Right now, the provincial New Democrats' top three officials are men - something some have stated is a no-no under the party's constitution. But, in an exclusive interview, one of those officials has said that rule was misinterpreted and he won't be stepping down. The constitution states "both genders" must be represented in the positions of leader, president and treasurer. That wasn't a problem when Carole James was leading the party, with Moe Sihota and Bob Smits having been elected to do the two others jobs at the NDP's November 2009 biennial convention. But in January pundit and former NDP MLA David Schreck predicted it would become a problem if the leader was replaced by a man.
Speaking with the Canadian Press following the infighting that resulted in Ms. James's downfall, Mr. Schreck said the rule would mean "in practical sense" either Messrs. Sihota or Smits would have to make way for a woman.
Nevertheless, a month after Adrian Dix was elected Ms. James's successor, both men are still in the same jobs. And speaking with Public Eye, Mr. Smits said he doesn't think that will change.
The treasurer stressed he thinks the gender representation rule is a "good thing." But he said it was only intended to take affect during and not between party elections.
In addition, "there's nothing in the constitution that talks about removing someone from office once that gender balance doesn't exist - because somebody has resigned or quit or died or whatever."
"So my position is that I was properly elected to serve out my term and I expect Moe to do same," Mr. Smits continued, adding, "I've told the executive that and pretty much everybody seems to accept that position."
Smits said he and Sihota's terms in office will expire at the party's next biennial convention, which has been scheduled for December.