NDP policy not an instructional manual for party

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Pondering

6079_Smith_W wrote:

Pondering wrote:

No matter who wins there will be plenty of room for everyone to say "I told you so".

Well those who are inclined to do so, which isn't everyone.

Coulda fooled me. In any case I am not adverse to eating humble pie and have done so here more than once. It's not that big a deal.

Unionist

Anyway, an election platform does not have to be equal to the policy book.

It must, however, be consistent with it - except in some emergency situation where the facts on the ground have changed, in which case some properly constituted body of the party can make a change.

There can be no excuse for deleting the policy book without notice - essentially, making it unaccessible except to geeks who know how to find these things. The platform, once issued, can be splashily displayed and highlighted, but the policy book should sit there somewhere with other documents - like the Constitution - in an accessible archive where anyone can refer to it.

Anyway, here's one place where you can still read it. I'll find my downloaded copy and upload it somewhere where it can't be airbrushed away.

ETA: And here's another site, just in case. That one is easy to just save as an HTML page. Seems like a nice chap - he obviously hasn't got the memo yet.

6079_Smith_W

But Unionist, back before the last election it wasn't there on the main page either - a couple of months before the election was called. Should we have conspiracy theories cobbled together about the dear departed Mr. Layton, too?

Or should this "no excuse" be better directed to the webmaster's department? Along with thanks for their innovation in putting it there in the first place.

 

quizzical

Pondering wrote:
The Liberals would put social spending first because they placed their bets on longer-term savings and growing the economy and they have the credibility to do it.

wow, the all Knowing Pondering.....oh right not so much....'cause you ended your star gazing into the future with the bolded part.

...the Liberals have zero credibility on putting social spending first and they sure don't have any credibility on being credible.

if you're going to make these wild ass claims slap up an example or time when they put social spending first and a time when they were credible on anything.

Unionist

*

quizzical

who actually looks at  convention "policy manuals" in the broad voter pool? of any parties? i know mom does but she's all political all the time.

i'd like to see some journalists asking people on the street if they did. 

Unionist

quizzical wrote:

who actually looks at  convention "policy manuals" in the broad voter pool? of any parties? i know mom does but she's all political all the time.

i'd like to see some journalists asking people on the street if they did. 

How about a party member who wants to check the official policy book of the party? Where would they get a copy?

When they turfed four nominated or would-be candidates for supposedly opposing the "NDP policy" on Israel-Palestine, I probably wasn't the only one who asked myself: "What is that policy anyway?" Legitimate sort of question where nominated candidates are forced out, don't you think?

For people in the street (as you call them), there's quite a simple solution: Don't click on the "policy book" link if you don't want to.

 

 

Unionist

6079_Smith_W wrote:

Should we have conspiracy theories cobbled together about the dear departed Mr. Layton, too?

Your straw man has no brain. This isn't a "conspiracy". The party deliberately, consciously, removed the policy book from the website (and by the way, it has been removed from many of the individual candidate websites, though one or two have slipped through). And when asked about it by the media, Brad Lavigne explained why. Why not scroll up and read the OP linked article and dial back your mocking tone. My point is simply that the Convention is the supreme decision-making body of the party, and its official decisions should be available to the public (indeed, to party members!), not deleted just before an election. You have a problem with my view? Explain what it is.

Quote:
Or should this "no excuse" be better directed to the webmaster's department? Along with thanks for their innovation in putting it there in the first place.

Brad Lavigne is not the webmaster. Inform yourself before stepping out on limbs. There may be woodcutters about.

6079_Smith_W

I'll repeat again Unionist:

Before the 2011 election, even before the election was called there was no link on the main page to a policy manual.

So contrary to the assumption that this is all some underhanded covert scheme to pull a fast one on the members and subvert party democracy one could conclude that they are even more open with their information than in the past, and that this is in fact entirely appropriate in preparation for an election.

Or one could go for the conspiracy.

I also manage a website, and sometimes I move information and replace it too. Like those in NDP administration I do it "deliberately" and "consciously"(unless it has been a very hard week). I don't feel the need to send out a press release to all my customers and readers lest I be accused of hiding information and get reported to the better business bureau, because not all of my readers are paranoid and assume evil intent.

And I know Brad Lavigne isn't the webmaster. I know that because I DID read the article (no attempt at mocking me there, obviously). Why would you think I meant him?

If it isn't clear why I said that you might want to talk to someone familiar with the fact that websites do change over time. Not all of it is orchestrated by the illuminati.

