Here's some money for your trouble

If the provincial New Democrat nomination review committee's recommendations are accepted as is, 40 percent of the party's non-incumbent ridings will be designated as "affirmative action" seats in the next elections. This, according to a copy of the committee's updated report, which is presently being circulated for review. The document also recommends affirmative action seats receive enhanced fundraising revenues or grants of up to $10,000 from the party to "encourage this process and local riding engagement and support." A final, comprehensive nomination review committee report will be written over the summer and presented at the party's November convention. The following is a complete copy of the updated report.

Nomination Review Committee
Updated report, June 4, 2007


Co-Chairs

Cheryl Hewitt
Glen Sanford


Introduction

Here is an updated report from the Nomination Review Committee.

The following proposals are informed by feedback provided by members at the 2005 Convention, the Regional Conferences in 2006, and in various submissions from constituencies and individuals. We have strived to balance the various - and sometimes conflicting - suggestions from the Party membership to achieve a nomination process that is clear, fair and helps to achieve affirmative action targets.

This report contains only our proposals for change. Earlier reports - which were widely circulated -- have provided details of real and perceived problems with the current process, and the underlying principles upon which our recommendations are based. Copies of the earlier reports are available from the Co-Chairs.


Timeline

We are asking for feedback to the current suggestions to be forwarded to us by July 3, 2007.

Over the summer of 2007, the Committee will compose a final, comprehensive report that will be circulated to Provincial Council and all constituencies in September.

The recommendations of the final report will be presented at Convention in November 2007.

Proposals

The proposals are divided into four sections: candidate recruitment; candidate approval; nomination meetings; and voting requirements.


Candidate Recruitment

Training

1. Provide skills training and support through campaign schools and workshops targeted to women and other affirmative action candidates.
2. Organize mentoring for potential women nominees by established female Party politicians and expand this program to other identified groups.
3. Continue to update and distribute guides to winning nominations, ensuring that these documents recognize regional, social, cultural, economic and gender distinctions.
Recruitment
4. Establish an Affirmative Action Recruitment Committee and ensure broad representation including the Leader, at least 2 MLAs and 2 Party Vice-Presidents, as well as the Chair of the WRC. This Committee will strive to recruit well in advance of nominations.
5. Hold regional candidate recruitment seminars in conjunction with Regional Conferences. This should include efforts to do outreach in different cultural and social communities so that contact is made with a diverse group of potential candidates.
6. Expand the duties of Executive Regional Reps and/or WRC Regional Reps to include involvement in candidate searches in regions as early as possible and throughout the pre-election period in order to enhance our capacity to identify and engage with women/minority candidates. Regular reports should be made on a regional basis to the Affirmative Action Recruitment Committee.
7. Seek out other Party activists from different cultural and social communities to help in the candidate search process.

