Showing posts with label NDP. Show all posts
Showing posts with label NDP. Show all posts

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Fred Checkers is watching you (if you're an NDPer)

Michael Laxer reports on his Left Chapter blog on Fred Checkers and the state of internal democracy in the NDP. 
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Saturday, 7 March 2009

NDP convention

Liveblogging from the NDP convention.

Bisson has raised the most amount of money followed by Tabuns, Horwath and Prue. We'll see the relationship between money and votes soon.

My prediction is that Horwath will win since her significant lead in the labour vote will give her a boost overall. Steel makes up more than 2/3 of the labour vote (which is allotted 25% of the final outcome) and Horwath has the backing of the Steel leadership and of most Steel locals outside of Toronto, where Tabuns leads and a few northern locals that are going for Bisson. She also has the backing of SEIU and is the second choice of UFCW after Bisson (UFCW being 8% of the labour vote).
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Friday, 30 January 2009

Ontario NDP leadership endorsement watch

All four candidates have published endorsement lists on their websites. Of the 10 person provincial caucus the endorsements are breaking down as follows:

Peter Tabuns (2) (himself and Cheri DiNovo, Parkdale-High Park)

Michael Prue (2) (himself and Paul Miller, Hamilton East-Stony Creek)

Gilles Bisson (2) (himself and France GĂ©linas, Nickle Belt)

Andrea Horwath (3) (herself, Peter Kormos, Niagara Centre; Rosario Marchese, Trinity-Spadina)


Three One MPP is uncommitted - outgoing leader Howard Hampton is expected to remain neutral. Rosario Marchese (Trinity-Spadina) and Peter Kormos (Niagara Centre) are still to declare their intentions.

The federal NDP's Ontario caucus is larger with 17 MPs but most of them have stayed on the sidelines. Here is the endorsement breakdown so far:

Gilles Bisson (7) Charlie Angus, Timmins James Bay; Tony Martin, Sault Ste. Marie; Carol Hughes, Algoma. Bruce Hyer (Thunder Bay-Superior), John Rafferty (Thunder Bay-Rainy River), Glenn Thibeault (Sudbury) and Claude Gravelle (Nickel Belt) have now endorsed as well.**

Andrea Horwath (3) David Christopherson, Hamilton Centre; Chris Charlton, Hamilton Mountain; Malcolm Allen, Welland.***

Peter Tabuns (2) Irene Mathyssen, London—Fanshawe, Paul Dewar*, Ottawa Centre.

Michael Prue (0)


10 5 MPs are left to declare. Federal leader Jack Layton is expected to remain officially neutral - unofficially he's assumed to be backing Peter Tabuns who represents Layton's riding provincially and is a long time friend and colleague from their days as wardmates on Toronto City Council. The remaining MPs left to declare are:

Jack Layton, Toronto-Danforth (expected to remain neutral)
Olivia Chow, Trinity—Spadina
Joe Comartin, Windsor—Tecumseh
Wayne Marston, Hamilton East—Stoney Creek
Brian Masse, Windsor West

Overall the endorsement lists are notable in the following ways.

Bisson's list of endorsements is, not suprisingly, tilted heavily towards the northern Ontario (not listed yet is the Nickel Belt NDP Riding association which has also endorsed Bisson) It's easy for those of us in Toronto to take the north for granted but northern Ontario is a major base for the NDP and he could do much better than expected if he's able to consolidate the north. The Nickel Belt riding association alone, for instance, has 1,000 members or 5% of the total Ontario NDP membership. Therefore, it'll be interesting to see if the four currently uncommitted northern MPs fall in behind Bisson. Since writing this the four remaining northern MPs have endorsed Bisson.

Andrea Horwath's endorsement list
, aside from being Hamilton heavy, is also very union heavy and includes Ontario Federation of Labour president Wayne Samuelson and OFL Secretary-Treasurer Irene Harris, former OPSEU president Leah Casselman as well as a number of labour council presidents and union locals from around the province as well as a number of current and former union executive members. Only 75% of the "votes" in the leadership election will be on a One Member One Vote basis. Labour delegates are responsible for the other 25% of the vote so labour can still play a very important role in determining the outcome.