 

 

Northern PoV

brookmere wrote:

The platform is always front and centre in an election campaign. That's not the issue.

The platform always differs from convention policy. That's not the issue.

Elected NDP governments don't implement all of convention policy, or of the platform for that matter. That's not the issue.

The issue is that those at the top of the NDP made a clumsy attempt to hide the convention policy, which has had the predictable effect of drawing more attention to it and to differences between it and the platform.

Spot on!   Seems sneaky to me, an undecided, strategic voter.  Minor self inflicted wound hinting at control-freak behaviour.  

quizzical

offs lmaoooooooooooooo

Pondering

Northern PoV wrote:

brookmere wrote:

The platform is always front and centre in an election campaign. That's not the issue.

The platform always differs from convention policy. That's not the issue.

Elected NDP governments don't implement all of convention policy, or of the platform for that matter. That's not the issue.

The issue is that those at the top of the NDP made a clumsy attempt to hide the convention policy, which has had the predictable effect of drawing more attention to it and to differences between it and the platform.

Spot on!   Seems sneaky to me, an undecided, strategic voter.  Minor self inflicted wound hinting at control-freak behaviour.  

I wouldn't go so far as say control-freak behavior, that is more Harper. It is further evidence of the mainstreaming of the party and the direction of the executive.

http://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2015/08/31/thatcherism-and-soc...

I’m also not naïve enough to think the character of a politician actually matters. I don’t go to the ballot box mulling over whether it’s Stephen Harper or Tom Mulcair or Justin Trudeau that I’d want to have a beer with. It’s the policies that matter. And it’s Mulcair’s defence of Thatcher-style policy and politicking that I find so troubling. You can’t simultaneously defend unions and the unfettered free market, which is constructed to maximize profit and wealth at the expense of workers, often by just straight-up shipping jobs overseas.

If there’s one thing – and indeed, there may be only one thing – to admire about Thatcher it was her blunt, unblinking frankness. Sure, she sometimes dressed up her enfeebling of the working classes in rhetoric appealing to “ordinary people” in order to sell her Iron Lady authoritarianism as a kind of perverse populism. But by and large her bilious contempt for unions, labourers, manufacturers and workers was totally transparent. She was for the most part a wolf-in-wolf’s-clothing. She wasn’t the kind of politician to hide her derision for the very people she was governing inside disingenuous hypocrisy – or behind a great, big bushy beard.

Unionist

6079_Smith_W wrote:

 

And I know Brad Lavigne isn't the webmaster. I know that because I DID read the article (no attempt at mocking me there, obviously). Why would you think I meant him?

 

Well, because you suggested I should talk to the webmaster about why the policy book was deleted. Yet, the article quoted Brad Lavigne explaining why the policy book was deleted. I don't think the webmaster made the decision, and then Brad Lavigne loyally explained the webmaster's decision to the media. I think Brad Lavigne made the decision. That's right. Just like he decided to ban Dana Larsen from the 2013 convention. I think Brad Lavigne made the decision. Not the webmaster. Got it?

 

quizzical

thanks for posting the link to the policy manual unionist first one i've really read. read like my mom wrote it. no wonder they pulled it. kidding!

i don't get why the  policy manual from the convention is pertinent during an election when there's a shortform policy manual called a platform being run. it's dry as dirt and boring as hell.

give me some highlights and i'm good. my daughter whose voting for the first time this year...has to have an even shorter version. a twitter platform  or something. :D

6079_Smith_W

@ Unionist

Yes I know that; I read it too. But his explanation also implies that it is a temporary measure to highlight the campaign platform. He didn't say they no longer have a policy manual.

Cause you know, changing a website usually involves taking stuff down, re-doing links and the like.

My point was, most people who can't find what they are looking for on a website generally contact the webmaster before setting their hair on fire. Or perhaps phone up their provincial office and ask where they can get a copy. You know - like we did in the last century.

And most certainly like we did back before the 2011 election when the policy manual was also not posted on the site's main page (I can't say for certain it was not there at all only because wayback doesn't have the entire site archived, but I couldn't find it).

Now if you were to make that call and instead of getting a reasonable response like say... them emailing a pdf,  half an hour later have a black van show up to take you away I think there might be some grounds for this response to them sprucing up their website.

Do let me know if you get any reports of that.

 

sherpa-finn

Just migrating a conversation to this thread that Unionist and I were having with others over on the Morgan Wheeldon/NDP Candidate Resigns thread.

Here: http://rabble.ca/babble/election-2015/ndp-candidate-resigns-after-callin...

