Leadership Crisis within the BC NDP - started Friday, December 3, 2010

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NorthReport
Leadership Crisis within the BC NDP - started Friday, December 3, 2010

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NorthReport

Let's start with a section of the previous article in The Tyee.

Quote:
'Issue is James's leadership': Tieleman

James will have a very hard time continuing as leader, said Bill Tieleman, who worked as communications director for former NDP premier Glen Clark and contributes a weekly column to The Tyee. "It would be very difficult to see how any leader survives with the most senior member of her caucus saying their leadership abilities are essentially non-existent."

James needs to submit to a leadership contest, which she could win with a simple majority, he said. That would allow her to legitimately claim a mandate to lead. "It's certainly possible," he said.

If she hangs on it will drive both members and the public away from the party, he said. "I guess she could survive if the party is intent on marginalizing itself."

Tieleman dismissed the idea that critical MLAs are breaking democratic principles. "The MLAs are elected by the people of this province," he said. Each received thousands of votes.

In contrast, provincial council meetings are "not a major exercise of democracy," he said. "I don't think that 120 people get to decide the future of the New Democratic Party when you have 10,000 members."

There are few ways to resolve the crisis in the NDP, Tieleman said. "There has to be some way that's mutually agreeable to both sides of this dispute to resolve the issue, and the issue is Carole James' leadership."

The party elected her in 2003 and there has been no opportunity for review since then, he said. "Most modern politicians don't get two shots at it. Ask Stéphane Dion. Ask Al Gore," he said. "Most of them only get one."

The timing for questioning James may seem off, but there's never a good time, he said. "It may not be the best time, but it's certainly far worse if you let it linger another three or four months."

The BC Liberals will pick a new leader on Feb. 26 who could then call a snap election saying she or he wants a mandate from the public, not just party members. The NDP would then be stuck with a leader who has failed to keep the support of a large portion of her caucus, he said.

"You don't wait and see what happens and hope things work out," he said.

NorthReport

Who are the disloyal ones now Carole?

 

And this is the article that the BCers, who are interested in politics, will be reading this weekend.

NDP veteran Corky Evans accuses Carole James of castigating MLAs who came to her in confidence

An elder statesman of the B.C. NDP has put a decidedly new wrinkle on the dispute within the party's caucus.

In an open letter, former cabinet minister Corky Evans writes that a group of NDP MLAs concluded a few weeks ago that it was necessary to hold a leadership convention.

They signed a letter, and a small group met with James to convey their concerns.

"Both the letter and the meeting were private," Evans notes in the letter. "It was assumed that they would always remain private, because that is the way it has always been done."

He points out that this has occurred numerous times in the past in his party. Evans writes that MLAs have signed letters in confidence or met in confidence with other leaders-including Bob Skelly, Mike Harcourt, and Glen Clark-to suggest they should resign.

Evans states that in keeping with historical tradition, James had the "absolute right to consider their intervention and decide to take their advice or reject it".

But Evans claims that unlike every other leader who has been approached in confidence in this manner, James "chose to respond in a different, and utterly unpredictable manner".

"She advised others in her Caucus and staff what had happened and named the MLA's who had come, in confidence, to see her and then proceeded to turn the upcoming Provincial Council meeting into an opportunity to divide the signatories of the letter, and their supporters, from the rest of the Party," Evans writes.

Then James and her supporters decided to expose those who signed the letter at the Provincial Council meeting in Victoria on November 20.

"As we walked into the hotel the morning of the Provincial Council meeting, staff members stood in the hallway outside the meeting room and gave yellow scarves to everyone EXCEPT the folks they knew had signed or delivered the letter, and a few of the rest of us they figured might support the 13 signatories," Evans maintains. "The result was surreal."

He claims it was "the most divisive thing I have ever witnessed" in the NDP.

 

http://www.straight.com/article-362843/vancouver/corky-evans-accuses-car...

