Jagmeet Singh Reinstates NDP MP David Christopherson Of Critic Role After Outcry

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Mighty Middle
Jagmeet Singh Reinstates NDP MP David Christopherson Of Critic Role After Outcry

The NDP have officially removed Christopherson from his position as vice chair of an important multi-party standing committee of the House of Commons.

On Monday, Christopherson defied his own caucus by supporting a motion against a controversial federal summer jobs program that requires applicants to check a box affirming that their core mandate respects the values of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, including abortion rights.

Although firmly pro-choice, Christopherson believes the new rules for the Canada Summer Jobs program are an attack on people's freedom of conscience and right to dissent.

Charlie Angus tweeted

I think the correct tweet was that the party hurt themselves. Nobody knows procedure and rules better than @DaveChrisMP He is a fearsome force for good when it comes to respect for parliamentary rules and this is essential when you're the opposition.

R.E.Wood

I don't like the people in charge of this current NDP very much. What good does it do to punish Christopherson? He was very clear in explaining why he voted as he did, and I think his explanation was reasonable. 

After the demotion became public, senior New Democrats were quick to support Christopherson on social media. Karl Bélanger, a former national director of the party, said on Twitter the box on the application form “is likely unconstitutional.”

Longtime MP Charlie Angus added the party “hurt themselves” with the retaliation. “Nobody knows procedure and rules better than (Christopherson),” he tweeted. “He is a fearsome force for good when it comes to respect for parliamentary rules and this is essential when you’re the opposition.”

Another MP, Dan Harris, tweeted, “Yeah, this was unnecessary.”

http://nationalpost.com/news/politics/new-democrat-mp-punished-after-sup...

ETA: When I wrote this it didn't even occur to me that Singh was the one who specifically punished Christopherson. (Sorry, it's early morning!) I was thinking it was the general "party executive". If it was Singh specifically, then I definitely like him even less than I already did (which is to say, almost not at all.) 

SocialJustice101

MPs shouldn't be able to just explain away opposing Charter Rights.   That's the first principled decision by Jagmeet Singh since his election as leader.

6079_Smith_W

Hold on. That's not what Christopherson is doing.

He said the form is an infringement on freedom of conscience, not that reproductive health clinics should be shuttered. I agree with him.

This is about whether people within a party can disagree on issues like that without being removed from positions of responsibility by dictat. Not a good move, considering Christopherson actually has been elected to parliament.

The person who removed him from that position of parliamentary responsibility has no standing in the House.

 

 

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

Singh fails again. He's proving not to be the Messiah of all things progressive. Reality is setting in.

Mighty Middle

First Erin Weir, now David Christopherson. Charlie Angus is fairly outspoken. Will he be the next to run afoul with Jagmeet?

6079_Smith_W

I guess we love you we welcome you is just for photo ops n the campaign trail.

Unionist

Trying to understand this story without spending too much googling time. Can anyone help me?

1. What exactly does the application form say?

2. Who exactly removed Christopherson from his position (i.e. is there a reference showing that it was the leader)?

3. Did whoever remove him give a public reason as to why?

Thanks all.

6079_Smith_W

Here's what happened. I presume the party is for it because it was the whip who addressed it, but no, they aren't actually giving that as the reason. Apparently it was a whipped vote, which seems odd considering the statement acknowledges the confusion around the issue.

And we have a whole thread of chatter about it which we would probably do best not to duplicate here. Let me see if I can find it.

http://nationalpost.com/news/politics/new-democrat-mp-punished-after-sup...

Found it.

http://rabble.ca/babble/canadian-politics/trudeau-government-stands-firm...

Again, I question the wisdom of rehashing that whole thread over here. More important I'd say is that several members spoke out against the retaliation.

Sean in Ottawa

SocialJustice101 wrote:

MPs shouldn't be able to just explain away opposing Charter Rights.   That's the first principled decision by Jagmeet Singh since his election as leader.

What a horrible smear. That is not the point at all.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
What a horrible smear. That is not the point at all.

I think it's also not the point at all whether the form was "confusing" or God-botherers disliked it, or someone's Charter rights got violated by having to check a box to agree with Charter rights.

Seems he defied a whipped vote.  We wouldn't even need the term "whipped vote" if it was just an optional suggestion.

Unionist

Unionist wrote:

1. What exactly does the application form say?

2. Who exactly removed Christopherson from his position (i.e. is there a reference showing that it was the leader)?

3. Did whoever remove him give a public reason as to why?

So, I've read everything in this thread, the NP article, and I recall the earlier thread. But I still have no answer to any of my 3 questions. Did I miss something? Please, help me out here. In particular, why does the thread title say that Singh removed him? What's the source for that?