Basically, we were seeking clarity on the rules of party governance. And how member resolutions / decisions at Conventions related or not to Leader / Caucus policy pronouncements. And how members owned (or not) the process of nominating candidates .  

Unionist left off at: "That still leaves the question as to who - precisely - decreed that Paul Manly, Jerry Natanine, Syed Hyder Ali, and Morgan Wheeldon were in conflict with party policy and therefore could not run as NDP candidates. It certainly was not the party members in their riding. Who, then?"

To which I will try to answer from my less than wholly-informed position: others better informed than I should feel free to weigh in and correct.

My understanding is that there is a provision in the Party rules by which prospective candidates must be first reviewed, vetted and approved by the Party (can't remember if the final decison comes to the President, Gen-Sec or Leader) before the actual vote of members. This is where Manly's nomination was blocked I believe. 

Then there is the vote of members to select a candidate ... I believe at least two sitting NDP MPs did not make it over that hurdle this year. (Plus one who was blocked for objecting to the very holding of a vote.)

And then thirdly, there is also a provision (I think this one comes from Elections Canada) thet says a Party (Leader? President?) must sign the nomination papers of the party candidate. I presume this was the procedural rug that was pulled out from under Morgan Wheeldon - given that he was already vetted  and elected. (Or maybe there is a provision to rescind a nominee approval if information comes out after the fact.) .... Who knows - not enough hours in the day to track all this stuff in the middle of an election campaign.

Bottom-line, the Party apparatchiks apparently have the authority to make these decisions. My assumption is that they are following the rules and applying their discretionary powers as assigned them by party policy. The reason I make this assumption is because I have heard lots of people arguing that these decisions were NOT FAIR! But I have not heard anyone say that these decisions violate Party rules. Nor have I heard of any barred candidates threatening to sue, which I believe is happening in a couple of Liberal ridings.

Bottom-line: I believe the Party staff / leadership has applied their assigned discretionary powers as they think best for the Party. You want to complain - speak to Rebecca Blaikie. Tell her to fire whomever. And / or see if you can get those rules / procedures changed next Convention.

Hey, - just because the leadership doesn't agree with your opinion doesn't make the system "undemocratic".  (Is this where I give my little rant on democractic centralism - "Freedom of discussion, Unity of action".)

quizzical

2 sitting MP's were not re-nominated at the riding level?

sherpa-finn

More than that. According to Pundit's Guide there are 7 sitting MPs who were not renominated by their respective parties: 3 New Democrats, 3 Conservatives and 1 Liberal. 

The three New Democrats are Tyrone Banskin, Francine Raynault and Marc-Andre Morin, - all from Quebec, Class of 2011.

I believe the 3 Conservatives were Eve Adams (ON), Lynne Yelich (SK) and Rob Anders (AB). 

I do not remember who the Liberal was ... presumably Scott Andrews doesn't count because he was suspended from caucus?

 

Northern PoV

Pondering wrote:

I wouldn't go so far as say control-freak behavior, that is more Harper. It is further evidence of the mainstreaming of the party and the direction of the executive.

Agreed, Harper is a control-freak, a rather successful one too.  I have no idea if Mulcair micro-manages this kind of thing but that is certainly the meme that is out there.  Why feed the meme and draw attention to a document that many have access too after its pulled off the web. 

It was a minor NDP tactical error - no matter who did it; they gave a one-day 'headline gift' to the Liberals in an endless election.

swallow swallow's picture

quizzical wrote:

thanks for posting the link to the policy manual unionist first one i've really read. read like my mom wrote it. no wonder they pulled it. kidding!

i don't get why the  policy manual from the convention is pertinent during an election when there's a shortform policy manual called a platform being run. it's dry as dirt and boring as hell.

give me some highlights and i'm good. my daughter whose voting for the first time this year...has to have an even shorter version. a twitter platform  or something. :D

What a great idea. Let's try to tweet the NDP platform. [url=http://rabble.ca/babble/election-2015/make-your-own-ndp-twitter-platform... a new thread to do that, maybe fun...[/url]

Slumberjack

NDP type thought shares certain characteristics with attitudes that are often attributed to men, ie:  instructional manuals...pfffft.  Ditto for taking directions from anyone other than ourselves, even if we wind up heading down a blind alley.

6079_Smith_W

All I have read is "later in the campaign".

One would hope, eh?

 

Unionist

Article V, Section 5 of the NDP Constitution:

Quote:

Authority of Conventions

Conventions are the supreme governing body of the Party and shall have final authority in all matters of federal policy, program and constitution.

