a Confused BCNDP
I'm fully expecting to turn on my TeeVee anyday now and see Carole James, fists balled up, stomping her feet and fully engaged in throwing a temper tantrum unless she can be leader of the British Columbia NDP. I can't believe the rhetoric I'm hearing from the BC Lamestream Media as they praise Carole to the skies because their LIEberal/Corporate bosses fear nothing more than a new leader and an NDP fully able to take advantage of the palpable hatred of Gordon Campbell, the BC Liberals and their province destroying policies.
Therefore this morning I was thrilled to receive the following article to be (or maybe already) published in vivelecanada from Robin Mathews. Now I can relax and not worry about trying to explain why I think that the selfish and childish ones in the ongoing inter-necine strife within the NDP aren't the home-wrecking baker's dozen dissidents, but the leader herself and those calling the shots that have allowed the Campbell Crime Family to rape and pillage this province and its people for a decade now.
I can't resist bolding certain parts, though it is difficult to not just bold it ALL!
The NDP Crisis
In British Columbia Politics
by - Robin Mathews
for vive le canada
The corporate owners of the Gordon Campbell Liberals in B.C. are at this moment assembling their politicians, the Mainstream Press and Media (which they own), and the “faithful foot soldiers” to disguise their massive sell-out of B.C. wealth and the deep corruption of democratic processes in the province.
Political king-pin of that sell-out and corruption, Gordon Campbell, premier, is so completely exposed he has been told to go … but not until he has hammered a few more anti-democratic structures into place.
The goal? To lunge one more time for power in the province.
The NDP – which should be topping the polls by a huge margin … is not. The reasons are simple. Leadership. Policy. Support. Sell-out. In fact, the NDP is divided all the way from the grass-roots to the shadow-cabinet. If ever in the history of the province government by the NDP has been possible, now is the time it should move most easily to a solid majority in the B.C. legislature. But ….
If the value of property – as realtors say – is based on “location, location, location”, the hope of any political party is based on “leadership, leadership, leadership”. That is why Gordon Campbell has been told to go, and has announced his resignation … sometime….
A political leader – besides being someone who can speak to the population convincingly, with sincerity, excitement, empathy, and originality – is much, much more than that. He or she sets the boundaries for trust, for openness, for collegiality within the group that makes up, and forms around, the elected.
The NDP leader cannot speak effectively to the population, and she has plainly lost the trust of (at least) 40% of the caucus. They no longer trust her or believe in her collegiality. They do not have her support. And a former NDP MLA insists she has violated the trust of all the party by rash, preemptive, attacks on colleagues.
A political leader has, also, to respect the boundaries of the philosophy of the party he or she speaks for. Through lying, secrecy, intimidation, and anti-democratic methods, Gordon Campbell respects the philosophical boundaries of a Rightest party. He steals from the poor to give to the rich. He serves the corporations at the cost of the population and democracy in the province. His error is carelessness. He has been ‘found out’ by the population. He has to go.
The NDP leader has violated the philosophy of both (a) an Opposition, and (b) the NDP. First, she has never made clear she represents a philosophy different from the Gordon Campbell group. She does not seriously “oppose”. She tinkers at the edges of Liberal policy, repeatedly saying it is necessary for her Party to show more friendliness to the corporations which own the Liberal Party in B.C.
As B.C. Ferries, BC Rail, and B.C. Hydro – owned by the people of British Columbia and symbols of what the NDP means – were being destroyed before our eyes, she refused to engage in serious Opposition and NDP frontline resistance – and she prevented caucus members from doing so. In fact, she must be seen as collaborating with the Gordon Campbell Liberals in keeping the truth about those huge thefts from the people of British Columbia. A large number of British Columbians still don’t know what has gone on because the NDP refuses both its Opposition and NDP role in making the thefts widely known and excoriated. That can only be called sell-out by the NDP.
The darling issue of the NDP leader is the issue of children and families - the treatment of the vulnerable. Even on that, she is a sell-out. The hero of the battle for the weak and the vulnerable in the province is Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, B.C. Representative for Children and Families.
Ms. Turpel-Lafond has fought the Campbell regime toe to toe for five years – and has had to do so for obvious reasons. The first purpose of the Liberal regime is to rob from the poor to give to the rich. For that reason it can’t – and be consistent – care for the poor and vulnerable. It has to try to put its boot in their faces. It has to act to show it believes the people Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond serves are undeserving trash.
Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond has had to take public platform again and again to fight for the people the NDP leader claims to care about. But the NDP leader has never – in my memory – stood shoulder to shoulder with Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, in public, fighting for NDP values and the values the NDP leader says are dearest to her heart. She does not do so and has not done so, I believe, because she doesn’t want to offend the people who own the Liberal Party of B.C.
When Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond needs the presence and the ringing endorsement of the NDP leader … she doesn’t get it.
Policy is needed on all the matters named above – clear, understandable, forceful policy. The NDP leader has never produced it.
Policy is needed, as well, on government collusion with private corporations, on the absolute necessity of full disclosure of government contracting, on the sanctity of Crown Corporations, on the duties of cabinet members, on the admissibility of Public Private Partnerships, on the use of out-of-province financing, management, administration, advice … and on foreign takeovers. All legislation on those matters must have criminal penalties attached if corruption of the kind engaged in for the last nine years is to be ended.
Policy on the breach of trust of public officers within the province must be written by the NDP. It must be clearly expressed, and it must demand heavy penalties. What can be done within the province must be done soon – and pressure must be put on the federal government to re-write the Criminal Code on the matter so that breaches of trust of the kind engaged in by the present Liberal regime in B.C. can be easily nailed and the perpetrators imprisoned.
Policy – preceding legislation – on the environment needs to be loud and clear from the NDP – on fish farms, on tar sands and other pipelines, on coastal waters use, on the wholesale sell-out of river energy, on forestry and offshore sale of raw logs.
Policy is needed to outline the complete restructuring of investigation of complaints against the police, lawyers, and judges. Self-government of those bodies must be ended.
Constituency committees should be engaged and given the task of formulating policies and legislation. Democracy depends on the wisdom of the people. Use it. The NDP doesn’t use it.
I believe individual members of the legislature in the NDP could have fashioned policy and outlined legislation on those matters (and others) and made their work public in spite of the leader … but perhaps not. If not, blame for the absence of action on all those matters rests, finally, with the leader … like it or not.
The NDP leader doesn’t seem to have even the simplest understanding of what all that means. As a start on the renewal of the NDP in British Columbia, then, it follows the leader must go.
A view from the Kootenays
Corky Evans, who many people think should have won that leadership contest oh so long ago that crowned Carole James has published an open letter here to add his much more than two cents worth to the current debate. Perhaps Corky couldn't be king back in 2003, being cursed with the wrong genetalia or ethnic background. But, he was involved in backroom NDP politics and sat at the cabinet table, and his take on how things should be done, used to be done, and what is happening now is illuminating and honest and straightforward - a typical Corky quality. Some selected excerpts from Corky's letter follow:
Leadership, in any Party, is not a right..../snip
As we walked into the hotel the morning of the Provincial Council meeting, staff members stood in the hallway outside the meeting room and gave yellow scarves to everyone EXCEPT the folks they knew had signed or delivered the letter, and a few of the rest of us they figured might support the 13 signatories. The result was surreal. It was also the most divisive thing I have ever witnessed in our Party. The MLA’s who had NOT signed the letter asking Carol to resign were identified, in front of their peers and the Press, as Loyal and Good. Thus, the folks WITHOUT yellow scarves were immediately and publically identified as Disloyal and Bad.
It was awful. It was so unprecedented and unexpected (deriving, as it did, from a respectful and private meeting that everyone involved, except Carole, had intended to remain Private regardless of how she decided to respond) that none of us knew how to react, or feel, or think..../snip
Carole James has done something I never heard of before, which is to publicize and castigate MLA’s who, rightly or wrongly, thought they were acting in confidence and in the best interests of their Party. She could have told them they were wrong and stayed in her job. That has been done before in parliamentary democracies, probably hundreds of times. She could have accepted their advice and stepped down as Leader, perhaps while remaining as an MLA. That, too, has happened before, probably hundreds of times. Instead, she chose to do something that I have never heard of before (no doubt there is some historical precedent somewhere, although I don’t know about it and I can’t imagine that it turned out well) and publicly attacked those who came to her in confidence.
I don’t care if Carole wants to keep her job or not. Neither do I think this trouble is “about” Carole personally. I have, as probably every citizen does, thoughts about her leadership skill and style and believe they are irrelevant to the discourse. This is now about the democratization, or not, of how we do politics. It does not appear to be an issue that is limited to the NDP or even to B.C. I have heard similar thoughts about the erosion of democratic process and about the centralized control of political parties of late from members of the B.C. Liberal Party, the Federal Liberal Party, and the Alberta Conservative Party. It could be that this is a moment in our history when the political process is broken and reform and renewal are on the horizon.
As a New Democrat, I am heartsick at the troubles and I fervently wish Carol James had not orchestrated the public division of her Caucus. As a citizen, I am hopeful that the democratic process in Canada is being reborn. As her friend and supporter, I will go where Jenny Kwan goes, come what may.
*The woman on the left is tribute artist Luisa Marshall, a very entertaining tribute artist who also does Lady Gaga and other artists in her high energy shows. More about Luisa, including her performance schedule and booking infromation can be found at luisamarshall.com