NDP dumps Weisleder as candidate

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aka Mycroft
NDP dumps Weisleder as candidate

Socialist Caucus chair Barry Weisleder was nominated as the NDP's candidate in Thornhill last Thursday night. It has just been revealed that within 48 hours of his victory, the party "rescinded" his nomination.

NDP rescinds nomination of Thornhill candidate

Quote:

Barry Weisleder, the longtime left-wing NDP activist who was nominated to represent the riding of Thornhill in a nomination meeting last Thursday has had his position rescinded, sources say.

Mr. Weisleder, a 58-year-old Toronto-based substitute teacher, was selected to replace Simon Strelichik as the party's candidate in the Oct. 6 election at what Mr. Weisleder said was the largest, best-attended meeting in Thornhill in years.

But the candidate, who has been a member of the party for 43 years and an outspoken voice from the left, had his nomination rescinded by the provincial secretary, Darlene Lawson within 48 hours after the meeting, according to John Orrett, a member of the NDP provincial executive.

"One would have to say they have done this with the approval of the highest levels of the party, for an elected candidate who was democratically nominated...at one of the biggest meetings in 20 years. I'm pretty sure many of the members of the present executive will vehemently protest the interference in party democracy."

Mr. Weisleder was the chairperson of the NDP's socialist caucus. At the party's federal convention in Vancouver in June, Mr. Weisleder denounced the move to take the word ‘socialist' out of the NDP constitution, saying it would dilute the party's principles.

He was instrumental in "halting that drive to the right", Mr. Orrett said.

NDP officials failed to convince a majority of the 1,572 delegates to approve the change.

While he is "very disappointed" with the decision to remove Mr. Weisleder, Mr. Orrett said he "will continue to work for the NDP as the party with the best platform for working families, but not in Thornhill".

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2dawall

Not really surprising. They may not be able to push to remove 'socialist' by a vote but they can use their executive power to remove anyone clearly identified with the label.

Life, the unive...

or someone who wasn't willing to act as a member of a team and was only there to forward a personal agenda.   That is also a distinct possibility.

 

aka Mycroft

Life, the universe, everything wrote:

or someone who wasn't willing to act as a member of a team and was only there to forward a personal agenda.   That is also a distinct possibility.

 

I don't know, last time a prominent NDPer was more interested in forwarding a personal agenda than the team, they made him provincial leader and Premier.

Erik Redburn

What does 'member of a team' mean, exactly, who decides who 'the team' is playing for or what their goal is?   Is there any objective criteria about 'vetting' candidates, or can the exec just reject anyone they don't like now?

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

We can assume that the approved ONDP candidate in Thornhill will have no strong convictions at all.  That's what being a "team player" means-it's code for standing for nothing.

2dawall

Or 'team player.' Could be interchangeable with 'moderate.'

Erik Redburn

I believe the people of Ontario made Rae Premier, but whatever.  What again is the criteria for being ruled out as a candidate after one was otherwise fairly elected, are there any written guidelines or is it totally arbitrary?  

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

2dawall wrote:

Or 'team player.' Could be interchangeable with 'moderate.'

which is the same thing as "a person who has no strong convictions".  You can assume, for example, that a "moderate" will never fight for the poor, for the non-European, for LGBT people, for women, or for workers.  Being a moderate means not really giving a damn about anyone who isn't a winner in the status quo.

Lachine Scot

Ugh, unless someone comes up with evidence that this isn't what it looks like--I'll say it again: Ugh!

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Anybody know which officially approved eunoch will now be imposed in Thornhill?  Apparently, anyone who could actually inspire enthusiasm and get new people to join the party and work for it is unacceptable.  Can't actually take the risk of WINNING the seat, you know.

Erik Redburn

I'm asking a real question here, does the NDP have any objective criteria for removing candidates post-nomination?  

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

They won't reveal their criteria publicly, Erik.  That would be giving up too much power.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

This stinks.

Erik Redburn

Ken Burch wrote:

They won't reveal their criteria publicly, Erik.  That would be giving up too much power.

 

Perhaps, but I'd like to see what if anything the party has to say about it.  Hopefully something more than some guy who's too leftwing and too outspoken for our comfort level was nominated, can't have that.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

I suspect a lot of people would like that, but it's very unlikely that that will happen.  Party leaderships, like any other leadership groups, tend to hunker down, say nothing, and try to "ride it out" in situations like this.  They already have their bland, convictionless replacement picked and ready to impose.

