Yesterday, Public Eye reported the British Columbia New Democrat's provincial executive had seized control of the Vancouver-Kingsway's upcoming Sunday nomination meeting to make sure it's run impartially. The constituency association sent out an email that decision was unconstitutional. The email also alleged there were "a number of anomalies" in the Vancouver-Kingsway membership list - anomolies head office hadn't looked into. Today, the party brass responded to those allegations.
In an email sent to senior New Democrat members, president Jeff Fox explained the executive appointed independent balloting and credentials committees "after the local association refused the suggestion of an independent 'co-chair' (for those committees) and after the Executive accepted the findings of an investigation by a Vice President, Craig Keating, that there were grounds for a significant perception of bias in the process." Mr. Fox then adds that executive's action is allowable under the party constitution.
As for the membership list anomalies, Mr. Fox writes that staffers "have been doing their very best to address concerns about any and all specific membership and/or eligibility issues and that process will continue until registration closes." The following is a copy of his email.
To: Constituency Presidents
Provincial Council Delegates
cc: Vancouver Kingsway members
From: Jeff Fox, Provincial President
Some of you may have received a letter from three members of the Vancouver Kingsway Association, outlining their concerns with the Provincial Executive's decision regarding a complaint from two candidates seeking nomination in Kingsway. On behalf of the Provincial Executive, I want to briefly explain the Executive decision and assure you that the membership issues raised in the letter are being addressed to the fullest extent possible.
The Executive appointed Ballotting and Credentials committees after the local association refused the suggestion of an independent "co-chair" and after the Executive accepted the findings of an investigation by a Vice President, Craig Keating, that there were grounds for a significant perception of bias in the process. This action was taken under section 9.07 of the Constituion, which outlines the procedures for complaints on the conduct of nomination meetings. Subsequent to the appointment of the two committees by the Provincial Executive, the Kingsway officials were invited to participate in these two appointed committees but declined, as did one candidate for nomination.
The letter from the three individuals also deals with their belief that the provincial party has not followed up on concerns raised regarding the voting eligibility of some members. This is not the case. For example, the 'transfer-in' members are clearly marked on all lists as ineligible to vote in the nomination meeting as per the Constitution and yet Mr. Adler lists some of those as problematic. I can assure you that the staff at the Provincial Office have been doing their very best to address concerns about any and all specific membership and/or eligibility issues and that process will continue until registration closes. In fact, we have sought more specific information from Mr. Adler and are still awaiting that to allow more analysis on those names if we get them from him.
The fears raised in this letter about inadequate identification requirements are not grounded in reality and I can assure all members that the credentials process will be properly handled, hopefully with the support of Kingsway activists as well as independent volunteers and staff.
In closing I want to again state that the Provincial Executive acted to prevent any perceptions of bias that might have undermined the integrity of the nomination process and attempted to do so in a way that shared that responsibility with Kingsway executive members. That attempt was unsuccessful unfortunately but the need to have a smooth meeting was paramount and the two independent committees will assist singificantly in that regard.
Jeff Fox, President NDP of BC