 

Pondering

For me it is about the cost benefit analysis. Would speaking up help anyone? Would something change for the positive because of it? Will something change for the negative? Will the result be neutral? Is it a significant moral issue such as capital punishment? 

I'm not sure I agree with whipping votes but it is party policy to whip votes and that means complusory. The particular MP felt it was more important to go his own way which is fine but that does have consequences which is also fine. 

The NDP seriously does not need enemies. The Liberals and Conservatives are laughing.

cco

Unionist wrote:

1. What exactly does the application form say?


Macleans wrote:
(T)he government is demanding that any group applying for a job grant “attest” that its “core mandate respect individual human rights in Canada, including the values underlying the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as well as other rights.”

And the application form goes on to spell out, for groups applying for funding, that the rights they respect must “include reproductive rights and the right to be free from discrimination on the basis of sex, religion, race, national or ethnic origin, colour, mental or physical disability or sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression.”


Christopherson wrote:
To me, at the end of the day, that box took away Canadians’ right to disagree with the laws that they have to obey. I had a very strong, fundamental problem with that. And just abstaining wasn’t good enough

Once again we're back to the position that not being paid to oppose something is the same as being forbidden from opposing it. I wonder if Christopherson feels that government money to the Catholic church takes away my right not to be Catholic.

Unionist wrote:

2. Who exactly removed Christopherson from his position (i.e. is there a reference showing that it was the leader)?

Attribution has been muddled, but as leader, the buck stops with Singh.

Unionist wrote:

3. Did whoever remove him give a public reason as to why?

He defied the whip.

josh

Good for Christopherson.  

6079_Smith_W

Yes. He defied the whip.

Here was the first horse out of the gate on this issue:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/nathan-cullen-summer-job-abortion-1.4502634

Without trying to settle the question of who is right here, is this really something that required a whipped vote, especially considering that it is complicated?

And that the application deadline for this year has passed, so we could be looking at a corrected form next year (since the Liberals admitted it was unclear).

If this is how the party is going to settle differences under Singh, MM asked the right question at #6. Who's next? And will it be over leaving the toilet seat up?

 

 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
To me, at the end of the day, that box took away Canadians’ right to disagree with the laws that they have to obey.

Well, first, when it comes to corporations we seem to agree that organizations aren't individuals.  So we're not actually talking about "Canadians", we're talking about "Canadian organizations".  There's nothing personal going on there.

But the individuals themselves are totally free to believe whatver they want.  Even the organization can believe whatever (its members) want.  They just need to be honest with us about how their free money will be spent.

Spent helping to violate the Charter means no money.  But why should the government spend our money underwriting attempts to violate our own Charter?

Organizations don't have to write and sing an original song about the awesomeness of the Charter.  They just have to be willing to state that their reason for existing, as an organization, isn't about undoing the Charter.

Mighty Middle

Unionist wrote:

 In particular, why does the thread title say that Singh removed him? What's the source for that?

The only person that has the authority to strip an MP of their critic role and role on committees is the leader (Jagmeet Singh), no one else.

josh

alan smithee wrote:

Singh fails again. He's proving not to be the Messiah of all things progressive. Reality is setting in.

He’s been a disaster faster than I thought he would be.

WWWTT

Looks like Singh is going to bend his ass over half backwards to appease the liberals. 

Is it too soon to call Singh Mulcair 2.0? Because if he keeps supporting the liberals at the cost of the NDP forging their unique identity, I can see Singh sharing something else with Mulcair, his demise as NDP leader 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
Looks like Singh is going to bend his ass over half backwards to appease the liberals.

Have you heard of a whipped vote before, tho?

josh

"If the law is an ass, you have right to say so," said Christopherson. "You have to obey the Charter; you have to obey the laws. But you don't have to bow and scrape and commit fealty. You don't have to say I love the law."

"In my view, ticking off that box was taking away a right that they have and that needs to be maintained."

https://www.thespec.com/opinion-story/8346020-ndp-punish-david-christopherson-for-breaking-ranks/

cco

WWWTT wrote:

Is it too soon to call Singh Mulcair 2.0? Because if he keeps supporting the liberals at the cost of the NDP forging their unique identity, I can see Singh sharing something else with Mulcair, his demise as NDP leader 

The day the NDP's "unique identity" means subsidizing right-wing religious zealots and forcing women to give birth, I'm burning my membership card.

6079_Smith_W

I think we all understand what a whipped vote is, just as we understand what the war measures act is. Question is, how necessary and appropriate was its use in this case, and the penalty which followed?
As an illustration of principle it is kind of a parallel to the application oath itself. And there is also a parallel in that it stands to do a lot of unnecessary damage.
Or perhaps there is something bigger behind the scenes here.