Toronto city councillors are heavily represented among Michael Prue's endorsements as are several former MPPs including NDP MPP and Speaker of the Legislature David Warner, former MPP Gary Malkowski (both according to Prue's campaign literature) and former cabinet minister Marilyn Churley. Not listed is the strong support Prue enjoys from public school teachers, particular a number of OSSTF officials, due to his stance on reopening the debate on Separate School funding. Also not listed is Prue's endorsement from the NDP Socialist Caucus (which is more a function of the fact that one Socialist Caucus co-chair is a public school teacher and the other is a public school trustee rather than of any hitherto crypto-Marxist tendencies on Prue's part).

Finally, Peter Tabuns' official endorsement list shows union support from the Toronto area - such as the Toronto Area Steelworkers Council , UNITE HERE Local 75 and CUPE Local 1 as well as support from party "establishment" figures - former provincial secretaries and party presidents such as Michael Lewis, Janet Solberg, Jill Marzetti, Andre Foucault and Diane O'Reggio as well as other prominent party figures such as Hugh and Dan Mackenzie. (It's not insignificant that the prominent Lewis and Mackenzie families, often in rival leadership camps in the past, are both behind Tabuns).

So what does this mean? It is interesting that the "party establishment" and the "labour establishment" are backing different candidates. Prue, who is widely perceived to be in second place, seems to be trailing in the endorsement race - possibly because his willingness to open the Separate School issue and his emphasis on internal party democracy may have alienated his colleagues and prominent party figures. Can he make up the difference by winning the grassroots? Bisson is dominant in the north (though he hasn't gotten all his federal caucus colleagues wrapped up yet, at least not publicly) but has not made significant inroads in other regions. Still, the north is the NDP's base at present and being their favourite son could position him well.

A race that seemed to be developing as a Tabuns romp a few months ago may be a lot more competitive than expected.

*UPDATED: I'm told that MP Paul Dewar endorsed Tabuns at today's leadership debate in Ottawa.

**UPDATED: Gilles Bisson's campaign announced today that Bruce Hyer (Thunder Bay-Superior), John Rafferty (Thunder Bay-Rainy River), Glenn Thibeault (Sudbury) and Claude Gravelle (Nickel Belt) have endorsed his campaign meaning all northern Ontario MPs are supporting Bisson.

***Updated: Malcolm Allen, the MP for Welland has followed Peter Kormos' lead and endorsed Horwath.

****Marchese has endorsed Horwath.
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Monday, 8 December 2008

The Second Death of Stephane Dion and the paradox of Canadian politics today



Almost a week after delivering an address to the nation that looked like something hostage takers release to prove their victim is still alive, Stephane Dion has resigned as leader of the Liberal Party. Dion thus becomes the first party leader in living memory to resign from the same position twice in one year.


The Liberals are current wrangling over how to expedite its leadership election process so that the party will have a new chief in place by the time that Parliament resumes on January 26th. It now appears that with Dion having been unceremoniously pushed under a bus, Michael Ignatieff will be crowned Liberal leader by caucus on Wednesday with the blessing of Liberal Party riding presidents - party members will be allowed to send their post hoc congratulations sometime next year when, in the best traditions of Stalinist Russia, a party convention will be held to "affirm" the Great Man's leadership. This illigitmate process is being undertaken in order to confer onto the Liberal Party a leader who has more legitimacy than the electorally deficient Dion.


But you can't have party unanimity without a few victims - just ask Stalin's victims. In this case, the murder victim will not be Kirov but Bob Rae's political ambitions along with the "Coalition" that would have brought down Stephen Harper had it not been for the last minute deus ex machina intervention of the monarchy in the form of the Governor General who, like the professor presented with a forged sick note by a bad student desperately seeking a postponement of an exam he's otherwise doomed to fail, gave Harper an extra six weeks to cram. It remains to be seen whether in that time Harper will learn the difference between governing with a majority and governing with a minority. Ignatieff has clearly signalled that if the Tories make concessions - and this means adopted the Coalition's program (weak as it is) the Liberals will likely support the budget.