I'm not sure when the party's "election platform" will be issued. Anyone know? I understand that the party will not and cannot highlight every single policy decision in an election campaign. But it is appropriate to expect that the policies which do appear in the platform are consistent with those set by "the supreme governing body of the Party".

I'll be fact-checking that soon. Hope others will too.

quizzical

it says the "Party" MP's are no longer the Party, they are MP's elected by all who vote for them

Unionist

quizzical wrote:

it says the "Party" MP's are no longer the Party, they are MP's elected by all who vote for them

Which is why, once elected, they never meet in secret Party caucuses and never vote the way they're told to vote by the Party whip.

Thanks for clearing that up.

 

sherpa-finn

For those pining for the good old lefty days before Tom Mulcair dragged the NDP way over to the far right, you might want to take a look at the party's 2011 platform, which was released 5-weeks before voting day. The document was daringly titled "Giving your Family a Break" and was described by the G+M as follows: 

"Like the platform that brought the Conservatives to power five years ago, the New Democratic Party has zeroed in on five key priorities. According to the glossy 23-page document released Sunday, an NDP government would increase the number of doctors and nurses, double pension benefits, give small businesses a tax break and introduce hiring incentives. It would also reduce family budgets by capping credit-card fees and cutting home-heating costs."

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/ndp-platform-zeroes-in-on-f...

 

quizzical

Unionist wrote:
quizzical wrote:
it says the "Party" MP's are no longer the Party, they are MP's elected by all who vote for them

Which is why, once elected, they never meet in secret Party caucuses and never vote the way they're told to vote by the Party whip.

Thanks for clearing that up.

confused? are you now saying then they're voting party line in secret and not listening to those who elected them?

Unionist

sherpa-finn wrote:

For those pining for the good old lefty days before Tom Mulcair dragged the NDP way over to the far right, ...

Fascinating straw man - kind of difficult to read anything after that bizarre premise.

This thread is about internal democracy in the NDP, about governance and rules, about who runs the party, and most specifically, about who determines policy. I have seen no significant change in that regard in 40 years, as I've explained above and on a number of occasions. I am saddened that many activists advocate "follow the leader" because they fear that there is no other way to win elections. At least they have not (yet) deleted the supreme authority role of Convention from the Constitution. That means - for anyone who cares and can read - that there is some hope.

On occasion, we have seen revolts by members. The 2006 Convention was uplifting in that regard. It voted to withdraw Canadian troops from Afghanistan, safely, but immediately. Jack Layton (led by Dawn Black and others of that ilk) had to turn somersaults to avoid making that policy (amending it to getting "combat troops" out of the "south of Afghanistan"), until a few years later, when the wheel of history had definitively turned.

Likewise, who expected that convention to adopt the Sherbrooke Declaration? Not me. One of the main reasons I left the NDP in the 1970s (its historic refusal to recognize Québec's right to self-determination) had disappeared overnight, at least on paper... but what a feat that was!

It can happen again - because despite everything, the NDP is not a party of the rich and famous. No matter how hard its ruling elite tries to act that way, there's always something seething underneath. And to repeat - that gives hope.

 

 

Unionist

quizzical wrote:

Unionist wrote:
quizzical wrote:
it says the "Party" MP's are no longer the Party, they are MP's elected by all who vote for them

Which is why, once elected, they never meet in secret Party caucuses and never vote the way they're told to vote by the Party whip.

Thanks for clearing that up.

confused? are you now saying then they're voting party line in secret and not listening to those who elected them?

No. If you read what I wrote, I'm saying they're having secret Party caucuses, and voting the way their Party whip dictates. That's what I said. If you have different information, please share it.

 

quizzical

well i looked up what a Party whip does and the definition says they ensure elected persons vote Party policy. i take this to mean as opposed to voting what their constituents may want or what they may want personally, if it differs from Party policy.

and so i'm confused. you talk as if the NDP aren't voting Party policy and its a bad thing. then you say they whip the vote as if it's a bad thing too.

i don't know the nuances of this i guess...

 

Unionist

Here's part of what I'm saying, quizzical.

Convention is the supreme authority when it comes to Party policy. I'll quote the Constitution again:

Quote:

Authority of Conventions

Conventions are the supreme governing body of the Party and shall have final authority in all matters of federal policy, program and constitution.

 

The Parliamentary caucus has no power under the Constitution to set policy - none at all.

