Public Meeting: The NDP and Party Democracy

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Life, the unive...

Poulnatic2, so it is okay to attack someone, who is not causing the problems, as long as you agree with the motives or issues that are also being raised.  That sure seems to be what you, Mycroft, Mike and Jason from the other thread seem to be saying by attacking the person asked to count the votes, instead of the person in charge of the process. 

And if you bothered to check, like I just did, BA reached out to Stuart Parker and was respectfully thanked by Parker by the way- something I could not be accused ofFoot in mouth and was critical of Cheri Dinovo, if not the NDP or comfortable with the term aparthied, which is hardly universally accepted by a lot of people who might agree completely about Isreal's actions being terrible.  Yet you could not resist taking a swipe- which again begs the question how is that helpful or useful.

It's funny.  I can be objective as I am not even an NDP member.  I see one person saying, hold on, you are going too far in attacking those carrying out the duties assigned them (workers), when your real quarrel is with management (the president).  And then I see furious backpedaling trying to rationalize that action instead of saying whoops sorry, that's not what we mean, sorry about that, thanks for pointing that out.  Now maybe those raising those concerns could have been nicer, but jumping crickets that seems to be the whole reason some want to post so I can see where people might be a bit suspicious and sensitive about that. 

aka Mycroft

Quote:
That sure seems to be what you, Mycroft, Mike and Jason from the other thread seem to be saying by attacking the person asked to count the votes, instead of the person in charge of the process.

Where, specifically, have I attacked the person who counted the votes life, the unive...? I have said several times that what is being criticized is not the vote counter but the refusal to allow an observer ie it's a criticism of the process. However, if you can find one quote in which I attack Jack Murray I would like to see it.

Bookish Agrarian

Don't worry Life it is just not worth it.  It seems like they are actively trying to misconstrue what I said in order to make themselves feel better instead of taking responsibility for their sloppy writing and actions.

I've got better things to do as the ground is getting dry enough to work and I am sure you do to, but that is of course up to you.

Bookish Agrarian

Jack Murray oversaw the vote count, done by staff- as I have said before and quoted from an NDP email from Sandra Clifford. I am not saying Sandra Clifford is right, nor do I often agree with her. But the way you are using language is clearly attacking Jack Murray. I'll grant maybe you didn't mean it, but it still reads as an attack. Yet, you are holding to this I know what I mean so ignore what I say routine.

 

Here it is again and this was sent to all Provincial Council delegates.

 

Provincial office staff tabulated the votes in the presence of the Provincial Secretary, myself and Jack Murray.  Jack Murray, who served as Chief Electoral Officer for the one-member-one-vote leadership vote last year, scrutineered the tabulation.

 

 

Your release clearly calls him not objective which calls into question his ethics and integrity.  Own up to your mistake if that is not what you meant and do it as publicly as your release was and carry on with your meeting and the best of luck to you in getting a good crowd.

Bookish Agrarian

And I mean that sincerely.  I agree reform is probably needed, but I think this particular issue is overblown, which I hope you will grant is my right, as I believe sincerely it is your right to organize for change.  Just don't do it by impugning those who should not be your targets.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

To all the defenders of this ethical man if the words were changed to clearly reflect that it is the process not the vote counter under attack would that satisfy you.  

Observers and scrutineers are not just to protect the process but to protect the good people in the process.  The people who exposed a good man to any kind of attack by not following the most basic of balloting principles are to blame for the outcome.  I can't imagine a significant vote being counted without observers to the count precisely because it leads to questions of legitimacy despite the honesty of the balloting committee.

Mike from Canmore

Angry Agrarian has successfully derailed this thread. Going forward I'm ignoring him. Back to the issue of democracy - how long should we give Sandra and co. So far they have not answered the concerns of the vote not being constitutional. What's our next steps? According to the constitution if 25% of the members call for a meeting of the council it must be called. 

Stuart_Parker

What I see here is, once again, NDP members adopting Stephen Harper-style argumentation.

All substantive concerns issue and structural concerns are ignored by those who oppose this meeting. Instead, they have found their key message, "How dare you impugn Jack Murray's integrity?" In this way, they manage to avoid discussing every single legit concern raised by those holding the meeting. A potentially unconstitutional one-year term extension for everyone is swept under the carpet by this focus on personality.

You know where I recognize this from? All the federal Tories quoting the following talking points on the news: "How dare you impugn the integrity of the Canadian Forces?" All questions about military spending, Afghanee torture, following US imperial policy are dismissed in this single soundbite. Every time a substantive question about Conservative foreign or defense policy is asked, the refrain is repeated: "How dare you impugn the integrity of our soldiers!? What a disgrace that you would attack our soldiers!"

Although the issues are in no way comparable (not that some of you won't claim I've just claimed they are anyway), the strategy is identical and the paradoxical result is the same. It is the alleged defenders of Jack Murray's integrity who are throwing it into disrepute by hiding all the potentially problematic conduct behind him. He doesn't deserve that. When people request scrutineers, they are claiming a basic democratic right. A request for scrutineers is not an accusation of cheating; it is simply a request for transparency and accountability.

