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The NDP convention revisited

Sharon
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Joined: May 10 2003
 

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Sharon
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Joined: May 10 2003
quote:Like a jovial, latter-day Lenin, a giant Jack Layton stares at me from a banner hanging over the front doors of the Quebec City Convention Centre. Layton's image and name are ubiquitous here. The cover of the convention guide features five photos: four of Layton, and one of a woman holding a “Jack Layton” sign. Above the registration desk, Layton's name dwarfs the party's. The attempt to create a personality cult around Layton is faintly creepy and exhausting.

Corvin Russell


aka Mycroft
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Joined: Aug 8 2004
Is there actually a list of the approved resolutions anywhere? They certainly aren't on the NDP's [url=http://www.ndp.ca/convention']convention website[/url]

It's long annoyed me that even though the NDP is supposed to be governed by party resolutions (which are supposed to remain in effect for three successive conventions) it's virtually impossible to get a copy of the resolutions currently "in force". This time even the manual of proposed resolutions was taken off the website and was inaccessible to non-delegates until it was "leaked" by a hostile blogger.


spatrioter
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Joined: Mar 4 2002
I'm really glad to see this article. I was in the resolution panel described, where the age of consent resolution was 'debated'. The tactics of the party establishment to shut down the youth wing and LGBT party activists was absolutely disgusting.

And now reading comments from Joe Comartin, accusing "the gay, lesbian, transgendered group" of "taking over" - that's something I'd expect to hear from Larry Spencer, not an NDP MP.


farnival
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Joined: Jul 9 2004
i wasn't at the convention, so i was going to bite my tongue at the negative generalities expressed in this article, which really could be edited to say Liberal or Conservative with appropriate name changes, and it would fit just fine.

I will comment on this though:

quote:...One delegate describes Layton appearing at a meeting of farmers in Saskatchewan wearing a plaid shirt and wranglers. Layton seems to want to fit in and be liked wherever he goes...

Ever since Jack was elected leader, there have been people in the party who have been pissed about it, particularly the west, calling Jack a "latte sipping socialist", "slick", "big city politician" etc. This is an extension of that obviously and so patently silly that i have to laugh. If you should run into Layton anywhere except parliament or an offical event where "business attire" is required (whether you agree with that requirment or not), more than likely he is wearing a work shirt and jeans and boots of some sort. Pretty casual. not contrived at all.

If party members continue to fill thier critiques of Layton's leadership with petty personal observations about his appearance or speaking style as a reason to be disgruntled, after 92% of the delegates voted to support his leadership, those critiques will be dismissed as petty personal disgruntlement and the legitimate concerns will be lost, quite frankly.

As for the convention being well run, and organised being an issue.....huh? If the party ever wants a crack at governing the country, it will have to be well run, litterally, as well as perceptually by the media and public. If that turns off the unpolished and disorganised, well too bad i say. If we need to present a "slick" and focused message to actually gain office, well i say that the means justify the end, which is gaining office and actually effecting change at a national legislative level. ha, i can't wait for the vitriol to start regarding my thoughts here. [img]tongue.gif" border="0[/img]


Dana Larsen
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Joined: Jul 30 2005
I agree with this article's analysis of how things went down in that resolution panel.

If the convention allowed more time on the convention floor for debate of resolutions, and if less time was allotted for multiple people speaking in favour of the same resolution, then we could have gotten many more items debated and passed.

The event was tightly scripted, and no doubt some resolutions worry the party leadership.

Nevertheless I think Jack is a good leader, the best we've had in a while, and I support his leadership.


joshmanicus
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Joined: Apr 2 2006
I don't mind Layton at all, but at the same time, I can apreciate Corvin's analysis about the cult of personality. Isn't that why Layton got elected though? Because he was someone who had "visibility?"

I dunno, I was at the NDYC convention where we all agreed that the age of consent nonsense should never have got through our party. I'm curious to know how that happened. Does anybody know? It doesn't seem like the typical sort of thing that our party would get behind...


John K
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Joined: Nov 30 2002
Concluding as Corvin Russell does that the party base is further left than the party leadership implies that the 1,500 Convention delegates are representative of the party's membership, or even active membership.

This is my fourth federal Convention - and compared to the numerous provincial conventions I've attended - federal delegates seem on to be on average further left.

One reason may be cost. My spouse and I paid a combined $3,000 to attend a three-day convention. This is not a complaint. I loved Quebec City as a convention venue. Also, many Prairie dippers I know missed federal convention this time around because of the cost and because it fell in the middle of the busy harvest season.

Finally, not all NDPers live or die by resolutions adopted at convention. In fact, I attend conventions to hear inspirational speakers, to visit with friends from across the country, and this time around to see one of the world's most beautiful cities.


