Andrea Horwath’s Ontario New Democrats starting to implode?

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PoliSci Tanya
Andrea Horwath’s Ontario New Democrats starting to implode?

Andrea Horwath's Ontario New Democrats starting to implode?

After just one year at the helm of the already leaky ship known as the Ontario New Democratic Party, under Andrea Horwath the ship maybe ready to sink as she continues to lose control over her party and her members.

Portrayed as the fresh, new and moderate face of the Ontario NDP to the public, within her party she is quickly gaining the reputation of old labour guard, hypocrite and autocrat if Facebook, Rabble, the Toronto Star and general political gossip are anything to go by.

Some party insiders say hypocrisy was a concern right from the Leadership Convention when the supposed "labour candidate" handed out hundreds of plastic novelty "Horwath" flashlights that were non-recyclable and made in China.

The past few weeks have added even more fuel to the speculation that the Ontario NDP is headed for implosion before the 2011 provincial election. Last week, Horwath appeared to stab fellow NDP MPP Cheri DiNovo in the back, calling her out for voting according to her conscience on a bill in the House. That was bad enough, but Horwath railed against the bill claiming that it silenced debate and muzzled activists; but two days later, she barred her MPPs for even attending, let alone speaking at an all-party discussion on Catholic school funding.
During the last few days a new controversy has started to leak out that if substantiated, could be a major blow to the party who has painted itself as the party of the workers and led by the darling of the unions. The Ontario NDP appears to be treating some of its employees in ways itself has called exploitation in the private sector. A source inside the Ontario NDP'S head office in Toronto claims that his boss, the party's Secretary and Horwath's former leadership campaign manager, told the dozen or so fundraisers that they have no job security and no union protection even though they pay monthly dues like everyone else. He said:

"She practically threatened to fire us. We raise thousands of dollars for them every week, we are underpaid, we pay union dues, the party gets to look like it's got ethical labour practices, yet we don't get the same benefits the leader is preaching for everyone else all over the province."

To be so blatantly and visibly hypocritical on labour rights must be new for the Ontario NDP. Horwath has spoken out against the use of contract workers, yet most of her fundraisers work from contract to contract.
One Horwath loyalist dismissed these controversies as just the"growing pains of a new leader". However, a member of the party's youth wing in Ottawa believes that these issues are part of a larger, looming split in the party between the old guard "who have run this party into the ground" and a new and growing progressive movement.

Whatever the case may be, it seems clear that Horwath is not making a great impression on her own people and that the next Ontario NDP leadership race may already be well under way.

PoliSci Tanya, Ottawa

The author studies political science in Ottawa, Canada and writes an Ontario political gossip column for her student union's internal blog. This is her first attempt at forum-posti

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NDPP

Good stuff. Thanks Tanya - Keep it coming..

Fidel

Ya we're going to hear a lot less about:

 

  • the Pee3's fiascos in have-not Ontario

  • e-health scandals,

  • the largest numbers of children living in poverty of any province(Only Liberal BC maintains higher rates)

  • the whopping multi-billion dollar budget deficit,

  • the 60 plus broken Liberal Party election promises

  • and the general all around pork barrelling in Toronto in the run-up to an election in October 2011 I thinks

Ciabatta2

So the Ontario provincial NDP ship sinking/imploding because of the Cheri Di Novo situation, some labour issues with staff, non-recycleable flashlights and because some member of the party from Ottawa says so?

There are some pretty shakey conclusions in there.

I don't want to discourage you because I think anyone who takes time to write about this sort of stuff (particularly internal party machinations) deserves to be commended, but if you're relying on rabble for your columns and for an impression of the party you're seeing only a very very narrow slice of the party's supporters/critics.

 

(PS - Flashlights are not recycleable unless there is an e-waste system to manage them.  So even if the flashlight is made with theorectically recycleable plastic, it still wouldn't be recycled due to the component electrical parts - it would get trashed even if you put it in the blue bin.  But I think there is an e-waste requirement in Ontario coming down the pike for those types of things.)