Erik Redburn

Well let's see what if anything is said about this.  If nothing then I'll just have to assume that's all it is, another arbitrary power play by a backwards executive that only wants our money and votes.  

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I hope to see this on the national media tomorrow. Someone has some explaining to do.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

(re: Erik's post #16)Probably a fair assumption.  And so much for any chance of actually TAKING Thornhill.  That's gone forever, now.  And it's likely that the ONDP vote will drop in a lot of places as a result of this.  There's no way the party will still be able to inspire any enthusiasm in anyone about this campaign.  That's what always happens when you insist that all the candidates be "safe"-you lose.

Michelle

This is absolutely outrageous.  The NDP might consider another name change, one that wouldn't even affect their acronym - just change the "New" to "Non".

Merowe

Boom Boom wrote:

This stinks.

 

Yeah really. What utter bullshit. It would cost the party my vote if I had one.

Ciabatta2

Bad for democracy but...phew, that was close.

The NDP has to get a handle on the nominations process.  Vetting before the nomination process is a must.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture
Aristotleded24

Life, the universe, everything wrote:
or someone who wasn't willing to act as a member of a team and was only there to forward a personal agenda.   That is also a distinct possibility.

The team in Thornhill seemed to think he was okay.

What is the criteria for dumping candidates anyways? Whether or not  you agree with decisions to dump candidates, any time a candidate is dumped or blocked from receiving the nomination, it creates problems within said party, especially among said candidate's supporters. There should be an explanation process, otherwise people lose trust in that party.

edmundoconnor

There had better be an extremely good explanation for this.

Life, the unive...

Aristotleded24 wrote:

Life, the universe, everything wrote:
or someone who wasn't willing to act as a member of a team and was only there to forward a personal agenda.   That is also a distinct possibility.

The team in Thornhill seemed to think he was okay.

What is the criteria for dumping candidates anyways? Whether or not  you agree with decisions to dump candidates, any time a candidate is dumped or blocked from receiving the nomination, it creates problems within said party, especially among said candidate's supporters. There should be an explanation process, otherwise people lose trust in that party.

 

That might be a good start.  Having something that people can refer too.  The problem is the candidate questionaires are likely private documents and it might violate the person's privacy rights. It is kind of a fine line.  But given this and a couple of other incidents it would likely be a good idea for the NDP to codify some of this, asuming it isn't actually and we just don't know that.  Not being a member I am not sure whether it is or not. 

Life, the unive...

What a load of baloney some of the stuff I am reading here.  For a number of years I was involved in recruiting candidates for the Greens.  Even they had an agreed upon set of values you had to agree to become a candidate.  I've done some reading on this guy and it is pretty clear to me he isn't a team player.  And no a team player does not mean a moderate, or a sell out, or someone with no values- frankly that kind of talk is just stupid and offensive.  A team player is one, for instance, who doesn't go off on some policy of his own, over the democratic wishes of agreed policy.   I think that is very likely outcome reading some of this guys past behaviours.  If he wants to do that he should do the honourable thing and run as an independent that way he could have pursued his own policy agenda to his hearts content.

Say for instance he decides to attack seperate school funding.  That is not NDP policy and it is the members who constantly seem to say no thanks - not going there.  So regardless of how you feel about it, promoting it as NDP policy in an election would be profoundly undemocratic.  That will effect NDP candidates in every riding and prove a huge discraction for the campaign.  Going after that issue, or foreign policy issues, or whatever in a provincial election is not being a "team player."  All a team player means is understanding that in this day and age everything every candidate does or says in every riding effects every other candidate in every other riding.  Why should the NDP candidate in my riding be knocked off stride because someone in Thornhill decides he is going to pursue his own agenda which may not coincide even with current NDP policy.  Anyone decrying this and pretending there may not have been some issues with this guy really isn't thinking things through.

Now I will admitt I can't for the life of me figure out how come his candidacy wasn't stopped before the nomination meeting.  Whomever did that vetting should be getting a talking too.  In some ways once he was allowed to stand it doesn't seem right.  At the same time the party is probably better off then getting to e-7 and he goes off on some tear that is far outside NDP policy and draws the spotlight on himself not the entire team of candidates and volunteers slogging it out in all the other ridings in Ontario.   To be fair to those campaigns, and if he signalled that he was unwilling to stick to NDP policy, then this was probably the right decision, even if it was handled horriably and almost clownishly amatuerly.

