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NDP youth wing to vote directly for candidates

Party brass says regular selection process is too unwieldy

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 23/9/2009 (2887 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The Manitoba NDP's youth wing, which boasts more than 1,000 members, has been told by the party brass that it will not directly select delegates to the Oct. 17 convention, a decision one leadership candidate spokesman has called "paternalistic."

Unlike how delegates are selected at the constituency level, members of the Manitoba Young New Democrats (MYND) will vote directly for the leadership candidate they prefer.

Greg Selinger, with students from Winnipeg Aboriginal Sport Achievement Centre, announces northern and aboriginal strategy.


Greg Selinger, with students from Winnipeg Aboriginal Sport Achievement Centre, announces northern and aboriginal strategy.

Then the candidates and their campaign officials will decide which young NDPers get to go to convention as delegates. The number of youth delegates each candidate gets will be based on the results of the provincewide youth vote.

The party directive was announced to campaign managers for the three leadership candidates -- Andrew Swan, Steve Ashton and Greg Selinger -- at a meeting Wednesday morning.

A member of the MYND executive and Ashton's campaign, which claims to have good support among young NDP activists, cried foul Wednesday.

"I think it's pretty silly," said Dale Edmunds, the MYND's outreach co-ordinator, of the party decision. "I mean, we as an executive voted to do basically the same thing as every constituency association is doing and we were basically told that we were not allowed to do that because two of the leadership camps complained," he said, referring to Selinger's and Swan's people.

The youth wing, which gets 107 delegates (10% of its membership), had proposed a delegate selection process similar to what is being done at the constituency level. Non-Winnipeg members would select a slate of delegates through a mail-in ballot while city dwellers would do the same at a meeting in Winnipeg.

But the party's president and spokespersons for Selinger and Swan said that process would be too unwieldy and cumbersome for what amounts to be a provincewide constituency. They also said there was no unanimity among the MYND for the process its board recommended.

Party president Lorraine Sigurdson said the leadership planning committee had a "difficult" decision to make, noting that the ballot may have contained more than 300 names.

"I wish we could come up with a solution that would have made everyone 100 per cent happy, but we did the best we could," Sigurdson said.

Sel Burrows, a spokesman for Ashton, said the fact that youth members wouldn't select their own delegates -- while unions and constituencies are -- was inconsistent and "paternalistic."

He said Ashton's campaign felt that it had good support from young NDPers who would have stood a good chance of being elected from the MYND at large.

"It just makes it a little bit more complex in organizing," he said of the party ruling.

Meanwhile, Edmunds said he's all in favour of a one-member, one-vote system, if that's the way the party as a whole was choosing its next leader.

"I'm all in favour of democracy," he said. "But to have different rules for the young New Democrats because they don't trust who we're going to vote for or whatever is ridiculous. If you're going to do a delegated convention, then treat us the same way you're going to treat labour and constituencies."



What the candidates did:

Andrew Swan

SWAN vowed that if elected premier, he would introduce legislation ensuring that the full costs of public-private partnerships are disclosed before they can be entered into.

He made the announcement in front of the Union Centre, surrounded by officials from the Canadian Union of Public Employees and other labour officials.

The city of Winnipeg has said it wants to enter into a strategic partnership with one of three large companies to take control of waste treatment services. Swan said that if he becomes premier, any deal the city signs with such a company will be given a close look under the legislation he is proposing.

The legislation would ensure a public review of such partnerships, a full cost analysis for the entire term of any agreement and frequent public reporting that will include "both financial and performance accountability," he said.

Swan also received the personal endorsement of Kevin Rebeck, head of the Manitoba division of the Canadian Union of Public Employees.


Greg Selinger

SELINGER promised improved training, economic opportunities and services for northern and aboriginal people at a news conference on the east lawn of the Legislative Building Wednesday afternoon.

Surrounded by aboriginal leaders and two-dozen orange-shirted youth from the Winnipeg Aboriginal Sport Achievement Centre, the former finance minister said he would ensure "more representative participation" of aboriginal people in skilled training and jobs, especially on northern roads and other infrastructure projects.

He said he would also work with First Nations and Ottawa to improve high school graduation rates and expand resources and the mandate of the Communities Economic Development Fund to promote entrepreneurial support for the north.


Steve Ashton

ASHTON had no announcements but he said in an interview with the Canadian Press that he's willing to consider passing a law to ban companies from using replacement workers during strikes or lockouts.

It's a position that could help him take union support away from the other candidates, the news agency said.

"If I'm premier, very clearly, we do not want to see the use of replacement workers. That's not consistent with the kind of labour relations we have in the province," Ashton said. "In terms of legislation, it certainly is an option."

Campaign notes


DELEGATE selection meetings were to be held in five Manitoba constituencies Wednesday night, with 95 delegate spots up for grabs. In Steinbach, however, which is held by the Tories, the crowd wasn't expected to be large as there are only 14 registered New Democrats there, according to a campaign official. That means it will elect one delegate.


THERE are Facebook sites dedicated to promoting the election of all three leadership candidates. As of early Wednesday, the Steve Ashton for premier site had 550 members, the Greg Selinger site had 391 fans and the Andrew Swan page had 313 supporters.

Read more by Larry Kusch.


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