Lou Arab Lou Arab's picture

About every 2-3 months someone in the media or blogosphere writes that Jack Layton's tenure as leader is shaky and almost up.  And every election,  Layton continues to advance the party fortunes with almost universal support among NDP members.

Someone joins babble for the sole purpose of posting much the same about Horwath based on a few minor controversies?  Colour me skeptical.

From my (admittedly) distant perch in Edmonton, Horwath has blown a breath of fresh air into the ONDP and is making them a factor again.

Farmpunk

Why not write your blog under your own name? 

KenS

I'm going to make a comparison to Jack Layton and his leadership based on what is observable.

Yes, every few or several months there is a blip/flurry of commentaries that maybe Jack is a spent force, time to move on, etc. I think they always start in the media. They create very few ripples in the blogosphere. It can even happen that I see not a single person agree. And if there is a discussion at all, it ends with people saying Jack is fine and at most speculating who might be ready to seek the leadership when it is time for Jack to step down. And most people figure Jack himself will know when its time.

This is different. There is a continuous stir within the ONDP. The blogosphere being what it is- its hard to know if that amounts to much of anything... whether it amounts to what those doing the stirring say it does. They come across as on the cranky side, so that makes one skeptical. What information that comes out is difficult to confirm or disconfirm. Obviously thats going to be true for someone like me who doesn't live in Ontario. But I know enough how these things go that it isnt any better for most ONDP members- even those who are pretty active and consistently pay attention.

The pot stirrers do appear to have a fair bit of hard information- and at least some of it sounds like its cause for anyone's concern- even if you have the skeptical stand back wait and see attitude. The thing is, the pot stirrers dont actually have any more complete information than the rest of us. They have snippets. Even if the snippets are all true or mostly true, that doesn't make the narrative made of them true at all. The narrative could be frankly misleading [and with no intention to make it that way].

There could be enough of the narrative that is at least close to being accurate that everyone should be concerned. But the fact this stuff keeps coming up could just mean that the protaganists are just good at pot stirring- irregardless of how much they actually have to go on.

KenS

The title- ONDP starting to implode is definitely way overblown.

The fact this is always present from the pot stirrers is part of what makes people skeptical. IE, "I know that some of this very overblown, which I have in mind when I'm looking at thins that are said where I do not and cannot myself really know one way or another whether or not it is an accurate assessment.

aka Mycroft

Tanya, the fact that both you and your sources are anonymous denies your post the weight you are trying to attribute to it. Your claims of a split are also unsupported. Are you saying several MPPs and thousands of members are going to form their own party? If so, where's the evidence? If not you need to modify your language.

KenS

Here is another consideration. Wondering where this fits in.

I am pretty sure that the real irritant here is the overall direction of the ONDP. The concern about that runs back long before the leadership campaign, and to those with the most concerns the leadership race did not encourage them. Which cannot be just chalked up to not being encouraged by the results [my/our candidate did not win], but is rooted also in the concerns about the direction of the party not appearing to motivate much of the membership.

Concerns about internal democracy are legitimate in themselves. But its utopian to not also look at what else is at stake. And frankly, actual democracy is more important to dissidents. Everybody wants their say- but the mainstream by default gets its say anyway. And quiescence works for them. There don't have to be any conspiracies for that to have a pernicious effect.

If the dissidents are people with an inclination to trump up legitimate grievances, the equally organic reaction to that is that a leadership that is used to the convenience of quiescence begins to circle the wagons and throw out little obstacles. "Little" in the sense that they are easily done, and quite often not very obvious and/or very arguable as to intent. And the kind of stuff that is done frequently looks stupid and even irrational to someone looking in from outside the bubble with an open mind and with some understanding of the processes.

It is VERY easy for just a few people in leadership to throw out obstacles that are not blatant. Whether that is happening in this case, I can't possibly know. Because it could be happening I'm not going to jump to the conclusion that it probably is.

I'm putting out the possibility that there may be a potent combination of both indefensible pot stirring, and indefensible and counteproductive closing of the gates.