Cueball
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Joined: Dec 23 2003
quote:Originally posted by farnival:

If party members continue to fill thier critiques of Layton's leadership with petty personal observations about his appearance or speaking style as a reason to be disgruntled, after 92% of the delegates voted to support his leadership, those critiques will be dismissed as petty personal disgruntlement and the legitimate concerns will be lost, quite frankly.

But that moustache!


Unionist
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Joined: Dec 11 2005
redflag wrote:

I dunno, I was at the NDYC convention where we all agreed that the age of consent nonsense should never have got through our party. I'm curious to know how that happened. Does anybody know? It doesn't seem like the typical sort of thing that our party would get behind...
redflag, have you read the article that this thread is about?

Click here.

[Edited to provide a working link to Corvin's article.]


Stockholm
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Joined: Sep 29 2002
I'm sorry but I just can't get excited about the "age of consent" nonsense. Would I raise the age of of consent from 14 to 16 if I were PM - NO - the whole issue is a very low priority for me. Do I care if if it gets raised from 14 to 16 - not really. I looked at a list of what the age of consent is in western democracies and in the vast majority of cases it is 16 - and that includes in such seemingly sexually liberated places as the Netherlands and Denmark - ok, ok, in Mexico the age of consent is 12 - but since qwhen do we regard Mexico as a role model.

With the 5 year close in age exemption, all we are doing is showing some societal scorn for the idea of a 14 year old having sex with someone 20 years old or over and quite frankly what is a 21 year old doing with a 14 year old in the first place? are there not enough 15, 16, 17, 18 and 19 year olds to go around???

I had concerns earlier about the possibility of 14 and 15 year olds being criminalized for experimenting with each other - but the 5 year close in age exemption seems like a reasonable way of dealing with that.

I would like to see the NDP negotiate with the government about getting the age of consent set at 16 for ALL sexual activity in exchnage for supporting the final bill.

I think the problem with the resolution that was raised at the convention was NOT that it would have made it NDP policy in principle to leave the age of consent as is - it was that it was worded in such a way that it would have compelled all NDP MPs to vote against the legislation and (unlike SSM where the only possible reason for being opposed is pure hate and bigotry),, I think that this is an issue where good people can have a difference of opinion.


the grey
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Joined: Jan 21 2003
quote:Originally posted by redflag:
I dunno, I was at the NDYC convention where we all agreed that the age of consent nonsense should never have got through our party. I'm curious to know how that happened. Does anybody know? It doesn't seem like the typical sort of thing that our party would get behind...

Well, most of the youth I talked to about the issue didn't seem to know the details of the Conservative policy that they were opposed to. Especially the changes to the close in age exemption. While increasing age of consent certainly isn't a priority (which is why caucus members have opposed the previous private members bills and motions on the topic), when it is combined with the significant change in the close in age exemption the legislation isn't worth fighting against.


[Edited by Michelle to change redflag's name]

[ 22 June 2008: Message edited by: Michelle ]


spatrioter
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Joined: Mar 4 2002
Regardless of what you think about the age of consent bill, the issue is clearly controversial enough that it deserved to be debated on the convention floor.

Why was the party establishment stacking a meeting to prevent debate on this resolution? Do they not want the membership to have a say?

As for this...

quote:Well, most of the youth I talked to about the issue didn't seem to know the details of the Conservative policy that they were opposed to.
Typical father knows best attitude. If the youth disagree with you, they must not know what they're talking about. The fact is that many organizations (Egale Canada, Canadian Federation for Sexual Health, Child Welfare League, Canadian AIDS Society) are opposed to the legislation even with the 5-year close-in-age exemption, because it will still affect access to sexual health information, and will still criminalize non-exploitative relationships. Are you suggesting that these organizations are also unfamiliar with the bill?

[ 19 September 2006: Message edited by: spatrioter ]


ouroboros
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Joined: May 18 2005
quote:Originally posted by aka Mycroft:
It's long annoyed me that even though the NDP is supposed to be governed by party resolutions (which are supposed to remain in effect for three successive conventions) it's virtually impossible

I understand that there is a move to have the "policy book" upated and maintained better.

We'll see if this really happends or not.


aka Mycroft
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Joined: Aug 8 2004
I believe this is party speak for making sure out of date resolutions are removed and trying to harmonize contradictory policies. It doesn't necessarily mean actually making the policy book publicly available or even readily available to party members.

Michelle
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Joined: May 10 2001
I just read the full article by Corvin Russell now. Wow. How infuriating. The youth delegates must just be frothing at such underhanded tactics.

Shame.