MPs are indeed elected by their constituents, but they don't ask their constituents how they should vote on big issues or small. You know that as well as I do.

In real life, MPs of all parties meet in their own caucuses. The discussions are private - constituents have no right or power to know what is said there. Does the caucus decide how to vote on issues in the House of Commons? I don't really know.

What I do know is that someone makes the decision on how everyone should vote, and the Whip ensures that everyone obeys. Exception: Rarely, a party decides to have a "free vote" on an issue - or, some parties declare that all votes on Private Members' Bills are "free" votes. But on the big issues, votes are always whipped.

When an MP doesn't vote the way the whip says, they are subject to discipline. Bill Siksay stood alone in the House, defying Jack Layton and voting against the criminalization of sex between LGBT teenagers. He was disciplined for that.

Back to the topic of this thread.

When the NDP issues its election platform, those who care about the Party should make sure it is consistent with the 2013 Convention policy decisions. That's what the Constitution requires. It's also what democracy requires.

My only worry so far is the disappearance of the Party policy on Israel and Palestine, at the same time that good candidates are being hounded out of the race for allegedly having posted on Facebook in a way "inconsistent" with the (disappeared) party policy.

That's bad, but let's hope there's nothing else like that. We'll wait and see.

 

quizzical

ok i had a post go somewhere.

gist was. i thought constituents could influence their  elected officials. we certainly can here. but i see the need to follow policy lines too.

don't know much about Bill Siskay, i think you mentioned him  a couple of years back. is it a NDP policy to criminalize sexual intercourse between LBGTQ teen agers?

as you know i'm not too interested in the policy manual being taken off so the platform can go up. i don't see anything nefarious. but then i'm not as jaded as you and my mom i guess

Unionist

quizzical wrote:

as you know i'm not too interested in the policy manual being taken off so the platform can go up.

This isn't about making room on the website. The key thing is whether the as-yet-unknown platform, to be written by unknown people, follows the policy set by Convention or not. We'll see. If it doesn't, then the rules of the Party and the authority of the members is just a sham. Constitutions should reflect the truth about an organization, not just pretend about democracy.

But as I said, let's be hopeful.

 

quizzical

i know it's not about making room.

i think the platform releases being made are directly in line with the  policy manual you linked to.

Pondering

Unionist wrote:

When an MP doesn't vote the way the whip says, they are subject to discipline. Bill Siksay stood alone in the House, defying Jack Layton and voting against the criminalization of sex between LGBT teenagers. He was disciplined for that.

I don't believe there was any vote to criminalize sex between LGBT teenagers. Do you have any more information about that? I looked a bit but didn't find anything right off. 

Jacob Two-Two

The vote was to raise the age of sexual consent. Siksay objected on the grounds that LGBT teenagers often turn to older partners to begin their sexual lives, due to the lack of options among their age group.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

quizzical wrote:

don't know much about Bill Siskay, i think you mentioned him  a couple of years back. is it a NDP policy to criminalize sexual intercourse between LBGTQ teen agers?

The party whipped the vote on an odious Omnibus Crime bill. Embedded in the bill were mandatory minimums that the SCC has since declared unconstitutional. The party policy had always been clear that mandatory minimums are wrong. MP's like Libby Davis did not show up to vote against it as the policy stated they should because the leader had ordered that the MP's would vote in favour. Most of the NDP  MP's voted in favour of mandatory minimums. Bill Siksay also argued in caucus that the legislation because of the treatment of sodomy in the Criminal Code and the wording of the exemptions for sex between consenting teenagers who are close in age means that it became a criminal offence for gay teenagers to have certain types of sex. The party policy has never supported jailing teenagers, gay or not, for having sex but the majority of the caucus voted for that very thing.

I was extremely proud of my MP for standing up to Harper, I only wish he had not stood alone. So there are reasons that those of us who have been engaged in politics for decades tend to be a tad cynical.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Jacob Two-Two wrote:

The vote was to raise the age of sexual consent. Siksay objected on the grounds that LGBT teenagers often turn to older partners to begin their sexual lives, due to the lack of options among their age group.

This is flat out wrong. The idea that Bill voted against the bill because of some man boy bullshit is odious. Please withdraw your ignorant comment. I know Bill Siksay personally and sat on his executive during that period in time and I consider your comment to be libelous slander of the vilest nature.