Affirmative Action

Targets

8. There will be two categories of affirmative action candidates:
a. Category One designation is for gender equity;
b. Category Two for other designated affirmative action categories (gay/lesbian /bi/transgendered; persons of colour; Indigenous peoples; persons with disabilities).
9. 30% of non-incumbent ridings must be designated as Category One affirmative action seats for the 2009 election, moving to fifty percent in the election following (2013).
10. In addition, another 10% of the non incumbent seats shall be designated for Category Two Affirmative Action Candidates in 2009 election, moving to 15% in 2013.
The Process
11. The nomination freeze remains in place until this process of designation is complete. Constituencies are still required to meet other pre-election criteria as designated by the Provincial Executive.
Step 1 -- The Provincial Executive will designate all constituencies where the incumbent NDP MLA has decided not to seek re-election as Category One affirmative action ridings. This step helps ensure that women are not only running in seats where the NDP has never been elected, and helps us reach the goal of ensuring that a critical mass of women are elected in the next election.
Step 2 -- Non-incumbent constituencies self identify to the Provincial Executive (by resolution of their Executive) their desire to be designated an affirmative action seat, for either the Category One or Category Two designated group. It may be useful for regions to discuss, as a part of their election planning readiness, how affirmative action goals might be reached regionally. Any decisions must be affirmed by affected constituencies.
Step 3 -- Should Step 2 not achieve the overall number of targeted affirmative action seats, the Provincial Executive will designate the remaining seats. Criteria used to designate these seats will include: win ability; potential as a swing riding; regional distribution; community support; and potential candidate availability; and affirmative action formula targets.
Affirmative Action Promotion Program
12. Finally, to encourage this process and local riding engagement and support, the Committee recommends that a financial incentive be put into place for affirmative action designated ridings. There are two possible options we recommend: first, an Affirmative Action Promotion program where enhanced revenues from fundraising will flow to designated constituencies.
Possible programs could include:
75% local constituency 25% Provincial Office
70% local constituency 30% Provincial Office
65% local constituency 35% Provincial Office
60% local constituency 40% Provincial Office
The program could take place over one, two, or three months. Any programs would have to end prior to the writ being dropped to comply with Elections BC rules and regulations.
A second option might be to have the Provincial Party give a cash payment in the form of an affirmative action grant. All designated ridings would be eligible. These grants could range from:
$7.000.00 $8,000.00 $10,000.00
We understand that revenue sharing formulas are set by Provincial Council. Therefore we frame this recommendation as advice from Convention to Provincial Council, and request they consider this matter at its first meeting which follows the November 2007 Convention.
13. We also recommend that Affirmative Action candidates who can demonstrate financial need have their nomination fees reduced by 50%.
Reviewing Processes and Outcomes
14. To ensure that the affirmative action plan outlined in these recommendations is achieving our goals of increasing the number of nominated and elected Affirmative Action candidates, we also recommend that the Provincial Executive review these policies following the 2009 and 2013 election campaigns and, where necessary, make subsequent policy recommendations as required.

Candidate Approval
1. The Provincial Executive will develop criteria for approving candidates for nomination and communicate those criteria to constituency executives and presidents to guide local candidate search. The criteria will include a commitment to NDP values. The Provincial Executive may reject candidates for nomination who do not meet the criteria.
2. The Provincial Executive and the Leader will establish criteria for removing candidates, including circumstances where continued candidacy will harm the Party and/or its electoral chances.
3. The Provincial Executive will identify situations in which they may waive the 90-day rule for Party membership (e.g. to achieve affirmative action goals, attract a candidate where no one has offered, or allow a candidate whose job disallows political Party membership). In all cases candidates must show clear and strong commitment to the principles of the NDP.
4. Constituency Candidate Search Committees will be encouraged to use a combination of candidate approval disclosure forms (pre-test), questionnaires, and interviews to ensure a more comprehensive candidate screening process.
5. The local Candidate Search Committees should have frank discussions with potential candidates on the implications of any personal or political issues relating to candidates that might have a negative impact if the issues were to become public.
6. Provincial Executive Regional Representatives will act as liaisons to the Provincial Executive and assist local search committees with sensitive issues related to candidate approval.
7. Ensure the fairness and transparency of the nomination contest by establishing spending limits for candidates and prohibiting the giving of gifts or inducements to take a membership.
8. Candidates who fail to fully disclose nomination campaign expenses or donations according to Provincial Executive regulations may be barred from seeking Provincial or Federal Party nominations for up to six years, including having their nomination rescinded if they were a successful candidate, and/or fined to recover costs incurred by the constituency association or the Provincial Party as a result of their failure to follow regulations.
9. All candidates for nomination must be declared and approved by the Provincial Executive twenty-five [25] days prior to the nomination meeting date.


Nomination Meetings

Applications for Meetings

1. All constituency and riding associations must apply in writing to the Provincial Executive for approval of a nomination meeting date once requirements established by the Provincial Executive have been satisfied.

Meeting Rules

2. All constituency and riding associations will use a standard set of meeting and registration rules with options to meet specific constituency needs for voting procedures as defined by our Constitution or established through regulation.
3. Meeting rules shall include a standard procedure for confirmation of identity and issuing conditional ballots.
4. The Provincial Executive will establish an appeal process for constituency or riding associations that wish to deviate from standard rules and procedures. The Provincial Executive will retain the authority to allow or disallow deviations from the rules.
5. The constituency or riding credentials committees will make final rulings on voter eligibility.
6. Constituency and riding associations shall arrange for childcare with a requirement for advance registration to ensure appropriate care.