6079_Smith_W

This isn't about that cco. Again, we have hashed this over in the other thread. There are plenty of staunch supporters of lgbt and reproductive rights who see what an affront this is. And see that is is going to bar a lot of people from services - refugees, prisoners - who have nothing to do with those issues.

WWWTT

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Quote:
Looks like Singh is going to bend his ass over half backwards to appease the liberals.

Have you heard of a whipped vote before, tho?

Oh for sure. I also know how it feels letting a great opportunity slip through your hands. Also know what’s at the root causes of the NDP identity problems. 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
"If the law is an ass, you have right to say so," said Christopherson. "You have to obey the Charter; you have to obey the laws. But you don't have to bow and scrape and commit fealty. You don't have to say I love the law."

On a scale of "yes" or "no" did that box demand that any individual (or even any group) say that they love the law?

Is that what this apparent misunderstanding comes down to?  A group believing that they're required to love the law for free money?

6079_Smith_W

We went through this in the other thread Magoo. The question isn't even about whether they respect the law. It is about what they believe. I know the liberals say that isn't what they mean but it is what the words say. If I believed what they do I would never make a false oath like that.

6079_Smith_W

But more importantly, given what the party's initial position was and the clear division, why was it whipped at all?

WWWTT

cco wrote:
WWWTT wrote:

Is it too soon to call Singh Mulcair 2.0? Because if he keeps supporting the liberals at the cost of the NDP forging their unique identity, I can see Singh sharing something else with Mulcair, his demise as NDP leader 

The day the NDP's "unique identity" means subsidizing right-wing religious zealots and forcing women to give birth, I'm burning my membership card.

Sounds like you’re going way overboard. 

Do you remember the gun registry of the liberals? It became a huge wedge issue that gave the conservatives free unlimited votes on the back of the liberals. Probably Jack Layton’s most brilliant moment as an MP was having the insight to sidestep the gun registry and making a conservative MPs private members bill to eliminate the gun registry on open vote when the conservatives only had a minority government.

That open vote gave the NDP a lot of unique character across Canada!

 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
The question isn't even about whether they respect the law. It is about what they believe.

It's about whether their beliefs -- assuming that's a synonym for "core mandate" -- is compatible with the Charter.

Quote:
If I believed what they do I would never make a false oath like that.

If you believed what you seem to be suggesting they believe, I'd be just as happy if Everyone's Money didn't fund you and yours.

If I'm not mistaken, the Catholic School Board can fire, or refuse to hire, a harlot who wants to "live in sin".  But if they don't get some of Everyone's Money because of what they believe, THAT'S a problem.  Not the jobless harlot.  And not logic.

 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Fuck the NDP just doesn't get democracy. Saint Jack punished Bill Siksay for voting against a Whipped vote over a tough on crime bill that Harper was pushing through. He, unlike some other NDP MP's, could not sit on his hands and just not vote because he thought the legislation was so bad he had to vote against it. The Supreme Court of Canada later determined that the legislation that was unconstituional because it breached the Charter Rights of citizens.

cco

Mr. Magoo wrote:

If I'm not mistaken, the Catholic School Board can fire, or refuse to hire, a harlot who wants to "live in sin".  But if they don't get some of Everyone's Money because of what they believe, THAT'S a problem.  Not the jobless harlot.  And not logic.

And according to the logic in this thread, if sincere racists want to open a whites-only theatre, it's violating their freedom of conscience if Canadian Heritage doesn't want to fund their restoration project.

Oh, let me guess. Misogyny is different when it's religious. One might even call it "privileged".

6079_Smith_W

Thanks kropotkin. It is kind of senseless.

To be honest, I don't think that form is unconstitutional. There already was a ruling about funding not being a right; But some don't seem to understand that people do have a right to hold discriminatory beliefs, so long as they don't interfere with secular laws.

Funny the gun registry should be mentioned. There are echoes of  some of the Liberals' rhetoric back then in the purity test aspect of this, and the almost gratuitous way in which the Liberals are rubbing people's noses in it for no reason, and even letting people go without services because of it.

As happened with the gun registry, this might come back on them. Question is, does the NDP also want to be burning its own bridges for somehting that is going to get them and zero political capital, and do more harm than good?

(edit)

Look cco. There are actually provisions in the form that the funds can't be used for purposes that are in breach of charter rights. So your spin is completely inaccurate. Thing is, it isn't just those anti choice groups that are being cut off (and should be cut off). It is other service projects that have nothing to do with choice or LGBT rights. And even the Liberals have admitted that the way it reads is not what they mean.