Again, we New Democrats are coming to resemble those Tories we supposedly loathe. The very same justifications that are being used to keep documents from MPs in the Afghan controversy are being used to keep ballots from these concerned New Democrats. How, rhetorically, is the "How dare you impugn the integrity of Jack Murray?" any less of an irrelevant smokescreen than "How dare you impugn the integrity of Frank Iacobucci?"

What I see here from party apologists is the same kind of human shield, cowardly, deflecting, talking point, gotcha politics that we see from our government every day in the House. We are in danger of becoming what we have beheld.

How about we talk about the issues here instead of all the defenders of the status quo grouping up behind Jack Murray and lobbing stones from behind him?

JasonNDP

here! here!

thanks stuart!

aka Mycroft

Quote:

Your release clearly calls him not objective which calls into question his ethics and integrity. Own up to your mistake if that is not what you meant and do it as publicly as your release was and carry on with your meeting and the best of luck to you in getting a good crowd.

It's not my release, I did not write it so it's not my "mistake". However, you're obtusely refusing to acknowledge that the objection is not aimed at Jack Murray but at the fact that a request for observers was denied. Having been told the context you still refuse to give up your straw dog and insist that your deliberate misconstrual of the sentence is the only possible interpretation. In so doing you've succeeded in derailing this thread so that instead of being about party democracy it's about your interpolated misconstrual. Congratulations on the deflection. Perhaps now we can get back to the actual issue.

KenS

Polunatic2 wrote:

 

It's an observation. People are often dismissed around here (and in the "real" world - government bureaucracies are really good at this) for not complaining in a manner befitting those who are being complained about or their defenders. Looks like a pattern to me. Critics of Stuart Parker.....

Fair enough the general observation- that critics are jumped on for how they say what they do. And particularly around this reaction to bringing in the observation of the vote count.

But the Stuart Parker thing was brought in again. Thats the federal party.  And to my mind an entirely different matter, so I'm going to take exception with lumping it in.

It is said repeatedly that the events Stuart was referring to are 15 years old. For that reason it is not going to be something thrown at the Leader on the campaign trail to derail the campaign for a few days as did the West and Larsen candidacies in 2008. Its claimed that is a cannard, and the real reason Stuart was dumped was for criticizing the NDP.

If Stuart had said in Facebook that he was still very unhappy with what the NDP government did around Gustaferson,  Ujjal Dosanjh did this, and the whole government is responsible for _____.  ....

That would be an account of a 15 year old event that hardly anyone remembers. It would raise some eyebrows in the NDP, and there would be some grumblings. But there would be no real risk of it becoming news on the campaign trail. At most a warning to Stuart Parker that he was getting close to the line.

But Stuart actually said "the NDP shot protesters". And it doesn't matter what else he also said. Thats on public record and that is potential news on the campaign trail. So Stuart is out.

Put me on a committee to review such cases, and that one is clear cut to me.

ETA: I see I have cross-posted with Stuart himself. Psychic. This has been bugging me since it was brought up here a couple days ago. And I think I saw it thrown in again another time after that.

Life, the unive...

Wow Stuart, thank goodness you were removed as a candidate, whatever the reason.  You clearly are not competent to be one the way you throw around accusations against good people, even people who have tried to reach out to you, with incrediably loose language and intemperate comments.  Unbelievable the circle the wagons and attack mentality in the NDP by people who accuse others of doing it.  Oh the irony.

Stuart_Parker

KenS, I think your terminology here is strange and out of sync with normal political discourse.

In my view, it is perfectly acceptable and normal to say "Bush invaded Iraq," "the Republicans invaded Iraq," etc. Look at the list of criticisms I made in the Indian-shooting post. The other clauses were "denied welfare to refugees and interprovincial migrants," "invoked the Notwithstanding clause," etc. My meaning was crystal clear -- I was no more accusing the NDP of having a paramilitary wing that shot Indians than I was of said wing mugging welfare recipients if they happened to be interprovincial migrants or refugees.

I believe that it is normal political practice to state that the governing party _did_ the things that it ordered government employees to do. The NDP in BC cut welfare. It is obvious that this means the NDP in BC ordered the employees of its government to cut welfare. By the same token, when I say the BC NDP shot at the protesters, it is equally obvious that I mean it ordered the employees of its government to do so.

The kind of distancing language and hair-splitting you favour is not how people talk about politics. Nor should it be the way people do. Doing so distances a governing party from the lives it holds in its hands. If we are to make a go of social democracy in Canada, we will do it by strengthening not weakening the connection in people's minds between the policies of a government and the lives that these policies take or save.

KenS

Its not hair splitting.

And its not about a rational assessment of the meaning of words.

On one side of the divide you have things that can blow up and be camapign issues. On the other side is things that could blow up in your face. And it isn't just that they could blow up in your face. If its over substantive differences- then we can look at it. But the problem with what siad is not over the substance. You took something that could be said without it being issue- and doesn't require careful parsing of words do so- and you just blurted out what can be used.

Of course the determination of what is beyond the pale is a subjective one. But thats all we have to go on. It does mean that there is the potential for abuse of power. But that can't be avoided. There's also the potential that a reasonable exercise of the power will be portrayed as an abuse of power and expression of a bigger agenda regardless of how reasonable the argument it was not.

I do think its unfortunate that things said on Facebook can bite like that. People have said things like you did in public all the time. But if its not a matter of publuic record it doesn't stick. Now it does stick, so you can make one mistake and be out.

