The British Columbia New Democrat's provincial executive has seized control of the Vancouver-Kingsway's upcoming Sunday nomination meeting, Public Eye has learned. According to emails leaked to us, the executive took charge following complaints by nomination candidates Adrian Dix and Shavinder Parmar that the riding's constituency association executive, which is controlled by their competitor Alicia Barsallo's Red Brigade, had treated them unfairly. The constituency's membership secretary Andrew Adler has also leveled a counter-complaint that there are "a number of anomalies" in the Vancouver-Kingsway membership list.
Those anomalies include "members claiming to live in one house, members claiming to live in houses that happen to be under construction, people 'sharing' a phone number but claiming to live in separate house and obvious duplication of names." Mr. Adler also notes "I happen to have access to a list of people signed up for the BC Liberal Vancouver-Kingsway nomination campaign before the 2001 election...Many of them are now members of the NDP. This would be reason for cheering, except that several were also members of the NDP for the 2001 Kingsway nomination campaign. It will be interesting to look at a list of current BC Liberal Vancouver-Kingsway members."
Ms. Barsallo, fellow nomination candidate Roberto Rous and the constituency association are opposing the provincial executive's decision to takeover the nomination meeting. And the association has withdrawn its support for the meeting "so as not to legitimize the undemocratic move of the BC NDP executive." But it will still be going ahead as planned. The following are copies of the emails leaked to Public Eye.
To Provincial Council Delegates / Constituency Association Presidents / NDP members
PROV. EXECUTIVE TAKES OVER VANCOUVER-KINGSWAY'S CREDENTIALS AND BALLOTING COMMITTEES
In an unprecedented move, the BC NDP provincial executive decided on the night of November 23 to replace the Vancouver Kingsway Credentials and Balloting committees with provincial executive controlled committees with no representation from the Kingsway executive. The move breaches Article 9.1 of the BC NDP constitution which gives the responsibility for running nomination meetings to local executives.
The unconstitutional Provincial Executive takeover of the credentials process amounts to a takeover of the ability to decide who should and should not vote at the Vancouver-Kingsway nomination meeting to take place at Windermere Secondary School on Sunday December 5th. The move is undemocratic and one that treads over constituency autonomy, a treasured grassroots empowering feature of the NDP.
Having lost its due right to look after the credentials and balloting processes, the Kingsway executive decided November 24 to take itself out of the process so as not to legitimize the undemocratic move of the BC NDP executive. They might as well take care of the coffee and the cookies, too," said Vancouver-Kingsway president Arlene Schimmelpfenning. "We consider this move by the provincial executive a move that violates our constituency's rights under the constitution." The Vancouver-Kingsway NDP nomination meeting will go ahead but it will be a meeting run by the provincial, and not by the local executive as provided by the BC NDP constitution.
The provincial executive decision followed the finding by Ted Keating, their investigator, that the charges of unfairness laid against the constituency executive by candidates Dix and Parmar had no basis. It also followed three consecutive weekly meetings of the riding's Rules and Procedures committee that addressed the concerns of candidates Dix and Parmar and made recommendations on items such as time, chair, guest speaker, speaking time for the candidates, and scrutineers - recommendations that were ratified by the local executive.
Furthermore, the provincial executive's decision comes as the sole response to the local executive's concerns about irregularities in the provincial list of voting members for Kingsway - a list that, under the constitution, should only contain names of people who are resident in the riding and who are not members of another political party.
In an email dated November 14, Vancouver-Kingsway NDP Membership Secretary Andrew Adler asked Provincial Office to look into situations such as 16 members claiming to live in one house, members claiming to live in houses that happen to be under construction, people 'sharing' a phone number but claiming to live in separate houses, and obvious duplications of names. Adler also called the provincial executive's attention to a partial 2001 list of Vancouver-Kingsway BC Liberal members. This list shows at least 71 names who are now on the Kingsway NDP list. Some of these people were simultaneously Kingsway NDP members in 2001.
The Kingsway executive now fears that if stickers attached to identification documents are accepted as proof of residency by provincial office on the day of the meeting, dozens or perhaps even hundreds of people who do not live in the riding may be allowed to cast a vote.
The provincial takeover of Vancouver-Kingsway's nomination meeting is not applauded by candidates Alicia Barsallo and Roberto Rous, both of whom appreciate the local executive's efforts to run a fair and democratic process. Alicia Barsallo says she has nothing but respect for the Vancouver-Kingsway executive. "Not only is this executive mandated by the Constitution to run the nomination meeting; if anybody has earned the right to run this nomination meeting, that body is this executive - a group of people who have given much of their free time to the rebuilding of this constituency and who have welcomed every candidate, providing them with guidance, and making sure that we know our rights and participate in their deliberations."
For the Vancouver-Kingsway NDP Executive,
Arlene Schimmelpfennig, President, Ph: 219-9243
Maria Isabel Lopez, Vice-President, Ph: 324-4484
Andrew Adler, Membership Secretary, Ph: 224-1249
Dear Mr. Scott,
In looking over the Vancouver-Kingsway member list in preparation for a mailing, I noticed a number of anomalies that should be brought to your attention. The problems range from minor to much more substantial. I wonder if your office has had a chance to enquire about any of these problem types and has come up with some relevant findings.
1. Mrs. Angela Schira is listed as a member, with address the BC Federation of Labour building on Joyce. It was my understanding that the constituency one is a member of for the purpose of voting in a nomination meeting is determined by the home address, not the work adddress.
2. Darshan Rakhra and Gagandeep Rakhra are listed as living at 4628 Manor St. Darshan Rakhra and Gagandeep Rakhra are also listed as living at 3380 E. 28th. It is very likely that we are dealing with the same two people, not four, since the same telephone number is listed for each couple.
3. I am puzzled by various other entries under the name Rakhra, all with phone number listed as 604-433-1193, and mostly listed as living at 3697 E. 22nd, but with one at 4596 Picton. There may be some duplications of memberships involved, since there are several repetitions of names, with minor variations of spelling that may be due to varying conventions about the transcription of Punjabi into English.
4. I have found at least 19 members listed as sharing the phone number 604-434-1716; there may be more. Most are listed as living at 2958 Rupert, Vancouver (but one lists his address as 2958 Rupert, Surrey). A few list their address as 3420 Worthington.
Though it is not clear to me whether there is a 2958 Rupert, the only possible location (next to 2976 Rupert) is a house which is under construction. Kind of takes me back to the 2001 nomination campaign.
There may be significant duplication among these members, because many of the names come in obvious pairs, such as Kirpal, Kirpaul, Jasvir, Jasbir, Harjeet, Harjit, Sandeep, Sandip, and Manjit S., Manjit.
5. I happen to have access to a list of people signed up for the BC Liberal Vancouver-Kingsway nomination campaign before the 2001 election, regrettably only the part of the alphabet from A to G. Many of them are now members of the NDP. This would be reason for cheering, except that several were also members of the NDP for the 2001 Kingsway nomination campaign. It will be interesting to look at the list of current BC Liberal Vancouver-Kingsway members.
There are a number of other anomalies that I am looking into. My experience is statistical consulting leads me to think that they are a sign of widespread problems.
On behalf of the Vancouver-Kingsway NDP executive, I would like to request that you lend us a hand in looking the list over for possible similar problems so that we may be able to be better prepared when the nomination meeting date arrives.