Public Eye readers, astute and otherwise, will already be aware provincial New Democrat conventioneers voted this weekend in favour of an emergency resolution approving the "statement by (party leader) Carole James that ended support of Bill 17." And who was responsible for throwing that softball, you may wonder? Well, the motion credits the Burnaby-Willington and Oak Bay-Gordon Head constituency associations.
Coincidently, Ms. James's old school board chum Charley Beresford ran in Oak Bay-Gordon Head during the last election. And the candidate for Burnaby-Willington was Gabriel Yiu - who has, in his own words been helping caucus chair Jenny Kwan "build support in the Chinese community." Ms. Kwan was a member of the so-called "31 percent club" and, last week, yapped in favour of Liberal backbencher Lorne Mayencourt's support for Bill 17.
But wait, there's more! According to party gossipmongers, a number of the leader's West Wing watchers were frantically phoning around in the days before convention to find a constituency association willing to submit just such a softball resolution. So could it be the party loyalists in Oak Bay-Gordon Head and Burnaby-Willington took them up on that request?
Meanwhile, as reported today by The Vancouver Sun's Vaughn Palmer, a hardball resolution calling for a reversal of the raise was distributed but not read out or debated at convention. According to Mr. Palmer, "organizers ruled it had been bypassed by events. Bill 17, the putative target, was already repealed." For the record, those organizers were the three members of the convention's resolution committe: caucus research officer and former party president Maura Parte, New Westminster and District Labour Council secretary-treasurer Carolyn Chalifoux and British Columbia Federation of Labour organizating director John Weir. The following is a complete copy of that resolution, which was authored by the New Democrats of Vancouver-Kensington
Bill 17 - MLA Wages, Benefits and Pension Improvements
WHEREAS the BC Government legislated Bill 17 on November 17, 2005 that will substantially increase MLAs' wages by at least 15% and re-establisha pension plan; and
WHEREAS Bill 17 was passed unanimously be the legislature in two (2) hours and with no public consultation; and
WHEREAS the BC NDP caucus endorsed this secretive approach with no reference to the BC NDP party or its community allies; and
WHEREAS this legislation was rammed through two days before BC's municipal elections, which undermines the public's trust of progressive candidates; and
WHEREAS Bill 17 was passed a week before the BC NDP Convention, which will compromise the credibility of the party; and
WHEREAS there was no regard shown by the BC NDP caucus towards health care workers who continue to suffer under the regressive wage rollbacks and increased work time mandated by Bill 37,
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the BC NDP condemn the secretive actions of the BC legislature in imposing Bill 17; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the BC NDP support Carole James' call for the government to withhold Royal Assent and Proclamation of Bill 17 until there is an independent panel published for a full public review and input, and a report to the legislature in the Spring; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the BC NDP demand that the implementation of the provisions of Bill 17 be suspended until Bill 37 is repealed.
Vancouver-Kensington NDP Constituency Executive and
Vancouver-Kensington NDP Delegation to Convention