Treetop

Why is it that you don't see that what Jenny Kwan has done and what she is doing, is an attack on the BC NDP, and not just Carole? Because face it, it may not be "intentional", but this is what she is doing. She is killing the party and I'm here as a party member, not part of the brass or part of Carole's inner circle, but a party member who is sick and tired of this shit.

Carole is our leader, like it or not. There are appropriate ways to express your displeasure in her, but this public fit, well, it's embarrassing. The BCNDP have been the brunt of all of this, not Carole. We are being snickered at by the same people who we should be trying to embrace. This would be the same people that turn on the 6' clock news, swing voters, who pay attention to politcis for a few minutes a month. And all they see are a bunch of people who "couldn't run a peanut stand". Well, good for you Jenny. I hope this is what you wanted.

Erik Redburn

If you want loyalty show it.  Any relationship that does not go both ways is exploitive.  The failure to see that is the greatest failure of my generation.   

Fidel

Treetop wrote:

Why is it that you don't see that what Jenny Kwan has done and what she is doing, is an attack on the BC NDP, and not just Carole?

Carole's worth a thousand of the most charismatic stooges the Lieberals can slot into to the top job for that party. DId Carole win her riding last election? Yes she did, and that's all she needs to do.

Because in Canada we don't have US style presidential candidate races. In Canada we vote for the party not cosmetic leaders hand-picked by the oligarchy. Our colonial administrativeship races for the the federal leadership aren't even focused on electing a top corporate stooge. And besides, Harper and Iggy would lose to Jack Layton in a national popularity contest.

NorthReport

Thanks Cueball, and I don't disagree with you. Unfortunately it appears now that things have gone too far, with both sides digging their heels in, and there appears to be only one option left that will resolve the issue.

 

Cueball Cueball's picture

NorthReport wrote:

Right bekayne, just like the federal election interval is supposed to be 4 years as well.

The thinking is once the BC Liberals choose their new leader, they will change the BC Election Act legislation to allow for an earlier election and then quickly pull the plug. That is if James is still the leader, however if the NDP picks a leader soon that has some charisma, and some leadership skills, the BC Liberals may well try and hang on til 2013.

Sure but the basic theory here seems to be that Liberals might subvert the legal definition of the process that they have put into place, and in order to deal with that the NDP has to subvert the legal definition of the internal process that they have put into place.

This is why I think some people like Elmore may be less than enthusiastic about the rebel caucus than they might normally be. Any union activist knows that process is king, and politics is not just about what you think but how you apply it. The theory that the Liberals might do this is or that for strategic purposes, may not justify others undermining party unity just for strategic purposes.

By all accounts it sounds like there is a lot to dislike about James, politically speaking, and I have lot of sympathy for people like Corky Evans who feel slighted by her heavy handed tactics, such as the bouncing Bob Simpson, and the "scarves" campaign seems to be divisive and not very well thought out. As leader, James is ultimately responsible for the disintigration of her caucus. One rebel MLA can be easily accounted for as pure spite, but 13 or more is a sign of a serious problem. But there is a lot of room here for people to side with James just on procedural ethics and solidarity.

The election is scheduled for 2013, the leadership review 2011. Plenty of time, unless the Liberals start playing games, and if they did, then the NDP could gain plenty of traction from that issue itself, with a unified party win. Maybe not the best, but James might win anyway despite her faults with a unified party around her, or so it seems to me.

The James people also seem to be mishandling these issues too with heavy handed tactics, such accusing people of "blowing up the party" and calling emergency meetings and so on. All of this just contributes to the hysteria. Did it have to be an "emergency meeting" and not just "the next meeting of caucus"? Instead James migh have been better just to emphasize the fact that there is a leadership review process in place for 2011, and maybe figure out ways to bring parts of that process forward, so that people could talk more openly about the leadership issues in the open sooner.

A cooler approach over all to dissent is obviously warranted, and James doesn't seem to be able to manage it.

Unionist

I was kind of hoping Carole James would stick around long enough to [url=http://www.rabble.ca/babble/western-provinces/support-mable-elmore]apolo....