If so, some cooler heads need to step up.

JasonNDP

@tanya

i think your headline is flashy but not accurate. i dont agree implosion will happen soon but i think you have causght on to something growing in the party and especially of younger members

if the ship was goingto sink soon i would think the party had a chance but andrea adn her people are just worried about window dressing problems. a strong leader would have tackled iinternal crap right after her election

if tanya is mixing facts and gossip who cares? we all know politics runs on gossip and the things she mentions, with the recent election stealling is enough to get people looking for answers. the looking is what counts

thanks for stirring the pot tanya. this party needs it

KenS

I'm going to go ahead and spell out what I think might be going on. Thinking that given the kind of stuff flying around, my speculation can't hurt. And could help.

You have a bloc of people who had hoped the leadership race would be the beginning of a change in direction for the ONDP. They didn't get the candidate they wanted, nor did she give them an unexpected surprise. So they were looking forward to the 2011 Convention to agitate for their agenda.

In anysection of the NDP the table officers play the guiding role. Leader, Sec, Pres, Treasurer, VPs. They have regular meetings- often weekly. Which officers are there regularly varies but are almost certain to include the Sec and Pres. The Leader may or may not directly participate. If she does not, in part its because she does not need to. Table officers are in close touch outside of meetings as well.

This is not to rig the system. It is a necessity. Even the Executive is far too big to meet as frequently and as productively as necessary. And if things aren't discussed before Exec and Council meetings, chaos that suits no one is guaranteed. The differences of opinion that will emerge at Exec or Council over main issues are pretty predictable, and the expectation is that the officers will anticipate this and prepare to have productive discussions. Some table officers are good at this, some aimless and inept, and some see no problem in actively setting up to manipulate the outcome.

One of the inherent problems is that because it is a small group, and because they will usually all be from the current mainstream of the party... dissident voices in the table officers are the exception. They will have plenty of disagreements, but they have no one speaking for minority positions. And there only might be one table officer astute enough to know what minority positions will be, how much is at stake for them, and bring this into the discussion. So even with as much good intention as could be hoped for, table officers may not do a very good job of anticipoating the various 'wills' that will be in the room, and should be made room for. And very often this limited capability shades towards what is outright manipulative.... to the degree that it is fruitless to deconstruct what 'real intent' was.

So we have a minority of some significance that is eager for Convention. And we have a leadership that obviously beyond the table officers even has been wondering whether it is wise to have a Convention on schedule. Those who have a lot of stake in Convention on schedule are going to see this as an attempt to keep them from expressing their agenda about a changed direction for the party.

Most likely this is an inflated sense of their importance and/or likelihood to sway the membership. BUT, the fact that they will be determined to have Convention on schedule, and that there will be many activists similarly disposed even if they are content with the direction the party is going... the combination virtually guarantees that there will be big kerfuffle about the timing of Convention.

And the NDP has this engrained history of avoiding intenral kerfuffles. The vocal dissidents always think its about fear of losing to them, about losing control. It never gets that far. The vast majority of people who get to leadership positions in the NDP, just don't want to go there period. They don't even think as far as whether they will come out on top. [And at least 95% of the time they would.] Having the kerfuffle itself is bad enough if its over something suffcient enough.

Counterintuitively, it does not happen most of the time over policy issues- even where there are big disagreements. But over issues like this one, its sure to be called 'divisive'. And 'we don't like divisive, we don't want to go there.'

Rather obviously there is a pattern to who the losers will be in 'lets not be divisive'... and there is a convenient blindness to the long term reinforcement of the staus quo that this engenders.

Anyway, enough of the background. Back to the case at hand.

As noted, the idea to delay Convention did not just come up. It had to be articulated at least among the table officers by the time of the full Council meeting. Not to mention they meet immediately before, as does the Exec- where they can do a priliminary sound out and vetting of questions to pose the Council.

There is something not right about the delaying of Convention being brought to an emergency vote two weeks later.

