To be or not to be, that is the question

The backroom brawl over the labour movement's relationship with the British Columbia New Democrats continues: earlier, we reported an internal committee had recommended reducing the number of voting delegates unions can send to party conventions - where NDP leaders are selected and policy made. That recommendation has been met with a strong dose of push back from British Columbia Federation of Labour, Canadian Union of Public Employees and United Steelworkers of America representatives. And now, Public Eye has learned North Island New Democrats are recommending a convention vote on the matter be delayed until 2007. That motion will be coming up for debate this weekend at the party's provincial council meeting. Rumours abound the council may also discuss a last-minute compromise proposal recommending the New Democrats vote on adopting the so-called federal model of union affiliation. If approved, that proposal would likely be considered a major victory for labour movement members opposing de-affiliation.

Received on October 3, 2005
Submitted by North Island Constituency Association

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the North Island NDP recommend to Provincial Council that the Affiliation Committee Report be referred to a new committee that will solicit views from all constituencies in BC and bring forward their complete findings to the 2007 Convention.


Carol James should have the guts to take this to a vote even if she knows she is going to lose. Any compromise will make her look extremely weak.

The matter can still be brought back for another vote prior to the next election campaign.

... at the very least, maybe Carole James will actually speak at this weekend's meeting ... I find it astonishing that she has not once spoken at these meetings to defend the proposals she claims to so strongly support

Carol James and the NDP face an interesting dilemna with this item, and pundits like Mike Smyth and Vaughn Palmer must be laughing so hard they are pissing themselves down both pant legs at the same time.

If the NDP passes the majority report and reduced labour representation at Convention, Smyth and Palmer will already have a draft ready to go that will say that labour has been kicked out despite helping the party win over thirty seats, and that unionists dedicated to the NDP for years were seen leaving the Convention in tears, etc. OTOH of course, they also have another column ready to roll, one that will be pulled out if Steel and CUPE are successful in shelving this item, stating that the NDP has renewed its ball and chain attachment to the big unions and that once again Carol James has failed, she had zero impact. It's a sweet position for the pundits to be in. They are lined up for an easy-does-it shot coming no matter which card comes up. Nice "work" if you can get it!

Looking beyond this immediate no-win proposition towards a general election in 2009, my personal feeling is that Carol James is better served by some movement than no movement. While there will be some unhappiness among some unions if the majority report is approved, that will blow over in a matter of a few months. Longer term, Carol looks better if she is effecting change and getting buy in for that change from the affected participants.

Goddess! Wouldn't it be grand if we were having this discussion around big-business special interests and the BC Liberals?


Thing is, unions are the only thing that prevent the NDP from drifting even more leftward into a freaky oblivion. Union members are concerned about working hard and getting paid. If they go, who does the NDP have left. Environmentalists? They tend toward nit-picking on a very good day -- if the party isn't ideologically pure enough for them, they pack up their toys and go home. And even when they do like you, environmentalists can't organize their way out of a wet paper bag. Who else? "Daily International Worker" types (there's a misnomer) with the poverty special interest groups. They just whine, they don't contribute anything. Then there's the Vancouver clique in charge of the party machinery now. they're useless.

The NDP needs unions because talented people with jobs are hard to find in the NDP.

The parrots are squawking again: "Unions bad! Unions bad!" It must make life so easy for the parrots: no thinking required, just "Unions bad!"

Well, dammit, they are not bad. They're what brought workers out of their hovels beside the railroad tracks, gave them some security, created healthier working conditions ... say it, Polly: "Unions good! Unions good!"

And if they want to put their collective strengths behind the New Democrats, let's cheer them in. Sheesh. How difficult is that to figure out.

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