Pondering

I do realize this is wikipedia not the actual law but it seems like a fair explanation:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Age_of_consent_reform_in_Canada

Age of consent law in Canada refers to cultural and legal discussions in Canada regarding the age of consent, which was raised from 14 to 16 in May 2008.[1] This applies to all forms of sexual activity.[2]

In June 2006, the Canadian government proposed a bill to raise the age of consent from 14 to 16, while creating a close-in-age exemption for sex between 14-15 year olds and partners up to 5 years older, and keeping an existing close-in-age clause for sex between 12-13 year olds and partners up to 2 years older.[3] The initiative also maintains a temporary exception for already existing marriages of 14 and 15 year olds, but forbids new marriages like these in the future.[4]

.....

LGBT rights activists[edit]

These activists also criticized the bill, because it does not address the issue of equality, maintaining the present Canadian age of consent for anal sex outside of marriage at 18. Hilary Cook, spokeswoman for gay rights group Egale Canada believes the bill is "an attempt to score partisan points".[15]

So the bill doesn't affect anal sex one way or another. As to other sexual practices, it seems to me 16 is still very young, therefore young enough for adult gay males to initiate them in the ways of gay love without having anal intercouse. I don't buy all this adult worry over who will teach the children how to have sex or worry that pre-18 years of age teens need sexual partners. 

Anal sex does carry with it increased health risks. 

More girls staying virgins longer: surveySurvey of college women aged 17 to 23 years found that 69% of respondents didn't lose their virginity until they turned 18, while 43% were still virgins. These results mirror data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which found the amount of sexually active 15- to 19-year-old girls declined from 51% in 1988 to 43% in 2006-2010

http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/girls-staying-virgins-longe...

I don't believe teens gay or otherwise need adults to initiate them into sex. I don't believe that in this day and age they have trouble finding sexual partners their own age either. I don't believe two gay boys are in danger of being arrested for anal sex in Canada although that should be written in as an exception to the law.  

I don't follow the logic that changing the age of consent for other forms of sex should have been held back because it didn't deal with the rights of gay men and teens to have anal intercourse. 14 is a ridiculous age of consent for adults to have sex with teens. The close in age exception is generous, a 15 year old can still have sex with a 20 year old. 

This type of logic suggests that gay marriage rights shouldn't have been granted because transgendered rights are so far behind. 

 

 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Pondering wrote:

I do realize this is wikipedia not the actual law but it seems like a fair explanation:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Age_of_consent_reform_in_Canada

Age of consent law in Canada refers to cultural and legal discussions in Canada regarding the age of consent, which was raised from 14 to 16 in May 2008.[1] This applies to all forms of sexual activity.[2]

In June 2006, the Canadian government proposed a bill to raise the age of consent from 14 to 16, while creating a close-in-age exemption for sex between 14-15 year olds and partners up to 5 years older, and keeping an existing close-in-age clause for sex between 12-13 year olds and partners up to 2 years older.[3] The initiative also maintains a temporary exception for already existing marriages of 14 and 15 year olds, but forbids new marriages like these in the future.[4]

.....

LGBT rights activists[edit]

These activists also criticized the bill, because it does not address the issue of equality, maintaining the present Canadian age of consent for anal sex outside of marriage at 18Hilary Cook, spokeswoman for gay rights group Egale Canada believes the bill is "an attempt to score partisan points".[15]

So the bill doesn't affect anal sex one way or another.

The bill has no close in age exemptions for anal sex. Therefore it makes it illegal for a sixteen year old to engage in anal sex with anyone but legal to enage in any other consensual sex act with others who are close in age.

Bill Siksay voted against the bill because it made sex between consenting teenage boys illegal. If the close in age exemptions had applied to anal sex then it would not have been a problem.

Jacob Two-Two

Okay, I remembered it wrong. Sorry. I actually didn't mean that comment as a bad thing. I happen to agree with the argument that I wrote, which some gay people did make at the time, but I guess Siksay didn't.

mark_alfred

Yeah, I don't know if Siksay was as specific in his arguments as you were in your recollection.  I could only find this one argument:

Quote:
Bill C-2 also includes measures on the age of consent, and I have already spoken extensively about this. I believe the existing age of consent legislation is excellent and comprehensive legislation. This bill would criminalize sexual activity for young people, especially those 14 or 15 years of age. No matter what we think of young people being sexually active, I do not believe the criminal justice system is the place to deal with that issue when a consensual, non-exploitive relationship is involved.

The rationale that you recalled isn't present.  Rather, more simply, that he felt 14 years was a sufficient age of consent.  Though he may have discussed it further elsewhere, and may have rationalized why he felt that age of consent was sufficient (I do think I recall him especially feeling it was important for LGBT, though I can't recall exactly what the rationale was for his feeling on this).

