Thursday, December 02, 2010

Memo To Moe....


....Even we, the pikers, know that Council is not Caucus.


Update: Looks like somebody has been listening, given that the latest strategy appears to be to bring both the Caucus and the big wigs from Council together according to Sean Holman.


Again, I am no insider.

But clearly there is a whole lotta foot shooting going on that should stop right now if the BC NDP wants to have anything more than stumps to limp around on come the next (snap?) election campaign.


And one other thing.

While the caucus dissidents may have it wrong, one thing, post-Kwan, is now certain....

Despite what Vaughn Palmer wrote a couple of weeks ago, they are able to deliver a message, regardless how mangled, that rises above the cryptic conspiracies of the fever swamps.




Tony Martinson said...

Right, Ross. Council is not caucus. But both are accountable to the party that put them in their positions.

As a commenter noted at Ian Reid's blog, the party convention put a leadership review process in place. The council, acted on behalf of the 85 constituency associations, voted in favour of upholding the last stated will of the party. For a minority of caucus members to disrupt that will is anti-democratic and disrespects the convention and the party. Maybe the membership wants Carole James out. They will have that opportunity in less than a year. If a snap election is called, the party will be in no better shape organizationally than it is now if it tries to put together some ad hoc leadership convention. In essence, the dissenters have succeeded only in throwing the NDP into total disarray from which it may never recover.

This is not to say that Carole James bears no responsibility for this. She is the leader, after all. She needs to rebuild the caucus.

But it seems to me that the dissenters have essentially upset the apple cart with no real plan of either repairing the apple cart, setting it upright or replacing the fruit. That's reprehensible and foolish in today's political climate. It allows the Liberals an easy ride to the next election.

RossK said...

Thanks for the info and the insight Tony...Very helpful...And I very much agree with your conclusion with respect to the potential outcome here.

I was specifically picking on Moe here because he essentially tried to conflate the two, caucus and council, when he was on CBC with S. Quinn this morning.


paul said...

Both comments were helpful. I'm getting ready to write a column on what seems much like the kind of collective madness that descends on people in second-rate horror movies.
It does seem one easy step is for Sihota to acknowledge he has become a damaging point of division and step down. Everyone is going to have to find a reason to back off entrenched positions. His resignation might help some dissidents do that.

Tony Martinson said...

Except, Paul, that John Q Public only sees the NDP in all this. They don't see Moe Sihota, really, and all this falderall serves to do is reinforce in their minds that the NDP will never be fit to govern. That's the kind of perception that will carry on no matter who is in the big chair.

To be frank, I don't care who is the leader, because I see a lot of very qualified MLAs in caucus - like Dix, Horgan, Simpson (Shane), Corrigan, Elmore, Donaldson, Farnworth and the like - who are hardly shrinking violets. I've no doubt that they have played and will play a significant role in the party's direction. This notion that Kwan had of James being this dictatorial monster strikes me as being patently false: I don't see Carole James pushing John Horgan around.

On the flip side, you've got MLAs like Harry Lali - who has contributed exactly what in the last five years? - and Nicholas Simons - who is a fine man, but has hardly been lighting the world on fire with his brilliance.

Through all this, the question comes back: why now? What could be accomplished in the next six months that can't also be accomplished in a year? Why are these cranks so gung ho about getting James out the door when if they organize and follow the party's procedures, they could accomplish the same thing next November? Paul, that's the question I haven't heard a journalist ask yet.

RossK said...


In your opinion, are there sharp, contributing MLAs amongst the dissidents?



Tony Martinson said...

Ross, that's too tough a question to ask right now. My perception is pretty cloudy, muddied by the politically tone-deaf actions a few of them have taken the last few weeks. Did you know that Conroy had her press conference about an hour after both sides came together to honour Dave Barrett at the legislature? Premier Dave is apparently not well and that was probably his last public appearance, and those people stepped all over it.

I've only met a few of the 13, and my perception is based on what I see on Hansard TV and what I see on the six o'clock news. I mention Lali because I have seen him in person and Simons because he was one of the ones quoted as saying he supported Jenny Kwan today or yesterday.

I have no doubt that all of them - even the ones I'd consider lesser lights - have the capability to contribute. There could be reasons why they don't, but the ones who are most prominent are typically the ones who hustle the most.

RossK said...


Given all that, is it possible that they have been left out of a lot of the real caucus nitty-gritty precisely because they are lightweights rather than because of any purposeful efforts to exclude them.

