Monday, September 9, 2013

Forward BCNDP

We have a new group formed looking at doing something with the NDP - Forward BCNDP.  I say do something because everything they are saying is rather vague and I really do not know what they want or if they are even particularly opposed to the status quo in the party.

The start in their mission statement with:
The provincial election in May was a devastating loss for the BC NDP. It was also a wake-up call. It’s time for our party to change.

This sounds like they want to do something but then they go on for nine more/paragraphs not really outlining what their mission statement is.  They ramble on without any real mission other than to say they are "organizing to build a stronger more united party through renewal and modernization".    At the same time they are not calling for a new leader to the party.

So this then opens the questions to me, how is the NDP not modern at the moment?    Does the NDP not know how to create policies and messages that work in BC?   Are the members on the ground no longer able to effectively campaign because they need to learn a more modern way to do it?  Are the policies of the party out of touch with the modern world?  Are the active members just too old to understand our modern world?  

Next, is the party badly divided?  I know that within the Greater Victoria area the NDP is rather factionalized at the moment, but what I take away from their unity statement is that the NDP across BC are a badly divided party.    So why is the NDP so divided and what does Forward BCNDP propose to end this division?

They also say
We are proud of the BC NDP’s record and the enormous contribution it has made to a more just and prosperous province for all British Columbians.

But nostalgia for the past is not a political program for the future. To succeed, we believe the BC NDP needs to focus on building a winning coalition in a rapidly changing province and world.

I am not sure anyone has accused the NDP of campaigning on a nostalgia for the 1991-2001 government so this is really a pointless strawman argument, though even then they are proud of the 1991-2001 government.   No sense of wanting a break with the past.

We then get to their goals:

  • Renewing the leadership of the BC NDP by involving new voices.
  • Identifying and engaging the next tier of NDP voter that we need to break the “40% barrier” and win the next election.
  • Developing modern messaging that appeals to the changing face of British Columbia, especially rural voters and new Canadians.
  • Strengthening our party by engaging new members, donors and voters.
  • Building relationships with like-minded supporters across British Columbia.
  • Modernizing the BC NDP by investing in training, technology, and staff between elections to build strong local organizations that have the skills and tools to win.

If this are their goals, does this mean the NDP has not been doing these things?  What they are saying is basic work of party organization.  Overall the website is meaningless pap trying to bolster a slogan like name - Forward BCNDP.    Interestingly the only public name connected to the group, Sage Aaron, is not a new person in leadership roles within the party, though maybe by NDP terms she is new and younger leadership.

It is so easy to make a website and create social media accounts that I am always looking around for names of real people behind a new campaign.   Too often a website of a new group will have "we" and "us" sprinkled throughout but no names of people to back it up. I can connect the name of a single person to the Forward BCNDP group, Sage Aaron, and that is only because her name is in the media.  She claims to have 40 members from across BC.

Seriously, a total of 40 people involved?    Since they seem to want to be organizing for the November convention I would have thought they would have managed to get a much larger group of people together to back this.   They have had all summer and 40 people is all they could have come up with?   Even if all of them go as delegates to the convention they will not be enough to have any impact.   I assume they hope there will be a ground swell of people flocking to them, but based on the content of their website I do not see that happening.  If they were serious about building the membership in the party they would have built up their own membership to several thousand before they formally launched.

If they were serious in change they would have set some clear objectives such as:

  • Resignation of Adrian Dix as leader and MLA
  • Resignation of Moe Sihota
  • Set a goal of 42,500 members, 500 per riding
  • Retirement before 2017 of the MLAs that were around for the 1991-2001 so that new people can be MLAs for a period before the next election.
  • Set serious organizational targets that must be met before anyone is allowed to run for the NDP such as having to bring on board at least 200 new active volunteers
  • Signing up 1,000 to 2,000 supporters to Forward BCNDP before the launch

The best way to sum up this group is that it is an almost perfect reflection of why the NDP has had problems over the last 15 years.  No one is willing to stand up and take a concrete position and set out a clear plan.

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