Stuart_Parker

Life, the universe, everything wrote:
Wow Stuart, thank goodness you were removed as a candidate, whatever the reason.

Yeah. This is the NDP who cares about reasons. Authority and loyalty are all that matter.

Quote:
You clearly are not competent to be one the way you throw around accusations against good people,

Wow! I called it! You really have no shame. (Nor any sense of irony, as far as I can tell, although you apparently know the word.) Stop hiding behind Jack Murray. He is a person of unimpeachable integrity. Those of you hiding behind him are the only ones impugning it. 

KenS

Stuart_Parker wrote:

I believe that it is normal political practice to state that the governing party _did_ the things that it ordered government employees to do. The NDP in BC cut welfare. It is obvious that this means the NDP in BC ordered the employees of its government to cut welfare. By the same token, when I say the BC NDP shot at the protesters, it is equally obvious that I mean it ordered the employees of its government to do so.

There is a problem that you think "the BC NDP shot at protesters" is of the same nature as "The NDP in BC cut welfare."

Kloch

KenS wrote:

There is a problem that you think "the BC NDP shot at protesters" is of the same nature as "The NDP in BC cut welfare."

Can you tell the difference, because I am lost.  The individual members of the BC NDP did not cut welfare anymore than they shot at protestors, so either both statements are hyperbolic, or they are both not.

KenS

I may take a shot at it later, but I really wonder if its possible to get there.

"The individual members of the BC NDP did not cut welfare anymore"... saying that confirms to me that you and others are miles from getting it.

And I fear that the problem is a complete lack of understanding of how words play out in the public sphere.

Because you all continually go back to what it sounds like [to me].

And the problem is not the unwritten "too me" part. Its the fact that the play of words in the public space is not an inter-person discourse. It is vastly different in its essentials.

I don't think its rocket science, but I'm beginning to think that for a lot of people it si if you have never applied yourself to it.

I don't have time for it now, thats for sure. But I'm not sure where I would start. Other than what I just said- but I don't know how useful it is to keep saying wat it isn't.

Kloch

KenS wrote:

Because you all continually go back to what it sounds like [to me].

And the problem is not the unwritten "too me" part. Its the fact that the play of words in the public space is not an inter-person discourse. It is vastly different in its essentials.

Like some one pointed out earlier, if we had said that the Ontario PC Party or Mike Harris had shot at Indians, I doubt we would be parsing words for individual meaning like this. 

But that's not even the real point.  The point is a party that we endorse put into effect policies in which did result in Indians being shot at.  If we support that party, give it money, and participate in it's decision making process, then we are accountable for how it behaves, to some extent.  To that end, yes, it is not totally inaccurate to say that the NDP shot at Indians.

However, since you're concerned primarily about the public perception so much, KenS, what do you think would have happened if Stuart had made that comment in an election?  Given public attitudes about aboriginals, frankly, I'd be stunned if anyone even remembered Gustafsen Lake. 

KenS

It doesn't matter a bit if they remember Gustafsen Lake. As something to throw at the Leader for a reaction- "the NDP shot at Indians" speaks for itself. Its a ready made club, for which there is no good defence. If its asked, it is virtually guaranetted to derail the campaign for some period of time.

Its not a matter of being solely concerned with public perception.

As Ive said many times there are lots of ways to express the substance without saying "the NDP shot protesters".

Are you all saying there isn't some other way he could have said that and fully expressed how he differed with what the NDP did?

The point is that if you cannot say it in a substantive manner that does not hand a club to your oppenents- you are a liability. It isn't like the only way to say it is to be a liability, or that you have to walk on eggshells to do it right. All that is required is that you refrain from shooting off your mouth without thinking.

A lot of you have tacitly admitted that you do not understand how what Stuart said is handing a club, while just about any other way of a substantive non shorthand expression would have been acceptable. That is a problem. I'll admitt its not just your problem. But the 'gap' is a problem, and with fitful and brief exceptions, you all wave it away as either of no censequence or as some kind of cover-up for some other objection to Stuart.

KenS

Because it is fundamental, Ill pull this out of the longer post and emphasize it:

As something to throw at the Leader for a reaction- "the NDP shot at Indians" speaks for itself.

If you really want to understand, forget Gustafsen Lake. Tha nub is that the Leader now has to do deal with that statement. I'd say role play how to deal with it, but most of you probably don't have sufficient grasp how when you are on the defensive that much there is no good answer. [And like I've said before, this doesn't just happen to people with non mainstream opinions.]

The only good answer is the one that makes the thing go away. And there isn't one of those.