If not, good riddance.

 

NorthReport

I know where its from, but this article appears to be the one receiving the most hits about the BC NDP leadership crisis on google at the moment.
New Democrats moving quickly to self-destruct

 

The NDP situation is different. Ms. Kwan and a dozen of her caucus colleagues are in open defiance of their leader. Ms. James must deal with all of them at this weekend's red-alert meeting, and she'll have to choose her path carefully. If she can't win them over, she may threaten to expel them. If that's the route taken, then the party can easily splinter.

Another other possibility, of course, is that Ms. James resigns as NDP leader.

 

http://www.nationalpost.com/opinion/columnists/Democrats+moving+quickly+...

NorthReport

Former NDP cabinet ministers duel in public over the leadership of Carole James

"I'm sorry, but Ms. James has not shown a real capacity around the economy, and that's a serious problem," Williams said at the time. "It's a very serious problem."

In a provincial election campaign, this might turn out to be one of the most damning quotes of them all.

 

http://www.straight.com/article-362927/vancouver/former-ndp-cabinet-mini...

NorthReport

I think this comment in this week's Georgia Straight probably best represents both the grassroots of the party and the citizens of BC:

Quote:

Lorien Quattrocchi

Wed, 2010-12-01 13:26 Rating: +75 125 votes

Jenny, thank you for your stand and your communication on this matter. As a long-time NDP voter, I find myself unsure how to best proceed when I genuinely feel Carole James, regardless of her committment in service, is basically unelectable in this province. I know many, many people in the same boat as I. The time for a change in leadership is due -- past due, indeed. I made this same statement in an email to the NDP party offices just after the last election and received no response.

JKR

http://www.nationalpost.com/opinion/columnists/Democrats+moving+quickly+...

Quote:

No one does infighting as well as her party, Ms. James told me after giving Mr. Simpson the boot.

Accepting "infighting" as just being a part of life in the BC NDP does not seem healthy.

It seems like every decade or so the BC NDP self-destructs due to infighting.

Maybe this is the issue the BC NDP has to deal with most?

Where's Dr. Phil when you need him?

 

NorthReport
KenS

Corky Evan's letter talked about the actions of outing and publicly attacking dissension in Caucus that had been expressed privately, at the same time as tut-tutting that it wasnt kept private.

But that was a long letter, and in case it was missed:

Quote:

The 13 dissidents were put on display at the party's meeting of the provincial council, where they declined to wear yellow scarves that were handed out to show support for Ms. James.

[MLA. Routley noted that he had kept his concerns private - as had most of the dissidents in caucus - until that event. "Identifying people on the grounds of their support or belief is a tactic used to intimidate people and bully people into conforming with something they don't want to agree to," he said.

But since he's been identified, he said, he's now free to express his opposition to the leader.

NorthReport

Thanks KenS, as that appears to be where things really fell apart.

NorthReport
NorthReport

This is so dumb, it is beyond comprehension.

James Vows to Hold Dissenters "Accountable" Calls Emergency Caucus Meeting

 

http://news.google.ca/nwshp?hl=en&tab=wn&q=jenny%20kwan

Cueball Cueball's picture

Intersting Black seems to think that James is more "consultative" than Jack Layton.

Stockholm

I think Dawn Black brings in an interesting perspective having been a federal MP for many years:

"I am totally perplexed," she said. "I don't understand. That is not what I see. I see Carole James to be the most consultative party leader I have ever worked with, I really believe that. I know she is in this for the right reasons. She cares about the issues ordinary families face. Miss James is in politics for the right reason. Her ego is not involved in this. She is there to serve the people of British Columbia."

Read more: http://www.royalcityrecord.com/news/Black+blasts+Kwan/3926838/story.html#ixzz179rmw56c

I think she would make a good leader of Carole James steps down.

remind remind's picture

NorthReport wrote:
This is so dumb, it is beyond comprehension.