Again, there are lots people who recognize that distinction. You have it wrong.

 

Unionist

Mighty Middle wrote:

Unionist wrote:

 In particular, why does the thread title say that Singh removed him? What's the source for that?

The only person that has the authority to strip an MP of their critic role and role on committees is the leader (Jagmeet Singh), no one else.

You'll have to pardon my fetish for rules and laws, but you will really have to give me evidence for that assertion. You certainly won't find it in the NDP constitution, which gives the leader no such power whatsoever. It's the NDP Council which is the governing body of the party between conventions.

Is there some rule of Parliament which accords such powers to party leaders? If there is, I'd like a reference please. I'm suspicious when it comes to fake news.

And... what kropotkin said about Bill Siksay. The NDP has shamed itself in the past with such craven acts, and sadly continues to do so. I'm not talking about the current topic, because I still have next to no clue as to what actually happened.

Mighty Middle

Unionist wrote:

You'll have to pardon my fetish for rules and laws, but you will really have to give me evidence for that assertion. You certainly won't find it in the NDP constitution, which gives the leader no such power whatsoever. It's the NDP Council which is the governing body of the party between conventions.

From My Life and Politics Audrey McLaughlin (Page 87)

Among the many jobs assigned to a party leader is "leading" the parliamentary caucus. In fact, the head of a third party in the House of Commons has very little power beyond the power of persuasion and the power of example. Apart from the assignment of critic responsibilities, there are no perks.

So if the leader assigns critic responsiblities, they also have the power to strip them away. McLaughlin, Ed Broadbent and Jack Layton have all stripped MPs of their critics roles as "punishment"

josh

6079_Smith_W wrote:
But more importantly, given what the party's initial position was and the clear division, why was it whipped at all?

Good question.  Maybe if Singh actually had a seat in parliament, he might have approached this differently.

josh

6079_Smith_W wrote:
We went through this in the other thread Magoo. The question isn't even about whether they respect the law. It is about what they believe. I know the liberals say that isn't what they mean but it is what the words say. If I believed what they do I would never make a false oath like that.

Exactly.  And the danger is that the Conservatives could turn around at some future date and make funding conditional on something the left believes, or does not believe.

josh

cco wrote:
Mr. Magoo wrote:

If I'm not mistaken, the Catholic School Board can fire, or refuse to hire, a harlot who wants to "live in sin".  But if they don't get some of Everyone's Money because of what they believe, THAT'S a problem.  Not the jobless harlot.  And not logic.

And according to the logic in this thread, if sincere racists want to open a whites-only theatre, it's violating their freedom of conscience if Canadian Heritage doesn't want to fund their restoration project.

Oh, let me guess. Misogyny is different when it's religious. One might even call it "privileged".

No.  That’s action, not belief.

6079_Smith_W

@ Unionist

I understand that one wants to be prudent, but the problem with "we don't know what happened" is that it is very thin cover for the things we can very clearly see have happened. And it doesn't help that a number of people who likely do know have said publicly that what happened was not right.

Just reading though some of the articles and editorials on this, and I think Christopherson got at the crux of this very clearly:

"If the law is an ass, you have right to say so," said Christopherson. "You have to obey the Charter; you have to obey the laws. But you don't have to bow and scrape and commit fealty. You don't have to say I love the law."

"In my view, ticking off that box was taking away a right that they have and that needs to be maintained."

And the fact many who strongly support those Charter principles see it too make it clear that it is a problem that goes far beyond ensuring someone complies with the law.

 

Unionist

6079_Smith_W wrote:

@ Unionist

I understand that one wants to be prudent, but the problem with "we don't know what happened" is that it is very thin cover for the things we can very clearly see have happened. And it doesn't help that a number of people who likely do know have said publicly that what happened was not right.

I'm going to blame myself for not being clear. I think we know what happened. I agree with you. I want to understand the process. And what annoys, and scares, me is that no one seems to care. Because they assume the Leader is some all-powerful God who doesn't even need a Bible to constrain his actions. All he needs are sheep that follow.

4. Was this move discussed in caucus beforehand (oh whoops, caucus proceedings are a state secret...)? Singh isn't even in caucus, so I guess not, why would God allow such a potentially seditious conversation in His absence? I'm not suggesting caucus has any powers in this respect (it doesn't), but since no one here has yet been able to cite an actual rule regarding appointment of critics, at least caucus has a right to discuss it.

5. Did the dissenters (Angus et al) say, "this is a huge issue of conscience, of rights of party members, of rights of MPs - let's follow due process" - and request a meeting of Council? Or let me put it differently: Has anyone here ever heard of Council?