I've sat on a lot of committees as an academic and as a member of non-profit boards over the years and it is my opinion that those who contribute stay in the loop and those that don't contribute gradually disengage and thus are often left out of the loop at crunch time.


Tony Martinson said...

Seems to me Horgan or somebody said that about Simpson, that he brought stuff up, it was debated and he lost. That clearly didn't happen all the time - again, read what Ian Reid wrote. Simpson laid the ground work for Carole James' rural strategy leading up to the last election.

I have sat on a few boards (not academic, thank the lord) and I will concur with your assessment, although I do find that it's better to ensure that the viewpoints of dissenters are at least heard because those dissenters may have other things to contribute.

So I'd suspect that some of the dissenters are lightweights with less to contribute, but some may be interested in working, but too offside with the direction that caucus is going and get frustrated, which leads them to contribute less. Until they let me in the board room, I'm just speculating here.

Dana said...

Oh for heavens sake...all this hyper-ventilating speculation is becoming silly and showing evidence of profound naiveté.

There's some serious power available on the horizon and everybody wants some.

Whatever "principles" (cough, cough, snort) might be in play have to do entirely with the possibility of that power.

There are no particular reasons (other than unreasonable, faith based presumptions) to think that the members of the NDP caucus or council in BC are immune to the lure of power. In point of fact the opposite is more likely to be true and they are pushing and shoving to get the biggest share they can.

There might be some slight doctrinal differences between the dippers and the libs in this benighted Amor de Cosmos inheritance but there is no humanity or character gap.

Stop wanking and wasting your time looking for honourable motives or principled stands.

They are politicians for fuck sake.

They crave power over others.

They will do whatever it takes to achieve that including killing their offspring, their neighbours or you and eating the carcasses.

Full stop and FULL FUCKING STOP!

RossK said...


I completely agree that you want to let everybody speak...It's just that when folks withdraw...well...

Regarding someone once said....the politics are viscious because the stakes are so small.

(or some such thing)

RossK said...

Whoa Dana...

I think we got your message.


Dana said...

Yeah, that last bit may have been overly forceful, eh? :-)

I'm just getting tired of people not believing the evidence before their eyes.

There may have been a golden age of principled politicians somewhere at some time although I've not seen evidence of it except briefly in Saskatchewan circa 1960.

But there is no golden age here and now.

They are all jackals and it is you and I on whom they feed.

Anonymous said...

OK, my theory on why this is happening now is not the same as Danas'.

Personally, seeing the LIB leadership race begin, and their propensity for untruths, I am starting to worry. Worry that they will be able to sweep the past under the rug. Worry that the PAB and the media will make them out to be someone who will care about the citizens of BC, when we all know that this is not the case. Worry that another term of LIBS will be the death knell of BC, for good. So many worries that I begin to realize that CJ is just not enough to combat all these worries inside me.
That is why this is happening now, because we are all thinking that we simply cannot lose another election. Period.

RossK said...


I agree with your last paragraph.

However, I am just not convinced that what is going on right now is not going to make that potential loss a certainty.



G West said...

One tiny point - completely off topic - but, in my view important all the same:
How does one keep from retching when one sees that picture/ad of Kevin Falcon reading a storybook to a (his?) child?

From my point of view, that is even more hard to countenance than Pee Wee Rambo (Stevie boy) in a blue sweater cuddling a small helpless kitten.

G West said...

I should clarify Ross - the picture of the late and unlamented Health minister has pride of place(s) on Sean Holman's usually quite enlightening blog....

RossK said...

Thanks GW--

I take your point about the ridiculous tack that Mr. Falcon's handlers are taking.

However, I'm a little disturbed by the folks that are giving Mr. Holman a hard time for taking advertising.

I think it is important to remember that, unlike folks like you and me, Sean is actually trying to make a living at what he is doing, which I honestly believe is an invaluable service....If anyone has doesn't believe me on that account just go to Sean's site and type any provincial pol's name into the search box and see what you get....My point is that Mr. Holman's archives really are one of the best public records we have of the so-called 'Golden Era'....


G West said...

no argument there Ross, I appreciate Sean's work and I don't begrudge him the income either...but, even so, I find that particular ad offensive in the extreme - Especially in light of what Falcon has done to the therapeutics initiative...little kids on daddy's knee sometimes need meds of one kind or another and those kids' parents would like to think the drugs they get have been vetted in the most thorough way - Falcon's fiddled with a system that was working and saving lives and the attempt to create a pee wee soft image is sad.

RossK said...


Now that's a comment I can totally agree with.