What a Guy

On Saturday, Public Eye exclusively reported provincial New Democrat legislators John Horgan and Harry Lali wouldn't be supporting a resolution that will see 40 percent of the party's non-incumbent ridings reserved for affirmative action candidates. But they weren't the MLAs who had concerns about that initiative. In an interview, Delta North MLA Guy Gentner told us he abstained from voting on the resolution - which passed during this past weekend's New Democrat convention. Mr. Gentner added some members of his constituency association executive are "upset relative to some of the changes. And some will tell you the only major difficulty they had was the, shall we say, the pressure they felt they were under regarding this issue." And he confirmed "a good chunk" of his executive have choosen not to run for re-election when the association has its annual general meeting in January. But he said, "I don't think so" when asked whether that development had anything to do with the affirmative action resolution.

16 Comments

Yeah, the tactics to pressure people into voting for this were disgusting... people told that they would have no future in the party... would not be supported as candidates... being blacklisted for jobs... people being called sexist etc... no stone was left unturned in the quest to pass this motion at all cost.

But, hey, it's all about inclusion... RIGHT?!

If you were an active constituency member and on the executive of a riding not held by the NDP and were a guy then your future contribution has just been "neutered". That is not going to be a factor? No matter how hard you work and no matter how capable you will have to stand aside and the constituency members will not be able to make the choice on the basis of who would be the best person. Sounds like a kick in that portion of the anatomy which disqualifies you from those who want to be in the WNDP. It all sounds to foolish that it explains why pressure was needed.

Hmmmmmmm..... perhaps the Delta North nomination meeting, prior to the 2005 provincial election, left a sour taste in the mouths of the constituency association executive when they ignored an order from the party executive.

Perhaps, they can foresee things to come from the party executive, with this resolution.

From Publiceyeonline, November 17, 2004:
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November 17, 2004

Trouble in Pleasantville

Public Eye has learned the provincial New Democrat's Delta North constituency association, at this hour, is ignoring an order from the party executive to cancel their nomination meeting, which is scheduled to be held this evening. The president of that association, Ernie Fulton, is also saying the executive improperly approved Sukhinder Sandhu, a taxi driver, as one of the riding's nomination candidates. And he seems to have concerns with the validity of some of Mr. Sandhu's membership sign-ups."

What is with this recent cowardly trend to “abstain” from voting? Is Michael Sather the only guy in the NDP with the guts to stand up and be counted on an issue ? Or should I say not in the NDP as last I heard he was suspended. Was he allowed at the convention?

I was astonished (and appalled) by the number of delegates I spoke to in the lobby who said they strongly opposed the resolution on mandatory quotas but were afraid to vote against it, much less to speak against it.

But I have no sympathy for them. Instead of caving in to threats--most of which were empty--they should have done the right thing and denounced this wicked, misguided policy--a policy which strips NDP members of their political rights. It's not only profoundly wrong in principle, it's also politically stupid--colossally stupid.

I am not into Identity Politics BECAUSE of the views expressed by previous posters on this subject. In Identity Politics people work for a Party in order to get favours not because they believe in one issue or another and want to work on behalf of their constituents. Hal characterizes it is sexual terms - he would be "neutered".

Maybe if you guys didn't live so much in your pants, you'd be better qualified to participate in the political process as an MLA or MP. As it is, we have enough of boys in pants in the Legislature and the House of Commons.

I will support whichever Party understands Affirmative Action as an Affirmation of our multi-cultural province and takes Action to see that ALL of us are represented politically.

What are you guys really afraid of?

I do recall when Carole James was a candidate for MLA in Victoria. The constituency had a set of rules in their constitution stating a committee of equal numbers of male and female had to be on the nominating committee. Being a trusting soul I went looking for the rules and the committee members. Lo and behold, there was not an equal number of lale and female. So I wrote the chair, asked why are you breaking your own rules. The answer was it wasn't my business. I contacted the one and only candidate and was told those decisons were not hers to make . Real leadership potential. This will end up as usual. A lot of sound and fury indicating not a heck of a lot of anything. I liked the Beirman cartoon of Winston Churchill trying to become a candiate for the NDP. Not acceptable..