People will want to say blah-blah blah about why it was a rational staement to make. There is a ratinality behind it. Doesn't matter. Because you dont get a sminar to discuss it.

antsunited

What is the big deal if we wait a year for convention? Sure it means the executive that was democratically elected at the last convention stays in place and the chance to debate policy is put off for another year but don't we have an election to fight? Maybe I'm being too "activist" as in "organizer" but I'm ready to stop talking and start doing. I know I'm going to get denounced as a partisan here but Andrea has been sticking it to the Libs with ferocity and positioning herself as the defender of the regular folk quite well in my opinion. Lets move this machine into fight mode and get past the election before we start the navel gazing and finger pointing. Time to rally troops I say and giver!!!

aka Mycroft

Some might think it's a good idea to have at least one policy convention between elections and give members some input in platform development.

antsunited

I'm not sure what the ONDP lacks is policy. Now profile that comes from taking clear well articulated positions on the questions that matter to people in there day to day lives? That may need some work. The question is - if we get the party membership together to have a healthy debate over say, funding for catholic schools, or legalizing marijuana, or perhaps locking (as in the council is not permitted to decide on behalf of its constituents to postpone a convention for good reason) the party into costly (both in terms of money, resources and time) conventions just before we have to mount an election -  will that increase our chances of moving this province to the left? I personally don't think so. So lets wait until after we have the election fight to send the message we are not sure yet where we stand on the issues of the day. Makes sense to me.

Kloch

KenS wrote:

Because it is fundamental, Ill pull this out of the longer post and emphasize it:

As something to throw at the Leader for a reaction- "the NDP shot at Indians" speaks for itself.

If you really want to understand, forget Gustafsen Lake. Tha nub is that the Leader now has to do deal with that statement. I'd say role play how to deal with it, but most of you probably don't have sufficient grasp how when you are on the defensive that much there is no good answer. 

Let me get this straight: we're talking about an action taken 15 years ago, by a provincial NDP government 15 years ago, under the direct control of a someone who is now a Liberal and you don't know how the leader should deal with this?  Is that what you are actually saying?  

You know, Mike Harris was once challenged during a leaders debate about the fact that people in his caucus supported restrictions on abortion.  He simply shrugged and said it was a controversial issue, and that some people supported it, some people opposed it, and that this was a federal issue and not something that would affect his day to day governing.

So, to answer your question more formally: "The incident at Gustafsen Lake was a controversial one, and many New Democrats felt that their government, headed by the now-Liberal MP Mr Dosanjh was not the correct one.  We feel our party is strengthened by the discussions we have around such issues.  Mr. Parker's passion will add to those debates, both within our party and in the House of Commons."  Repeat as necessary.

KenS, I think you do mean well, but the standard to which you are holding prospective candidates is, frankly, ridiculous.  Do you mean to say that you haven't publicly said something, about the NDP or any other organization or person, that wasn't slightly excessive?  Honestly, the yard-stick that you are holding people to would give us a crop of brain-dead yes-men/women who worship the party and mouth whatever queue-cards the NDP shoves in front of their face.  If that's what you think this party should aspire to you, well, fight for that (and the good news is, in my opinion, in Ontario you are winning).  I can't see how an organization that suffocates even the slightest deviation from whatever it determines as it's official platform (since there isn't a public platform in Ontario, it's whatever the leader wills it to be, I guess) can do anything except issue pleasant media releases, and politely ask it's members for money.

Stuart_Parker

KenS wrote:
I do think its unfortunate that things said on Facebook can bite like that. People have said things like you did in public all the time. But if its not a matter of publuic record it doesn't stick. Now it does stick, so you can make one mistake and be out.

This, I think, sophistry around the language by which one relates party decisions to on-the-ground outcomes in government notwithstanding, is the fundamental issue here.

The NDP is having a "series of tubes" reaction. You are treating new media differently than other media for no apparent reason other than a sense of faddish importance Facebook is no more trackable and often less trackable or retrievable than newspapers, video recordings, radio broadcasts, TV appearances, cached web sites, web forums like rabble, old wikipedia page edits, etc. What is happening is that because of the Obama campaign's success, the party has decided to apply a higher standard to statements in social media than it does to statements in actual media. But there is no evidence, in actual media coverage, that Facebook content is any more or less at issue than any other content you can find with a relatively simple google search like newspaper coverage, web forum posts, wikipedia page edits, etc.

People need to calm down, get over the exciting new series of tubes, and begin looking at all the tubes equally.

KenS

Kloch wrote:

KenS, I think you do mean well, but the standard to which you are holding prospective candidates is, frankly, ridiculous.  Do you mean to say that you haven't publicly said something, about the NDP or any other organization or person, that wasn't slightly excessive?  Honestly, the yard-stick that you are holding people to would give us a crop of brain-dead yes-men/women who worship the party and mouth whatever queue-cards the NDP shoves in front of their face.  If that's what you think this party should aspire to you, well, fight for that (and the good news is, in my opinion, in Ontario you are winning).  I can't see how an organization that suffocates even the slightest deviation from whatever it determines as it's official platform (since there isn't a public platform in Ontario, it's whatever the leader wills it to be, I guess) can do anything except issue pleasant media releases, and politely ask it's members for money.

Thanks for allowing that I "mean well". I'll take that to the bank.

You don't get it. The situation with Harris is not comparable. Abortion is an issue over which there is broad recognition there are irreconcilable difference.

"The NDP shot protesters" is not a statement over which there are differences of opinion. Its a statement in its own right, and as such its shocking. So it gets treated as such. Your answer for Jack Layton won't work. It could work, and its very likely- probably better than 50 % chance that no reporter would ever see Stuarts comments. But you don't leave things like that lying around to chance.

