Ontario NDP Executive elections

58 posts / 0 new
Last post
Booker
Ontario NDP Executive elections

The NDP Leadership isn't the only election taking place at the NDP Convention. There are also executive elections. Those are very important too.

Any candidates out there want to make their case? Want to tell us why you're the best candidate for the job? As a delegate and voter who hates slates, I'm open to being persuaded. 

Scott Piatkowski Scott Piatkowski's picture

I'm running for Vice-President, but I'll have to make my case later.

And, as someone who has always disliked slates (and has campaigned against them), I'm mildly amused to find myself on one.

BTW, you might want to change your thread title to add the word Ontario Wink

Sunday Hat

Only in the NDP do people talk about "the" slate.

Anyone can form a slate. They just have to agree to run together. If you want to be on a slate, form a slate.

northwestern_lad

So Scott, is that a formal admission that there is a slate then??? I had heard the rumours and had my own suspicions about it, but hadn't had any kind of official confirmation of that.

the grey

But are you on "the" slate, or are you on "a" slate?  Who else is on this slate of yours?

Krago

Years ago when I was at an ONDP Convention in Hamilton, a delegate raised a Point of Order about the sheets marked "The Official Slate" that had been distributed to every table in the hall.  He pointed out that it was undemocratic and demanded that the Chair do something about it.  The Chair, Ian Deans, agreed with the delegate and told everyone to find the offending papers on their table and cross out the word "Official".  Wink

Sunday Hat

When they're anonymous or labeled "official" it annoys me but I think people should have the right to run as a slate if they want to. What drives me nuts is when people gnash their teeth about the slate instead of starting one of their own.

As they say: Don't mourn. Organize.

Bookish Agrarian

Just don't smash the slate over Gilbert's head.  Marilla will be mad.  Although it is true that Matthew will be secretly pleased.

Red T-shirt

Bookish, Shirley you jest.

Bookish Agrarian

Not at all Carrot-shirt

Scott Piatkowski Scott Piatkowski's picture

It's hardly an "admission" as the process is quite well established (and, dare I say, a lot more transparent than what it used to be). There will be a list circulated which is signed by the members of the Executive Search Committee. Some people will take that list as an indication of who they should vote for. Others will take it as an indication that they should vote against the people on the list.

V. Jara

As a mildly pro-slate person (it makes voting as easy as 1-2-slate)...

some random questions: does electing a slate get you a group of think-alikes? one, two popular people plus several that would be unlikely to ever get elected on their own?

janfromthebruce

So Scott, we are suppose to vote against the slate right - I just need to know what and how I am suppose to think now that we are on auto-pilot? Surprised

______________________________________________________________________________________ Our kids live together and play together in their communities, let's have them learn together too!

Scott Piatkowski Scott Piatkowski's picture

No one would ever accuse me of being a think-a-like.

 And, Jan, you can vote for me if you wish. I'd be honoured to have your support.

Webgear

What is a slate and does it work?

______________________________________________________________________________________________ We are like cloaks, one thinks of us only when it rains.

KenS

Slates in the NDP, and pretty often in unions, generally have a rationale of ensuring breadth of representation... georgaphically as well as affirmative action wise.

That is a sincere goal of those who abide by, prefer them and promote them.

But the also have the consequence, and the bad smell, of perpetuating cliquishness.

northwestern_lad

Scott Piatkowski wrote:
It's hardly an "admission" as the process is quite well established (and, dare I say, a lot more transparent than what it used to be). There will be a list circulated which is signed by the members of the Executive Search Committee. Some people will take that list as an indication of who they should vote for. Others will take it as an indication that they should vote against the people on the list.

Fair enough Scott.... I only asked because I had deduced a while back that there was a slate of sorts being started out there and when I asked one of those who I thought would be on it, I was responded to with a polite non-answer answer.

Personally, I don't give a hoot if there is a slate or not. I'm going to vote for the people who I believe are the best for said position regardless of if they end up on that list or not.

Scott Piatkowski Scott Piatkowski's picture

They probably didn't know the answer to your question at that point.

I'm running because I think I'd do a good job. I've run against the slate before, and the rush of moral superiority of that experience doesn't last very long. The past five years on Executive have taught me that it's better to be at the table where the decisions are made.

northwestern_lad

Scott Piatkowski wrote:

The past five years on Executive have taught me that it's better to be at the table where the decisions are made.

I agree with that statement. That's why I'm an involved member and such, to be at the table.

 

janfromthebruce

Scott Piatkowski wrote:

They probably didn't know the answer to your question at that point.

