Life on the One-Person Blacklist

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Life on the One-Person Blacklist

I recently received some correspondence from political supporters of mine and thought I'd pass on an epilogue to the story of my seeking an NDP federal nomination. I note that, as I send this, the NDP remains at 17% of the vote in the polls, the same august standing we received in the 2006 election.

But I'm sure you guys are, for the most part, as the PCs used to refer to their base between 1993 and 1997, "on side for the big win."

On March 23, the following was sent to Jack Layton's home and constituency office, the St. Paul's NDP riding association, the Ontario NDP and the federal NDP:

March 23, 2010

We are members of the St Paul’s Riding NDP who wish to express our outrage
and dismay at the recent decision of the NDP to ban Stuart Parker from
seeking nomination in the forthcoming federal election. We respectfully
request an opportunity to meet with national party officials to discuss this
banning.  To prohibit a talented and popular member of the party from
standing for candidacy after he has been formally vetted and accepted is a
shocking action.  Mr. Parker has accomplished important political work for
the NDP, particularly with regards to policy development and electoral
success relative to the Green  Party.  He was a candidate for nomination in
the recent provincial by-election in St Paul's and did extremely well in
articulating a vision of political direction for the NDP and the country, in
attracting financial contributions to the campaign, and in earning votes at
the nomination meeting.  There was not a large difference of votes between
Mr Parker and the successful candidate, Mr Heller.  Many members support his
views and many more would not wish to see them muzzled.

 Even by contemporary political standards, this is a new low.  We fear for
our party and our country when members are prohibited from expressing their
views in public and many more are prohibited from deciding for themselves
whether they agree with them.  A party that infantalizes its membership by
refusing to involve them in debate suggests a willingness to forfeit its own
history as a courageous, progressive, principled party
of the left because of a narrow, media-determined understanding of
electability. What  would Tommy Douglas say? What can we say?  An adequate
reply from party executive may deter us from returning our membership cards
and ending financial contributions to the party.

The NDP has been a powerful democratic force for social justice. However, as
"Stephen," a Vancouver resident,  wrote in an on-line response to news of
this decision, the party is "falling under the sway of professional
pollsters and PR types who live in  fear of  incurring negative media
coverage, no matter what the merits of the  issue. While such officials
provide useful services, they should not be the ones deciding who is
eligible to seek a party nomination. Elected, accountable officials within
the Party should be doing that in accordance with relevant criteria. And
they should be doing so means of a transparent process which includes a
right of appeal."

The decision to bar Mr Parker from seeking nomination with no right of
appeal is particularly worrisome when the current Government so dramatically
undermines democracy.  Mr. Layton and Mr. Ignatieff both wag their fingers
at government policies and actions that threaten everything this country
stands for while making sure there's
no election.  When eventually there is one, it is doubtful that either the
NDP or the Liberals will improve their standings unless they are able to
articulate a compelling vision for the future. Such an achievement arises
from open discussions about politics and policy which make space for
eloquent, committed activists willing to dedicate their political and
rhetorical abilities to the party's founding principles.

Kate Chung
Jody Berland
Lyn Adamson
Douglas Buck
Margaret Rao
Mario Rao
Jean Ann Ledwell
Lana DeGasperis
Lorraine DeGasperis
Barry Zwicker

On August 7th, the following was sent to the same list:

August 7, 2010


I am terminating my monthly bank transfer to the Provincial NDP. In
March of this year, I and nine other NDP members sent a joint letter
expressing deep concern about the barring of Stuart Parker from any
future nomination as a Federal NDP candidate for any riding in Canada.

These letters were sent to all of you: the National and Provincial head
offices, the St. Paul’s Riding Association, Jack Layton’s constituency
office, and to Jack’s home in Toronto’s Annex. That was five months ago.
No one, not one, had the courtesy to write to me or the others in an
attempt to explain and justify the harsh, undemocratic penalty given to
Stuart. I understand he made injudicious on-line remarks about Ujjal
Dosanjh, but Stuart also has good ideas, passion, and speaking ability.
It’s a loss.

A party that tries always to be safe, always to “control the message,”
including barring outspoken prospective candidates, is one that’s doomed
to mediocrity, irrelevance, and declining support from its own members.


Douglas Buck


Thanks for sharing Stuart. Wink


NorthReport wrote:

Thanks for sharing Stuart. Wink

My pleasure. Glad to know New Democrats have such fun losing donors who have supported the party for half a century.