Few people noticed the election night split-screen interview CTV News did with Rae and Ignatieff. In both his victory speech and in the interview Rae anticipated the broad strokes of the current parliamentary crisis and stated that with a minority parliament Stephen Harper is not necessarily going to be able to stay in government as his Throne Speech needs to gain the consent of the Opposition in order to pass. Rae was intimating that if the Tory Throne Speech was defeated the Liberals would have the opportunity to form a government. Ignatieff haughtily dismissed this scenario as "political science fiction" - the look on Rae's face was priceless. A mere six weeks later, what Iggy had dismissed as fantasy threatened to become reality (over a Fiscal Statement rather than the Throne Speech) and Ignatieff reluctantly signed on and then went into hiding. On Sunday, Ignatieff all but declared his opposition to the coalition idea and went on CBC Sunday to paraphrase William Lyon Mackenzie King by saying "a coalition if necessary but not necessarily a coalition" and explaining that he saw the coalition as a tool to get concessions from the Tories and little else.


Bob Rae, conversely, has been selling the coalition as if it's the Second Coming. After spending an election campaign as the Stephane Dion's designated hitter against the NDP - bashing Layton and his social democratic party at every opportunity - and after years of denigrated his former party as not worthy of support, Rae now posits himself, unconvincingly, as the NDP's best friend in the Liberal Party trumpeting a Liberal-NDP coalition as good for the Liberals and good for the country (good for everyone but the NDP, it seems). How the NDP could be beneath contempt in Rae's eyes on October 13th but potential cabinet colleagues on December 1st remains unexplained. But the ironies don't end there for it is the dire threat posed to the Tories by the coalition that has made it a necessity for the Liberals to expedite their leadership election - an act which will not only sunder aside Bob Rae's leadership ambitions in order to crown Michael Ignatieff as leader. In other words, in order to be prepared for the possibility that the Coalition might bring down Harper and be asked to form a government the Liberals are pushing aside the pro-coalition candidate in favour of the candidate who sees the coalition as expendable.


And people say Canadian politics is boring.
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Sunday, 30 November 2008

Stephen Harper: The new Nixon?

According to CTV News, a Conservative "member" somehow received the dial in number and access code for an NDP caucus meeting on Saturday. The "shocking" fact that Jack Layton talked to the BQ ahead of time is being spun to ridiculous lengths by the Tories and the Conservative Television Network (CTV). So who is this Conservative member? Did he or she inform Harper ahead of time before he or she listened in on and taped the meeting? Did Harper approve of this conduct?
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Saturday, 20 September 2008

Jason Cherniak gets it wrong

Jason Cherniak is a well known Liberal blogger cum pitbull. In a blogosphere of partisans Cherniak is a sectarian extraordinaire who never fails to rush to judgement in the absence of facts if he can score a few partisan posts. Recently, he has smeared a political activist named Stacy Douglas who was a provincial NDP candidate in Scarborough Agincourt in the 2003 provincial election and planned to be a federal candidate when it looked like there would be an election in 2007.

On Friday, Cherniak made a post on his blog titled NDP fired candidate who was anti-Israel which claimed in no uncertain terms that Ms Douglas was "fired" by the NDP for comments she made in support of Palestinian rights. He repeats the claim, using the phrase "getting rid of Dougls" instead of "fired" in a subsequent post. Cherniak's evidence? Well, she was the candidate at one point and is no longer and she wrote a letter to Jack Layton in March complaining about the party's decision not to back the Durban II conference on racism. In the absence of any actual factual evidence (such as a statement or news item) stating why Douglas no longer is the candidate, Cherniak assumed, in the absence of any facts, that Douglas must have been dropped as a result of the letter. After all, correlation must mean causation ergo a letter written in March and someone not being a candidate six months latter means the two events must be connected. So concludes the steel trap mind of Jason Cherniak and hey, if his finely tuned legal intellect makes a supposition it's not just an ordinary suppostion it's as good as a fact; hence Jason's assertion that his blind speculation must be true.