I'm running because I think I'd do a good job. I've run against the slate before, and the rush of moral superiority of that experience doesn't last very long. The past five years on Executive have taught me that it's better to be at the table where the decisions are made.

Yes being at the table is good - as a trustee - one has a little more power to ensure that their constituents get their voices "heard" at the table. That said, one has to ensure that the voices heard are wide ranging and don't be become a cozy group who listen to each other. One needs to be able to stand up "without fear or favour." Can you stand up?

______________________________________________________________________________________ Our kids live together and play together in their communities, let's have them learn together too!

aka Mycroft

The problem is slates are not conducive to the inclusion of dissenting opinions (unless they are a compromise between competing factions and even then...). People who want to get on a slate are unlikely to be too critical of the "establishment" and those who wish to stay on the slate will avoid rocking the boat too much. I think we've all heard of people being "dropped" from the slate because they were too critical of an organization's direction or didn't go along with prevailing opinion. Groupthink may keep things harmonious for awhile but it is disastrous when challenges come up which require serious and sometimes sharp debate.

 

Scott Piatkowski Scott Piatkowski's picture

Jan: Yes. I can. I have. And I will.

Mycroft: I agree with you. But, I think I've successfully avoided that. Which is why I described my newfound acceptability as "mildly amusing".

If I ever cease to be an independent voice, I won't run again.

aka Mycroft

So who is running for executive overall (slate or not)? Who is running for party president?

Webgear

KenS wrote:

Slates in the NDP, and pretty often in unions, generally have a rationale of ensuring breadth of representation... georgaphically as well as affirmative action wise.

That is a sincere goal of those who abide by, prefer them and promote them.

But the also have the consequence, and the bad smell, of perpetuating cliquishness.

Thanks Ken for the reply however can you or someone else add more detail to what a slate is and how its works.

I am still in the dark. 

 

______________________________________________________________________________________________ We are like cloaks, one thinks of us only when it rains.

social democrat

Scott, do you think that the names on "the slate" accurately reflect the diversity and relative strength of the four candidates who are running for leader? Or are the names more oriented towards one or the other of the leadership candidates? For instance, you are a Horwath NDPer. Did that help you get on the slate this time?

Sunday Hat

The NDP executive has, like, a trillion positions so some candidates running for different positions opt to run together saying, in effect, "if you're supporting my bid to be Vice-President then you should also vote for this woman as President and this person for member at large, etc." They are a "slate" of candidates.

It's a bit like a party system for the NDP's internal politics.

Except there's often only one slate. Or if there is a second slate it's the "Socialist" Caucus slate (which is the same as having one slate because nobody can take the Socialist Caucus seriously). Consequently, people spend a lot of time complaining about the existence of a slate. For some reason, people are amazed that in a room full of people who organize to win political power some people organized to win political power.

Bookish Agrarian

I’m trying to get over the contention that Scott could ever be some sort of sycophant yes-man.  It has me giggling at the absurdity of it.  It is a bit like suggesting “A portrait of the artist as a young man” is just too easy to read.

 

I’ve never been a big fan of slates, but people have the right to vote for or against each candidate for each position as they see fit.  It’s not like you just go into a voting booth and pull a lever and vote slate.  That said I have had my own experiences with slate making that has left a long lasting unpleasant taste in my mouth.

KenS

Webgear wrote:

Thanks Ken for the reply however can you or someone else add more detail to what a slate is and how its works.

I am still in the dark. 

 

At bottom, a slate is an informal arrangement. You won't find them mentioned in a Constitution.

The Nominating Committee of a provincial section might codify how a slate is supposed to operate. But if it did, that could literally change overnight.

Several years ago the NSNDP slate for Exec vanished on its way to the Convention floor.

Just like that. Poof. 

"What slate?"

"Were we suppossed to have a slate?"

Webgear

Ken... thank you for the additional details. The whole process sounds sort of sneaky and not very democracy.

Maybe I do not still understand what goes on at these conventions.

 

______________________________________________________________________________________________ We are like cloaks, one thinks of us only when it rains.

V. Jara

I think most of us here like Scott P. I still contend that he should have run for the ONDP leadership Smile That being said, I worry about group think. This is a very real danger. I say, spread your votes around, pick people that will work hard, and make sure Scott P. gets elected.

Sunday Hat

If a slate is undemocratic are political parties undemocratic too?

If so why are parties different?

KenS

The existence of slates does not indicate whether or not a party/organization is or is not pretty democratic.

Slates arise in organizations that are looking for diversity. At the same time, they serve frankly cliquish and undemocratic purposes.

Is your own life simple and linear?