Oh, and I love this:

quote: Comartin expresses “dismay at the level of lack of knowledge” shown by many of the youth and queer speakers. Comartin says he consulted widely with prosecutors and defence attorneys before taking his position on the law. I ask if he also consulted with youth and youth advocates, the people the law is supposed to help. He says yes, and that their opinions were split — for example, he says, Catholic youth groups support the law.

Did he ask what Focus on the Family thinks as well? How about The Pat Robertson Club For Kids? Maybe he should ask a few ex-gay teen support groups while he's at it.

Christ almighty. Since when is it an NDP principle for old, white, straight social conservative men to stifle the voices of youth and sexual minorities in the party?

[ 19 September 2006: Message edited by: Michelle ]


Cameron W
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Joined: Oct 25 2005
This is an interesting article.

quote:
And Elizabeth May, newly elected Green Party leader, could come at the party like a sidewinder: stronger and clearer on enough core NDP issues to seriously damage them, and answering to a desire for something new. The risks for the NDP in this political climate are great. The question is whether the party has the self knowledge to see these risks, and the political courage to address them.

I never thought of it that way.


ouroboros
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Joined: May 18 2005
quote:Originally posted by Michelle:
[QBThe youth delegates must just be frothing at such underhanded tactics.

[ 19 September 2006: Message edited by: Michelle ][/QB]

To me fair, not all 250 youth delegates went to that panel. Nor were all 250 youth delegates for the resolution. I know quite a few that didn't vote either way at the youth convention

Everyone knew it was going to be a close vote, and the youth convention was told that and told that if you care about the issue to go to that panel. Had all 250 youth delegates done that or even half, the resolution would have passed.

That's not to say that it wasn't wrong for NDP staffers to try and get a resolution voted down, but the story made it sound like all the youth were on side, when they weren't

[ 19 September 2006: Message edited by: ouroboros ]


spatrioter
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Joined: Mar 4 2002
quote:Originally posted by ouroboros:
I know quite a few that didn't vote either way at the youth convention
That's funny. Because there was no vote on the age of consent at the youth convention.
quote:Everyone knew it was going to be a close vote, and the youth convention was told that and told that if you care about the issue to go to that panel.
That's also funny, because the youth convention wasn't told that. Are you sure you were at the right convention?
quote:...the story made it sound like all the youth were on side, when they weren't
No one's saying all the youth were on side, but judging from the reaction of youth delegates to Jane Doe's comments, and the questions that were raised in the NDYC elections, there was clearly an overwhelming majority of youth delegates in favour of this resolution, and angered by the party's tactics.

ouroboros
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Joined: May 18 2005
quote: Originally posted by ouroboros:
I know quite a few that didn't vote either way at the youth convention

That's funny. Because there was no vote on the age of consent at the youth convention.

I thought there was an emergency resolution on the age of consent. I don't have the emergency resolutions in my package however so I can't back that up.

quote:Everyone knew it was going to be a close vote, and the youth convention was told that and told that if you care about the issue to go to that panel.

That's also funny, because the youth convention wasn't told that. Are you sure you were at the right convention?

I disagree. After the Jane Doe's address someone talked about the resolution.

quote: the story made it sound like all the youth were on side, when they weren't

No one's saying all the youth were on side, but judging from the reaction of youth delegates to Jane Doe's comments, and the questions that were raised in the NDYC elections, there was clearly an overwhelming majority of youth delegates in favour of this resolution, and angered by the party's tactics.

I think they are right to be angry.

However the story said "The youth and LGBT caucuses are pushing a resolution that will oppose the Conservative legislation" That makes it sound like the youth caucuse voted on a position, which according to you they didn't.


spatrioter
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Joined: Mar 4 2002
One of the resolutions was brought forward by the Ontario youth wing, which made up about half of the youth delegation at this year's convention. The resolution was moved by the co-chair of NDYC, and youth delegates were lined up at microphones to speak in favour. So yeah, I'd say the youth caucus was pushing the resolution.

Stockholm
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Joined: Sep 29 2002
Is there nothing else worth writing about regarding the NDP convention beyond the fact that the NDP has essentially taken no hard and fast position on whether or not canada should have the same age of consent as the Netherlands (though a higher AOC than Mexico)

the grey
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Joined: Jan 21 2003
quote:Originally posted by spatrioter:
As for this... Typical father knows best attitude. If the youth disagree with you, they must not know what they're talking about. The fact is that many organizations (Egale Canada, Canadian Federation for Sexual Health, Child Welfare League, Canadian AIDS Society) are opposed to the legislation even with the 5-year close-in-age exemption, because it will still affect access to sexual health information, and will still criminalize non-exploitative relationships. Are you suggesting that these organizations are also unfamiliar with the bill?

[ 19 September 2006: Message edited by: spatrioter ]

Not at all. I'm suggesting that when discussion turned to the close-in-age exemption and the response was, "I didn't know about that", the individuals I spoke to didn't know about it.


