Home > NDP, NDP Convention 2009 > Halifax Convention Fails To Even Discuss Vital Party Reforms

Halifax Convention Fails To Even Discuss Vital Party Reforms

August 16, 2009

I’ve got to say, I am very disappointed. Because of the length of time discussing housekeeping items to the NDP Constitution, convention failed to even discuss vital reforms to the party. Heck, only 3 resolutions were even touched upon.

But good news first: delegates have chosen to have an updated preamble drafted, to be voted upon for the next convention. Considering the current one (at bottom of post) was written during the Cold War using the terminology and context of the time, a re-write is sorely needed. I hope that the executive will let regular members have input into the drafting process; after all, I sense that there is a desire at the grassroots level to discuss the party’s mission.

However, a preamble doesn’t really change the structure, the “how” of the party, and is therefore mostly a semantic debate, which leads me to continue with the bad news: the lack of discussion on vital party reforms.

First of all, let’s touch upon the name change. The motion to change the name of the party right away was ranked at #20, and didn’t have a real chance of being discussed. However, the motion to have consultations on a name change, ranked at #7, did. It is sad that this wasn’t even discussed, and as a consequence, I don’t think activists by names demands by some activists to have a look at the party name will die down. Hopefully, the party executive will begin consultations on the party name in its own accord.

Another key reform that wasn’t even discussed is the transfer of setting rules for nominations from the provincial sections to the federal section. It doesn’t really make sense to have over 10 different rules to nominate a candidate for a single political party, nor have a body that isn’t focused on federal politics to be setting the rules.

Finally, reforms to party membership were not even discussed. A motion to convention proposed the examination of separating membership of the federal and provincial parties, with further instructions to have a flat membership fee across the country and to develop a process, in the event of separation, of close co-operation between the provincial sections and the federal section (with a joint membership form being suggested.)

I think that the NDP needs a frank discussion in regards to structural reforms for the purpose of sending our party towards victory, and I hope that at the next convention, structural reforms will be discussed.

Update 08/16/2009: Corrected nonsensical sentence.

Appendix 1: Current NDP Constitution Preamble:

The New Democratic Party believes that the social, economic and political progress of Canada can be assured only by the application of democratic socialist principles to government and the administration of public affairs.

The principles of democratic socialism can be defined briefly as:

That the production and distribution of goods and services shall be directed to meeting the social and individual needs of people within a sustainable environment and economy and not to the making of profit;

To modify and control the operations of the monopolistic productive and distributive organizations through economic and social planning.  Towards these ends and where necessary the extension of the principle of social ownership;

The New Democratic Party holds firm to the belief that the dignity and freedom of the individual is a basic right that must be maintained and extended; and

The New Democratic Party is proud to be associated with the democratic socialist parties of the world and to share the struggle for peace, international co-operation and the abolition of poverty.

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Categories: NDP, NDP Convention 2009
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