6. Does anyone have a link to the actual full application form for the grants? This is my third try. I'm sure it must be there somewhere on canada.ca, but I'd rather rant on babble than do the heavy browsing.

See Smith, I agree with you, the substantive issue was discussed in some detail in the earlier thread. Can we not then deal with questions - and more importantly, answers - in the current thread about how Christopherson was turfed, is it proper (from a party constitution or Commons rules standpoint), what does it illustrate about the functioning of the New "Democratic" Party, how different is this party from others, etc.?

 

SocialJustice101

The requirement says absolutely nothing about "beliefs."   Stop this misinformation.  You're playing right into the so-con hands.

SocialJustice101
6079_Smith_W

No, I think you are clear enough Unionist. I'm sure I am the one at fault for perhaps not being clear enough in return.

It's very much like what other parties have done, but I don't think Stephen Harper is our preferred model for government, so that is not the point. Nor is the fact that it is well within procedure. Nor even, as I have just said, the fact the question on that form might be completely legal.

It is possible to screw things up completely by the book, after all.

And it does, SJ101. What do you think "core mandate" means? The stupid thing is that compliance with the law is already spelled out further up in the document. If an organization does not allow women to be clergy clearly they do not follow the Charter to the letter, and like it or not churches have exceptions on religious grounds. But saying they fully support non-discrimination would be a lie.

 

SocialJustice101

mandate

 

[man-deyt] /ˈmæn deɪt/

noun

1. a command or authorization to act in a particular way on a public issue given by the electorate to its representative:

The president had a clear mandate to end the war.

2. a command from a superior court or official to a lower one:

The appellate court resolved the appeal and issued a mandate to the district judge.

3. an authoritative order or command:

a royal mandate.

4.

(in the League of Nations) a commission given to a nation to administer the government and affairs of a former Turkish territory or German colony.

5.

a mandated territory or colony.

6.

Roman Catholic Church. an order issued by the pope, especially one commanding the preferment of a certain person to a benefice.

7.

Roman and Civil Law. a contract by which one engages gratuitously to perform services for another.

As you can see, mandate is not synonymous with belief.   The fact that you keep using the word "belief" instead of "mandate" indicates that you are trying to delude the facts and shift the argument in a certain direction.

Pondering

Perhaps the motive to whip the vote was to avoid the optics of teaming up with the Conservatives. 

josh

SocialJustice101 wrote:

You can read the full application here: https://catalogue.servicecanada.gc.ca/apps/EForms/pdf/en/ESDC-EMP5396A.pdf

See 28.1.  That’s all they had to ask to cover it.  Without having to get into this “core mandate” nonsense.

SocialJustice101

josh wrote:

SocialJustice101 wrote:

You can read the full application here: https://catalogue.servicecanada.gc.ca/apps/EForms/pdf/en/ESDC-EMP5396A.pdf

See 28.1.  That’s all they had to ask to cover it.  Without having to get into this “core mandate” nonsense.

Not so.   The Charter restricts the government, not private organizations, from discrimination.   An argument could be made that the government cannot sub-contract discrimination, and thus receiving government funding requires you to comply with the Charter.  However, the courts have not yet ruled on such an argument, thus the attestation is warranted.

6079_Smith_W

In the context of religious values, SJ101, it is.

And if you consider a similar oath that might challenge your own values, like having your group have to declare approval of Canada's foreign policy or drug laws, you might have some consideration for how a question like this seems to someone who holds a religious value.

In fact there are women's groups which have challenged protection of gender identity in the interest of protecting what they consider safe spaces. Of course everyone knows the Liberals are not going to withhold funding on those grounds, but in fact they cannot say that their mandates are fully in line with the wording of the Charter. And some future government could challenge them on those grounds. We saw the regulations used this way under Harper. This is not a strictly partisan issue.

Clearly we aren't going to agree with this. But the fact many are recognizing it for what it is, and that even the Liberals had to come out and clarify that they were not going to apply it the way it seems to be written means it is not as black and white as you are claiming.

And no, those who see it that way are not just playing into the hands of conservatives. This, after all, was the first line of criticism the NDP levelled against this policy. For some reason they have done a complete reversal, and whipped enforcement on it.

 

josh

How does attesting that you are in compliance “with all applicable laws” not cover it?

SocialJustice101

josh wrote:

How does attesting that you are in compliance “with all applicable laws” not cover it?

There are no laws against anti-abortion/anti-gay advocacy groups.  (Nor should there be, for the sake of free speech.)  But they shouldn't get funded by the government.

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