Why ‘Renewal’ for the BCNDP really means nothing: The story behind the BC NDP Convention no one wants to talk about.

“Power does not corrupt. Fear corrupts. Perhaps the fear of a loss of power.” -John Steinbeck

One call could have been ignored or passed off as sour grapes following the election of Craig Keating as the new BC NDP president, but then another arrived, followed by a few more. Then, documentation.

Every call, and every confirmation all detailing the behind the scenes shenanigans at Convention 2013  that make the complete blindsides on Survivor look amateurish at best.

As someone who has written for years on the non-stop power plays and back room deals perpetrated by the BC Liberals, it has been an incredible source of frustration to see the NDP muddle along, often sit on the fence, or completely ignore certain issues that clearly matter to British Columbians.

For a very long time they have been sitting in perpetual opposition and it is my opinion far too many in the party have become comfortable with the security that provides them on a personal level.

Unfortunately, with that security, comes personal and special interests and the BC NDP have a plethora of both, no different from any other party. An inconvenient truth if ever there was one for a party that claims to be all about the people.

Time for an NDP reality check – one you won’t find among their press releases.

Moving Forward – or Two Steps Back?

Let’s start with Forward BCNDP, a group that claimed to want to renew the direction, and leadership of the BC NDP by involving new voices, new policies and new people.

While the face of Forward BCNDP might have appeared new to the public , the public spokesperson of the group was anything but a new face to the BC NDP, and in fact, is one whose roots go deep in the internal power base of veteran NDP’ers : Sage Aaron.

Sage is the daughter of Sue Hammell, long time MLA of  the Surrey Green Timbers riding, elected in 1991, 1996, 2005, 2009, 2013. Sage  is married to James Papadopolous and both have participated in past BC NDP campaigns.

Both Sage and James were instrumental in Craig Keatings campaign for president. None of this is news to NDP members or delegates, but it’s likely to be news to the general public.

( nothing strange about being part of campaigns past or present,but it does play into the story in association to Forward BC NDP – a bit more on Aaron from this Van Sun article: ” Aaron said she’s served previously on the NDP’s provincial executive, worked as a digital media strategist during the NDP’s 2009 election campaign, played a key backroom role in newly elected New Democrat Jane Shin’s, Burnaby-Lougheed win in May, and is connected to the Vision Vancouver team of Mayor Gregor Robertson.” )

Leading up to the convention, Forward BCNDP found itself under fire several times in the press : once, for using “BC NDP” without being formally approved by the provincial council( or was it?) – the complaint was dismissed with no reasons why, by party officers on November 7th, even though past infractions had not come without consequences.

No reason why this Forward BCNDP movement was suddenly allowed to use the NDP brand was given by party headquarters…http://www.straight.com/news/530476/guy-gentners-complaint-about-forward-bc-ndp-dismissed-party

 The ‘Tynehead Scandal’

The second complaint centered on the age-old political practice of stacking meetings and votes.  I will focus on one specific event for this post, but the same issue was raised in a couple of other constituencies that also felt upset at the process of voting delegates. ( note- no official complaints were filed in other CA’s but I have spoken to several people who raised questions about delegate selection in their ridings)

This letter of complaint sent to former president Moe Sihota and  Jan O’ Brian, details it all : Sry Tynehead Delegate Selection Mtg Scandal
























Again, nothing much happened with this complaint, other than mention of some issues with selecting delegates as reported in this Van Sun article from October : http://www.vancouversun.com/news/faction+leadership+race+tactics+raise+some+party/9060661/story.html

The complaint was dismissed, but it appeared to many who complained that the party had no issue with not checking if members were in good standing, or that they had even been members for 90 days.

Tynehead is a constituency that had a large number of delegate positions to fill, perfect for stacking with Forward BCNDP friendly members from out of the area.

For a group claiming to want to move the party forward, it sure smells like the same old political tactics that have been used for years in order for one faction in a party to get what they want, often without anyone not connected, realizing what happened until it is too late.

 “Moe’s Boy”

Here’s where it gets interesting.

Forward BCNDP  managed to secure enough delegate positions at the convention to hold tremendous power … but Jagrup Brar  had announced he was running for president of the BC NDP as well. With large popularity, he was a formidable opponent to Craig Keating, who had openly announced his decision to run against Moe Sihota early on.

