he signed up all having only one address, a postal box in Delta. Also his nominators and himself. They seem to have all signed their papers the day before the membership list shows them as members. He was specifically requested by Brenda Lenahan to provide information on these issues so they could be discussed at the October meeting.

In your telephone conversion yesterday you suggested all candidates for
nomination should be informed in writing seven days prior to any meeting at which issues concerning nominations are to be discussed. When Mr. Sandu telephoned me yesterday to inform me that the earliest he could meet with our executive would be next Friday, how did I assume this would be what he would say? I told him he was welcome to come to our regular meeting next Tuesday at which time we would be discussing nominations.

His immediate reaction was to inform me we couldn't do this, as he had to be given seven days notice. It would seem that I would, by his interpretation have to wait until next Friday to tell the executive of the decision of the Provincial Executive, cancel the nomination meeting, appeal the decision or have any other discussion on the nominations.

It is also quite clear that he can switch very quickly to the correct wording contained in the general regulations pertaining to this, depending on his needs.

Our position is he has had ample notification once again, that we will be making decisions on our nomination meeting at our regular meeting and are not limited in doing this by anything in the regulations. If however we decide to call a special meeting to do this we will give all the properly declared candidates seven days notification.

In closing I will say I hope there is a way to reverse this decision so
That we can have a worthy candidate who can win this constituency for us? Meanwhile we have no objection if you allow Mr. Sandu to run as a candidate in the constituency of Pleasantville.

Sincerely,

Ernie Fulton
President
Delta North NDP
Constituency Association

CC Carol James
Gerry Scott

2 Comments

Good job constituency association,it is a democratic party and we have a constitution to follow.Those rules exist in B C Liberals well there are no rules.What a perfect true example in the same cocstituency Gordo booted out Gurmant Grewal to have his friend Reni Masi run in 1996 election. Bally

Rumour has it that Gentner's running in May with or without the NDP nod. If the party's got half a mind, they'll figure out a way to keep Gentner in their camp. This election is pivoting on an edge right now, and it's going to turn either way based on a number of key Lower Mainland ridings. Besides doing whats right regarding the unethical and farsical mass sign-ups, why would Carole James and crew want to throw out a sure thing. It could mean the difference between winning and losing (coulda, shoulda!) Good luck Guy!

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