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» babble   » current events   » canadian politics   » ONDP 2002: Fear and Loathing in London, Ont

   
Author Topic: ONDP 2002: Fear and Loathing in London, Ont
Simon Shields
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Babbler # 2771

posted 23 June 2002 07:32 PM      Profile for Simon Shields     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Fresh back from the Ontario NDP convention in London, Ont - my first one actually, as a member of only a few month's standing .....

All was fine and fun (and it was, I really enjoyed the people) until a particular piece of business arose as follows ...

Bruce Cox, outgoing secretary, had two documents (x circa 600 copies each) circulated to the floor delegates. They were both entitled: "The "Official" Slate" (quotation marks around the word 'official' were in the documents). One was for the main executive positions on Saturday, and one for member-at-large elections on Sunday. They were both indicated at the bottom as "signed by Bruce Cox", with no written signature appeared, and no mention of his status as secretary. The slates listed the names of sufficient candidates to fill the available positions, but no more.

In response to a question from the chair (who deserves credit but I forget his name) on Sunday AM, Cox confirmed that the slates were not in fact formally passed by executive council or any committee of the ONDP, but were rather formulated by himself, in informal consultation with other executive members. When confronted by the chair he noted - in a possible attempt at defence - that he had not named himself as 'secretary' at the bottom, but he failed to explain his use of the term "Official" at the top. He further indicated that his motivation in compiling the slates was to facilitate the maintenance of gender and other social parities in the elections.

With his admissions of authorship and responsibility for distribution, there was some booing - mine included - from the floor but no delegate or executive member stood to speak against the behaviour or to question the legitimacy of the election results to that point in time in light of this revelation.

Perhaps I should have - I will have to examine my own conscience as to why I did not.

But I WAS outraged. In a personal - and remarkable civil - conversation I had with Cox afterward he did little - in my opinion - to justify these actions. He did say that he located his authority for his actions in his general administrative authority as secretary and not in any express delegated authority. I responded with outrage that such behaviour, influencing the very heart of the sovereign authority of the convention - and thus membership, could possibly be defended under a general administrative delegated authority rather than an express constitutional or at least resolution-grounded authority. I was and am unaware of such authority, and Cox did not cite any.

If I was legally representing someone who was defeated in the election - and barring the discovery of some hitherto forgotten authority legitimizing his behaviour and that of those participating in the actions - I would advise that the case for voiding the election for misrepresentation is promising.

NOT though that I want my first substantial involvement with the party to be litigation against it. I was actually searching for a comfortable and ethical political home.

Any conclusions regarding consequences (of all forms) to those involved should be reserved until a fuller examination is made of the situation - IF it ever is. But given the silence with which this revelation was met by the executive, the prospect of investigation with an eye to sanctions or correction (past and future) does not appear good.

And the party wonders why it can't attract new blood .....

Any rebuttals, corrections, justifications out there from a co-delegate? executive member? Bruce? anybody?

[ June 23, 2002: Message edited by: Simon Shields ]


From: Toronto | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
Liam McCarthy
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posted 23 June 2002 07:55 PM      Profile for Liam McCarthy   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I agree with you about that slate and we might be coming up with a motion prohibiting the executive (or executive members)from making a slate. The reason I say that is I think its a different matter when a union or a riding association decides to vote as a block and therefore use a slate. To have one slate circulating on the floor and to have it called the "official" slate is problematic. Oh well, at least Barry got the thrashing he deserved.
From: Windsor, Ont. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Mycroft_
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posted 23 June 2002 08:41 PM      Profile for Mycroft_     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
From the ONDP Convention website:

Provincial Executive: Nomination & Selection
1. Prior to each Convention, the Provincial Executive will set up, from among its members, a Search Committee which will put together a list of those persons wishing to run for any position. This list is not to be a slate and shall be limited only by the conditions set out in Section 3 of this document (below).
2. An outline of responsibilities for Executive members will be prepared and circulated which will allow the Committee to inform prospective members of their duties.
Also, it will allow organizations suggesting nominees to keep in mind the need for people who can listen to and reflect specific interests in light of the broad-based character of the Party.
3. The Search Committee will seek out and encourage people to qualify for the Search Committee's list through either of two avenues:
a) By the endorsement of two recognized bodies as defined in the constitution (ridings, affiliates, central bodies, New Democratic Youth, Women's Committee, Ethnic Advisory Committees and Disability Caucus).
Any such endorsement must come from a proper meeting of the organization's executive (or, in the case of a labour union, a political education committee), or from a properly convened membership meeting of the organization.
Because of their isolation, candidates from Kenora-Rainy River, Thunder Bay-Nipigon, and Timmins-James Bay need only one endorsement to get on the list.
b) By the endorsement of a Caucus of Delegates at the Convention.
4. The Search Committee's list will be circulated to the delegates early in the Convention. The list will include the names of the endorsing bodies for endorsed candidates.
Meeting space and time will be made available at the Convention to allow delegates the opportunity to meet with any candidate(s) and to discuss issues.
As has been the custom, Candidate Biographies will be included in the Delegate Kits.
5. Any slate which appears on the floor of the Convention must be signed by the individuals sponsoring that slate. No more than three members of the outgoing Provincial Executive may sign any one slate.
6. During Convention meetings and caucuses, only Convention delegates may vote.
7. The elections for positions other than Members At Large will be held on Saturday, probably in three rounds as has been the custom, and the elections for Members At Large will be held on Sunday.
This schedule will permit defeated candidates to indicate their wish to stand for election to other positions.
8. Male/Female balance of Executive as a whole will be defined as a difference of no more than three between males and females.
9. Each Executive member will be assigned a number of ridings and/or affiliates with which the Executive member would liaise on behalf of the Executive. It is essential that there be two-way communication to promote good understanding of the Party's needs at all levels.


From: Toronto | Registered: Feb 2002  |  IP: Logged
Mycroft_
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posted 23 June 2002 08:44 PM      Profile for Mycroft_     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
AFAIK there was no "search committee" this year nor was any process of endorsement by affiliates etc undertaken. Certainly no "search committee" list was distributed at convention.

There has always been an "official slate". I seem to recall that the practice was supposed to have been ended a few conventions ago and replaced by the process outlined above. I suppose Bruce got around the ban by submitting slates as the "Bruce Cox" slate (ie with his name as the endorser) and putting the "official" in quotation marks (same thing was done last convention, I think the convention prior to one was the one where the "new" guildelines for slates (above) was passed but I could be wrong.

The practice of official slates has been argued about as long as I can remember (don't recall if the practice is used at federal conventions, does anyone remember?) However, I think the party establishment is not going to be discouraged from employing this device as long as delegates continue electing the "official" slate overwhelmingly (sometimes one candidate manages to "break" the slate - Kevin Kinsella managed this at the last convention in 2000, this time the entire slate was elected without exception).

If being listed on the "official" slate starts to become a liability the practice will end.

[ June 24, 2002: Message edited by: Mycroft ]


From: Toronto | Registered: Feb 2002  |  IP: Logged
Andrew Sadler
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posted 23 June 2002 11:43 PM      Profile for Andrew Sadler   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I note one difference in my account of the events described -- the chair did not question the slate, rather, a delegate rose on a point (order or priviledge) and questioned the status of the slate. While the chair conferred to discover an answer, Bruce Cox proceeded to a microphone and provided a response.

I will say that the public distribution of the "official" slate is a more open process than would a purely behind the scenes application of pressure. There are often more than one slate put forward by different groups and/or individuals. If delegates choose to vote for or against a slate (or to completely ignore the slate) they are entirely free to do so.


