Negative on the affirmative

The provincial New Democrat's affirmative action plan for the next election is getting a negative response from at least one of the party's constituency associations. Back in June, Public Eye was the first to tell you about that plan, which would see 40 percent of the New Democrat's non-incumbent ridings set aside for women or other affirmative action candidates - such as gays, lesbians, persons of colour and the disabled. Party members must still approve that scheme at their upcoming convention. But Burnaby New Democrats have submitted a resolution leaving little doubt as to how they're going to vote.

The resolution, which will likely be debated at the same convention, recognizes the party has always encouraged "the participation of women and members of minority groups." But it calls on New Democrats to reject the affirmative action plan because it does "not support a Constituency Association's ability to democratically select and nominate a candidate of their choice." The following is a complete copy of that resolution.

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NOMINATION REVIEW COMMITTEE EQUITY MANDATE

WHEREAS the New Democratic Party of British Columbia has always promoted the equality of all persons; and

WHEREAS the members of the NDP encourage the participation of women and members of minority groups involved at all levels of the Party; and

WHEREAS the members of the NDP thank the Nomination Review Committee for its work on behalf of the Party to support the participation of women and members of minority groups to get nominated; and

WHEREAS the members of the NDP support the selection and nomination of candidates by members of Constituencies; and

WHEREAS the Nomination Review Committee Final Report does not support the selection and nomination of candidates by members of Constituencies, but instead gives that power to the Provincial Executive;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that members of the NDP undertake to continue to encourage the participation of women and members of minority groups at all levels of the Party including in the selection and nomination of candidates by Constituency Associations; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the "Equity Mandate" section as presented in the Report of September 5th, and any wording substantially similar which replaces it, does not have the support of the members of the NDP and is to be deleted, as it does not support a Constituency Association's ability to democratically select and nominate a candidate of their choice but instead gives that power to the Provincial Executive; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the removal of the "Equity Mandate" section from the Report takes precedence, such that any ambiguity remaining in other sections of the Report does not allow for the "reading in" of the Equity Mandate provisions (and any wording substantially similar which replaces it) but instead is meant to be a "reading out"; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the recommendations from the Nomination Review Committee expire after the next general election.

7 Comments

Fine Sean, ... but which of the several Burnaby ridings submitted this resolution? Which I totally agree with, incidentally.

Sav Dhaliwal, one of the NDP-affiliated BCA members of Corrigan's Burnaby City Council, was a member of the review panel and an enthusiastic supporter of Cheryl Hewitt's strategy of using female and ethnic aspirations as an excuse to centralize power in the party.

Jebus, if this passes that means the 3 seats this strategy reserves for 50% female representation could be in jeopardy. (yes this implies the NDP will be reduced to 6 seats after the election for those with bad math skills)

I would congratulate the Dippers for once again "stepping on their own dick" but that comment is hardly fitting.

So I wont congratulate them.

Which riding association was it?

Some folks love to write such resolutions which somehow never get resolved. usually sent back for referrla and not seen till next convention.
A couple of riding associations had an identical resolution at two dirrect conventions. Too contoversial. It was folks asking for some help from the NDP to press to make leases legal on developments on reserves in BC. Forget it folks.

The resolution is from Burnaby North. Hopefully, enough constituencies will support keeping democracy in the hands of local members and not centralized with the Provincial Executive and the Womens rights committee (which one should point out contains mainly old, white women desperate to hang on to power).

There was a long campaign prior to Provincial Council and concerted effort at the last Provincial Council meeting to ensure this got passed. A lot of people had not really read it and trusted those lobbying to get it passed to tell them what it was all about. Apparently there were MLAs that hadn't read the report either. When the lobbyists explained it to people, they neglected to talk about the centralization of the decision making power. That Constituencies will lose their ability to choose who is right for their community and will be dictated to by a very few who sit at the top as part of the Provincial Executive. This assumes these few know what is best. It is also a deal breaker for a lot of people who might have supported it otherwise.

The report was also presented as a take it or leave it by the Committee, and did not allow for any amendments. Had amendments been allowed, there was a group of constituencies ready with some. Not allowing amendments upset a lot of people.

"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."

And you get kicked out if you don't comply.

"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 individuals having their memberships revoked or constituency association being deregistered with Elections BC."

People should take the time to look at this report. These points alone should be enough to defeat it at Convention as it is currently written.

If the NDP adopts this affirmative action plan, how can they continue to call themselves a democratic party when they put so much power in the hands of so few people?

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