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How undemocratic of the New Democratic Party delegates (or some of ’em).

I don’t mean to beat a dead horse, but as a followup to my post of yesterday, where I felt the NDP delegates shot themselves in the foot by not even bringing the proposed name change discussion to a vote, we now have other delegates, including NDP MP Joe Cromartin when talking to the Toronto Star, accusing those opponents of the name change of an indirect filibuster so this motion wouldn’t even come up on the floor for discussion:

A resolution to hold consultations on a potential name change was expected to be voted on yesterday, the final day of the convention, but the clock ran out. That did not sit well with some, who say that delegates opposed to even discussing the name change resolution ragged the puck long enough to avoid what could have been a divisive debate

NDP Leader Jack Layton said the delegates obviously felt there were more important issues to discuss, but NDP MP Joe Comartin (Windsor-Tecumseh) said there “clearly was a concerted effort” to talk out the clock so it never came up for debate. “I think that’s a mistake … there is certainly enough drive for the name change … for us to be having a debate at this time,” Comartin told the Star, noting his riding resolution to create two independent memberships, provincial and federal, also fell by the way.

It’s not hard to see why MP Comartin would say that; I’ve heard from folks that one motion that was 7 pages long was read verbatim, word for word. If that was indeed the case, then I find it hard to believe that’s standard practice to do with a motion; it smells of a stalling tactic.

As the Star said, it “was an anti-climactic end to a convention where rebranding was to breathe new life into the party established in 1961”..

I’m not really sure what the opponents of this measure were afraid of; divisiveness as the article hints, or perhaps because the name change proponents had the votes? If they didn’t, why not bring the motion to the floor and vote it down and end it, rather then cause additional controversy in their party and in the media and elsewhere?

Either way, perhaps the NDP leadership were trying to avoid a vote on this measure, but hoped this was going to be a publicity stunt to give them good buzz. It certainly did initially; as I said yesterday it was the one item the past few weeks that generated an interest and a buzz. Unfortunately, the NDP folks seemed to be frightened about how much coverage it got (and even how popular it seems to have been with NDP supporters who weren’t delegates).

So, in the end, it got them publicity all right, but it gave them the wrong type, particularly when an NDP MP’er is publicly accusing some delegates of stifling debate on this issue. So much for democracy in the New Democratic Party, and the publicity stunt; if that’s what the NDP leadership was hoping this would be, it failed miserably. (I find it rather ridiculous as well that only an hour was set aside to debate all these motions. It’s as if the NDP leadership was purposely trying to make it harder for certain motions to be discussed).

I do encourage those in the NDP who genuinely believe in a re-branding and name change to keep pursuing their efforts, because it’s high time the name was changed.


32 comments to How undemocratic of the New Democratic Party delegates (or some of ’em).

  • Stan

    Oh please, the NDP couldn’t call themselves the Democratic Party because that would be too AMERICAN!
    The anti-American bigotry carefully nurtured by the liberals and NDP would never allow the left wing voters to accept that.

  • Hey Christina

    Of course we read Scott’s blog. Scott’s a good guy, often has good stuff to say and sometimes like all of us bloggers, he gets it wrong.

    As too the issue of leaders, how about the LPC going through 4 leaders in what five years? That’s a record in terms of “Re-branding!

  • Christina Monroe

    All I can say from this is wow. I never knew so many dippers read your blog Scott! Good show! I did not realize they ever cared to check up on what other people think.

    From what I can see this is the only issue/news story about the NDP all summer long. There is merit in re-branding, but it is not going to change that fact this party is never in the foreseeable future ever going to form a government.

    They missed out on a big opportunity to further their name in a positive light in the media. If it wasn’t for this I would have never realized they were having a convention at all, and I have a NDP MP!

    My big beef is the NDP does not see any reason to send their leader up to the North. Both the Liberal and Conservative leaders are visiting the North this summer. They both seem to be out doing things visiting with riding associations, touring the country. It is what politicians should be doing during the break. Granted I am a little tired of the re announcements of failed promises by the Conservatives.