From: London | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
audra trower williams
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posted 24 June 2002 12:40 AM      Profile for audra trower williams   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Did you get elected, Andrew?
From: And I'm a look you in the eye for every bar of the chorus | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Mycroft_
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posted 24 June 2002 03:18 AM      Profile for Mycroft_     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Yes. Andrew was on the slate

Leader
Howard Hampton (slate)(acc)

Prov Sec
Diane O'Reggio (slate)(acc)

Treasurer
Ross McClellan (slate)(acc)


President

Gayle Broad (slate) 416 (81%)
Mark Davies (SC) 88 (17%)
Spoiled 10 (2%)

VP female (3 elected) (percentages do not add up to 100 as each voter required to votes for three people)
Sandra Clifford (slate) 416 (80%)
Valerie Fogarty (slate) 389 (74.8%)
Wendy Cuthbertson (slate) 380 (73%)
Gina Barber 314 (60.3%)
spoiled - 9


VP male (3 elected)
Ali Mallah (slate) 376 (72%)
Elmer Buchanan (slate) 371 (71%)
Andre Foucault (slate) 371 (71%)
Kevin Kinsella 266 (51.1%)
Barry Weisleder (SC) 119 (22.8%)
spoiled 6
Total ballots cast - 520

Member at large female (3 elected)
Gina Barber (slate) 312 (76%)
Cathy Kidd-Wright 308 (75%)
Yvonne Bobb 230 (56.2%)
Willie Winhouse 205 (50.1%)
Elise Cogo 120 (29.3%)
Abbie Polanetsky 33 (8%)
spoiled 6
Total ballots cast - 409

Member at large male (3 elected)
Michael Lewis (slate) 276 (67%)
Andrew Sadler (slate) 231 (56.4%)
Eric Comartin (slate) 218 (53.3%)
Kevin Kinsella 175 (42.7%)
Robert Barlow 97 (23.7%)
Allan Macdonald 84 (20.5%)
Roy Heron 53 (SC)(12.9%)
Ken Ranney 50 (SC) (12.2%)
SImon Strelchik 44 (10.7%)
Spoiled - 0
Total ballots cast - 409

slate- The "Official" Slate endorsed by outgoing Provincial Secretary Bruce Cox
SC- Socialist Caucus candidates

Exec members elected by regional and other caucuses

Regional Members at large
East
Atul Kapur -male
Kathy Wethy - female

Horseshoe
Jessica Brennan- female
Andrew Lauer-male


Metro
Joey Schwartz -male (def Michael Isaac)
Kim Wright -female

North
?-male
?-female

Southwest
Irene Mathyssen -female
Thomas McKay - male

Women's Committee
Siobhan Roantree

Ethnic Liason Committee
? Male
? Female

LGBC
Paul Ferreira - male (def. Nathan Hauch 2nd and Mark Davies (SC) 3rd)
? - female

Disability Caucus
Susie Boyle -female
Bill Penney - male

Youth (ONDY)
to be elected at ONDY convention in August

[ June 24, 2002: Message edited by: Mycroft ]


From: Toronto | Registered: Feb 2002  |  IP: Logged
meades
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posted 24 June 2002 03:43 AM      Profile for meades     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
YAY! Hooray for Gayle!
From: Sault Ste. Marie | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Simon Shields
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Babbler # 2771

posted 24 June 2002 09:52 AM      Profile for Simon Shields     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Thank you Mycroft and all for those clarifications.

It seems that the strongest cynicism about the NDP that I have seen expressed elsewhere in babble, and amongst other activists is justified.

Do the people who do these things have no interest in attracting fresh perspectives and activists to the party - or do they not even recognize the impact of what they do? What of the legislative caucus - do they care or even notice?


From: Toronto | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
audra trower williams
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posted 24 June 2002 11:00 AM      Profile for audra trower williams   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Yes. Andrew was on the slate

I figured.


From: And I'm a look you in the eye for every bar of the chorus | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
audra trower williams
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posted 24 June 2002 01:03 PM      Profile for audra trower williams   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Moving this to "Ontario ... "
From: And I'm a look you in the eye for every bar of the chorus | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged

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