Background for Americans: “NDP” stands for “New Democratic Party”, Canada’s extreme left-wing party. A socialist party.
Union members can all decide to join the NDP individually. That’s one thing they’re allowed, by their union, to do on their own. Other things are prohibited. You know, like “thinking”. That, they must do in unison. Apparently singing and chanting are also to be done in unison, such as: “Sol,id-ar-it-y fo-rev,ver…” and other Marxist-Chic songs.
Now naturally, it is “suggested” by some unions that their members do make sure they join the NDP, completely on their own initiative, mmmbut a stack o’ membership cards is available at the union hall.
And like the union itself, members are encouraged to be sure to send in their donation too, completely on their own volition. After all, they voted for it in a non-secret ballot 80 years ago.
That way, when the Elections Canada stats are shown every year depicting from whence support is coming for all the parties, it will appear as though “unions” aren’t necessarily supporting the NDP but rather that “individuals” are the true supporters of the NDP. The NDP love to appear not just as the party that supports grass, but as a grass roots party. It’s all about the grass.
Unions themselves can also be members of the NDP—I don’t mean union members can be members, I mean the union itself. The NDP suddenly calls unions “affiliates”, though, not “unions” in this case, not that they’re trying to hide anything of course. And at conventions, the unions ….err umm “affiliates”…. can vote on resolutions and on the leadership of the Party.
But they don’t get one vote, in fact labor unions ….err umm “affiliates”…. are guaranteed 25 percent of the vote. In effect, that means unions ….err umm “affiliates”…. get many times more votes than individual members—like ten times more.
In “democratic socialism”, snicker, some votes are more worthy than other votes. I’m not sure but I think at NDP conventions, if you’re rich (you’re non-union and earned over $28 thou) and happen to have joined the NDP, and you vote on something at the convention, your vote is thrown out and you get kicked in the backside by a giant lumberjack who earns $100 thou. But at least you got to vote.
Individual union members can all go to the NDP leadership convention and vote for their choice of leader too. All members can vote—not just local official delegates, thus guaranteeing a real full, popular looking NDP convention for the CBC TV cameras, of which there are 953 pointed every which way.
Most of the “affiliate” votes are reserved for Canada’s largest unions based on their financial contributions to the NDP over the past four years. This includes CUPE and other public-sector unions, which work for governments and the many government departments, institutions, and enterprises.
The “affiliates” thus control a huge block of votes—oh who are we kidding they own the Party.
They can literally set the tone of the whole convention and set the policy direction of the Party—both before, during, and after the convention. And before, during, and after general elections in Canada or in the provinces or territories if and when they win elections as they have in British Columbia and Ontario. They currently govern Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Well not so much “govern” as “pay back” I would think.
What happens after an NDP victory at the polls? How does an NDP Premier of British Columbia deal with public sector unions like the BC Government Employees Union when their contract expires? Well, what did they agree to at the big convention? How much did they contribute financially and otherwise? How many votes did they wield?
How isn’t it an inherent conflict of interest to directly deal in any honest way with your direct financial and campaign supporters who are absolutely responsible for bringing you to power?
How about the British Columbia teachers’ union which isn’t an NDP “affiliate” but shows their modest support instead by embarking on a massive multi-million-dollar media campaign against the current government and one in which, at the direction of the union, the teachers even have the audacity to campaign in schools during parent-teacher conferences by bad-mouthing the government; and using school bulletin boards to spread anti-government rhetoric; and by holding militant “political protests” (strikes) which barricade student and even uncooperative teachers from entry in their campaign to bring down the government and get an NDP government elected? How would an NDP government deal with these public employees? Wouldn’t it be the very definition of a conflict of interest?
Of course it is.
The NDP (“democratic socialists”, snicker) will argue that with a Conservative Party in power, they would be in a conflict because they’d be dealing with companies and enterprises all the time. There’s a slight difference: We live in a capitalist society. The vast majority of people either own or work for private companies (even the union members do). It’s the nature of our lives. Even unions are involved in it. Union pension plans are among the largest—if not the largest—investor groups in the nation in real estate devlopment and private corporations. Union members’ very pensions depend, in large part, on the success of corporations. (The irony isn’t lost on me but is apparently in the NDP Politburo).
The unions would have us believe that unions aren’t an interest group—it’s everyone else who is an interest group! They’re the normal ones—we’re crazy!
This “rest-of-the-world interest group”, which us crazies belong to, believes in a capitalist society by and large. Since the NDP stands for the overthrow of capitalism and the creation of a global socialist utopia, the only “conflict of interest” involved in governments dealing with corporations is a conflict with the political interests of the NDP and their socialist ideology.
The NDP pretend this “affiliate” nonsense isn’t going on and that they aren’t owned by the unions. But many even within the NDP are aghast and embarrassed by this obvious conflict of interest and undemocratic policy that the (“democratic socialists”, snicker) NDP has had in place. They remain very quiet about it.
I think that’s because it is a hellacious scandal comparable only to the current Liberal Party corruption scandal, and an inherent abuse of power by both a political party and a special interest group, both of which stand to profit at the huge expense of the general taxpaying public.
So yes it seems like the NDP is in an untenable conflict of interest by being affiliated with unions. If you search hard enough you can find some discussion of it.
The left-wing web site “NDProgress” beats around the bush as follows, regarding public-sector unions and the conflict of interest with the NDP:
? The party is in an untenable conflict of interest by being affiliated with public service unions.
? When the party was formed, public sector unions did not exist and the idea that it would today be in a conflict of interest was never conceived of.
And that’s a left-wing, pro-NDP web site. Imagine how it really is without all that positive spin.
Paul Ramsey, a former BC NDP cabinet minister and supporter of Nils Jensen’s failed bid for leadership of the BC NDP (he failed to get union support, duh) in last year’s leadership convention wrote on Jensen’s campaign web site:
The perception of undo influence concerns Nils Jensen. His solution is to end “affiliate memberships” and move to a “one member, one vote” method of choosing leaders. Only individual members would have the right to vote, and only individual members would attend conventions and set policy.
At any convention “affiliate delegates” make up 20-30% of voting attendees. They rarely vote as a bloc, but they certainly have a significant influence on Party proceedings.
The perception of undo influence concerns Nils Jensen. His solution is to end “affiliate memberships” and have move to a “one member, one vote” method of choosing leaders. Only individual members would have the right to vote, and only individual members would attend conventions and set policy.
Perhaps stating the obvious, he coyly added:
Some New Democrats are unhappy that Mr. Jensen has chosen to discuss publicly what they regard as internal Party matters.
Don’t worry, I’ll be happy to discuss it publicly.
Here’s the opening salvo: “Democratic socialists”? No but seriously…