Either that is unacceptably poor planning on the part of the Table Officers- and particularly the Secretary and President. Or it was a desire to avoid a 'divisive discussion' such as could be pretty well counted on at the full Council.

If it is one of those, that should be fessed up to. I would suggest that nothing is worse than the kind of charges that are floating around now.

For myself, I would speak against any attempts at a lynching if the Table Officers were to admitt something even as bad as trying to avoid a discussion at Council. I don't take that sort of thing lightly at all. And I quit the NSNDP when I determined thatthere was no hope of ending obscenely manipulative practices. But this current ONDP leadership has not been at the helm long enough to be given up on by my standards- if they did what I am suggesting.

JasonNDP

@kens

thank you ken for that very informative and well written post.

i think i disagree with two points though. from what i have read and heard about proroguing convention, almost everyone agrees it was a good idea in theory. the problem is what people see as the manipulative way it was done. ndpers dont like their democracy manipulated

the other is that this ontario ndp leadership has not been around long enough to be obscenely manipulative. the leader is new but the leadership is not

j

KenS

People in leadership positions like Pres have virtually always been around for a long time. Of course they share in responsibility for leadership before they reached the position where they make a lot of the decisions themselves, but thats when the clock starts on they indisputably wear it.

remind remind's picture

seems somebodies really want the NDP to go away......

PassionateGardener

@kens

Great post!

@JasonNDP

Agreed.  I've not encountered anyone adamantly opposed to moving the convention. The reasons given were good.  What stirred the pot was the way the table officers forced the idea.  As Kens said 

"

As noted, the idea to delay Convention did not just come up. It had to be articulated at least among the table officers by the time of the full Council meeting. Not to mention they meet immediately before, as does the Exec- where they can do a priliminary sound out and vetting of questions to pose the Council.

There is something not right about the delaying of Convention being brought to an emergency vote two weeks later.

Either that is unacceptably poor planning on the part of the Table Officers- and particularly the Secretary and President. Or it was a desire to avoid a 'divisive discussion' such as could be pretty well counted on at the full Council.

If it is one of those, that should be fessed up to. I would suggest that nothing is worse than the kind of charges that are floating around now"

 

This is drama for no reason. The tone from the top has ensured that this procedural issue has become divisive and heated.

johnpauljones

so as i see it their are 2 groups playing against each other right now.

the first are those who do not like andrea and never did and they want to see her removed as leader. this tactic is a great one especially 1.5 years until the next election. a new leader will lower the ndp even further in the polls and almost guarentee mcguinty another overwhelming majority ...who know the ndp could lose status again after that eleciton. therefore the only people who like the ndp low in the polls is the libs so the people behind the need a new leader have to be libs.

 

the second are those who still support andrea through everything. they see the next eleciton as a test almost and want to give her a chance to grow and become the leader that they think she could be and will be.

 

so do i beleive the libs in ndp clothing or true ndp members...

Mike from Canmore

KenS I echo passionate gardener. For me this is all about what is right (constitutionally) and fair. I do not believe it's accurate to call this position a "minority" position. Many riding associations and even regional councils see a problem with inner-party democracy and participation. As such, they have been writing motions to address these concerns. The Road Ahead, an inner party report, is a document that I think sufficiently captures the memberships' desire to have a more participatory party.

Thank you KenS for actually trying to understand the issues at hand... ever consider running for ONDP president Wink

 

aka Mycroft

From a legal standpoint the problem around the convention postponement resolution can be fixed by resubmitting the resolution to the next full council meeting in May. It does seem that some of the people in the NDP's leader's office are having problems in relating to the party membership (and even to members of the party executive and council) and have a hamfisted attitude to procedure and they should either change their approach or be reassigned lest a democratic deficit emerge which hurts morale among party activists and employees heading into an election year. Any new leader will have growing pains and Andrea Horwath is not immune. She is doing well in her public role as a leader, much better than some people expected but perhaps she needs to retool her team and make sure people who know how to relate and work with the party membership are brought in. Having grown as a parliamentary leader, speaker and campaigner won't help much if she starts day one of the election campaign and finds that the wheels have fallen off the bus.