James Vows to Hold Dissenters "Accountable" Calls Emergency Caucus Meeting

 http://news.google.ca/nwshp?hl=en&tab=wn&q=jenny%20kwan

No actually, that is not what is dumb in this scenario, Jenny and her gaggle, are what is actually "dumb", and beyond comprehension, as well as being beyond those descriptors too.

NorthReport

Yup, Carole is so consultative she has lost the support of 40% of her Caucus. Laughing

Yup, attacking, by far, the most popular Chinese-Canadian politician in Canada shows brilliant judgment by Black.

Do some of these NDP MLAs have a political death wish? Jeesh!

 

Cueball Cueball's picture

NorthReport wrote:

Yup, Carole is so consultative she has lost the support of 40% of her Caucus. Laughing

Yup, attacking, by far, the most popular Chinese-Canadian politician in Canada shows brilliant judgment by Black.

Do some of these NDP MLAs have a political death wish? Jeesh!

 

I thought that Olivia Chow was Canada's most popular Chinese-Canadian politician. In anycase, constanly talking about people like Kwan, or Chow, as value added politicians because of their ethnic heritage smacks of tokenism, after a while.

NorthReport

You can't be serious. Jenny owns her constituency, whereas Olivia can hardly leave her riding during election campaigns

 

And you can rest assured the Chines comunity in BC is watching events unfold very closely. Whether we like it or not, a lot of politics in Canada is based on ethnicity.

 

NDP foes swap barbs over James

 

http://www.timescolonist.com/news/foes+swap+barbs+over+James/3928082/sto...

Stockholm

There is enough division already NR without you trying to make this into some sort of race war - which it clearly is not (unless you think that Carole's opponents have some sort of hidden anti-Metis agenda).

Stockholm

NorthReport wrote:

 

Yup, attacking, by far, the most popular Chinese-Canadian politician in Canada shows brilliant judgment by Black.

 

You mean Dawn Black attacked Ida Chong?? Horror of horrors!

remind remind's picture

From the link at 42

 

Quote:
Miller, who spent 15 years as an MLA, including a stint as premier from 1999 to 2000, said there is a better way of dealing with leadership issues. "As a guy who actually joined the party at quite a young age in 1966, I don't like what I see at all," he said. "I don't think you air your dirty laundry in public, quite frankly. I think you have to be mature

 

...Former NDP attorney general Colin Gabelmann, who was the MLA for North Island, said the dissidents are wrong if their main concern is a fear that James cannot win.

Gabelmann said James led the party back from three seats to 33 in the 2005 election. She "mopped the floor" with Campbell in the 2009 leaders' debate, and narrowly missed forming government despite the party organization's flawed campaign.

"If in fact, that is right, that this all stems from their view that she can't win, they're absolutely wrong," he said. "She can win, and if they'll just get on board, we will win."

KenS

I dont know much about Jenny Kwan. But I do know about people in her position. And nobody goes publlic with a letter like that, not knowing that they torch a lot of peoples opinion of them. Its a no win situation where you take the personal hit because you think it has to be done, and essentially that 'you can afford it' more than others could.

Let alone no one with leadership aspirations would ever do it, you dont do it unless you are pretty confident you are bullet proof.

I know even less about Mable Elmore. But I agree with Cueball, there are always solid reasons to take a position of solidarity with the elected Leader. I think that Carole James has to go. And she is engaging in ever cruder manipulation and scorched earth to keep power. But I really dislike people portraying this as some kind of high minded democracy crusade.

All of the dissident MLAs and Corky Evans have portrayed this as a regretable situation they do not like, but see no choice. You should really listen to that.

KenS

Quote:

Gabelmann said James led the party back from three seats to 33 in the 2005 election. She "mopped the floor" with Campbell in the 2009 leaders' debate, and narrowly missed forming government despite the party organization's flawed campaign.

"If in fact, that is right, that this all stems from their view that she can't win, they're absolutely wrong," he said. "She can win, and if they'll just get on board, we will win."

It is way too late for that.

You can then say it shouldnt be like that. And whose fault it is. Etc.