 

Those who are using some of the rhetoric you are I wonder if you could explain to me why the NDP candidate in my riding and in every other riding should have to endure the kind of spolight focus that would likely happen part way through the campaign when this dude uses his candidacy to sharpen some axes he wants to grind.   He gives no indication he understands the impact his actions would have on other candidates.  Because that is what will happen as he clearly, from reading some of his own stuff, will do something like that and it will impact all candidates.  Don't they count or matter?  A great many of those cadidates will be taking an entire month of work and the like, most probably without pay because they believe in the same values as you.   The same goes for the countless volunteers and donors right across the province- who also share your values.  Surely their is some responsibility to them isn't there?

aka Mycroft

Unionist wrote:

I think they did the right thing. I'm not at liberty to explain. I'm sure you'll understand what I mean.

Nope, afraid I don't.

Ciabatta2

Life, the universe, everything wrote:

Aristotleded24 wrote:
 There should be an explanation process, otherwise people lose trust in that party.

That might be a good start.  Having something that people can refer too.  The problem is the candidate questionaires are likely private documents and it might violate the person's privacy rights. It is kind of a fine line.  But given this and a couple of other incidents it would likely be a good idea for the NDP to codify some of this, asuming it isn't actually and we just don't know that.  Not being a member I am not sure whether it is or not. 

Agreed.  What's really missing here is the explanation, even if it is something as meaningless as "X's policy positions are not in line with the party's" and then voters can make up their minds whether or not this is valid.  Something like this happens each election - to some extent it is unavoidable - but it is manageable. In the case of the ONDP, of the 90-95 ridings without incumbents, 15 or so where the nomination process is a high profile and professional race, and most only have 1-2 people interested in the nomination, so it should not be that hard to vet canadidates in advance - particularly for someone as 'well known' to the party as Barry.

This sucks for internal NDP party democracy but at the same time it also sucks for democracy if Wayne Redekop or Cindy Forster gets derailed because someone runs who is not in line with the core central party positions.  I don't doubt that for a party like the NDP party staff resources are tight but that party needs to figure this stuff out.

Fidel

I really dislike our electoral system. Barry's a good man with heart in the left place.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Fidel wrote:

I really dislike our electoral system. Barry's a good man with heart in the left place.

The story is not about our electoral system as much as it is about NDP interference in a democratic process. Can't blame this one on FPTP.

Unionist

aka Mycroft wrote:

Unionist wrote:

I think they did the right thing. I'm not at liberty to explain. I'm sure you'll understand what I mean.

Nope, afraid I don't.

Ok, I apologize. I was trying to be sarcastic, but I obviously failed. I have no idea why they dumped Barry - other than the very likely reasons already stated in this thread.

Maybe they're just trying to prove their evenhandedness - you know, dump Buzz, dump Barry, one right and one left neutralize each other? Chemistry? Math?

Whoops, there I go again.

 

Unionist

I think they did the right thing. I'm not at liberty to explain. I'm sure you'll understand what I mean.

ETA: Sorry for the dumb attempt at humour. See my post below.

genstrike

Fidel wrote:

I really dislike our electoral system. Barry's a good man with heart in the left place.

That's curious.  Just a couple days ago, you told him to:

Fidel wrote:
craft a protest sign and run around Queen's Perk with it instead. He could even stuff it up his ass sideways for all the people on welfare and low income care about his obsession with federal issues.

You're telling someone to stuff something up his ass when he was an NDP candidate, then after he is unceremoniously dumped by the party brass, all of the sudden you're praising him.

Who are you and what have you done with Fidel?

genstrike

The only thing surprising about this story is that the party brass didn't even bother to think up an excuse.  That's just sloppy.

That said, I think we can learn a few things about this episode.

I think it is curious that people on the left are told to not be "sectarian" and join the NDP and try to persuade people of your ideas and push it to the left.  Barry Weisleder has been doing that for years, and look at how he is treated in this situation - for the crime of doing what folks from the the NDP constantly tell leftie activists to do.

I think this also indicates that for radicals, NDP entryism, and trying to worm your way into the inner workings of the party, isn't a good tactic.  There's nothing for us in the NDP - just look at the repeated ham-fisted attempts to quash radical ideas in the party - this, the TYND fiasco, the Waffle, hell, off the top of my head, I can think of MLAs who were expelled from the party for opposing NATO in 1949.