A lot of leaders of all parties over the years have learned that the people who brought you to the leadership are not always the best people to be running your team once the leadership has been won. Quite frankly, different talents and even different personalities are often needed to run your office from the people who ran your leadership campaign. Paul Martin learned that lesson the hard way. Conversely the most successful leaders have been those who tapped the best people from other camps and brought them into the team. The calssic example in Canada is Bill Davis who built the Big Blue Machine by bringing in Hugh Segal, Norm Atkins and others who backed Allan Lawrence whom Davis beat to become party leader.

Mike from Canmore

I don't see anyone trying to dethrone Andrea. When I speak with Dippers I hear people comment on how well they think she's doing as leader, but no one talks about replacing her. 

Olive

So, if I understand John Paul correctly, I am a Liberal in New Democratic clothing because I think Andrea Horwath has acted unfairly and unnecessarily in pushing this convention vote thorugh without due process?

This reminds me of the Republicans in the United States calling anyone who has ever been opposed to a war, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan as against America.

This really is a shame because it seems to me that the most loyal members are those who want all of our processes and decsions to be made fairly, all the time. It is that simple. Moving the conversation to the right or wrong of the substance of the decision is intellectually dishonest. The substance of the decision does not matter in the cases mentioned above.

We are not just "democratic" because we have it in our name. We have to fight to maintain it constanatly, or else natural human laziness takes over. Perhaps that is what is wrong our old leadership?

Olive

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Hi Tanya, welcome to babble!

However:

aka Mycroft wrote:
Tanya, the fact that both you and your sources are anonymous denies your post the weight you are trying to attribute to it. Your claims of a split are also unsupported. Are you saying several MPPs and thousands of members are going to form their own party? If so, where's the evidence? If not you need to modify your language.

^^^This.

But, perhaps we should also keep in mind this:

PoliSci Tanya wrote:
The author studies political science in Ottawa, Canada and writes an Ontario political gossip column for her student union's internal blog. This is her first attempt at forum-posti[ng]

It's an interesting tack, Tanya, but since you are not an established writer with proven pedigree you can't throw around phrases like "a source inside the Ontario NDP," etc. Also be aware that several babblers are highly partisan and might react strongly to the provocative and incendiary rhetoric you use above. Hopefully you come back and respond to some of the comments!

ETA: do you have a link to your Student Union blog?

johnpauljones

So Olive tell me this.....who wins if andrea is dethroned?  who is the next leader? what are the poll numbers like for that leader out in the heartland of ontario?

 

unless the numbers can be bumped by a good 15 to 20% across Ontario then this is nothing more than an atempted pusch.

 

I also am a member of the party, i also like andrea but then again i have disagreed a lot with her lately. so tell me this part....if she is so bad and refuses to follow rules so badly....

where is the party outcry across the province?

 

 

Stuart_Parker

I'll begin by telling a little annecdote from seeking the byelection nomination:

My girlfriend went down to the provincial office with my candidate nomination forms and my last four member sign-ups on the membership cutoff deadline. She entered the office and attempted to hand in the two envelopes. Our then-brand-new provincial secretary demanded to know who she was. My girlfriend introduced herself and extended her hand -- the provincial secretary stepped back a pace and refused to extend her hand or disclose her name.

She then opened the two envelopes and, finding that the four memberships were accompanied by five $20 bills to pay for them, she immediate accused Rachel, herself a member for only six weeks, of having bought the memberships herself in contravention of the party constitution and provincial law. My understanding is that the term "fraud" was even used. After lecturing her on how the party would investigate the validity of the memberships and how membership fraud was a serious offense and would be detected if it had taken place, the four memberships were reluctantly accepted.

So, although I agree that the thread title is hyperbolic, I do have to say that I think the party has a lot of work to do when it comes to being welcoming to new members. When new leadership takes charge, it is an opportunity to fling wide the doors and welcome people in or back in as the case may be. But instead I find the ONDP is just further tightening its circle.

