Media Release: Stephen Elliott-Buckley Runs for BC NDP Vice-President to Lead Party Renewal


-- Download Media Release: Stephen Elliott-Buckley Runs for BC NDP Vice-President to Lead Party Renewal as PDF --


The BC NDP needs to be the electoral wing of a progressive social movement throughout BC.
In the 21st century it’s not politicians and parties that get elected but clear values and active communities.
The BC NDP has been losing more than elections; in recent months, it has been losing core supporters in droves.
Members of the provincial NDP are justifiably alienated. They are quitting and canceling their monthly donations. They didn’t show up to help on campaigns during the election and they didn’t even show up to vote.
The party must stay true to our core values: our party policy. Trying to please everyone has failed our members.
NDP members believe in carbon taxes. We don’t believe in a new Port Mann bridge or the Gateway Project. We know environmental issues are social justice issues. Why should we assume ordinary citizens do not?
People who want to run the party need to see that how we fix the party is simply by asking our members how to fix the party. There is a tremendous amount of passion, intelligence and wisdom in the party to involve.
We must build a social movement inside the party, empowering and including members as more than donors but the essence of our party as we build relationships and community around the province through meaningful dialog.
We need to run the party from a place of fearlessness and democracy at every level. On November 27, the BC NDP convention is our opportunity to begin making this shift. So we have to affirm our stance and not let our critics keep us from getting the job done with integrity.
Without this culture of democracy and fearlessness we’ll never even know if we’ve ever truly lost any election. How could we know for sure?
So, I’m publicly announcing my candidacy for Vice-President of the BC NDP. In the spirit of democracy and fearlessness, I encourage other members thinking of running for the party executive to also go public with their plans so more than just convention delegates will ever find out who wants to lead the party.
We have nothing to lose.

The BC NDP needs to be the electoral wing of a progressive social movement throughout BC.

In the 21st century it’s not politicians and parties that get elected but clear values and active communities.

The BC NDP has been losing more than elections; in recent months, it has been losing core supporters in droves.

Members of the provincial NDP are justifiably alienated. They are quitting and canceling their monthly donations. They didn’t show up to help on campaigns during the election and they didn’t even show up to vote.

The party must stay true to our core values: our party policy. Trying to please everyone has failed our members.

NDP members believe in carbon taxes. We don’t believe in a new Port Mann bridge or the Gateway Project. We know environmental issues are social justice issues. Why should we assume ordinary citizens do not?

People who want to run the party need to see that how we fix the party begins by simply asking our members how to fix the party. There is a tremendous amount of passion, intelligence and wisdom in the party to involve.

We must build a social movement inside the party, empowering and including members as more than donors but the essence of our party as we build relationships and community around the province through meaningful dialogue.

We need to run the party from a place of fearlessness and democracy at every level. On November 27, the BC NDP convention is our opportunity to begin making this shift. So we have to affirm our stance and not let our critics keep us from getting the job done with integrity.

Without this culture of democracy and fearlessness we’ll never even know if we’ve ever truly lost any election.

So, I’m publicly announcing my candidacy for Vice-President of the BC NDP. In the spirit of democracy and fearlessness, I encourage other members thinking of running for the party executive to also go public with their plans so more than just convention delegates will ever find out who wants to lead the party.

We have nothing to lose.

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Stephen Elliott-Buckley

Post-partisan eco-socialist. at Politics, Re-Spun
Stephen Elliott-Buckley is a husband, father, professor, speaker, consultant, former suburban Vancouver high school English and Social Studies teacher who changed careers because the BC Liberal Party has been working hard to ruin public education. He has various English and Political Science degrees and has been writing political, social and economic editorials since November 2002. Stephen is in Twitter, Miro and iTunes, and the email thing, and at his website, dgiVista.org.

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14 thoughts on “Media Release: Stephen Elliott-Buckley Runs for BC NDP Vice-President to Lead Party Renewal”

  1. It’s too experience to pay for the convention. If the people have no $300, they can’t be delegated. No money No voice! Suck!

  2. abby, the party is deeply in debt, so can’t afford to subsidize the convention any more. Riding associations have the option to do so, and I would argue they should be the ones driving fundraising for events like this.

  3. Convention is very expensive, for sure.

    There are [at least] two competing goals with convention.

    One is to hold a grand showcase of the party to stir up excitement with big rallying speakers and hoopla!

    The other is to be widely inclusive and maximize participation to increase discussion and debate among as many people as possible, even if only only 4% of members are voting delegates.

    Many riding associations are broke or in debt and have no capacity to subsidize anyone.

    If convention took place at the Agrodome instead of a hotel we could increase the number of people attending and taking part. Then again, the Agrodome means way more people, yet still only one person speaking at a time.

    So maybe a big high school at spring break a day after the BCTF AGM meets would be a good time to run convention. That way we could use the gym, an auditorium and maybe a nearby ice rink, and we could billet delegates…all of which enhances community.

