Throwing their weight around

Surrey-Green Timbers legislator Sue Hammell and former Kwantlen Faculty Association president Nancy Clegg will be sweating off their pounds to raise money for female provincial New Democrat hopefuls. In an email sent to their "sisters," Mises. Hammell and Clegg wrote, "We need 30 women who will commit to losing 20 pounds between Labour Day and Remembrance Day, and who will commit to collecting $25 or more per pound in pledges from their families, friends and supporters. Sue already has pledges totalling $107 per pound, and Nancy has pledges totaling $82 per pound." Money raised by the so-called Weightlifters will go towards Joy's List, a campaign to raise funds for women candidates. The following is a complete copy of the letter promoting the project.

August 8th, 2008
Dear Sisters,

Have we got a deal for you! It's a win-win-win-win, and if you act quickly you can get in on this fabulous project! Just imagine ... you can lose weight, raise money for promising female politicians, share experiences with a built-in support group, and get a tax receipt for yourself or your friends ... all at the same time! This fabulous Joy's List
project is called Weightlifters and is designed to make it easier for participants to climb stairs and run marathons! Yes, we are talking about throwing our weight (loss) behind BC NDP women who run for office next May.

We need 30 women who will commit to losing 20 pounds between Labour Day and Remembrance Day, and who will commit to collecting $25 or more per pound in pledges from their families, friends and supporters. Sue already has pledges totalling $107 per pound, and Nancy has pledges totaling $82 per pound. You'll find it's not hard to find people who will support you in this healthy and worthwhile project. Imagine, if 30 women each lost 20 pounds at $25 per pound, we would raise $15,000 to give to the campaigns of female NDP candidates in next May's provincial election.

The Weightlifter project begins on Labour Day with a first weigh-in on Tuesday, September 2nd and winds up just after Remembrance Day with a final weigh-in on Friday, November 14th. Weightlifters will weigh in every other week (over water and raw carrots no doubt!), with the official Weighmaster documenting their weight loss progress. We'll swap addresses and contact info, so any Weightlifter wanting to exercise with other Weightlifters will be able to create those opportunities. At the end of the project, the Weighmaster will reward each Weightlifter with a certificate of achievement indicating the number of pounds she lost over the 11 weeks of the project.

Please contact Sue Hammell at or Nancy Clegg at if you are ready to join the elite (and shrinking!) group of Weightlifters, or if you would like to pledge support for us personally.

Please share this email with your friends and join us or pledge generously for the very fine cause of electing more NDP women to the BC Legislature next May.

In solidarity,
Sue Hammell, MLA
Nancy Clegg


As a woman, I'm mortified by this.

It's not only weight loss, but campaigning, pestering friends and relatives and apparently networking too.

What next? Knitting socks for the winter games with little ndp logos on them? Or maybe a quilting bee?

Just mortified.

BC NDP: setting back womens progress like never before!

Will the male division of the NDP have a beard growing contest to raise election funding?

Perhaps the aboriginal candidates will be organizing baskets for bucks?

How utterly tasteless and backward of the NDP.

If this is indicative of the decision making skills of our official opposition in action we are screwed blue... or should that be screwed GREEN?

My previous comment was written in anger and was unfair.

I would gladly open my wallet for the NDP candidate in my area if they can produce a paper outlining their position on policy that reflects the needs and wishes of their constituents that they have taken the trouble to research. Hell, that goes for a candidate of ANY party.

I am saddened to learn that the NDP is divided internally amongst gender and weight.

This is very bad news for women looking for an option to the Campbell government.

Weight and body image are huge problems for women and girls. Girls as young as 8 are starving themselves - some of them are starving themselves TO DEATH - in an attempt to live up to the expectations imposed on them by media images of what they should look like in order to be loved and accepted in this culture. In addition, more and more very young girls are undergoing surgery to change their bodies. It's an epidemic and they are paying a huge price.

We have recently seen the fashion industry take a public stand against this quest to be thinner than thin in order to look like lanky adolescent boys with breasts - at least in Europe and South America it has. Healthy women don't LOOK LIKE THAT!!!

Although I have never been involved in "Identity Politics" I have seriously been considering working to help elect an NDP government and yes, I have longed for more women candidates but clearly, not just ANY woman candidate and especially not after learning about this initiative - not those women mentioned in the news release! After reading this news I will not send ONE dollar to this Party not will I put ANY energy into an NDP campaign until Sue Hammell and Nancy Clegg apologise for this ignorant and ill conceived initiative and apologise for it. Their apology should include a statement as to why it was an error in judgment and which, models behaviour that puts girls and women at risk.

Losing 20 pounds in such a short time is very dangerous indeed. What WERE they thinking??!!!

We should NOT follow in line behind the Chinese government which, dismissed an 8 year old from singing in person at the opening ceremony; replacing her with a little girl who, while mouthing the words to the song sung by the original singer, had physical characteristics considered more appropriate.

How about focussing on women's inherent strengths instead, and what these strengths would bring to governing our province????

Their initiative sends the same message as the one sent by the Chinese. Shame on all of them!

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