I don't blame either our leader or our provincial secretary for this because it is a culture I see everywhere in the ONDP from the riding level on up: the party appears to be slowly entering a tailspin of insularity. The smaller it gets, the less it trusts outsiders and the less it trusts outsiders, the smaller it gets. As there are fewer newcomers on whom to focus suspicion, party members focus more and more suspicion on one another: those supporting the current regime see those with questions as deliberately or delusionally undermining the party's cause; those opposing it see the current regime not as representatives of the majority but people who have won their positions through bullying and trickery. I reject both characterizations.

What is happening is something far more worrisome than a set of naive dissidents or secret saboteurs; it is more worrisome than bullies or cheaters at the top. Those things can be fixed with personnel changes or votes. It is a cycle of suspicion, defensiveness and insularity that is gripping not specific individuals but New Democratic culture in Ontario. To explain it, we can credit Paul Summerville, Bob Rae, David Miller and others who have, to a greater or lesser degree, brought the party somewhere only to back away from it. That sting of betrayal has contaminated our culture and now, we both look for traitors under every bed and we push away new people whose loyalty we think is up for grabs.

Olive

Hello John Paul,

I do not want to dethrone Andrea but I do not agree with her tactics. Hwoever, if enough members want to change leaders, a year, a month or a day before the election, while I may not agree, I would support the action.

I for one do not think that Andrea is any more an important Party member than myself, we are all equal. If she violates teh rules, she needs to hear about it, if she still does nothing, then theer may be a problem.

I would also disagree with the young woman who began this converstaion. I do not think we should even be looking at Andrea, our leader. Perhaps we should be looking at her advissors as the source of these recent problems. Certainly Andrea herslf does not have the time to make all these small decisions on party matters.

 

Olive

Life, the unive...

I think you are giving the leader too much power.  No leader is going to get involved in this kind of stuff as that is what staff and officials are for.  Sure they might be consulted, but oversee and micro-manage not on your life.  If you are as long time involved as you say you are you have to or ought to now that.  Instead you choose to attack Horwath revealing.

I find it interesting that the people doing all of this attacking seemed to have signed up specifically to do so, and do not really engage in any other discussions.  Surely that suggests something doesn't it.  My guess is if these people keep up their relentless attacks (and how much do you want to bet it is really over seperate school funding) a whack of good people will simply say piss on it and leave the NDP and you will see the diehards drive the NDP out of the Legislature all together.

KenS

Moving right along...

johnpauljones

for some of us the real problem is that the only party we will park our vote with is the ndp. so either vote ndp or stay home

Olive

Hello Life,

I believe you misread my message. Please take the time to read it again. I verly clearly stated that Andrea likely did not have much of a hand in any of this, but that we should be lookingto her staff.

Olive

Mike from Canmore

This is how I see things: a small group of people have been running the party for a long time and by running I mean running into the ground. They like their power and don't want to give it up nor do they want to admit failure. The small group drove us into financial trouble - most notability the big ass loan for our very expensive downtown Toronto office and the other big ass loan for the last election. [Sandra was president then too!] Both investments had poor returns and now the unions who co-signed those loans have even more power and control over the party. The small group of people keep trying to cut budget costs - like delaying convention - rather than focusing on growing the party. Anyone who questions what's going on is told "you're either with us or against us" rather than seeing the concerns as genuine. 

Andrea should be concerned with this internal democracy dilemma and the dissatisfaction on her own people. The troops are losing moral - how effective do you think we'll be in battle come election time. 

This party is on life support folks. If you don't believe me check out our financial report the next time your at council. 

aka Mycroft

I'm somewhat troubled by the anti-union comments a number of people have made. If I can draw an analogy, it's like a Liberal in 70s saying "Quebecers" have too much influence in the party and therefore the Liberal Party should cut off relations with its Quebec wing. The NDP has a labour base. You might have a disagreement with labour leaders etc or think the NDP should broaden its base but to argue that the NDP should cut off its ties with unions, as some people are suggesting, is like a Tory suggesting the Conservatives cut off their ties with Alberta or that the Liberals cut their ties with Quebec. A party that attacks its own base will destroy itself. If you don't believe me look at what happened to the NDP in the years following the Social Contract.

