Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Obligatory Bev Desjarlais Post

Well, as many have probably heard, Churchill Manitoba NDP MP Bev Desjarlais has decided to leave caucus and sit as an independant. Sad news for the NDP at a time when everything seemed to be going well for the party, but not a big deal nor, frankly, real surprise.

Bev, of course, will be missed. She was and is a very good MP. I'm not sure why the members of her riding association chose not to nominate her again, but that's what happened. Bev herself seems to think it had something to do with the Same Sex Marriage controversy, in which Bev, against party discipline and contrary to a signed promise she made when she was last nominated (to either support the SSM bill or abstain), voted against the same sex marriage bill. For that, she was removed from her critics position.

Normally that would have been that. But unfortunately, the membership in Churchill did not see it that way, and it is the local riding association that has the final say in the nomination. Again, I'm not sure why they chose not to nominate her, but given that, I understand somewhat her decision to sit as an independant and to run as one in the next election.

Despite the differences that may have led to this, Bev is still a progressive and a good MP for her riding and I for one wish her the best of luck.

Update:

With all the partisan consipracy theories going around ('Bev was dumped because of SSM", "Jack Layton engineered this", blah blah blah...), I was curious about the person she lost to Niki Ashton.

Let's see, she is a young woman with a degree in Global Political Economy, is currently studying for a Masters in Interantional Affairs at Carleton University, she speaks Greek, French, English and Spanish fluently, has studied Mandarin Chinese, Russian, Ukrainian and Turkish and is currently learning Cree (how many sitting politicians speak Cree?). She has been educated in Hong Kong, travelled to and volunteered in Athens Greece during the Olympics and to Costa Rica while in highschool, has been a teacher, and is currently researching the affects of the free trade agreements on labour rights.

Wow.

Never mind all that conspiracy crap. The distinct possibility exists that Niki Ashton was seen by members of the riding association in Churchill simply as a better candidate.

I certainly would have voted for her.

As hard as losing Bev Desjarlais is right now, having Niki Ashton as a candidate certainly makes up for it.

Hat tip to the Coyote Howls for the link...

16 Comments:

At 11:00 AM, Blogger RP. said...

She was and is a very good MP.

If we were talking about something other than voting in favour of denying homosexuals their essential humanity, I might agree with you.

 
At 11:21 AM, Blogger Mike said...

We are.

I agree that that was not acceptable and that is why she lost her critic portfolio. She should have abstained, as she promised she would. I suspect her loss of the nomination has more to do with breaking a written promise or seeming to be under the influence of the church rather than anything else (but I don't really know, this is conjecture on my part). I mean, with a large native population in her riding, and the residential schools question still hanging around, I suspect the people in Churchill and area were leary of running someone that broke promises or seemd to side with the curch when it came to important issues.

Frankly I think it took some courage to vote the way she did, even though I don't agree with it. But when you break a written promise, don't be surprised when your riding association turns against you.

 
At 12:09 PM, Blogger Antonio said...

The NDP have shown themselves to be a dogmatic party that does not respect the opinion of their MPs, Bev voted with her conscience as did about 100 Liberal backbenchers and was punished.

More blackmail from jack layton...vote for my policy or you get booted.

Freedom of Expression is right there in the charter along with equality of the person. Bev chose to vote against equality...it's a shame but Jack Layton should not have gotten on his high horse.

 
At 12:27 PM, Blogger Mike said...

"Bev voted with her conscience as did about 100 Liberal backbenchers and was punished."

Yep, she lost her critic's position. That was that. No other punishment. With SSM history, she served her punishment. After the next election, she probably would have gotten her critic portfolio back, because she was (and is) a good MP.

"More blackmail from jack layton...vote for my policy or you get booted."

Except that it wasn't Jack Layton that booted her - it was her local riding association. For many reasons, none of whioch I really know. Perhaps we should ask someone from the riding association how it went.

"Freedom of Expression is right there in the charter along with equality of the person. Bev chose to vote against equality...it's a shame but Jack Layton should not have gotten on his high horse."

Well, I'm not sure what you point is but she voted against party discipline and was punished for it interanlly. It was over long before the nomination meeting.

In case you have never been a member of an NDP riding association, let me tell you that no-one from national office even knows or cares until the local association tells them who the candidate is. The decision is wholly at the local level.

Sorry, but nice try. How many other parties DON'T punish MPs who broke party discipline? How many other parties let their MP face contested nominations?

Sorry but you are blowing smoke. Sometimes this stuff happens when you practice democracy.

 
At 1:01 PM, Blogger Antonio said...

The speculation Bev would lose her nomination was rampant the day she voted against SSM. Jack Layton did not defend her even though she was a good MP.

I'm not blowing smoke, this proves the NDP is only open to those who share their views, and that is tragic

 
At 1:12 PM, Blogger Mike said...

And how is Jack Layton supposed to defend her, when it is the local riding association that decides who the candiate will be? Perhaps because it is the elite in the Libberal party that decides these things, you are not used to things like grass-roots democracy and following what the local riding wants rather than dictating it from above.

How many Liberal MP's face contested nomination meetings? Hmmm my Young Liberal gadfly? Exactly 0.

Now how many NDP sitting MPs face contested nominations - ALL OF THEM.

How many parachute Candidates did the Liberals have last time (**cough Tony Valeri cough**)? Shall I hold up Sheila Copps as the example of that Liberal big tent with the comfy welcome mat that certainly tolerates other views? How about the other Chretien loyalists?

A Liberal, any Liberal, should not be complaining about democracy and openess in another party with a record like that.