But its too late.

Unionist

Stockholm wrote:

I think Dawn Black brings in an interesting perspective having been a federal MP for many years:

"I am totally perplexed," she said. "I don't understand."


Yup - that's what being a federal MP will do for you.

Dawn Black wrote:
I see Carole James to be the most consultative party leader I have ever worked with, I really believe that.

I know Layton consulted her on Afghanistan - not enough?

Dawn Black wrote:
I know she is in this for the right reasons.

I believe that is literally correct.

Dawn Black wrote:
Miss James is in politics for the right reason.

"Miss" James? Anyway, she has repeated this literally correct statement, only the number of "right" reasons has diminished to one.

Stockholm wrote:
I think she would make a good leader of Carole James steps down.

As good a leader, no doubt about that.

 

KenS

When I pretty much referred to the existing Constitutional process as empty, Policywonk asked what a substantive leadership review would look like.

A better process is too late to save or even temper the current situation- you'll just have to run with wherever this train wreck is going.

But this is the time for people to think about how to prevent the next train wreck.

 

Leadership Reviews

It isnt the form of a leadership review provision that matters.

It is all about the timing and how it is triggered.

The ideal is impossible. But it needs to be expressed to have the understanding to get as close as possible. And the ideal is that any time there are wide spread doubts about whether the leader, there should be a review vote. Before things get nasty, go public, and positions are entrenched. A vote should be announced, some time allowed for open discussion, and what amounts to campaigning if people want. And then you have your vote.

What is in the Consititution is that at a Convention, and only at a Convention, there is a vote whether to have a leadership race. Which is a kind of review. But in practice, the only way to trgger it is if there is the kind of nasty public infighting we see now. Because for all the accusations of long time undermining, even most people who have a lot of doubts in a leader are reluctant to set anything in motion until it gets really bad. They intend to just bite their lips, and then it gets worse than they expected.

There needs to be a pressure release review before that point is reached. The existing process with a vote at Convention is utterly hopeless. The chances of the long scheduled Convention meeting that need are very slim. Especially since they are for good reason scheduled to be far away from elections. Attempting to tack this process onto the many roles Convention has to play just does not work.

One can have a process where a vote whether to have a new leadership election can be triggered at any time- say in Council. But in practice that is not any better. It still cannot be triggered without the prior build up of nastiness and hardened positions.

You really need to get as close as possible to having a review 'just happen' whenever the need is out there. So that the Leader cannot try to stop it from happening- because they always will; and so that the dissidents are not forced to wage a destructive war of chicken get a vote- which is what any Leader wanting to stay will force them into. In BC, you are reaping the bitter fruit of that now.

You cant have the ideal of a leadership review just magically appearing when the pressure relief is required. It can't just happen any time a few people feel like its necessary. And there really isnt a good line for numbers of people that should be required to put it into motion. Because the truth is that it will be cathartic to broach the subject. The 'disloyalty' question and all that crap will always be there.

Fortunately, most of the broad questions about leadership come up after elections. So you write it into the constitiution the simple rule that there WILL be a one member one vote leadership review X months after an election. [Or: X months after an election where the Leader has served for a minimum of 2 years.]

There are also the cases of a Leader with enough of the party unhappy with policy and/or direction. But this is a harder animal to predict around. There are other ways of that dissent being aired and pushed around. And that possibility can be served by the existing BC NDP consitutional mechanism, which can remain as well as having a formal and stand alone leadership review.

remind remind's picture

That is like saying there is "no hope", if any of the gaggle think anyone else can win, they would be wrong. Even in this situation, if Carole stays and the gaggle gets a grip on themselves Carole can still win.

Seriously,  what is happening over this "out in the boonies" is much different than in the golden triangle. If she is forced out, the NDP will lose seats across the province. Jenny Kwan may be the only one left standing again, at least out of the 13.

The gaggle is being laughed at, especially by current non-NDP supporters, but who have been in the past, and they are looking at Carole in a positive light, much moreso than before, as a matter of fact. They are perceiving her as "a leader" that could actually stand up for BCers, as she is standing up to what they call; "the fringe",  though it has various names.