In the Straight article, you quoted from your Facebook:

Stuart Parker wrote:
 "Stuart Parker isn't a fan of Giambrone's today but can't believe all the outraged jumping ship. NDPers not wishing to be sullied with our mayoral candidate have had little problem while our party has denied welfare to refugees and interprovincial migrants, broken strikes, shot at Indians, invoked the Notwithstanding Clause, supported NAFTA and otherwise sold out social democracy in Canada. But of all the things to quit the team over…"

You're right to point to the hypocrisy around all the people bailing due to AG's rather minor sexual indiscretions.  But what "Indians" did the NDP shoot at??

It seems that there were better ways to have made that point.

I'm also a highly educated person working on a graduate degree at U of T.  But I know I'm much MUCH too blunt-speaking for politics.  Maybe you are too, Stuart; and instead you can put your principled stances to more effective use in other ways. 


Sineed wrote:
You're right to point to the hypocrisy around all the people bailing due to AG's rather minor sexual indiscretions.  But what "Indians" did the NDP shoot at??

The Sundancers at Gustafsen Lake in 1995.

It seems that there were better ways to have made that point.

If it is your view that if people say things on their personal Facebook page that "could have been said better' they should be barred from seeking an NDP nomination anywhere in Canada, that's a shame.

Because in my view, it should be up to the members in a riding as to whether someone should be their candidate, given that this is the New Democratic Party.

Cueball Cueball's picture

The NDP is totally fucking useless.

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

That's not fair. It's very effective at demobilizing leftists and socialists. This is a service for which certain NDPers are handsomely rewarded. Be fair. Let's just say the NDP is virtually totally fucking useless.

Heh. Carry on.

George Victor

But, fortunately, the party  understands that putting forward someone who is so ready to to do the laundry in any public site available would be a huge mistake...his capacity for "fucking" aside.

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

Meh. Seems to me he's left the party for good and is doing a public service in sharing his unpleasant experience with others. Having re-read this thread I'm almost inclined to encourage Stuart to run (as an independent) anyway, kick the NDPs ass on the way, and so on. The NDP needs to be pushed from the left and that does not have to come from the mass movements only.

Cueball Cueball's picture

N.Beltov wrote:

That's not fair. It's very effective at demobilizing leftists and socialists. This is a service for which certain NDPers are handsomely rewarded. Be fair. Let's just say the NDP is virtually totally fucking useless.

Heh. Carry on.

Ok. The NDP is useful to the right.

George Victor

As are the declared "left" apparently. 

Cueball Cueball's picture

Not nearly as useful as the "rhetorical left", as in "left" in name only.


The NDP is a make work project for should-be-Liberals who cannot compete in the crowded ranks of the Liberal Party.

Sean in Ottawa

I guess the problem with the first quoted paragraph may not have been its accuracy or even its sentiment but the fact that it was a bit too pithy and quotable. We can disagree with our party from time to time and can even stand up against the grain but we mustn't be too poetic about it lest we be considered a political liability more likely to score an own goal than in the other side's net.

A political party needs its mavericks and needs those people who can remember where the centre is (ad by this I mean reality not a political centre). Sometimes the political strategists forget that. I guess it is also possible that the comment about Crowe being real when others were not may have made some uncomfortable.

I see the problems I see the issue even of washing laundry in public (although in fact there often as not no other place to wash it). But I also see that the public is turned off by cookie-cutter politicians who work so hard on getting things perfect that they master the art of speaking endless while saying nothing.

I think some of the things you said would disqualify you from being leader of a party given how rough they were. And I also think that they were needlessly nasty in the moment. I would agree that you should have had your knuckles rapped for it and I don't doubt that you must realize that they were not the most well-considered things to say.

But I have to agree that there is nothing here that justifies a democratic party from not having at least the option of your candidacy be voted on. And I think some of our greatest politicians have said things that have irritated at times.

I have to conclude that either I am missing something-- some other reason, explanation or this is an over-reaction. Naturally, this is a one-sided discussion. I certainly hope that the other side of it would contain something more substantive than what has been shared here.

I still have to say, being that quotable against your own party when you want to stand as candidate is neither wise nor endearing even if the reaction was unreasonable. If I criticize the NDP, I might piss off a couple friends, perhaps making others happy, but when a candidate does that it is news and someone who is savvy enough to stand for office ought to realize that.

So I'm conflicted about this and I doubt I'm the only one even though from what you say I'm inclined to agree with you.