Voting Procedures

7. Constituency and riding associations will have the option of using a preferential ballot or multiple ballot system for nominating meetings.
8. Constituency and riding associations will have the option of setting up advance polls.
9. Rural and remote constituencies, as defined by Elections Canada, may request the use of a mail ballot.
10. Constituency and riding associations will have the option of allowing members who vote advance or by mail to retrieve their ballots at the nominating meeting.
11. In nomination contests where there is not a mail ballot, constituency and riding associations will have the option of providing special mail ballots to seniors and people with disabilities who do not have the capacity to attend a nomination meeting in person - such a ballot would have to be requested in writing in advance of the nomination meeting.
12. Constituency and riding associations will have the option to establish a set time period for voting during the nomination meetings which use preferential ballots, allowing members to attend only for the purpose of casting their ballots.
13. When constituency and riding associations apply to the Provincial Executive for meeting date approval, they must identify the balloting system, plans for advance polls, time periods for voting if using a preferential ballot, plans for mail ballots as well as the name(s) the Balloting Committee Chair or Co-chairs responsible for handling special or mail ballots.
14. Constituencies shall make provision for members who have insufficient identification to prove their identity by other means, such as swearing a statutory declaration before a lawyer or notary public, or by having a system whereby other members may vouch for the member.

Meeting Notices

15. Nomination meeting notices shall be posted twenty-one [21] days in advance of the nomination meeting.
16. Constituency and riding associations may notify members of nomination meetings by letter mail or by e-mail to those members who have agreed to email notification.
17. Constituencies may mail a single notice to households with multiple names/labels on the envelopes.
18. The full Appendices regarding nomination meetings will not be required to be enclosed in meeting notices. A short version of the standard rules set by the Provincial Executive must be included with meetings notices.
19. All meeting notices will explain the identification required under the rules.

Membership List Confidentiality

20. Candidates for nomination will be required to complete a confidentiality agreement which will includes appropriate sanctions for non-compliance including an agreement to destroy all hard and electronic copies of the membership list used during nomination campaigns.

Consequences for Failing to Abide by Rules and Procedures

21. The Provincial Executive may declare null and void those nominating meetings held in constituencies whose executives willfully violate the regulations established by the Provincial Executive. Meetings declared null and void will be rescheduled and staffed by appointees of the Provincial Executive.
22. Constituency executives who willfully disregard Provincial Party regulations regarding nominations may face sanctions, including a
individuals having their memberships revoked or constituency association being deregistered with Elections BC.


VOTING REQUIREMENTS

1. Establish clear criteria for eligibility for membership including:

i. Canadian citizenship or people who reside in Canada permanently;
ii. 12 years of age or older;
iii. Personal payment of a minimum $10 fee, except for YND members and waivers for hardship;
iv. No membership in another political party, either provincially or federally.

2. Establish clear criteria for eligibility to vote including:

i. Retaining the present 90-day membership requirement.
ii. Revising the renewal provisions so that membership will be continuous only if it is renewed within 90 days of lapsing.

3. Support constituency and candidate efforts to comply with the voting requirements by:

i. Ensuring there are sufficient resources including computers and database capacity to provide a fair and efficient process for tracking memberships and generating accurate lists in a timely fashion.
ii. Ensuring there are sufficient resources to review and process membership applications.
iii. Require all persons who are soliciting memberships for potential candidates are Party members.
iv. Requiring candidates to declare the names of any canvasser who turns in 10 or more applications for membership.
v. Establishing sanctions for not following rules and procedures that are strong enough to act as a deterrent to abuse. Depending on the severity of the abuse, the sanctions could include:
1. Disallowing cards turned in by a canvasser who has violated the rules
2. Rescinding the membership of such a canvasser
3. Disallowing the candidacy of a candidate who has violated the rules, or whose canvasser has violated the rules
4. Impose a fine to recover the administrative costs of dealing with the violation.

8 Comments

Chery Hewitt has gone off the Richter Scale!

Her suggestion that the Party Executive have the authority to tell Elections BC which riding associations to de-register for not following orders, and that candidates can be de-nominated by the provincial Executive because, in Hewitt's private opinion or someone else's, "continued candidacy will harm the Party and/or its electoral chances", is clearly intended to promote a highly totalitarian, ruthless, and abusive centralization cleverly disguised as affirmative action.

One has to ask how on earth this report has gotten this far without any of the MLAs or MPs blowing the whistle. Is Hewitt joking, or working for the Liberals?

Wow. So come 2013 the male representation among candidates eligible for election will be down to 35 percent of seats.