If this is handled correctly, it could turn out to be a positive.

West Coast Greeny

remind wrote:

That is like saying there is "no hope", if any of the gaggle think anyone else can win, they would be wrong. Even in this situation, if Carole stays and the gaggle gets a grip on themselves Carole can still win.

Seriously,  what is happening over this "out in the boonies" is much different than in the golden triangle. If she is forced out, the NDP will lose seats across the province. Jenny Kwan may be the only one left standing again, at least out of the 13.

The gaggle is being laughed at, especially by current non-NDP supporters, but who have been in the past, and they are looking at Carole in a positive light, much moreso than before, as a matter of fact. They are perceiving her as "a leader" that could actually stand up for BCers, as she is standing up to what they call; "the fringe",  though it has various names.

If this is handled correctly, it could turn out to be a positive.

Uh, no, no, and no.

If you page through any of the newspaper comments online you can see overwhelming support for Kwan over Carole. Carole's approval rating already dropped 10 points over the way Bob Simpson was handled.

Interested Observer Interested Observer's picture

remind wrote:
The gaggle is being laughed at, especially by current non-NDP supporters, but who have been in the past, and they are looking at Carole in a positive light, much moreso than before, as a matter of fact. They are perceiving her as "a leader" that could actually stand up for BCers, as she is standing up to what they call; "the fringe",  though it has various names.

If this is handled correctly, it could turn out to be a positive.

Confirmation Bias much?

The North American electorate is still in an anti-incumbancy anti-elitist mood. Especially in BC, given the whole HST mess. 

You think that this heavy-handedness is a plus in the eyes of the voting public? 

Get Real!

remind remind's picture

Not sure what you do not get about out in the boonies, as opposed to on line newspaper watchers in the golden triangle, and partisan hacks getting their numbers up....

remind remind's picture

Interested Observer wrote:
remind wrote:
The gaggle is being laughed at, especially by current non-NDP supporters, but who have been in the past, and they are looking at Carole in a positive light, much moreso than before, as a matter of fact. They are perceiving her as "a leader" that could actually stand up for BCers, as she is standing up to what they call; "the fringe",  though it has various names.

If this is handled correctly, it could turn out to be a positive.

Confirmation Bias much?

The North American electorate is still in an anti-incumbancy anti-elitist mood. Especially in BC, given the whole HST mess. 

You think that this heavy-handedness is a plus in the eyes of the voting public? 

Get Real!

Ummm, they think Carole is not "the elite", and I must have hit a chord for you to appear and pontificate.

They see the gaggle as being heavy handed, and Carole as being "a leader" being shoved around by "the elite", or them attempting to.

Funny how things look from outside the golden T.

Interested Observer Interested Observer's picture

remind wrote:

Ummm, they think Carole is not "the elite", and I must have hit a chord for you to appear and pontificate.

They see the gaggle as being heavy handed, and Carole as being "a leader" being shoved around by "the elite", or them attempting to.

Funny how things look from outside the golden T.

 

I have no doubt that your circle agrees with you. Just responding to something that seems far-fetched. 

The 'gaggle' is not at the head of the BCNDP demanding personal loyalty without earning it. 

If I'm showing up, it's because I am becoming optimistic about the top-down two-party political system in BC being overturned. 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Gee my friends on Vancouver Island haven't thought of Carole as a leader for quite sometime despite the fact they almost all voted for the party last election. I know this because many of them have wanted to remover her for years and until the last loss I was always arguing against her removal. 

Remind you might want to look at where the 13 are from.  They are mostly not from the big cities.

Boonies by the way is a slur to most of the country people I know. 

Stockholm

Why is the NDP in BC so totally dysfuntional in the first place. In every other province, the party seems united and to work as a team and whatever rivalries there are - are kept out of the public eye. But in BC alone, its as if the party has some weird death wish. Its like "oops! were 20 points ahead in the polls - there must be something wrong with us - time to self-immolate!"

