Affirmative on the affirmative

As expected, provincial New Democrat conventioneers have passed a resolution that will see 40 percent of party's non-incumbent seats set aside for affirmative action candidates. Legislators who lined-up to speak in favour of the resolution included Robin Austin, Carole James, Jenny Kwan, Doug Routley and Claire Trevena. No legislators line-up to speak against the resolution.


Well, the best potential NDP candidate for the riding may not necessarily be the affirmative action candidate.

Another example of political correctness run amuck.

Well that tearing sound you heard was my NDP membership.

Miss James and her band of merry do-righters have failed in upholding what I believe is one of the basic tenets of constituency independence. The ability to choose a candidate independent of party interference.

How many constituency's will now be forced to take a candidate who are unsuitable due to experience? How many constituencies will be forced to take a candidate who comes from outside the area because they cannot find a woman from said area?

Who picks the ridings that get the female candidates? Miss James? Talk about centralizing authority. How many female candidates are going to get dumped into unwinnable ridings only so Miss James stand before the cameras and tout her 40% rather than dealing with the issues BCers are ACTUALLY interested in.

There is no stopping this stupidity now Miss James. The pandora's box has been pushed wide open. You now have no option but to do the same for minority groups. Start writing up the resolution that sets aside adequate percentage for Chinese candidates, South Asian candidates, Vietnamese, gays, lesbians and whatever group demands as such.

Greens or Liberals. Anybody have a coin?

The no side handily won the debate on the floor, presenting a reasoned and considered critique of a policy that will extinguish local party democracy and prove to be immensely unpopular with the people of BC. On the yes side, there was a lot bombast about making the party inclusive and welcoming to allegedly under-represented groups--never mind that 6 out of the 10 NDP MPs from BC are women and that they succeeded on their own merits, without the aid of a draconian quota policy.

In 1983 the British Labour Party adopted a radical left election Manifesto for which they were rewarded at the polls with their lowest popular vote since 1918. In fact, the Party was very nearly pushed into third place behind the Liberal-SDP Alliance. Gerald Kaufman described the Manifesto as the "longest suicide note in history." As a long-time NDP member, I fear those words will apply to this misguided policy on mandatory quotas.

What a sad day for the NDP. This is nothing but a power grab by certain elements in the party. If we don't have a free choice at the local constituency level, how can we call ourselves a democratic party?

The hypocrisy of the four pro speakers list above who are secure in their nominations the next time around is laughable. There is currently no barrier to any person of any group joining a political party including the NDP and holding office or working on elections and getting your name front and center for a nomination. This motion is political correctness carried to the ludicrous extreme. It is just plain stoopid. Ms James is determined to make the NDP irrelevant. Campbell could not be happier about the help he has been getting from James and the naive caucus members like the 4 who spoke in favour.

I objected to these proposals, officially written by Cheryl Hewitt and Glen Sanford, but in reality by Hewitt and Sav Dhaliwal, a Councillor in Corrigan's Burnaby NDP bastion, when they first came to light in June:

This new policy will do absolutely nothing to widen the NDP's base of paid up members and activists to include more members of minorities. In fact, no one can say what percentage of the BC NDP's membership is comprised of minorities because the party's 1970s vintage membership database is far too obsolete and dysfunctional to contain that data.

At best, this affirmative action policy is just a white women's empowerment movement, from which some incumbent male legislators can profit by sucking up and going along, as revealed in the unanimous support for this policy from all the incumbent MPs and MLAs.

The real effect of this policy is not to effectively recruit more electable minority candidates or even more electable women candidates, but simply to give the Party Executive unprecedented arbitrary authority to appoint candidates and even to revoke nominations already granted! It's no different than the arbitrary power Prime Minister Paul Martin had in the Liberal Party to install "star" candidates, and when asked about that at a forum in New Westminster Hewitt simply evaded the question.

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