Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Ashton pleads for fair play

Panel rejects complaint about delegate selection

  • Print

NDP leadership candidate Steve Ashton appealed to grassroots New Democrats Thursday to use their sense of fair play when voting for a new premier tomorrow.

Ashton's plea came hours after an independent panel rejected his complaint that non-union party members have been awarded union delegate status despite what's outlined in the NDP's constitution.

The awarding of union delegate credentials to non-union members has been an embarrassment for the NDP in its first leadership convention to use the delegate system instead of one-member-one vote.

"I'm going to be appealing for fairness from the delegates," Ashton said. "I may not be able to stop this from happening, but I certainly will be looking to people to say this is wrong, it's unfair, unfair to the process, and certainly unfair to candidates in the process."

At issue is how the Manitoba Federation of Labour and its affiliated unions have redistributed unfilled union delegate spots to party members who didn't win a delegate position in a constituency meeting or party stalwarts who just want to attend the convention. About 80 to 90 unfilled union spots became available last week when large unions couldn't fill them with union members, mostly because many union members aren't NDP members.

The party's constitution says the union delegate positions can only be filled by members of the same union.

Ashton filed a complaint with the party because many of the so-called "rental delegates" are supporters of leadership candidate Greg Selinger. Late Wednesday, Ashton learned his complaint had been rejected. No reasons for the decision were given.

"How on earth can we go into a leadership convention with people that are going to show up as affiliated union delegates who quite clearly have no connection to unions?" Ashton said. "We need a fair democratic process here. We're selecting not just a leader, we're selecting the next premier of the province."

"It may potentially affect the result," he said. "I guarantee you one thing. If I'm premier we won't go through this process again in the form it's in."

Selinger said Thursday it's up to the MFL and its affiliated unions to decide who their delegates will be at the convention. "What's important is that people want to be involved (in the party) and that we work off of that. The more people that want to be involved the better it is."

A spokesman for Selinger later said that the former finance minister accepts the decisions of the party's independent rules committee. "While the leadership selection process has not been perfect, we are confident it has been fair -- and the independent rules committee has consistently agreed with that view," the spokesman said in an e-mail. Kevin Rebeck, newly elected president of the MFL, said unions have differing means for selecting delegates.

At the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), where he served as Manitoba president until Thursday, priority was given to executive members and staff, followed by retired members and activists.

"Yes, some of them are no longer CUPE members. But we feel that they've represented and have been elected or worked on behalf of working people for years and deserve that ability (to be delegates)," Rebeck said.

CUPE, Manitoba's largest union, received 120 convention spots, using all but 30, which it forwarded to the MFL.

Ashton said he has no problem with retired union members being delegates. He said his issue is with party members not picked as delegates at the constituency level showing up at the convention as union delegates.

bruce.owen@freepress.mb.ca larry.kusch@freepress.mb.ca

 

 

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 16, 2009 A6

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

It’s the End Of the Term And They Know It, Part Two

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A water lily in full bloom is reflected in the pond at the Leo Mol Sculpture Garden Tuesday afternoon. Standup photo. Sept 11,  2012 (Ruth Bonneville/Winnipeg Free Press)
  • PHIL.HOSSACK@FREEPRESS.MB.CA 101130-Winnipeg Free Press Columns of light reach skyward to the stars above Sanford Mb Tuesday night. The effect is produced by streetlights refracting through ice crystals suspended in the air on humid winter nights. Stand Up.....

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Who will you vote for in Wednesday's mayoral race?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google