    If the NDP wanted a game plan to ever try to jockey into the political spectrum nationally and try to win people over they need to get off their collective asses and do something to win over voters.

    I would start with getting rid of their “leader” three times a loser and still the leader. Wow! Then consider re branding their name, if they have any money in the bank to do this remains to be scene. The rumor mill is running over time on their near bankrupt finances, perhaps this was the reason they did not want a name change? No money to change all their signage?

  • Scott

    You are off on this one for sure. The delegates decided what was important, not the media or the LPC bloggers…

    I supported a name change, albeit not the highest priority I wanted to see addressed.

    • @Ricky Barnes, I’m not off on it at all. The opponents of the name change decided to filibuster it, which is what one of your own MP’s Joe Comartin stated. He said it was a concerted effort, not me. So take it up with him. The NDP delegates (or some of them) decided to stop democracy and not allow it to be brought to a vote, aided and abetted by your leadership which set a ridiculous 1 hour time limit on this.

      The fact it was delegates stifling democracy is no better then when the leadership does it. Just remember that the next time you deign to lecture Liberals on their undemocratic methods. There may be problems in Liberal-land with some things related to that, but you’re not a lily-white party when it comes to stifling debate is all I’m saying.

  • Tyler Kinch

    “I do encourage those in the NDP who genuinely believe in a re-branding and name change to keep pursuing their efforts, because it’s high time the name was changed.”

    I never knew that Liberals cared so much about the success of New Democrats. Thanks for your advice *rolls eyes*

  • Oh yawn Scott. Get over it already. People aren’t going to care if we debated a name change or not. You saying so isn’t going to give it legs.

    • @Paladiea, Actually.. its all over the papers (ie the Star saying this was all anti-climactic), but whatever.. I’m just pointing it out so the next time NDP bloggers try to be critical of Liberal leadership for some undemocratic slight (and they’ve had no bones about doing so before), they can be reminded they aren’t lilly-white when it comes to undemocratic practices in their own party.

      • @Scott Tribe,

        If the resolutions are any indication, there’s a whole new game afoot… πŸ˜‰

      • @Scott Tribe,

        Where is the lack of democracy here? We didn’t get to the name change because the party delegates voted to prioritize other resolutions first. It is literally not possible in our party for the party leadership to prevent us from debating something that the membership is interested in debating: the prioritization list comes from the convention delegates themselves. When New Dems criticize the Libs for being undemocratic, it’s because the Liberal brass is actually making a unilateral decision without allowing the membership to dissent. When Liberals accuse New Democrats of being undemocratic, it’s because we were pressed for time at our convention. Incidentally, any policies that didn’t make it to the floor get forwarded on to our federal council for further discussion.

  • Scott, we didn’t make it to the motion because we ran out of time. Simple as that. Every convention we try to get through as much as we can, and often get sidetracked by various groups devoting an inordinate amount of time to their pet issues. That said, the prioritization process was open to all delegates. If there had been an appetite for an immediate name change, the delegates would have bumped the resolution up on the priorities list. As it stands, party members will have a little more time to think this over (many riding presidents found out about this motion when they read about it in the National Post or elsewhere) and perhaps by next year there will be a bigger push.

    • @Devin Johnston, C’mon Devin.. a single hour for all those resolutions? It begged for a filibuster.. and it’s obvious the NDP leadership made sure that limited time was put in place to ensure that happened.

      I think the NDP should stand for “The No-Debate-Party”.. or at least.. no debate on issues we don’t want debate on.

      • @Scott Tribe,

        Scott, just to clarify further… there were 7 sets of resolution panels… EVERY SINGLE PANEL GOT 1 HOUR!!!! So that panel got the same treatment as the rest, no hanky panky there.

      • @Scott Tribe,

        To echo what Cam said, all of the panels were extremely limited. That’s just how it goes. There were a lot of people in fed office who were very excited about the possibility of a name change, and others who didn’t like the idea. In other words, the people who you believe filibustered the panel were actually split in their support for a name change.