There are plenty of undemocratic or less democratic organizations out there who would never have a slate. There are FAR better tools for making sure an organization stays in line with the vision of those at its top. Ask Stephen Harper.

I'm oppossed to slates. Period. Always have been. But don't fetishize them.

Scott Piatkowski Scott Piatkowski's picture

social democrat wrote:
For instance, you are a Horwath NDPer. Did that help you get on the slate this time?

I don't think so.

Lost in Bruce County

Scott you have my vote

Lost in Bruce County

My understanding that is that Scott is NOT running in a slate but a progressive coalition. This coalition is made up of people associated with each of the four leadership campaigns. The idea behind the progressive coalition is to ensure there are differing perspectives raised at the table and to allow the ONDP executive to be more reflective of the diversity of opinions of our membership. Some of the other people who are running is Rowena Santos for VP, Jamie Masse for Eastern reg. member at large, Alex Johnstone for West Central Reg. Rep, Mehdi Mollahasani for ethnic liaison committee rep., Ravi Joshi for SW reg. member at large.

Scott Piatkowski Scott Piatkowski's picture

Scott is running as Scott. I'm supporting Ravi to replace me as Southwest Rep.

Dan Harris

Hi everyone, I thought I would post and get in on this as well.  I sat on the provincial executive from 2002-2004 and was elected by the youth wing as their male rep. (each equity group elects 2 positions; 1 male and 1 female, with the exception of the women's committee of course who elect two women). 

In 2004 I ran for executive again, but for a member-at-large(of which there are 3 male spots)position.  I finished in 4th and was 200 votes above my nearest competitor below me but I was still 300 votes behind the 3rd place finisher who was on the 'official' slate.  Such is life and I'm not writing this to whine only to help illustrate the power the 'official' slate has within the ONDP. The slate is Approx. 95% successful.

As an FYI two of the 'official' slates at past recent conventions were signed by then outgoing provincial secretary Bruce Cox. At the last convention the slate was signed by Gayle Broad the outgoing President and by Michael Lewis.  Not by an executive search party.

What amazes me at conventions when its time to vote is to see entire tables of delegates rush to grab the nearest copy of the 'official' slate and tick off their selections accordingly without any additional thought or consideration of other candidates. Makes it easier to understand how voters go off in masses to vote for a party regardless of who the candidate in their riding actually is.

So after all that, I figure now is a good time to announce that I am going to running for the Male Metro Rep on executive at the upcoming convention.

A few things to consider as part of making my case.

1) when on the executive I was one of the only members to vote against the current revenue sharing formula which has crippled fundraising, membership drives and organization at the riding level (90% of nothing is nothing)

2) When I served on executive I was one of 2 or 3 people who had a perfect attendance record and would provide the same commitment again(I might a meeting or 2, life is unpredictable that way).

 

3) If elected I won't submit myself to 'executive solidarity' motions which the majority opinion constantly uses to silence dissenting opinions.  This doesn't mean running off to the media. It means when members need to know whats going on and need to have a chance to prepare alternatives to be brought before council or the executive that they should have that chance.

 

4)  I have many years of active involvment under my belt and would use that experience to work towards opening lines of comunication between ridings in Toronto, work towards 'activating' those dormant ridings, work to expand the new Metro Council and provide a strong voice for Toronto on the executive.  As an additional reference I'm including a link to a .pdf file which has a collection of my 'ndp experience'.

http://www.backblast.net/pdf/ndp_experience.pdf

 

Thanks,

 

Dan Harris

aka Mycroft

Is there anything stopping anyone else from distributing a list of names with "official slate" on top. After all, if the official slate isn't actually official (ie not officially approved by the party) then what's stopping there from being several slates calling themselves "official slates"?

the grey

aka Mycroft wrote:
Is there anything stopping anyone else from distributing a list of names with "official slate" on top. After all, if the official slate isn't actually official (ie not officially approved by the party) then what's stopping there from being several slates calling themselves "official slates"?

No, but slates have to be signed, and it's unlikely that you will find someone who could actually be mistaken as an author of a "real" "official slate" to would sign a "fake" "official slate".

janfromthebruce

Unbelievable that ONDP executive has "solidarity votes". One should act without fear or favour, and once a vote is taken, one supports the majority, however, one can and should be able to voice their dessent in the context of this majority vote. So one respectfully explains the majority and why one dessented. 

I sure hope that Scott and others would ensure that silencing at this level is fought against. This is basic democracy. What party do I belong to?

______________________________________________________________________________________ Our kids live together and play together in their communities, let's have them learn together too!