I think Barry would have been better off had he spend the last 43 years doing something more productive than this.

Policywonk

2dawall wrote:

Not really surprising. They may not be able to push to remove 'socialist' by a vote but they can use their executive power to remove anyone clearly identified with the label.

It seems to me there was an earlier thread that noted that the ONDP Leader was quite comfortable with the term socialism, even if many of us were less than enthused at how she decribed it. And anyone who thinks the proposed federal NDP constitution preamble wouldn't have passed with flying colours if only the socialist caucus opposed it is delusional.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Unbelievable.  What an astonishingly cynical move. Not even an excuse. Hello new LPC. Your table is ready, sir.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Policywonk wrote:

2dawall wrote:

Not really surprising. They may not be able to push to remove 'socialist' by a vote but they can use their executive power to remove anyone clearly identified with the label.

It seems to me there was an earlier thread that noted that the ONDP Leader was quite comfortable with the term socialism, even if many of us were less than enthused at how she decribed it. And anyone who thinks the proposed federal NDP constitution preamble wouldn't have passed with flying colours if only the socialist caucus opposed it is delusional.

Perhaps her supposed embrace of the "s word" was designed to give her ideological cover to...well, let's just say it...purge the left.

Weisleder may not be the last candidate disqualified.  It's likely that nobody with any sincere commitment to any form of social justice will be allowed to retain their nomination now.  At the very least, Horvath has now forfeited any right to ask the rank-and-file to trust her.

Fidel

Boom Boom wrote:

Fidel wrote:

I really dislike our electoral system. Barry's a good man with heart in the left place.

The story is not about our electoral system as much as it is about NDP interference in a democratic process. Can't blame this one on FPTP.

 

What were Barry's chances of be elected in Thornhill?

West Coast Greeny

Fidel wrote:

Boom Boom wrote:

Fidel wrote:

I really dislike our electoral system. Barry's a good man with heart in the left place.

The story is not about our electoral system as much as it is about NDP interference in a democratic process. Can't blame this one on FPTP.

 

What were Barry's chances of be elected in Thornhill?

The NDP haven't posted more than 6% in the three elections that riding existed.  

West Coast Greeny

I don't like the Canadian political party culture. Often it's almost like there are only 3 or 4 or 5 individuals in the legislature with 157 and 102 and 37 and 4 and 1 vote. It's not very healthy for democracy. I'd like for there to be such a thing as internal party dissent. Like Galloway in Labour or Svend in the federal NDP way back. 

The problem is, with today's wildly oversensationalizing news media, every single party division is chipped and chipped and chipped away at. Today, when a party doesn't present a unified front, it's left at a huge disadvantage. Invariably, what was going to happen was that Barry was going to make some statements, knowing him, many statements to the left of the platform of the NDP and Horwath. The media would pounce on top of that, a spat ensues, and the NDP campaign is wrecked. In that sense, I can see the logic behind the provincial NDP's decision. 

Still ugly though.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

If they were that concerned, they should have stepped in BEFORE he was nominated.  Now, they look heavy-handed and it's hard to see that any good that comes of this outweighs the resentment these tactics created.  And they did this in an unwinnable riding.

knownothing knownothing's picture

Disgraceful!

Policywonk

Ken Burch wrote:

If they were that concerned, they should have stepped in BEFORE he was nominated.  Now, they look heavy-handed and it's hard to see that any good that comes of this outweighs the resentment these tactics created.  And they did this in an unwinnable riding.

Maybe they were hoping he wouldn't win the nomination.

Fidel

Ken Burch wrote:

If they were that concerned, they should have stepped in BEFORE he was nominated.  Now, they look heavy-handed and it's hard to see that any good that comes of this outweighs the resentment these tactics created.  And they did this in an unwinnable riding.

 

Maybe Barry would stand a better chance, and the NDP as well, in another riding.  Or perhaps even choose not to allocate precious resources to an unwinnable riding. The NDP has all kinds of good candidates who live in conservative ridings. I'm thinking of Henry Sader in Ottawa who ran federally a number of times. The phony majority have turned their backs on some excellent choices before. 