Cueball Cueball's picture

Probably because in most provinces that NDP never gets to being ahead 20 percent in the polls, so there isn't much to fight about. Now! Who will be the leader of a possible winning party is quite another matter.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Yeah in BC we should just follow the Ontario NDP's proven winning ways.  Fidel and Stock can tell us how to win elections because they do it so well in their own province.

Cueball Cueball's picture

The Federal Liberal party also implodes on a regular basis over leadership issues, probably for the same reason.

remind remind's picture

...you got (insert identity here) friends too Kropotkin?

I put quotes around it, to indicate the cliche, as you know full well people in the golden triangle give very little consideration to that which goes on out side of it...lived there  a few times myself and I know exactly what it is like..

BTW, I live in the boonies, literally, and I am not offended. :D

Exactly Cue....

 "who will be leader of a possible wining party"

 

 

Stockholm

I don't see the Manitoba or Saskatchewan NDP imploding like this - even though they have had hotly contested leadership races.

BTW: On a side note - I think that ALL parties in Canada provincially and federally - ought to have a policy like what the federal Liberals and NDP have - automatic leadership review at the first biennial convention after any election.

PS: There was a split in the Manitoba NDP in the late 70s after Howard Pawley became leader. Three MLAs quit the party and formed a new party under former cabinet minsiter Sid Green. In the subsequent 1981 election - all three were crushed and got like 2% of the vote each and their ridings all reverted to the NDP - Oh and the NDP won a majority in that election.

Policywonk

KenS wrote:

When I pretty much referred to the existing Constitutional process as empty, Policywonk asked what a substantive leadership review would look like.

A better process is too late to save or even temper the current situation- you'll just have to run with wherever this train wreck is going.

But this is the time for people to think about how to prevent the next train wreck.

 

Leadership Reviews

It isnt the form of a leadership review provision that matters.

It is all about the timing and how it is triggered.

The ideal is impossible. But it needs to be expressed to have the understanding to get as close as possible. And the ideal is that any time there are wide spread doubts about whether the leader, there should be a review vote. Before things get nasty, go public, and positions are entrenched. A vote should be announced, some time allowed for open discussion, and what amounts to campaigning if people want. And then you have your vote.

What is in the Consititution is that at a Convention, and only at a Convention, there is a vote whether to have a leadership race. Which is a kind of review. But in practice, the only way to trgger it is if there is the kind of nasty public infighting we see now. Because for all the accusations of long time undermining, even most people who have a lot of doubts in a leader are reluctant to set anything in motion until it gets really bad. They intend to just bite their lips, and then it gets worse than they expected.

There needs to be a pressure release review before that point is reached. The existing process with a vote at Convention is utterly hopeless. The chances of the long scheduled Convention meeting that need are very slim. Especially since they are for good reason scheduled to be far away from elections. Attempting to tack this process onto the many roles Convention has to play just does not work.

One can have a process where a vote whether to have a new leadership election can be triggered at any time- say in Council. But in practice that is not any better. It still cannot be triggered without the prior build up of nastiness and hardened positions.

You really need to get as close as possible to having a review 'just happen' whenever the need is out there. So that the Leader cannot try to stop it from happening- because they always will; and so that the dissidents are not forced to wage a destructive war of chicken get a vote- which is what any Leader wanting to stay will force them into. In BC, you are reaping the bitter fruit of that now.

You cant have the ideal of a leadership review just magically appearing when the pressure relief is required. It can't just happen any time a few people feel like its necessary. And there really isnt a good line for numbers of people that should be required to put it into motion. Because the truth is that it will be cathartic to broach the subject. The 'disloyalty' question and all that crap will always be there.

Fortunately, most of the broad questions about leadership come up after elections. So you write it into the constitiution the simple rule that there WILL be a one member one vote leadership review X months after an election. [Or: X months after an election where the Leader has served for a minimum of 2 years.]