JasonNDP

i agree with mike

why are we letting the same group of people who helped us lose party statuts, bankrupted us and are sacring away youth, professionals and minorities still run the show!? in any other party these epople would have been sent home already

time to say thank you to sandra, penny, howard, merv, andrew, mike and all the rest. give them a nice parting gift. ask them for donations, to volunteer on elections, and to vote for us, but move on

there are too many fresh and talented members waiting in the wings to really do something with this party

Mike from Canmore

I belong to a union and am an executive member. I am not calling on the NDP to cut its ties to unions. Nor am I being 'anti-union' by questioning the ethics of our financial ties to them. Conservatives and Liberals are in-bed with big business the same way the ONDP is in-bed with labour. Both relationships impose a conflict of interest. My concern is that the same people have been at the helm for a long time and are doing a terrible job. It's hard to develop progressive policy, especially around the issue of public school funding, when you're worried about losing the support of unions (ie/ catholic school teachers union). I also question the focus in on paying back loans to unions (by budget cuts such as delaying convention) rather than trying to grow our support base. 

KenS

Not to mention that the unions co-signing for loans does not conferr any power on them- even informal power.

[Let alone there is no information about how much they are co-signing for... and even if we had that information, the time frame for paying off the loans.. etc.]

And a note that suggesting that its time for officers to be replaced belies earlier suggestions that you want accounatability; and fits nicely into others' suggestions that it isn't about the substance of the criticisms, its about agendas to get rid of people.

Mike from Canmore

I do not support any president that thinks she is above the constitution and will violate the constitution in order to carry out her agenda. You caught me Ken [eye roll].

KenS

Mike from Canmore wrote:

I belong to a union and am an executive member. I am not calling on the NDP to cut its ties to unions. Nor am I being 'anti-union' by questioning the ethics of our financial ties to them. Conservatives and Liberals are in-bed with big business the same way the ONDP is in-bed with labour. Both relationships impose a conflict of interest.  

 You do seem intent on sabotaging your position.

Thats your opinion that its a conflict of interest. I among others don't agree. Your opinion is your business. But you are using it as more than your opinion. You are trumping it up into being part of a problem much bigger than the ethics of relationships.

Mike from Canmore wrote:

My concern is that the same people have been at the helm for a long time and are doing a terrible job. It's hard to develop progressive policy, especially around the issue of public school funding, when you're worried about losing the support of unions (ie/ catholic school teachers union). I also question the focus in on paying back loans to unions (by budget cuts such as delaying convention) rather than trying to grow our support base. 

Loans have to be paid back in a timely manner no matter who the money is owed to. And "timely" means you have to pay down repidly during non-election years. You can question the wisdom of how much debt should have been taken on. But that is entirely seperate from the issue of paying the debt down once you have. The speed which the loans have to be paid down has nothing to do with money being owed to unions in particular. I don't care if you are a union and exec member, where you look for scapegoats says something to me. [Not that it is really relevant to the larger points- its a comment on yousaying you are not anti-union.]

Mike from Canmore

Whether you like to admit it or not Ken, the fact that unions co-signed our loans compromises our relationship with them - you are a fool to think otherwise. If that were not the case than ONDP would accept a similar relationship with big corporations. We do not accept donations from Corporate Canada because we do not wish to compromise our integrity. We should be placing the same boundaries around our relationship with labour. 

KenS

Basic personnel principle in non-union as well as union workplaces:

No matter how much individuals may have been told how their practices are really bad, etc.... the clock to them possibly being disciplined, let alone threatened with termination or told their resignation is expected, does not BEGIN until they have been formally warned that their practices may lead to consequences.

