Quixotic quest bound to fail

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

9 replies »

  1. She should be running for the Greens in BC, that being said, she doesn’t have a hope in hell because the NDP is nothing more than a Vision Vancouver, BC Lite party and almost a climate change denier party like the conservatives.

    I said before, BC is a one party state. Outsiders are not welcome.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Eby’s politcal campaign has all the lustre of a wet squibb. He is the anointed “Vision Vancouver” heir apparent to lead the NDP and I believe having Appadurai is a desperate PR stunt to put some life back into the faux leadership campaign.

      Does not fool me.


  2. The tragedy is that members of the NDP do not realize they do not have a grassroots say in policy. NDP like the Liberals and Conservatives are top-down parties, while the Green party policies are decided by consensus of the members.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The Green party is a neoliberal group of environmental ish conservatives. Anjali has an opportunity to revamp the BCNDP from their current version of Liberal Lite® back into the party for the people.

    You may call it naive.

    We shall see.


    • Your statement about the BC Green Party is simply untrue and does not help your argument. It may have been said about the federal Green Party at various times but BC Greens are a separate party. A few moments spent looking at Leader Sonia Furstenau’s online activities would not support your claim at all.

      This article reflects what brought Ms. Furstenau into politics:

      “We’re a Community in Unrest”: Shawnigan Lake Asks B.C. to Halt Contaminated Waste Disposal While Judicial Review Underway


      • “I see no evidence that Shawnigan Lake residents are having any impact whatsoever on govt., even with today’s protest. Zero.”
        -Keith Baldrey on Twitter, January 2016.

        Global News must have a very high tolerance for mediocrity. Or perhaps it’s a very high desire for just the right kind of mediocrity. Missed or misconstrued evidence that would result in firings in other professions seem to ensure tenure in the press gallery.

        As for impact on government, Anjali Appadurai seems to have made the calculation that she’ll get more bang for her environmental efforts through an attempt to influence a party that stands a solid chance of governing than one that at best might get into a position to again form a coalition of some sort. Time will tell if she’s correct, but she strikes me as someone who should not be underestimated. It’s very doubtful she really believes she can win the leadership, but aiming high is not necessarily a sign of poor judgement. Her real goal this time may lie somewhere along the continuum from inaction to the brass ring.

        One thing is certain. Mr. Eby is going to get some bruises in this contest, along with many other BCNDP stalwarts. Many BCNDP supporters feeling betrayed have looked for a voice. Enter Ms Appadurai. And there is no upside for her to soft pedal on any issue. Long overdue public explanations and mea culpas will have to be proffered regarding the binning of large parts of the 2017 platform, especially if leadership debates are in the mix. This, coupled with worrying signs that the health care system is close to collapse, could have Eby dusting off that 2017 platform and asking for one more last chance to get it right.

        That would leave evidence even the hapless Mr. Baldrey couldn’t miss.


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