  • Jimmy

    It wasn’t the party leadership who decided that it was the 1300 delegation. Again spreading misinformation.

    The media does not tell the NDP delegation what should be debated, maybe it does the Liberals but in a democratic setting those on the floor who represent ridings all over decide these things. We decided it was more important to make sure nothing was slipped through in haste which could change the entire structure of our party. We made sure the Womens policy committee was created and had the right structure. I know Liberals don’t get why we didn’t bend to the media and decided these things were important but they were. We have been fighting over the name of the party for 50 years however when push has come to shove other things have always seemed more important. Health care, Womens rights, Native rights, EI reform, CPP reform, and how to shape a peaceful world.

    It happened again and I for one am happy those are priorities not bowing to Liberal bloggers. Although you guys keep attacking don’t worry I am unwavered by this.

  • So an MP has to question the motives of the party leadership if one of his resolutions is not debated, despite being the major focus of the convention?

    • @Anthony Di Domizio,

      That was the media’s major focus, not the conventions. As someone who was on the floor, I’ll tell ya that most delegates there were more focused on the actual issues, not so much the name change.

      • @Cam Holmstrom, You guys screwed up, big time, Cam.. admit it. And now, you’re all defensive about it because you realize deep down you screwed it up.

        • @Scott Tribe,
          LOL!!!! Yes Scott, I’m in such denial… Oh Lord, save me from my lost ways!!! I Repent, I Repent!!!!

          If the media decides they want something to be their story, and it doesn’t happen, that doesn’t have shit to do with the party. The fact is that the name change resolution could have been moved up the prioritization IF THE DELEGATES HAD VOTED TO!!!. I know this because my own resolution was original ranked 10 in it’s panel. I went to the panel, moved to get it moved up to 3rd, I made my case and the delegates voted YES to moving it up. Ta da!!! Amazing how that democracy stuff works.

          The fact is that some delegates did try to move those two name change resolutions up the order, but THEY WERE VOTED DOWN BY THE DELEGATES!!!! That’s democracy, and if that some how constitutes a screw up, then I need to read your dictionary because it sounds like quite the interesting read.

  • Jimmy

    Are you dense Joe said that becuase the motion came from his ridding association. You try winning an election with out them behind you. I was there and the No side wanted to speak to this motion as much as the yes side. I was sitting with the Ontario delegation and they were pissed at the time, and wanted more time on the clock a lot of us did but that is way democracy works.

  • tell that to Joe Comartin

  • Jimmy

    Yes there was one motion which was 7 pages long. It was in fact a motion from the constitution panel, one which was directed to be crafted last convention. It was designed to fix, tidy, and modernize our Constitution as directed by delegates last convention. It was read word for word so people who were blind could know what was in it, it was read so the delegation could all know what was in it. It is our Constitution and is some what important.

    Too this there was around 8 motions in it. Some which the whole party supported like a 50% womens representation on a Federal council. Others some people did not support, this includes regional representation numbers and a change to our preamble. So the motions were split. 4 of them passed with no debate (funny you think if someone wanted to run out the clock they would talk on one of these 4 subjects in support or opposition that didn’t happen.) Others had debate becuase it being Constitution people want to know what is in there and have it represent the entire party.

    There was no Filibuster this is just stuipd Liberal spin. It was something that our delegation REQUIRED from the party this being ordered last convention. It was contentious and it was as streamlined as it could be 4 motions passing with out any speakers. If anyone should be ashamed it should be you for spreading misinformation with actually watching the debate.

    • @Jimmy, Stupid Liberal spin? If that’s the case, let me be (the first?) to welcome Joe Comartin to the Liberal caucus. Welcome, Joe! Or maybe it’s not Liberal spin at all, but the on the record comments of NDP members, including MPs such as Comartin.

    • @Jimmy, As I said to Cam at his site.. was every single one of those resolutions you guys had read in word for word verbatim?

      Not that I checked.. so I stand by my statement that it looks suspiciously like a stall tactic designed to run the clock out. Evidently Joe Comartin thought so as well.

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