Some believe that John Horgan’s departure will result in an open contest by which party members will elect a leader and Premier. But BC’s New Democratic Party is not democratic. Relatively few insiders control the party’s provincial executive, and they determine how leadership is decided.
The BC NDP requires any person running for leader to pay $40,000 and sign a “Declaration of Candidate Responsibilities.”
Long time NDP insider Elizabeth Cull — a “senior associate” with lobbying and PR firm Hill+Knowlton — is the party’s Chief Electoral Officer. The CEO “shall review and vet all Proposed Leadership Candidates,” although a final decision to approve a candidate, or to revoke an approval, is made by the provincial executive.
Any appeal of a decision is to be made at an oral hearing before table officers of the party. The aggrieved party would have ten minutes to present their issues.
The deadline for candidates to meet entry requirements is October 19. Until then, we will not know who will be on the leadership ballot, or if David Eby will be acclaimed party leader without a vote. Since Eby said he has support of 48 sitting MLA, it is a virtual certainty that Eby will become Premier. As a result, carbon-intensive extractivism will continue to be a priority.
The only person now trying to oppose David Eby is Anjali Appadurai. She accurately calls herself a climate justice advocate, having earned that label by spending years working for West Coast Environmental Law, The Sierra Club, and now The David Suzuki Institute.
Well intentioned but naive individuals are backing Appadurai’s leadership campaign. They aim to convince 10,000 or so people to join the NDP and make their candidate the next Premier. While this seems theoretically possible, it is not going to happen.
People who control the party are not about to give up control to others, particularly to those who oppose current NDP policies and promise to put “the health of people and planet first.”
The fact is, NDP party members do not make policy. They were not consulted about:
- Continued logging of ancient forests,
- Massive reductions in payments to BC by fossil fuel producers,
- Promotion of LNG and and billions of dollars in subsidies to LNG processors,
- Allowing BC to become North America’s largest exporter of coal,
- Destruction of fish bearing waterways to build Coastal GasLink pipeline,
- Armed attacks, snipers included, on Wet’suwet’en land defenders,
- Harassment and detention of Indigenous leaders,
- Dumping fresh water used by people residing on traditional unceded lands,
- Arrests and jailing of journalists contrary to court decisions,
- Armed attacks on and jailing of demonstrators at Fairy Creek,
- Continuation of Site C, despite alternatives that could produce electricity for a fraction of the dam’s per megawatt-hour cost,
- Tolerance of BC Hydro’s long record of consciously issuing erroneous demand estimates to promote expansion,
- Continuation and extension of 3x market IPP contracts even when terms are unmet and environmental rules are flaunted.
- Discarding promises for transparency of public business,
- Freedom of information that is not free.
NDP is unfixable because it cannot be democratized. Entrenched special interest groups would not allow it.
Anjali Appadurai’s leadership website provides evidence of how welcome her ideas are to the party. This disclaimer goes far beyond the usual tag that identifies who is responsible for a campaign statement:
The views and positions of Anjali Appadurai, who seeks nomination as a candidate for the BC NDP leadership race, do not necessarily represent those of the BC NDP, the BC NDP Caucus or the BC NDP government. Anjali Appadurai does not speak on behalf of the BC NDP and her statements, views and positions are her own.
Elections BC does not require that verbiage. I would bet my next meal that the NDP demanded it because the party does not want to be associated with Ms. Appadurai’s stated policies.
The unfortunate aspect of this quixotic quest is that it will harm BC Green Party efforts to gain a position in the Legislature that would result in a coalition that could have a real chance of realizing climate and environmental goals.
The effort is a distraction bound to fail but NDP leaders might give it temporary life. They want to appear concerned about the climate emergency but will conform to the federal Liberal position that we should produce more fossil fuels for the next few decades so future generations can afford to reduce production of fossil fuels. This is a version of “Drink this poison today and you might feel better tomorrow.”
NDP leaders want to prevent environmentally concerned people from moving to the only party concerned with protecting Earth.
To achieve laudable goals, climate justice advocates should go to a political party where they are welcome.
Categories: NDP BC