There are also the cases of a Leader with enough of the party unhappy with policy and/or direction. But this is a harder animal to predict around. There are other ways of that dissent being aired and pushed around. And that possibility can be served by the existing BC NDP consitutional mechanism, which can remain as well as having a formal and stand alone leadership review.

Under the current situation, a convention is essentially held within the same calender year as an election. If an NDP government lost an election, it could be the next year. I think a one member one vote leadership review makes logical sense but I'm sure there are arguments that could be made against it. I'm talking hypothetically here.

West Coast Greeny

Stockholm wrote:

I don't see the Manitoba or Saskatchewan NDP imploding like this - even though they have had hotly contested leadership races.

BTW: On a side note - I think that ALL parties in Canada provincially and federally - ought to have a policy like what the federal Liberals and NDP have - automatic leadership review at the first biennial convention after any election.

PS: There was a split in the Manitoba NDP in the late 70s after Howard Pawley became leader. Three MLAs quit the party and formed a new party under former cabinet minsiter Sid Green. In the subsequent 1981 election - all three were crushed and got like 2% of the vote each and their ridings all reverted to the NDP - Oh and the NDP won a majority in that election.

I think it has in part to do with the fact that the NDP has to cover so much ideological ground in order to win the election. The consensus is these days you need 45% of the vote to win. To do that, the NDP has to pull in populists, social democrats, environmentalists, people well to the left of most of the rest of Canada, and moderates.

Liberals have both neo-Liberals and social conservatives, yes, but social conservative issues have died away a little in recent years, and most of their activism is spent either on school boards or federally anyways.

As for your right-wing Reform Party folks, alot of them vote Liberal just out of the terror of seeing an NDP government. But a large handful have been trying to coalesce around a right-wing party for 2 decades now, but their infighting is so comically bad that they can't seem to any decently organised party off the ground. The BC Conservatives seem best poised to capture this vote at the moment, but even now their vote is split with 2 other fringe parties.

The stupid thing is, despite not even having a seat, they are the ones who managed to turf Campbell.

Interested Observer Interested Observer's picture
Policywonk

remind wrote:

If this is handled correctly, it could turn out to be a positive.

Very big if, considering how it has been handled so far.

Policywonk

http://www.bcndp.ca/united

I've been monitoring this since it was posted last evening (which is the first I heard about it). There have been a little less than 100 added since late last evening, but almost 2300 in total (I'm assuming the signatories will be checked against the membership list, but that could come after the fact. If someone signed twice, or were not a member of the Party how long would it take for that name to be removed?). I wonder how many NDP members a competing petition would attract, depending on how it was worded.

Aristotleded24

Stockholm wrote:
I don't see the Manitoba or Saskatchewan NDP imploding like this - even though they have had hotly contested leadership races.

That's because as ineffective as some of their leaders have been, they had the good sense to step aside when it was clear their time was up.

Stockholm wrote:
PS: There was a split in the Manitoba NDP in the late 70s after Howard Pawley became leader. Three MLAs quit the party and formed a new party under former cabinet minsiter Sid Green. In the subsequent 1981 election - all three were crushed and got like 2% of the vote each and their ridings all reverted to the NDP - Oh and the NDP won a majority in that election.

There is a big difference between losing 3 MLAs and losing a third of your caucus.

JKR

KenS wrote:

I dont know much about Jenny Kwan. But I do know about people in her position. And nobody goes publlic with a letter like that, not knowing that they torch a lot of peoples opinion of them. Its a no win situation where you take the personal hit because you think it has to be done, and essentially that 'you can afford it' more than others could.

Let alone no one with leadership aspirations would ever do it, you dont do it unless you are pretty confident you are bullet proof.

Did Kwan fully understood that by going public she may end up no longer sitting as a NDP MLA?

Did Kwan consider the prospect of having 13 other former NDP MLA's no longer sitting as NDP MLA's?

Did she contemplate the possibility of this leading to the creation of a new party that could split the left of centre vote?

Did she fully consider the ramifications of her going public?

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