    What we miss is a swanky hotel experience, but I’d trade that for more engagement and access instead of massive fundraising for such an expensive convention.

  4. The riding associations, for the most part, have not done a very good job of fundraising, for various reasons, but mostly because most are reluctant to ask people for money. Many entered the election having done little to no fundraising, and consequently finished the election with debt on their lines of credit. It’s reactive rather than proactive, and will likely happen again unless we start preparing now at the riding level for the election in 2013.

    I think both approaches to conventioning are valid, and the one you favour is obviously more inclusive (so in theory democratic). Logistically I think it would be a nightmare, and cynically I’m not sure anything is accomplished at conventions. Lots of talk, debate, and then everyone back to their communities to leave NDP business for another three years until they get some shit together to have a riding association meeting and think about finding a candidate. Obviously there are exceptions.

  5. I think little of lasting value is accomplished at conventions precisely because of the way they are structured now, which doesn’t encourage much wide participation.

    Having the Open Space session is a beginning, but interest from non-delegates to participate [which they can only observe] indicates that the party MUST expand opportunities for dialogue both among members and non-members–on the riding level and on regional or even provincial levels.

    What if the party sponsored a webcast. Get a great speaker, like the woman here for the gala dinner next Saturday night.

    The speaker can present to a group in a venue that is webcast around the province. Then ridings can have house meetings or community meetings with the internet feed to watch the speaker…then alas, there you have it, a ready-made town hall for member engagement.

    Who KNOWS what kind of wisdom can erupt from such things!

  6. Well that would be great Brenton, but in case you have forgotten most of the constituencies are deep in debt from trying to pay for an election campaign that was dismal from start to finish and looked more like a template for how to LOSE an election than a recipe taking leadership! As well the constituencies are forever being nickeled and dimed by the Provincial NDP who seems to be able to change the funding rules at will with little or not consultation with the membership or the constituencies as has been the case with the withholding of the PAC money since the last election.

  7. “in case you have forgotten most of the constituencies are deep in debt from trying to pay for an election campaign”

    I’ll leave the discussion about the actual campaign aside, as it is far too big an issue. As I wrote above, those constituencies are deep in debt now because most did little to no fundraising between 2006 and 2009. Many (the ones that I interacted with, anyway) went into the election with a few thousand dollars that they had raised starting in January. So of course they are in debt now. Unless we change this approach to fundraising, we are going to repeat the same mistake again in 2013.

  8. They’re withholding the PAC money to pay off the provincial debt. They pledge to repay that money to ridings in the future. Many perceive this as theft and a gunpoint loan since ridings didn’t have an option there.

    At the September Provincial Council meeting, in discussing the PAC decision, many people said that the party belongs to the members and the debt belongs to the members. So all the members deserve to be part of the solution.

  9. What would you do if you got to make that decision? I think I might have done the same, hard to say without more info. The party needs the funds to function on a daily basis, and while in a perfect world the ridings would be doing things with the money, in reality they do so little and have no employees or rent to pay.

  10. I guess I’m taking a practical approach, while you seem to want to address the larger issues, the communication and democratic deficits. Admirable. In theory I agree, the debt is the members so they should be part of the decision-making process, have a say in how the problem is solved, etc. I’m not sure that works all the time, however. Would members have decided that the party had to pay the PAC money right away, and would that have left the party with no money to pay rent and wages? And if so, what would have happened?

  11. I have no idea what I would do if I were on the executive several months ago. I don’t have the information they had.

    But I do know that the debt belongs everyone and informing ridings that their fundraising money won’t be coming to them is not democratic or inclusive, regardless of whether there is a precedent or policy.

    I have no idea how the dialogue would have gone if the provincial office decided to open it up and let its entire membership in on the predicament. We’ll never know how that would have gone because of choices not made. I can’t even predict how it will go if the executive gets all inclusive and democratic starting next month.

    What I do know is that members deserve to be able to participate.

    And it’s a bit of a brain twister that people criticize the ridings for doing so little that requires money, yet criticize them for not developing 85 robust fundraising systems.

    Ridings have a hard time fundraising. They lack skilled and interested people. This needs to be addressed and put on the table for solving.

  12. I agree with the sentiment, but again, wonder about the practical application of it in this specific case.

    Agree absolutely with your last point. Riding associations around the province, for the most part, need serious renewal. We have a somewhat skewed view here in the Lower Mainland, because we see the activity in East Van, or in the West End, we think that riding associations want to do things but are held back by the party somehow. In reality most riding associations have few if any people actually doing anything.

    Fundraising is simple, shitty work that anyone can do if they just commit to it. In the run up to the election there was one riding association that held a fundraiser and charged $5 for a hotdog lunch. Are you kidding me? We don’t need fundraising systems, we need commitments to fundraise, full stop. Every MLA should be holding events like Jenny’s scotch tasting, or Libby’s (canceled) 100-mile lunch. Most MLAs don’t, though, because they’re busy, they don’t want to keep asking the same people for money again and again, and so on. Easy to find a reason not to, far harder to actually do it.

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