In other words, people get a chance to act accordingly. The fact they 'should have known' from what people were already telling them informally, is immaterial.

That goes for managers as well as plebes.

Mike from Canmore

Elected officials, such as presidents, are under different rules and are subject to impeachment. 

KenS

I'll do you the favour Mike of ignoring you called me a fool.

I've put in years on party finance committees doing budgets and dealing with loans. I know all about formal and informal obligations. I also know that unions in the ONDP in particular have more influence and different influence than what you get just from reading organization charts.

But like I said, co-signing loans conferrs on them no further influence. You are entitlled to your opinion it is undue influence. But you are making of it much more than an opinion. You went so far as to say that the loans are being paid at the speed they are rather than spending money on Conventions because the unions co-signed the lines. And you showed no inclination to qualify that after I pointed out the loans would have to be repaid post-haste whoever held them.

KenS

Mike from Canmore wrote:

We do not accept donations from Corporate Canada because we do not wish to compromise our integrity. We should be placing the same boundaries around our relationship with labour. 

Put it as a resolution and start working to support it. But stop treating it as if what you call a compromised relationship is a fact.

Mike from Canmore

I'm allowed to question what influences the priorities of our party. 

KenS

Mike from Canmore wrote:

Elected officials, such as presidents, are under different rules and are subject to impeachment. 

Indeed they are. And you can't get support to impeach them until after they have had an official assessment of their actions and they have had a chance to respond.

My global point stands, notwithstanding some different specific mecahnics of how it plays out.

Mike from Canmore

Ken why do you think that labour would be any less influential on the party's agenda compared to corporations? 

Mike from Canmore

pssst by the way the federal NDP is already doing it... 

KenS

Mike from Canmore wrote:

I'm allowed to question what influences the priorities of our party. 

I already affirmed more than once you are entitled to your opinions, and for them to be respected.

But where I come from this isnt called "questioning:.

Mike from Canmore wrote:

Whether you like to admit it or not Ken, the fact that unions co-signed our loans compromises our relationship with them - you are a fool to think otherwise.

KenS

Are you doing free association now? Where do you get the idea I say that unions have less influence than corporations? [Not that I really want to know where that one comes from.]

As to the coy "psst, the federal party is already doing it"... it was a federal law change that compelled tht NDP to no longer take union donations. [But cool since the other parties had to also stop taking their MUCH larger corporate donations.]

And you consistently missed the overall point: we CHOSE and choose to not accept corporate donations, we CHOSE and choose to have unions play a role within the party.

KenS

For the record, I favour unions and the NDP ending the formal relationship. I think its in our mutual interests- and we are moving that direction anyway. [The unions don't have the formal relationship with the US Dems- and its even stronger.]

But that doesn't change me contesting how some people portray the relationship. Even if at the same time I think that one of the benefits of ending the formal relationship would be a chance to put to rest and not be distracted by what to my mind is paranoia even amomng members and allies about the relationship.

remind remind's picture

ON, or perhaps TO, should become a country in it's own right, perhaps then the ROC would be much better off......

Farmpunk

Wait... is that Remind or Bill Murdoch?

PoliSci Tanya

Hello everyone! I just wanted to tahnk you all for discussing my first post and welcoming me to Babble. I appreciate the advice offered and look forward to posting again.

Reading your comments has been very interesting. Here are a few observations:

What I find most interetsing is that no one commented on the possible plight of 12 workers of your party. Not sure if this is a socialist greater good over the individual thing, but I thought it intriguing as yours is the party of labour.

I have to also pointout that although not as many of you poste das the other two parties, you are more interetsing than than the conservatives, but not as civil with one another as the liberasl.

I also found  it intersting in looking at other connected themse that conversation alway pro- (or re-) gressed into the same debate, mainly polarizing philosophical views of your party. It seems to a non-partisan observer that these issues need to be hashed out at some point so you can focus on the actual issue at hand, like 12 NDP workers who, according to your own party's definition, may be exploited.

Thanks again Smile

PoliSci Tanya

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