Unionist
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Joined: Dec 11 2005
quote:Originally posted by Stockholm:
Is there nothing else worth writing about regarding the NDP convention beyond the fact that the NDP has essentially taken no hard and fast position on whether or not canada should have the same age of consent as the Netherlands (though a higher AOC than Mexico)

No, that was just the bad part.

The good parts were calling for Canada to get out of Afghanistan; condemning Israel's attack on Lebanon; and supporting Quйbec's nationhood and right to leave if it desires.

See? There's lots worth writing about!


aka Mycroft
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Joined: Aug 8 2004
I acknowledge that the whole age of consent change is a manufactured issue since the existing laws against non-consensual sex, underage prostitution and sex involving under 18s and adults in authority already covers most of the under age adult/youth sex that happens and is problematic. Truly consensual sex between 14 year olds and over 30s is too rare to be concerned about and doesn't seem to be a social problem requiring legislation. I also think the Tories are being hypocritical by arguing that 15 year olds are adults when they commit crimes but children when they have sex.

However, it is very hard to argue against age of consent at 16 with a five year "close in age" examption for those over 14. If those opposed to the law could produce existing couples whose relationships would be criminalized (or couples who would have been in illegality had the law been in place when they began their relationship), ie if one could put a human face on the situation that would justify opposing the law then that would be one thing but without that it's a very difficult sell, a non starter, in fact.

[ 19 September 2006: Message edited by: aka Mycroft ]


jrootham
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quote:Originally posted by Stockholm:
Is there nothing else worth writing about regarding the NDP convention beyond the fact that the NDP has essentially taken no hard and fast position on whether or not canada should have the same age of consent as the Netherlands (though a higher AOC than Mexico)

Get a clue. The substantive result on the issue is of FAR less importance than the manipulations that produced the result. It's not only young people that are pissed. A friend of mine who is also ancient of days had the same reaction.


John K
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Joined: Nov 30 2002
I attended the particular panel in question (like Joe Comartin I was there the entire time).

One of the reasons that I don't put too much stock in resolutions debate is that there is no requirement that delegates properly inform themselves before engaging in it.

Bill C-22 is available on the parliamentary website for those who wish to read it.
http://tinyurl.com/fhquv

The age of consent law only applies if a complainant (the 14 or 15 year-old victim of an alleged offence) approaches law enforcement. The most likely application is of a 14 or 15 year-old who consented at the time to having sex with a person more than five years older but later changes their mind. Only the older person involved could conceivably be charged, not the alleged victim.

Not only social conservatives support raising the age of consent. So do many progressive child protection organizations and groups like Beyond Borders.

I'm kinda 50/50 on raising the age of consent myself as there are credible voices with sound arguments on both sides of the issue. But I opposed the particular resolution because it tried to order our MPs to oppose Bill C-22 regardless of their own personal views or the views of their constituents.


aka Mycroft
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Joined: Aug 8 2004
That makes it even harder to oppose as the power, in theory at least, lies with the younger party to determine whether or not she or he has been exploited.

spatrioter
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Joined: Mar 4 2002
If the arguments against the resolution were so solid, why was the party brass shitting collective bricks trying to prevent it from going to the convention floor?

I could just as easily say that those who opposed the resolution were unfamiliar with the facts, as current Canadian laws governing age of consent are already some of the most comprehensive in the world, according to the Department of Justice.

I hope this thread isn't derailed into a debate on the merits of Bill C-22. As jrootham said, the issue here is not the actual legislation, but the party's tactics in stifling debate on the legislation.


aka Mycroft
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quote:Originally posted by spatrioter:
If the arguments against the resolution were so solid, why was the party brass shitting collective bricks trying to prevent it from going to the convention floor?

I could just as easily say that those who opposed the resolution were unfamiliar with the facts, as current Canadian laws governing age of consent are already some of the most comprehensive in the world, according to the Department of Justice.

I hope this thread isn't derailed into a debate on the merits of Bill C-22. As jrootham said, the issue here is not the actual legislation, but the party's tactics in stifling debate on the legislation.


I suspect the party brass wasn't really afraid tha t the resolution would pass as much as they were afraid of having NDP members aruging in favour of the resolution in public and on national tv.


Cueball
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Joined: Dec 23 2003
quote:Originally posted by Stockholm:
Is there nothing else worth writing about regarding the NDP convention beyond the fact that the NDP has essentially taken no hard and fast position on whether or not canada should have the same age of consent as the Netherlands (though a higher AOC than Mexico)

Well, yes apparently the complete lack of a distinct left-wing economic policy, and tougher sentencing laws, but hey reading the whole article is difficult, I know. There must be over 200 words there.


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