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

sherpa-finn wrote:
Bottom-line, the Party apparatchiks apparently have the authority to make these decisions. My assumption is that they are following the rules and applying their discretionary powers as assigned them by party policy. The reason I make this assumption is because I have heard lots of people arguing that these decisions were NOT FAIR! But I have not heard anyone say that these decisions violate Party rules. Nor have I heard of any barred candidates threatening to sue, which I believe is happening in a couple of Liberal ridings.

Morgan Wheeldon's facebook post calling out Israeli war crimes in Gaza in July-August 2014 is entirely consistent with the NDP's policy opposing violence targeting civilians.

The only way it can be treated as a violation of the NDP's Palestine policy is to invert reality and falsely paint the collective punishment of the people of Gaza by Israel (thousands of Palestinians killed, most buildings damaged or outright demolished) as "self-defense" against the almost entirely ineffective Hamas rockets. Which is what the NDP leadership has effectively done, even though we have to read between the lines of their explanations to understand it.

And I'm not in favour of the NDP leadership rejecting candidates and disciplining MP's for applying NDP policy as outlined in the policy manual.

sherpa-finn

On the broader discussion of how the Parliamentary caucus is governed / governs itself, - I want to highlight a passage from one of Krop's contributions above:

"Bill Siksay also argued in caucus that the legislation because of the treatment of sodomy in the Criminal Code and the wording of the exemptions for sex between consenting teenagers who are close in age means that it became a criminal offence for gay teenagers to have certain types of sex. The party policy has never supported jailing teenagers, gay or not, for having sex but the majority of the caucus voted for that very thing."

The point being - in this example, anyway, that the Caucus made a collective decision about a policy matter and then held its members to that decision through enforcement of the Party Whip. It was not a decision by the Leader, or the boys in shorts, or the Shadow Cabinet or the Federal Council. It was a collective decision of Caucus, - a decision that was apparently not wholly consistent with Convention-approved resolutions / policy but was presumably adapted to the context of the moment (Omnibus Bill, perceived political risks and opportunities, etc.).

If I get a chance "on the campaign trail" over the weekend, I will ask my local MP if this is the usual procedure. Or whether there are different processes for different types of decisions.

sherpa-finn

Left Turn: I never argued that Wheeldon's statements were a violation of NDP policy. I simply stated that Party rules (and Elections Act) give the Party the power to vet, approve and sanction nominees and candidates.  I can imagine all sorts of reasons for sanctioning a candidate that have nothing to do with policy differences. With the threat of a no-name candidate in a unwinnable riding becoming a target for sustained opposition attacks and media attention in the midst of a national campaign being right up there near the top of the list. 

Sorry, but national politics is a contact (maybe even blood) sport. To his credit, Mr Wheeldon seems to understand this reality.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

mark_alfred wrote:

Yeah, I don't know if Siksay was as specific in his arguments as you were in your recollection.  I could only find this one argument:

Quote:
Bill C-2 also includes measures on the age of consent, and I have already spoken extensively about this. I believe the existing age of consent legislation is excellent and comprehensive legislation. This bill would criminalize sexual activity for young people, especially those 14 or 15 years of age. No matter what we think of young people being sexually active, I do not believe the criminal justice system is the place to deal with that issue when a consensual, non-exploitive relationship is involved.

The rationale that you recalled isn't present.  Rather, more simply, that he felt 14 years was a sufficient age of consent.  Though he may have discussed it further elsewhere, and may have rationalized why he felt that age of consent was sufficient (I do think I recall him especially feeling it was important for LGBT, though I can't recall exactly what the rationale was for his feeling on this).

I cannot remember which of the various times I discussed the issues with him that I heard that level of nuance to the debate. I made a point of talking about mandatory minimmus as well because the parts of the bill that have since been declared unconstitutional were as important to Siksay as the implications for gay teenagers. There was much that was onerous about this bill and instead of fighting the Harperites on the ground were the SCC ultimately drew the line the NDP caucus voted for it because of the potential for political spin by their opppnents. They did not avoid the vote or vote against it they voted for it.

The Leader's office doles out the portfolio's both in governement and in opposition. In government the Cabinet meets and decides on policy and then goes to the caucus where individual MPs can voice their displeasure and occasionally have some influence over the policy direction but ultimately they either suport their Leader or pay a price. In government the difference in a backbenchers pay and benefits compared to a parliamentary secratary or cabinet minister is huge. As well if you are an MP for all the right reasons then you want to have a portfolio to put your energies to so that you make a positive difference.