The problem is it isn't.

My grade 6 teacher used to say that when you assume you make an ass of u and me. In this case, Cherniak has only made an ass of himself. The fact is that Ms Douglas is not a candidate because she is in England this year pursuing her academic studies. Had there been an election in 2007 or early 2008 she would have been a candidate. Had there been an election, as scheduled, in the fall of 2009 after her year abroad was over, she also may have been a candidate but as the Prime Minister decided to break the spirit of his own law and call a snap election Ms Douglas cannot be a candidate because she is not in the country.

So here is the upshot of this. Because of Cherniak's combination of intellectual arrogance (if I thinks it it must be so) lack of due diligence (if I thinks it's a fact there's no need to verify it) and general sloppiness he's now defamed a once and possibly future poltical candidate with the claim that she was fired by her party for her criticisms of Israel, a claim which in this day and age also implies the existence of anti-Semitism.

It's one thing to criticize other political parties based on their actual deeds or misdeeds or on their policies but to engage in this sort of smear because of intellectual laziness is not acceptable. I say intellectual laziness because Cherniak is a law school graduate and should have at least a passing familiarity with the methods of critical thinking and debate. If this is an example of Cherniak's analytical mind at work then I think he's going to have a very serious problem practicing law, particularly when it comes to arguing cases in court. If he was deliberately disregarding logic and due diligence in order to score cheap points than shame on him but moreover shame on anyone who takes his blog seriously. The reason the BBC was a force to be reckoned with during World War II's propaganda wars was because they had a reputation for being factual and credible. Once you become known to invent facts for propaganda reasons you're finished and if Cherniak does not take responsibility for his mistake and apologize then I think he's finished as a serious commentator.
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Monday, 15 September 2008

Bob Rae shunning the poor?

I've heard from several different sources today that Liberal MP Bob Rae is trying to give the brush off to an all-candidates meeting planned for St. Jamestown on October 8th. Rae says his schedule is too busy and his people are trying to get the St. Jamestown planning committee to go to all candidates meetings planned in upper middle class Cabbagetown or upper class Rosedale instead!

I guess I can see Bob's point. After all, the issues facing the poor and working poor living in substandard bedbug and cockroach infested housing in St. Jamestown are so much like those of the superrich in Rosedale or the white collar professionals of Cabbagetown.

St. Jamestown, with over 20,000 residents, is the most densely populated neighbourhood in Canada yet Rae obviously thinks better off neighbourhoods are more important. If signs in past elections are any indication, there is a stronger Liberal vote in St. Jamestown than in either of its neighbouring communities but they just aren't Bob's preferred class of voter.

Perhaps Rae doesn't want to explain why the Liberals never got around to implementing the housing strategy they promised in the Red Book in 1993? Perhaps he has nothing to offer working poor people in the way of fixing the EI system that Paul Martin broke, or restoring the federal transfers to provincial social programs that the Liberals cut? Rae certainly can't talk about childcare now that the Dion Liberals have abandoned the child care plan that was offered last election in favour of expanding Stephen Harper's child care rebate - which they mocked last time - and which will do nothing to actually provide quality, inexpensive, public and non-profit care.

In his recent screed against the NDP Bob complains that the NDP campaign in this past spring's by-election consisted of "class warfare and character assassination. Corporations bad, wealth creation bad, rich guys vs poor guys, "working families" vs what? Lazy families?"

The real problem is not that the NDP is preaching "class warfare" (if only) but that Bob Rae doesn't want to talk about class issues and would rather pretend they don't exist. Let the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Let Canada languish with an unacceptable rate of child poverty. Let our affordable housing stock decay and public housing shrink. Sure, Rae's riding of Toronto Centre may have one of the largest populations of urban poor in Canada - but don't expect him to talk to them.

Rae doesn't have a class analysis now and he didn't have one when he claimed to be a New Democrat. Now he's showing that he has no class either.
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