Since we're throwing around the word ridiculous, try this one on. After there are complaints that a candidate saying "the NDP shot protestors" is a liability during elections the answer was "I can't see how an organization that suffocates even the slightest deviation from whatever it determines as it's official platform (since there isn't a public platform in Ontario, it's whatever the leader wills it to be, I guess) can do anything except issue pleasant media releases, and politely ask it's members for money."

KenS

And since you are going to be condescending, I guess there's no reason for me to mince words.

Its not easy to figure out how to extract people from their beknighted [and self serving] ignorance about what is different about words said in a public space. But when I figure it out how to do it, I'll tell you.

Polunatic2

Quote:
Poulnatic2, so it is okay to attack someone, who is not causing the problems, as long as you agree with the motives or issues that are also being raised.

No, it's not okay. Nor is that what happened. The issue was around the legitimacy of the voting procedure, not the count. I would agree that the phrase "and apparently without objective observers to count the votes" is sloppy because a) observers don't count votes and b) scrutineers are not required to be "objective". Their role is to ensure that their candidate or their issue is dealt with fairly in the count. At least that's how it works in the union usually. I'm not familiar with ONDP voting rules. 

However, it's a huge leap to go from a sloppy statement to an assertion that it was designed to impugn the character of the person asked to observe the vote. Whether intended or not, it's deflecting from the main issues raised in this, and other threads re: the next ONDP convention and elections.  

As for the logic put forward by some that the pre-election period is not a good time for a convention, the same logic can be applied post-election when the party's coffers may be a little bit low. 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Maybe the debate needs to be whether or not in a modern big tent party policy conventions are necessary or even good?  They often conflict with the centrist message that the party is going to run on so what is the purpose of expending that kind of money and energy when it isn't a leadership convention??

KenS

Dont agree with that about Conventions. At all.

Stuart_Parker

kropotkin1951 wrote:
Maybe the debate needs to be whether or not in a modern big tent party policy conventions are necessary or even good?  They often conflict with the centrist message that the party is going to run on so what is the purpose of expending that kind of money and energy when it isn't a leadership convention?

Great question. The answer is simple: momentum and community. A group of geographically far-flung people have to function as a team during elections; to do that better, they need a sense of enthusiasm and a sense of community that we need face-to-face interactions to deliver.

Policy resolutions have never been anything other than a sideshow at conventions. It is the process of negotiation and discussion that goes into the resolution-forging process that is the real positive the convention delivers. People who feel alone in their riding can feel connected to a bigger, national or provincial subset of the party. Conventions, after all, aren't just the place the whole membership meets as a body; socialist caucuses, green caucuses, women's caucuses, etc. all meet there too.

Our movement needs the kind of social cohesion that in-person meeting can deliver far better than any technology.

Policy resolutions are a pretext for community-building in much the way that highway median sign wars and private property lawn signs on dead-end streets are pretexts for turning passive members into people who feel they are active parts of a campaign.

Kloch

KenS wrote:

And since you are going to be condescending, I guess there's no reason for me to mince words.

Its not easy to figure out how to extract people from their beknighted [and self serving] ignorance about what is different about words said in a public space. But when I figure it out how to do it, I'll tell you.

 

In school yard, we used to just say,"I know you are, but what am I?"  Saves time... 

Kloch

KenS wrote:

And since you are going to be condescending, I guess there's no reason for me to mince words.

Its not easy to figure out how to extract people from their beknighted [and self serving] ignorance about what is different about words said in a public space. But when I figure it out how to do it, I'll tell you.

Because I am feeling generous, how about this as a reply to a hypothetical question about the NDP shooting at protestors: "Why don't you ask Mr. Dosanjh, now in the Liberal caucus."

KenS

Unfortunately, its not a debating club. Nor is the dynamic any other kind of between persons discourse. Both your repies, including the one upthread that at least was not smart ass, were good replies for a between persons discourse.

I had said by the way that the only good answer for Layton if Stuarts words are brought to him on the campaign trail is the one that ends the questions. Period. And that anyone can think of a rational answer, but that wont make the questions go away. To which you replied, "Let me get this straight... and you don't know how the leader should deal with this?  Is that what you are actually saying?"

And then proceeded to give what I already said anyone could do, which must include me: give a good answer in an [enclosed] between persons discourse. 

KenS

Stuart_Parker wrote:

The NDP is having a "series of tubes" reaction. You are treating new media differently than other media for no apparent reason other than a sense of faddish importance Facebook is no more trackable and often less trackable or retrievable than newspapers...

Everything else you said but the end there is misplaced complexity. "Facebook is no less trackable or retrievable than newspapers."

Precisely. What you said is recorded and avaialble for ever, even if you took it off Facebook, just as if you said it on tape or on record in an interview.

My comment about Facebook was that it has the feel of a physical converstaional venue like a room, where one is chatting among friends or like minded people, and where even a candidate does not have to watch how they express themselves. At such an event, if someone happens to have been present who wants to repeat "Stuart Parker said the NDP shot at protestors," its just what one person said you said.

But while Facebook does have the feel of that room where live converstaion ends... it has the defining difference for the purposes that concern us, that everything said is permenanently on record and should comments come to light, treated the same as if you were taped saying them. And because of the viral nature of the web, comments made in the seemingly most obscure corner are likely to turn up somewhere where they are anything but obscure. A few people pass around the comment about what Parker said- with no intention to spread it far and wide, let alone to undermine you and the NDP, and eventually it lands with someone who knows its mischief value.