I understand the need for balance, but this sounds like payback or something.

Also, on the funding of candidates, may I humbly suggest you take a gander at some of the males who run for office who could also use a bit of mentoring and whatever else is available.

Why the one-gender only schooling when there is a need to elect both women and men. This exclusion stuff is passe, in my view.

I do hope there is another committee toiling away somewhere within the bowels of the party who are actually asking the question 'but how are we going to get elected?'

My confidence in the near future has certainly not expanded with this latest edict from the driven.

I sometimes wonder where political parties of all stripe find such folks to run committees? I recall the Socred womens committee wanting to neuter sex offenders among other dainty little items. I wonder if the Liberals have a comittee that decided if a convicted Drunk should remain their leader? Lucky for Gordo if all his committees tow his line of thinking

"I recall the Socred womens committee wanting to neuter sex offenders among other dainty little items."

That was the Social Credit Women's Auxilliary, which ended up being an embarassment to the party in the 1980's since it was made up of old battleaxes and old women in runners who stuck to the 1940's and 1950's tradition of women doing the cleaning and the men lounging about after work. Most were very right wing, and when some moderizing tried to take place in the mid 1980's, with a program of attracting the new modern 1980's middle of the road conservative girl or Mum who had the second family job within the W.A., the old bats came after the new modern girls literally with rolling pins and frying pans and chased them out. They voted out
a candidate for W.A. president that was going to
modernize the W.A. and make it into a good resource for women who would want to run someday.

They were 20 to 30 years behind modern times (1980's back then) in BC Social Credit Party policy, and few ridings (except where the old girls were organized into groups) took notice of them. Many kept living the times when W.A.C. Bennett had those Strawberry Socials at the Bennett house in the late 1960's.

The W.A. was the only part of Social Credit that didn't grow in terms of membership. Few newly
arrived female members wanted anything to do with them.

The W.A. certainly did not affect the movement of the party, although many supported Bill VanderZalm in "Eighty-Six".

The W.A. was just a group of old grannies and old women in tennis shoes.

Say there, Socred Sam, since you mentioned "Eighty-Six", I thought you might enjoy this webpage:

http://www.bcsocialcredit.bc.ca/

You'll notice that the logo in the top right corner, proclaiming British Columbia Social Credit with a stylized map of the province is the logo from the 1986 campaign, the last great Social Credit victory. It's as though the party had been frozen in a moment in time, its last happy year, Expo, the Whistler Convention, Bill and Lillian Vander Zalm, ... the last hurrah before the deluge.

Looking at this webpage is a bit like looking at some of Ballard's photos of the Titanic. There are some recognizable elements, but surrounded by wreckage and the wastes of time they don't evoke the same feelings they did in life.

Wow. budd Campbell attacks Cheryl Hewitt. When you consider who Budd Campbell is, this just goes to show the deepening party divisions.

And when you consider who Scaramanga is, you realize you're wasting your time reading these comments!

The recommendation by Hewitt and Sanford is a mixed bag.

The best thing about it is the recommendation that the Leader actually get involved in developing and recruiting talent. With the exception of Gregor Robertson, Carole James took a hands off approach to candidate selection in the run up to the 2005 election - leaving the choice entirely to local constituencies. The result is that we have the largest opposition the NDP has ever formed - but probably the weakest in terms of bench strength. Imagine - no, really, imagine - how the NDP might form a cabinet out of this lacklustre crew.

If we find ourselves in this sorry situation we only have the Leader to blame. Carole had an enormous mandate to reshape a Party that had been reduced to just two seats in the Legislature. Taking this prerogative and imposing upon the Provincial Executive through political suasion a credible team of her own making was well within the realm of the possible. It's just that it didn't happen.

So the proposal in the current nomination process that the Leader get involved in such an endeavour is useful. The central problem with the proposal is that there is no link made between the success of such efforts by the Leader and the affirmative action component. To create hard caps for affirmative action candidates without ensuring that they will be candidates who can pass muster in terms of being useful in the building of a credible team is only to create a process in which we will more than likely end up with a caucus much like the current one in terms of competency but with different physical characteristics. This is no gain.

Some, of coure, will say that having the Leader get too close to the nomination process will undermine its democratic character. But there won't be much democratic character left if this report is adopted.

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