Boy you must feel real threatened by the NDP to go off like this...

 
At 1:58 PM, Blogger Antonio said...

HAHA threatened by the NDP thats funny. Doesnt stop the Jack Blackmail though...they will still try.

The Liberal Party did the right thing by saying no MP would be challenged for a nomination in the future after the Copps episode last year. They changed the constitution because it was the right thing to do.

The fact is Jack Layton did not stand behind his MP after the vote and before her nomination. That led to her losing it and Canadians are not stupid. How can they talk about democratic deficit after doing something so stupid? What happened to voting for things on a vote by vote basis, not based on demands imposed on the Liberals? The hypocrisy is astounding!

 
At 2:13 PM, Blogger Mike said...

So why then are you so obsessed with this largely non-story? Why are you so viciously attacking the NDP on this?

What, exactly, should Jack have done to 'stand behind his MP'? No, really, I'd like to know what eactly he should have done differently, so that next time I see him I can tell him, so we don't lose another MP of Bev's experience and calibre? I'm sure the VP Policy for the Young Liberals of Quebec MUST have some insight into this, having run so many candidates and compaigns?

"What happened to voting for things on a vote by vote basis, not based on demands imposed on the Liberals? The hypocrisy is astounding!"

What are you yammering about here? 'demands imposed by the Liberals'? So you telling me the Liberals no longer have party discipline and no longer have a Whip. Right.

Anyway, enough moving the goal posts. The nomination was lost at the local level. If you have any other information that contradicts this, show it, otherwise I won't indulge in any more speculation with you because, since I am not a member of her riding association, I just don't know.

Did you ever think that maybe, just maybe, the members of her riding association thought a 24-year-old woman that speaks 8 languages and has travelled extensively might actually e a better candidate thatn Bev and THATS why they picked her? Not everything is a conspiracy. Even a Liberal must believe that.

 
At 4:07 PM, Anonymous Case said...

Wow, Anotnio, your comments are so... naive.

You have the right through freedom of expression to go up to your boss and tell him/her that he's/she's an idiot. But freedom of expression won't protect you from getting canned within the following sixteen seconds.

But it did NOT happen that way to Bev. As Mike said, Bev was ousted by her own riding. Those are the facts. You know, FACTS.

I also noticed on your weblog that you believe the Liberals have never done anything so bad as to admonish an MP for their beliefs. Well, since you like to talk about non-issues, need I remind you that Paul Martin expulsed Carolyn Parrish from caucus for expressing her views. Paul never stuck up for her either, you know. If that isn't crushing her freedom of speech right there, I don't know what is!

Don't get high and mighty with the NDP's course of action here. You think the Conservatives allow for such "free thought" amongst their ranks too? Do you think the Bloc is any better?

 
At 2:49 PM, Anonymous Deanna said...

I'm starting to believe that all Antonio is trying to do is start a controversy that will drive views of his blog.

 
At 5:54 AM, Blogger angela said...

well, antonio never posts.

conspiracy crap? how many 23-year-olds do you know? if volunteer work, vacations, exchange programmes, language skills, research and teaching experience make you mp material... wtf am i doing in school racking up debt?

 
At 9:45 PM, Blogger Steve said...

"How many Liberal MP's face contested nomination meetings? Hmmm my Young Liberal gadfly? Exactly 0."

I seem to recall Sheila Copps got the boot in a nomination meeting. Liberal leader Paul Martin had nothing to do with that. There were more.

The leader of every political party. Jack Layton included, exercises significant influence at the riding level. This would not have happened if the word went out to leave Bev alone.

 
At 9:16 PM, Blogger Candace said...

First of all I seem to recall at the time of the vote Bev said she was voting not just her conscience but in response to the requests of her constituents. I wasn't aware she'd signed something saying she'd abstain, but I think (if she has the records to prove it was constituent-driven) she did the right thing.

And I'm with Ainge - a 23-yr-old? And she's going to win the seat in a rural riding? Well, it should make for an interesting seat to watch, anyway. Hopefully Bev & Niki will split the vote & the CPC will sneak in on top ;-)

 
At 10:33 PM, Blogger D. Martin said...

"I'm not blowing smoke, this proves the NDP is only open to those who share their views, and that is tragic."

I realize governments and countries should be open and tolerant to other views, however as a member and MP of a political party, she must share the central values of the party. And equality (not just for workers, but also for homosexuals) is a central NDP value. Not sharing central values of a party is reason enough to have your critic portfolio removed. Furthermore, Ashton is a terrific candidate.

To candace, I don't hope the Torries win. Northern Manitoba needs social programs for it's economy and educational system to progress. Government aid, not tax cuts, will help your average Northern Manitoban!

 
At 10:33 PM, Blogger D. Martin said...

"I'm not blowing smoke, this proves the NDP is only open to those who share their views, and that is tragic."

I realize governments and countries should be open and tolerant to other views, however as a member and MP of a political party, she must share the central values of the party. And equality (not just for workers, but also for homosexuals) is a central NDP value. Not sharing central values of a party is reason enough to have your critic portfolio removed. Furthermore, Ashton is a terrific candidate.

To candace, I don't hope the Torries win. Northern Manitoba needs social programs for it's economy and educational system to progress. Government aid, not tax cuts, will help your average Northern Manitoban!

 
At 10:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bev Desjarlais was ousted from the NDP party because she upheld Biblical values - those same values are contrary to Jack Layton's values. You can all speculate that it was for other reasons, but it was a clash of values that was Bev's undoing. Shame on Jack Layton and any other NDP that opposes God's Word.

 

Post a Comment

<< Home