Stuart, would you get up at an all candidates meeting and say "the NDP shot at protesters"?

Kloch wrote:

So, to answer your question [about what Layton would say on the campaign trail]: "The incident at Gustafsen Lake was a controversial one, and many New Democrats felt that their government, headed by the now-Liberal MP Mr Dosanjh was not the correct one.  We feel our party is strengthened by the discussions we have around such issues.  Mr. Parker's passion will add to those debates, both within our party and in the House of Commons."  Repeat as necessary.

As noted already, good answer for an inter-personal discussion. Also as noted, that is easily done. But doesn't fit the bill. What is required is that the campaign not be deflected.

The situation as we all know is that the Leader is on tour. There is a message that is to be emphasised that day for both local and national campaign purposes. It won't just be that. If nothing else, reporters will bring up other issues that have been there during the campaign. But that is all within the parameters of what is useful for the campaign. And even if reporters bring up campaign issues that aren't your strengths... it all has to be dealt with anyway. And its easy enough to segway the narrative to things you want to emphasize.

But reporters bringing up that Staurt Parker said that the NDP shot at protestors and "what do you think about that Mr. Layton?" ...that's a horse of another colour.

If it was simple as you say.... even with having to repeat the spin a few times... if it ended there its a few minutes lost. Not ideal, but no big deal.

If it ended there. But it is guaranteed not to. At a minimum: the very fact a reporter threw the quote at Layton is affirmation that its the kind of news they want to report, and thats the news of the Leaders visit that will be reported by everyone. The substance of the visit is relegated to the end of a middle paragraph: vanished.

You wouldn't even have the side benefit of having advanced another issue, because that would be covered at best no further than some mangled BS like 'who shot who at Gustafsen Lake'.

So the day's event where the words are first tossed at Layton- that's shot. And it rarely stops there. For another couple days, at every stop the last thing Layton said will bring new questions. And if he won't talk about it, or just repeats himself [same thing], the that is what they will report.

Dissapears after a couple days. But 2 days during a national campaign is a big deal. A lot of prparation went into that. And the narrative being built or reinforced is very important.

During the 2008 campaign most of a week was devoted to Jack going to cities and announcing the kinds of specific local mass transit initiatives that would be supported under the NDP's Green Agenda. This is exactly the kind of substantive thing most of us around here would like to see more of. And it was undertaken knowing that environmental and climate change concerns had dropped way down the list of voter priorities. There was another message in there besides the green and green spending one, but I was still very pleased to see this commitment made when I know what value is attached to time on the national campaign.

The risk of losing that for a couple days because some candidate shot his mouth off is unacceptable. It didn't happen then. But it happened other times during the campaign, and would happen again if we didn't tighten up the vetting of candidates.

KenS

Kloch wrote:

Honestly, the yard-stick that you are holding people to would give us a crop of brain-dead yes-men/women who worship the party and mouth whatever queue-cards the NDP shoves in front of their face.  If that's what you think this party should aspire to you, well, fight for that (and the good news is, in my opinion, in Ontario you are winning).  I can't see how an organization that suffocates even the slightest deviation from whatever it determines as it's official platform .. can do anything except issue pleasant media releases, and politely ask it's members for money.

Canard. Again.

I don't know how many times I have said that nothing would have happened if Stuart had said what he meant in substantive terms. Again: then it would be what Stuart Parker said about something that happened in BC 15 years ago. End of story.

All that is reqired is people not shoot their mouths off.

It is unfortunate that the number of places a candidate has to watch her words has increased so much. We're all the poorer for that. But candidates have always known there are those boundaries. They just cover more territory now. [Not including what you said on Facebook 2 years before you were a candidate. Because unless you were already then a public figure in your own right, eyebrow raising value of things you say does not have the potential of going viral, and therefore will dissapear from sight.]

KenS

Just to make sure its explicit:

The problem isn't with the particular answer you offered that Layton could give as a reply if Stuarts "NDP shot protestors" was brought to him on the campaign trail.

Thats a perfectly good and suuficient answer for any other time. But for on the campaign trail the only good answer is one that makes the question irrelevant. And there is no such answer.

More precisely, no one has figured out the kind of answer that will keep the campaign from being deflected for a substantial time period. If you can figure it out, you'll be in demand as a communications consultant.

Stuart_Parker

KenS wrote:
The problem isn't with the particular answer you offered that Layton could give as a reply if Stuarts "NDP shot protestors" was brought to him on the campaign trail.

Thats a perfectly good and suuficient answer for any other time. But for on the campaign trail the only good answer is one that makes the question irrelevant. And there is no such answer.

Kim Campbell, 1993 wrote:
An election is not a time to talk about issues, an election is a time to talk about personalities. We'll talk about issues after I'm elected.

Stuart_Parker

KenS wrote:
Everything else you said but the end there is misplaced complexity. "Facebook is no less trackable or retrievable than newspapers."

Precisely. What you said is recorded and avaialble for ever, even if you took it off Facebook, just as if you said it on tape or on record in an interview.

"Misplaced complexity?" Why misplaced? I'm sorry things are complex but that problem inheres in the things not my perception or description of them.