Sunday Hat

janftbruce, in the event that Michael Prue becomes Leader and that party embraces shutting down Catholic schools, can I assume you won't want the Caucus to have a whipped vote? Or is that not a case where "one can and should be able to voice their dessent "?

aka Mycroft

Having a whipped vote in caucus and whipping the executive are two entirely different things. The legislature has parties other than the NDP and the whole point is for the party to try to forward its agenda and try to influence legislation and/or public opinion. This is best done, arguably, with the caucus acting in unison.

Unless, Sunday Hat, you're arguing that the executive is a political party in and of itself and that everybody else at provincial council or the party convention constitutes a rival which must be defeated your analogy falls apart.

aka Mycroft

the grey wrote:

aka Mycroft wrote:
Is there anything stopping anyone else from distributing a list of names with "official slate" on top. After all, if the official slate isn't actually official (ie not officially approved by the party) then what's stopping there from being several slates calling themselves "official slates"?

No, but slates have to be signed, and it's unlikely that you will find someone who could actually be mistaken as an author of a "real" "official slate" to would sign a "fake" "official slate".

Why? What makes a slate signed my Michael Lewis any more "official" than one signed by Jim Smith? Why can't a party member from Huron North put together his own "official slate". The point is since the official slate isn't actually official there is no reason for them to have a monopoly on the name. Either everyone should be able to call themselves the "official" slate  or no one should.

Sunday Hat

I think people have a right to get organized and co-ordinate their actions. I approve of it when political parties do it. I approve of it when unions do it.

If people want to "break the slate" they should think creatively about how to do it, get organized and do it. People who refuse to organize, or refuse to organize effectively, and instead complain because other people can and do organize effectively don't inspire much sympathy or solidarity.

I'm not saying I'll support the slate. I don't even know who's on it besides Scott (who I'd support). But the idea that slates should be prevented (or even could be prevented) flies in the face of basic belief in democracy.

If the slate sucks then people should vote against it. If you can't convince people to vote against it then maybe you should wonder why.

Dan Harris

I'm glad my comments helped to spur on further discussion. Because we need more of it in our party.  Many have become afraid of having controversial discussions.  The seperate school funding issue was mentioned and its a great example of that.

 We probably all agree that it was ridiculous how that issue completely took over the last provincial election campaign, but regardless of which side of that issue you stand the NDP had no voice on the issue and that's largely because debate on the issue has been stiffled at every turn.

At conventions controversial proposals come forward and they are often only accorded enough time for 2-4 speakers before the question is called and a vote taken(if they get to come up at all). Whereas at nearly every convention some motion like "we support public healthcare" that virtually everyone unanimously supports comes up and an endless stream of supporters are given a chance to voice their opinion in favour...

At the last convention the youth wing submitted 25 resolutions thru its central body, equity groups, campus and riding clubs yet not one of them actually made it to the convention floor for discussion.  This needs to change. One suggestion could be that every equity group within the party be given the opportunity to present 1 or 2 resolutions for debate.  They could then submit any other ones thru the regular channels.

Resolutions on banning slates are put forward by groups before nearly every convention,  but the debate never happens if the resolution can't make it to the convention floor to be discussed.

There's always lots of room for improvement.

I've long been an opponent of 'official' slates within the NDP.  Part of it has to do with the fact that any 'organizing' done against it is branded as anti-establishment or disloyal which is very harmful when trying to accomplish any work with those same people after the fact or its "Some frindge" and that's used to dismiss it.

Furthermore that 'official' slate is used to whip people in line. I've seen situations where for instance someone is told that "If you run for Vice-President we'll take you off the slate for member-at-large". I've also seen where very 'loyal' members have been kept off the slate simply because 1 person doesn't like them (and I almost always disagreed with that 'loyal' member but it was disgusting that all the hard work for the people responsible for creating the slate was thrown out and they were tossed aside for some petty agenda.

That is politics and I certainly acknowledge that is how the 'game' is played and where necessary I play along as well. But we are the ONDP and while we're not angels we're the party that is supposed to be for tearing down some of the power from entrenched establishments and creating a more equal playing field in our little corner of the world called Ontario.  It'd be nice if we actually behaved that way within our own organization.

At the end of the day, slate or no slate its up to the members to decide. Over the years they have shown remarkable trust in the 'slate' and it will be up to them to vote it up, downor somewhere in between.

I'm just glad the position I'm running for is elected at the Metro Caucus meeting and not on the convention floor where that slate is usually applied. Smile

 

Scott Piatkowski Scott Piatkowski's picture

FYI, all one has to do if they are against a decision made by Executive is to ask to have their objection noted and to reserve their right to speak against the decision when it comes to Provincial Council or Convention.

