When allowed to select leaders of organizations, members may want to choose persons not acceptable to those in control. A solution to that dilemma is to limit members’ voting rights. Political parties do it routinely. The BC NDP system is designed to give individual “grassroots” members very little influence within the party.
The party allows eligible persons to vote in a Provincial Leadership contest. Candidates must follow regulations developed by the Provincial Executive. That management group is mostly selected by biennial convention attendees who are party officials, MLAs and MPs elected in BC, labour representatives, life members, or those delegated by affiliated organizations and constituency associations, which are allowed one delegate per 25 members.
This week, long time NDP insider Elizabeth Cull, acting as Chief Electoral Officer, recommended Anjali Appadurai be disqualified from leadership. After an oral appeal hearing three days later, Table Officers (Leader, President, Treasurer, Labour Vice-President, six Vice-Presidents, Equity Vice-President, and Provincial Director) concurred. Appadurai was denied opportunity to address the body that would seal her fate. Two days later the Provincial Executive confirmed the action, allowing David Eby to become BC’s next Premier.
Chief Electoral Officer Cull, who has been employed by American public relations and lobbying company Hill+Knowlton Strategies, was appointed by the Provincial Executive. Cull concluded that an August video-call involving about 100 people, including Anjali Appadurai and supporters of Dogwood, was evidence showing the potential leadership candidate coordinated with third parties and for that, the only remedy was disqualification.
Of course, the fix was in. Appadurai was held to a standard not applied to Eby. By example, on September 3, I was contacted on my phone by an individual “from the David Eby campaign” who asked if I would support their candidate. I later identified that person as a BCGEU employee. I explained I was not an NDP member and asked where he got my cell phone number. He said my information was on a list provided by the party. Since she was never approved, Appadurai was given no such list.
Of course, BCGEU was not the only “third party” recruiting support and working for David Eby.
Almost every NDP MLA offered public support for David Eby in mid July and encouraged others to do the same:
Activities of groups and individuals promoting preferred candidate David Eby were acceptable to Cull and the NDP’s Provincial Executive, while those working for Anjali Appadurai were, in the words of Elizabeth cull, “engaged in serious improper conduct.”