So why was I able to pass the vetting process last fall with dozens, perhaps hundreds of public statements on the record in news media from 1987-2001 of me condemning the BC NDP, including multiple news releases and letters to the editor from 1993-2001 in which I stated that BC NDP welfare reform policies killed people? You see I wouldn't have sought to become a member of Layton's team if he had not made that statement in 2004 about the blood on Martin's hands over cuts to housing.

I understand that you think "the NDP shot at protesters" is an incredibly shocking statement that will transfix news media but I think this comes from your deep institutional loyalty to the NDP and the violence the statement does to your perception of the party -- to you, it is a very newsworthy and shocking statement. But for ordinary Canadians and the news media, this statement is not the kind of national news story you imagine it to be. It is just one of many statements made by a party member angry about his party's past mistakes.

On the other hand, I also want you to think about the standard you are now setting: you are now suggesting that any issue about any candidate's past actions or statements that could be raised in a press conference and have a legitimate follow-up question asked imperils the party's narrative to an unacceptable degree. If you are really sincere that this is not about it being wrong to criticize the NDP's past actions but about derailing the national campaign narrative at news conferences and media scrums, you need to think of all the candidates who haven't even done anything wrong that this will disqualify. If my sin is really not criticizing the party but having too interesting and complex a past, this is a giant can of worms. This doesn't just derail pesky dissidents like me; it derails candidates like Monia Mazigh.

Quote:
Stuart, would you get up at an all candidates meeting and say "the NDP shot at protesters"?

If I were asked a question about Gustafsen Lake at an ACM in any riding in BC where there was a significant indigenous movement that the NDP had alienated and with whom the party was seeking to rebuild trust I might well include such a phrase in my answer. If Bill Lightbown, for instance, came to the mic to ask a question, you can bet I would tackle that head-on without bobbing and weaving.

I might say something like "I recognize that none of the settler parties here have a pristine track record. I do not want to come off as a hypocrite by denying that past NDP administrations let the Gitanyow down during the Nisga'a Treaty or shot at the Sundancers at Gustafsen Lake. But this does not make all of our national parties the same -- our party championed the immediate passage of the Kelowna Accord while the Liberals were too interested in extorting votes from natives and chose to make it a wedge issue in a losing campaign. All settlers, both old and new need to face up to our past mistakes and the times we failed First Nations before we can be trusted to honour our commitments and agreements."

"The fact is that Canada's First Nations desperately need a federal government that will recognize and aid aboriginal people on their own terms -- this means opposing the Conservative plan of slowly privatizing the tiny portion of our nation's land base that remains in native hands. This means investing in the on-reserve infrastructure we keep promising and not delivering. We need MPs in the House of Commons who will take up the problems that are impoverishing and killing indigenous Canadians today. When there are problems in First Nations communities, New Democrats will make sure we send bodies to reserves, not body bags...." etc.

KenS

Thanks for another dismissal of what I have to say Stuart.

For the umpeenth time, if you had brought the issue up in a manner for example as you would during an all candidates debate, then you could say that you were bringing up the issues... and the example could be used as fodder for Campbell's dictum.

But you didn't bring it up that way. Like I asked you and you did not answer- would you bring it up that way at an all candidates meeting? No, because it would go sideways on you. [And you at least would have a chance to recover in such a relatively low pressure situation. The point is about what Jack Layton wouldn't have that chance to keep it from deflecting the campaign... and like I already said, with a start like you gave him, nor would there even be a chance to have a productive discussion of treaty rights, Gustafsen lake or anything else.]

You wouldn't put it that way during an election. But that isn't the point. Point is that irregardless of intention when they were made or the time they were made, some comments have too much potential to appear during the election campaign.

KenS

Referring to your dismissal of me comes from reading the first post. The second I will digest later. But this for now.

Stuart_Parker wrote:

I understand that you think "the NDP shot at protesters" is an incredibly shocking statement that will transfix news media but I think this comes from your deep institutional loyalty to the NDP and the violence the statement does to your perception of the party -- to you, it is a very newsworthy and shocking statement. But for ordinary Canadians and the news media, this statement is not the kind of national news story you imagine it to be. It is just one of many statements made by a party member angry about his party's past mistakes.

My "deep institutional loyalty"... you mean like my attempt to make trouble for a new NDP government that I worked for years to get there. Funny way to defend the party against all comers.

We obvioulsly disagree about what the media is prone a story into on the campaign trail. I've explained how it gets in and can't be dealt with. You haven't offered how not. But I'll admitt that may be endless anyway.

Ultimately it comes down to who judges. Who gets delegated the actual task. Do you trust them. And critical assessment of the decisions made after the fact- like we are doing now.

I think I've demonstrated sufficient critical chops to be insulated from your attempt to lump me in with people whose institutional loyalty makes it questionable whether they are being even handed. I'm willing to call a spade what it is even when its going to cost the institution greatly... and not just the ONDP that is not exactly in contention for big laurels.

And I have yet to see anything that makes me doubt that you should have been removed.

Stuart_Parker

KenS wrote:
Thanks for another dismissal of what I have to say Stuart.

So not agreeing with you constitutes a dismissal? I'm not dismissing you. If I were dismissing you, I would be saying something flippant instead of attempting to engage your points.