Whatever incidious mind control is being exercised over me and other members on the Executive, it must not be working. The reality is that the debates that are held at Executive can be quite brutal. It's simply a matter of knowing that people on Executive won't undermine or misrepresent an Executive decision that has been reached after a full (sometimes very contentious) debate. If someone wants to try to overturn a decision, they should at least have the courtesy to tell their colleagues of their intentions. 

the grey

janfromthebruce wrote:

Unbelievable that ONDP executive has "solidarity votes". One should act without fear or favour, and once a vote is taken, one supports the majority, however, one can and should be able to voice their dessent in the context of this majority vote. So one respectfully explains the majority and why one dessented. 

I sure hope that Scott and others would ensure that silencing at this level is fought against. This is basic democracy. What party do I belong to?

To echo what Scott said, the executive does not have "solidarity votes" in the sense you mean.  The only expectation is that if someone on executive is going to speak or vote against the executive position at council, they tell the rest of executive their intention.

Dan Harris

Scott Piatkowski wrote:

FYI, all one has to do if they are against a decision made by Executive is to ask to have their objection noted and to reserve their right to speak against the decision when it comes to Provincial Council or Convention.

Whatever incidious mind control is being exercised over me and other members on the Executive, it must not be working. The reality is that the debates that are held at Executive can be quite brutal. It's simply a matter of knowing that people on Executive won't undermine or misrepresent an Executive decision that has been reached after a full (sometimes very contentious) debate. If someone wants to try to overturn a decision, they should at least have the courtesy to tell their colleagues of their intentions. 

 

Scott while I agree with the principle of what you're saying  in terms of letting the collegues on Executive know the intentions that should be obvious by the opposition raised and it has been my experience that members of the executive(majority opinion) then use that time to  better prepare themselves, to counter the opposition and to lean on the dissenting members because they are 'forewarned'. Thereby making it that much more difficult to have that decision overturned.  The system with "executive solidarity votes" is in effect designed to 'bring out' the opposition and to give another advantage to the majority opinion on executive.  This is politics and one can't and shouldn't be expected to always have to 'tip their hand'. Again though I refer back to the voting against whatever the issue is. That should make it obvious that there is dissent and that if its important enough that dissenting opinion will try to have it overturned at a higher level (council or convention).

Again, if you raise that dissenting opinion as a member of the executive and 'break solidarity' at a council even if you tell them in advance, you DO get branded and good luck getting on the slate for next time... Just for trying to serve your members(in your opinion) better.  

Robo

Dan Harris wrote:

Scott while I agree with the principle of what you're saying  in terms of letting the collegues on Executive know the intentions that should be obvious by the opposition raised and it has been my experience that members of the executive(majority opinion) then use that time to  better prepare themselves, to counter the opposition and to lean on the dissenting members because they are 'forewarned'. Thereby making it that much more difficult to have that decision overturned... 

So, members of the evil Executive spend no time preparing themselves to defend recommendations when all who took part in the making the recommendation were in agreement.  But they do spend time preparing to defend recommendations when it is known that there was not unanimous support.  How insidious! 

I guess we should elect more people who will say nothing in opposition to a recommendation when it is being made at Executive, but then speak against the recommendation once it goes to Council from Executive.  That would be much more "democratic".  [Why is there no "roll eyes" icon to insert here?]

Dan Harris

Now I never called the executive 'evil', nor do I think of them as such.  I do think as a group it could benefit from a wider range of points of view.

MY point I think is that the current process limits healthy debate and enhances "us vs. them" attitudes on all sides.  It is important to raise questions, even when there is a concensus in order to ensure that the correct decision IS being made, that the alternatives have been explored (and dismissed).

A change in attitudes more so then a change in rules is what's needed. 

I believe you prove my point about different opinions leading to branding, stigmatizing and dismissal as 'fringe'.  By adding  'how insidious' or adding an eye roll,  you're seeking to sensationalize what I'm saying and to 'dismiss' my opinion.

What I'm saying is that people on executive SHOULD be free to oppose a decision at executive AND at council without being labeled, stigmatized and be put thru the additional hoop of an 'executive solidarity' motion.  

The would be more democratic

 

Wilf Day

Scott Piatkowski wrote:

I'm running for Vice-President, but I'll have to make my case later.

And, as someone who has always disliked slates (and has campaigned against them), I'm mildly amused to find myself on one.

There are six Vice-Presidents, three male and three female. Don't keep us in suspense; who else is on the slate?

 

Pages