This is such a non-issue. There are already the 13 ridings who comprise the 30% of non-incumbent ridings ready, willing and able to field women candidates. No one is not going to run again unless they die. It is a one time attempt to redress the 20% unspoken quota we live under now and support candidates fully qualified and wanted in their ridings. I predict the 13 will be found with no trouble or effort and the fears around parachuting and poor quality are just guys who are used to having a free ride to mediocrity.

The outrage over this "wicked" and "stupid" insult to democracy would be a little easier to swallow if any of these outraged folks were expressing the slightest interest in identifying & dismantling the barriers responsible for such a tiny and declining minority of non-white-male candidates from securing nominations and winning seats.

Love the brave front vikky angstrom has adopted, but if she was so confident in not having to even use these extraordinary and undemocratic powers, why was this rad/fem coup required?

I'm willing to predict not one "politically correct" appointee candidate will be elected.

But there is a positive, I guess,in that it does suggest there'll be stability in the legislature as Ms. James, if relected, will certainly return as opposition leade, at least until a leadership convention is held.

Oh well, I guess we can feed the poor and hungry big spoonfuls of principles to chew on while the rest of the province enjoys the Olympics.

"There are already the 13 ridings who comprise the 30% of non-incumbent ridings ready, willing and able to field women candidates."

Well, vickky angstrom, that certainly interesting news. Which ridings are these, can you give us a list? And I think you mean 14 not 13, right? And which are the 5 ridings that are going to be granted to minority candidate? How was the three to one ratio of female ridings to minority ridings chosen, and do you agree with that ratio?

Also, do you like the idea that the Party Executive can now test potential candidates for their degree of adherence to "NDP values"? How will that affect dissendent voices in the BC NDP, or is this not a concern of your's? Do you like the idea that the Provincial Party Executive can now take away a candidacy that they as well as the local riding have previously approved of if, in the opinion of the Provincial Executive, that candidate is "harming the party"?

Budd -- You ask great questions. The best answer to your main question (which ridings) is that all the ridings still have to go through democratic nominations processes. I think there will be more women and visible minorities who seek nominations after receiving such a clear message that they are wanted and with the financial help for child care and to overcome other economic barriers.

The NDP values test I do not know anything about. Be nice to see parties have people in them who actually stand for the values of the party -- so you wouldn't get people like Harper or Campbell (clearly Reform/Socred/Republicans) infiltrating the Liberals or Conservatives in order to get elected. I always thought a values test was called a campaign speech.

ah yes a return to the old-fashioned kind of democratic socialism - germany in the 1930s. Congrats, Carole

"The NDP values test I do not know anything about."

Vickky, the values test, which is probably just a loyalty test in disguise, will be designed and administered by the BC NDP's Provincial Executive, presumably in camera. See this earlier discussion from June of this year when Cheryl Hewitt's recommendations were first exposed to public view on this website:

http://www.publiceyeonline.com/archives/002505.html

"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."

I notice vickky that you didn't say whether or not you're in favour of the two distinct categories, women and minorities, or if you're in favour of the assignment of all open incumbent seats to women only, no minorities need apply, and didn't say if you favour the three to one ratio of women to minorities in non-incumbent target ridings. Is there any chance you have an opinion on any of those points? Or would it be impolitic to actually express that opinion?

"...all the ridings still have to go through democratic nominations processes."

Vikky, I have to disagree. A nomination process that BARS members in good standing from seeking a nomination in their home riding--and does so on grounds of sex, race, or sexual orientation--is anti-democratic by definition, to say nothing of discriminatory. How can a rigged election be democratic?

It's worth remembering that other sections of the NDP have managed to achieve significant levels of female representation without resorting to the Draconian methods embodied in the BC Party's infamous new policy. Earlier this year, the Manitoba NDP were re-elected with a caucus comprising nearly 40% women. And let's not forget that 6 of the 10 New Democrat MPs from BC are women. If any of them had been nominated in the manner now prescribed by the BC NDP, can you imagine the public outcry?

Abstention? Means a vote in favour! Gentner didn't abstain - he buggered off in time to miss the vote in the legislative on the Tsawwassen treaty! I can only assume he was in the 'can' while at the NDP convention when they voted on the Women's Rights Committee resolution! Lame on both counts!

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