Quote:
But you didn't bring it up that way. Like I asked you and you did not answer- would you bring it up that way at an all candidates meeting?

Wow! These hairs are now being split in four instead of just two.

Would I speak exactly like a Facebook update at an ACM? No. Facebook posts are different because they are not responses to questions, they have a low character limit, they have a different tone, etc. This is like asking if I would answer ACM questions in sonnet form, or blank verse.

So, let me get this straight: Jack would get uncomfortable questions about me saying the NDP shot at Indians that he could not easily answer only if I made the statement in a context you find problematic. It seems to me you are now reversing your position: initially your point was that the problem was that the words were inflammatory irrespective of context; now your position is that the words and campaign-derailing and inflammatory only in the context of my Facebook page but not in a televised and recorded ACM because I would be correctly contextualizing them in that setting. This highlights the "series of tubes" problem quite nicely.

I have to say, it seems a bit rich for you to be exhibiting impatience with my argumentation at this point.

KenS

Stuart_Parker wrote:

I might say something like "I recognize that none of the settler parties here have a pristine track record." I do not want to come off as a hypocrite...

Its shameless to keep dragging in this straw person to defend yourself.

When did I ever suggest you have to sanitize the substance of your disagreement? You won't find an instance. What you will find is me phrasing the full extent of your disagreement, including the NDPs responsibility. Period. No evasions and no weasel words. And that had you made a substantive staement like that, you'd be clear. [That then the its 15 years old and something nobody remembers would have been opeartive, etc, etc.]

Stuart_Parker

antsunited wrote:
I'm not sure what the ONDP lacks is policy.

Agreed. But policy conventions do not exist to make policy. They exist to create conversation, debate and community.

Quote:
Now profile that comes from taking clear well articulated positions on the questions that matter to people in there day to day lives? That may need some work. The question is - if we get the party membership together to have a healthy debate over say, funding for catholic schools, or legalizing marijuana, or perhaps locking (as in the council is not permitted to decide on behalf of its constituents to postpone a convention for good reason) the party into costly (both in terms of money, resources and time) conventions just before we have to mount an election -  will that increase our chances of moving this province to the left?

If you want energized volunteers, candidates and constituency associations for that election, you need to bring them together in a big room and do things that give them the following: (a) a sense of ownership of their party, (b) a sense of community with their fellow party members, (c) a sense of access to the people in authority in their party and (d) a good time.

KenS

Stuart_Parker wrote:

So, let me get this straight: Jack would get uncomfortable questions about me saying the NDP shot at Indians that he could not easily answer only if I made the statement in a context you find problematic. It seems to me you are now reversing your position: initially your point was that the problem was that the words were inflammatory irrespective of context; now your position is that the words and campaign-derailing and inflammatory only in the context of my Facebook page but not in a televised and recorded ACM because I would be correctly contextualizing them in that setting. This highlights the "series of tubes" problem quite nicely.

I think I earlier heard someone say something about sophistry.

antsunited

SP - I don't disagree convention is important on many levels. But with only a year and a half to go someone has to prioritize. Conventions are big expensive resource depleting excercises. With Federal elections every year or so, a municipal election in the fall, and Hudak breathing down our collective necks we can't afford to make a mistake about how we target to win. It may be a big tree but we are a small axe, the question is are we sharp and ready? Don't hide behind arguements about democracy and access and ownership when this is really an arguement about resource allocation.

KenS

Its not only about resource allocation- and a somewhat limited take on resource allocation I would suggest. If it was, there would never be a Convention.

I suspect you don't really mean it to be as polar as it sounds.

My take would be the urgency to have one is overblown. Its not about making contributions to policy for the next election. Between the slowness of the policy and platfrom process, and te slow 'percolation' into and after Convention, the Convention itself even on scedule is in practice too late for concrete effects on what the ONDP presents in the next election

Convention dynamics has more to do with development cycles longer than the next election. There is a strong argument to be made that those 'developmental needs' make delaying not a good idea. But thats a different argument than the one that is mustered that is all about right now.

Stuart_Parker

antsunited wrote:
I don't disagree convention is important on many levels. But with only a year and a half to go someone has to prioritize. Conventions are big expensive resource depleting excercises. With Federal elections every year or so, a municipal election in the fall, and Hudak breathing down our collective necks we can't afford to make a mistake about how we target to win. It may be a big tree but we are a small axe, the question is are we sharp and ready? Don't hide behind arguements about democracy and access and ownership when this is really an arguement about resource allocation.

I'm not hiding behind anything. I understand that things need to be sacrificed in order to invest in these things. I was merely responding to the arguments that people had advanced, both pro and con, about conventions being about policy formation.

I think that because of OMOV people who went to the last convention didn't feel as special as people who go to these things usually do. (Not that I'm opposed to OMOV; I support it!) For this reason, some of the cohesion normally associated with a new regime has been muted. And I think it is important that people address this.

Stuart_Parker

KenS wrote:
I think I earlier heard someone say something about sophistry.

Perhaps I'm a bit obtuse here Ken. Break it down for me. What is wrong with my reading and representation of your logic?

Do I need to go back and find your past posts so we can see a series of verbatim quotations showing your 180 degree evolution on the question of context?

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