Yes the bad electoral system is at play here I'm afraid. Not only does where you live in Canada determine whether your vote counts or not, it dictates party strategies at election time. The electoral system stinks to high heaven, but we still have to play and strategize according to the rotten system.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Fidel wrote:

Yes the bad electoral system is at play here I'm afraid. Not only does where you live in Canada determine whether your vote counts or not, it dictates party strategies at election time. The electoral system stinks to high heaven, but we still have to play and strategize according to the rotten system.

I'm not trying to be argumentative but I simply disagree with you. In this instance it was interference from the NDP that is to blame.  The NDP is the party of integrity. If they did it because "it's a rotten system", then they made the choice to surrender to the system instead of taking a stand. This is Machiavellian - or maybe Orwellian - tactics, and it stinks.

Fidel

I'm not trying to be argumentative either just trying to understand what's going on same as anyone. The NDP has always had the inch-wide mile deep support. It's time to expand, and if we want more competitive elections with good people standing a chance of election, then we have to fight and win the battle for democracy. Inch wide mile deep was nice for the era that I grew up, but I suppose the NDP believes we have to actually win some elections in order to help the people who need it. Standing on principles is fine, but it sometimes doesn't have any real effect on child poverty, or homelessness, skyrocketing tuition fees, or manic unemployment rates due to bad governance. 

Sometimes doing things by the book doesn't get the job done. And this rotten electoral system has worked against democracy for too long in this country. I think it's time to listen to what the "specialists" have to say about getting the job done. This is a totally unrelated quote from a Hollywood film that is mostly nothing to do with the thread topic, but I know some of you lefties will recognize it. And there really are human rights and women's being violated in provinces like Ontario according to various United Nations task forces on various issues.

Mississippi Burning 1988, Ward and Anderson, standing in the rain arguing about tactics in getting the job done:

Ward: Just don't lose sight of whose rights are being violated!
Anderson: Don't put me on your perch, Mr. Ward.
Ward: Don't drag me into your gutter, Mr. Anderson!
Anderson: These people are crawling out of the SEWER, MR. WARD! Maybe the gutter's where we outta be!

 

 

 

 

Caissa

Why does the party keep shooting itself in the foot? Nomination meetings seem to have become meaningless. Isn't this the second example of the party rejecting the democratic will of the riding during the run-up to this election?

edmundoconnor

In the case of Etobicoke North, Caissa, that's open to interpretation. Diana Andrews brought along "supporters" of her cause to the nomination meeting who may or may not have been members of the NDP. If they were not members, they could complain all they like, but the NDP didn't have to listen. Since we only know that votes were cast in favour of the nominated candidate, the suggestion that the party rejected the democratic will of the riding association in Etobicoke North lacks hard evidence in terms of votes cast.* In Thornhill, such evidence exists of the party overriding the wishes of the riding association.

I have said this before: the ONDP may or may not be doing the right thing in such actions, but they are doing an absolutely terrible job of explaining their reasons to the membership.

* In such cases, I would change the rules such that in an acclamation, the members have the option to reject the acclaimed candidate. Those that choose to reject the acclaimed candidate do so in the full knowledge that the candidate search has to be started from scratch, which, if the election is imminent, may not be the most considered process in the world. I would also encourage those members who voted against said candidate to join the new search committee, since they obviously have a deep interest in who the riding association chooses as a candidate.

josh

Not your father's NDP.

Pretty clear where the direction is going, both nationally and provincially.  And it ain't to the left.

Life, the unive...

People are not making the necessary distinction between being a memeber, even a gadfly member, and being a candidate.  Those are two completely different roles.  As a candidate you can't freelance.  You aren't there to push the party on a particular issue in the midst of a campaign.  You run on the party platform.  That is the current agreed upon policy, not where you want it to go.  If you want to push something you work as a member of the team to get elected and then push from there. Or you don't try to be a candidate and you push policy changes in other ways.  You don't critique party policy in the middle of a campaign.  It seems pretty likely that this fellow would not be willing to do support other campaigns by working with the platform.  

It is simply full of crap to suggest this has anything to do with moving the party right, left, up down, or sideways.  It is about the role and responsibility of a candidate.  Likelihood of winning also has nothing to do with it.  Someone who goes deep into their own personal agenda effects every campaign in every riding.   I can't beleive the lack of concern that people have for all the other candidates and volunteers out there.  But I guess if you have an axe to grind, that's all that matters.

 

I agree wtih edmundoconnor though.  The NDP has done a terrible job in dealing with these issues in terms of explanations and clarity.  

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