The Convention policies will never do anything except, at best, frame the debate inside the various levels of the party. In the NDP the policy direction starts from the top with the Leader and their inner circle not from the caucus or membership. Most of the inner circle have a long term connection to the party so they at least have an idea what the members would like although they do not consider themselves bound by any convention policy.

Slumberjack

Conventions are part of the charade aren't they?  It's the place where the democratic facade first takes shape through a series of meaningless motions and votes, except that the delegates get to feel more important than your average voter at the ballot box, because by and large they're a bona fide party member having a supposed 'direct' say in party policy.  It doesn't actually mean a row of beans when everything is said and done.  When the cons and liberals hold their conventions and vote in certain measures to be adopted, there's hardly anyone directly impacted by said policies from the convention floor that don't take those two parties at their word.  They definitely mean what they say, and more.

Unionist

sherpa-finn wrote:

Left Turn: I never argued that Wheeldon's statements were a violation of NDP policy. I simply stated that Party rules (and Elections Act) give the Party the power to vet, approve and sanction nominees and candidates.  I can imagine all sorts of reasons for sanctioning a candidate that have nothing to do with policy differences.

Perhaps, then, you can tell us what you think of Brad Lavigne's statement (although again, we seem to be jumping threads):

Quote:

Earlier today, Brad Lavigne, an NDP campaign adviser, said Wheeldon's position as reflected by the Facebook post didn't reflect the party's position.

"Our position on the conflict in the Middle East is clear, as Tom Mulcair expressed clearly in the debate. Mr. Wheeldon's comments are not in line with that policy and he is no longer our candidate," he said.

I get impolite and use terms like "bastard", "dictator", "manipulative shit". I was hoping you could suggest some more mature characterizations. They escape me for the moment.

sherpa-finn

I am not sure what you are looking for, Unionist. I have not parsed (and am not inclined to parse) the different Convention resolutions vs Leader statements vs Wheeldon statements on the Middle East to have a clear sense of what is consistent with or contradictory to what.

My understanding is that Brad Lavigne has been brought in to advise on the national campaign, which is being managed by Ann McGrath. As an advisor he would not be in a decision-making role over candidate vetting and approval, but if I had to guess Lavigne's analysis and advice to McGrath and Co. would have been something along the lines I suggested above: "The integrity of the national campaign - everything teh party has been working towards for 5 years - is now threatened by a set of random statements made by a no-name candidate in a unwinnable riding. These statements will make him (and through him Tom Mulcair) the target for sustained opposition attacks and negative media attention that will drive us way off message for weeks. I recommend we cut him loose, immediately."

Given that Lavigne was hired for his campaign smarts, and not his inside knowledge of Middle East politics, I would simply characterize him (in this scenario) as a political professional, "doing his job".  If the NDP wins on October 19, he will be acclaimed as Canada's greatest political wizard of a generation - and for good measure will probably help Wheeldon - who took a hit for the team - get an interesting party job in Ottawa. And if the NDP loses, well - Lavigne will be pilloried from coast to coast for being an anti-democratic control freak who blew an historical opportunity. 

Pondering

kropotkin1951 wrote:

The bill has no close in age exemptions for anal sex. Therefore it makes it illegal for a sixteen year old to engage in anal sex with anyone but legal to enage in any other consensual sex act with others who are close in age.

Bill Siksay voted against the bill because it made sex between consenting teenage boys illegal. If the close in age exemptions had applied to anal sex then it would not have been a problem.

Anal sex under 18 was illegal prior to the bill. The bill did not make anal sex illegal. It had no impact on anal sex one way or another.

So, he opposed the other aspects of the bill intended to protect young people because it didn't include something he thought was important. Again, that is like opposing a bill making gay marriage legal because doesn't include something for transgendered people.

What he wanted was something that would lower the age for anal sex whereas the intend of this bill was to raise the age of consent. I agree it would have been a better bill if it had also addressed the issue of anal sex between teens but really it would be headline news and a case for civil rights lawyers if two gay teens were prosecuted for having sex with each other. Has it ever happened? So, from a practical perspective, it would have no effect. Raising the age of consent to 16 does have an immediate practical effect in protecting young teens, especially girls. I don't consider it valid to hold that up because it doesn't also contain provisions dealing specifically with anal sex. That is, every other kind of gay sex is also covered by the bill, including close in age exemptions.

 

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