Jagrup snagged some strong endorsements very quickly, and within a short time rumours were circulating that Brar was in fact  “Moe’s boy”, meaning Moe Sihota’s pick of the pack.

In fact, that rumour was circulated, without foundation, on twitter, facebook, and by phone to many NDP members, and continued right through to the convention floor.

The general public only get vague reports of what happens at NDP conventions and likely most don’t really care. However, some of the events I’ve confirmed occurred at this years BC NDP convention read more like a play book from the BC Liberals and need to be shared. And while I can’t share all documentation I have without identifying sources in different areas, rest assured documentation does exist.

 Selective Equality

Sources indicate that to address the rumours that had been circulated largely about being “Moe’s boy”,Brar asked to speak to the BC NDP party womens caucus, for 60 seconds.

After 15 minutes of heated and loud debate,a motion was put forth (and passed)to refuse him opportunity to speak to the womens caucus, and to remove him from the room.

Craig Keating however, had already been in the room speaking to womens caucus members!

This raised the ire greatly of Jinny Sims, who I am told was incredibly disappointed and upset over this refusal, and said so. What was more disappointing than anything, was that a couple very influential women in the party, sat silent and did not come to Brar’s defense.

Here was a group of women who all felt passionate and strongly about equity, that refused to allow a presidential candidate to speak for just 60 seconds to address the rumours someone had started about the motive for his candidacy and who allegedly was running his show.

Again, for a party that wants to look forward, it seemed a completely backwards move to many.

I spoke with Jagrup Brar this afternoon, but he did not wish to comment on this story, at this point in time. Seems my number wasn’t a popular one today for some in the NDP.

Everything Old is New Again

Stacking meetings, stacking votes, mass sign-ups, political games, massive divisions in the party that is still badly fractured – and some say, irreparably so – don’t indicate to new or old members that the party is moving forward.

In fact, it appears to be anything but. More than ever,  it’s the same old NDP masquerading as some new,younger, in-touch, in sync NDP in order to get some new members who were tired of the old NDP. Except all the same names are in all the same places, behind the ones that hold the official titles.

Sadly, this kind of power play doesn’t bode well for the leadership decision to come, and with Dix as the leader of the party for nearly another year, it’s going to be a hard sell until people know who is going to replace him.

They say if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything and the BC NDP might have just proven that right.

And not in a good way.

*** More info to come in a later update as I confirm new information received. Check back at a later time.

62 thoughts on “Why ‘Renewal’ for the BCNDP really means nothing: The story behind the BC NDP Convention no one wants to talk about.

  1. I was at the convention, and I was at the Women’s Committee mtg which was held most of the day Friday and at which both Jagrup and Craig Keating spoke.

    I wasn’t at the Sunday morning mtg (1 hour mtg) at which Jagrup was not allowed to speak and I wouldn’t have approved of that.

    What needs to be remembered is that the members want change and we made that very clear, if Keating does not do what we expect of him he will also be made to step aside by the members.

    I seriously think you should have come to the convention rather than listening to phone callers.

    You would have felt the momentum and unity that my delegation (Saanich North and the Islands) certainly felt. By the way I thought Judy Darcy would make a good leader, her speech on health care was smart and to the point. Too bad you didn’t chose to write about the really important things that Stephen Lewis spoke about http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h34pArkg4kQ

    I’m often disappointed by the petty minds that have to squabble over everything. Our job is to become a government that makes people’s lives easier, that makes our province a place that can expect a healthy and sustainable future and that people can be proud to call home.


    1. Susan, I don’t write anything I can’t confirm, and in this case, via multiple, reliable and very trusted sources. Just because I don’t post all my documentation, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist – remember I am the only one who has my back on this site.

      I do believe some party members feel unity, I know for a fact many more are putting on the brave face and sticking to the code of silence on this one.

      The issue is bad politics. Dirty politics. And how can the NDP say they are moving forward with actions like this? The people involved in all of this know exactly what I am referring to. And so do many more who feel like they cant say anything or they too will be branded like the ‘Bakers dozen’.

      That culture does not lead to change, it does not lead to transparency,it doesn’t foster vision and growth, it kills it.

      And I’m working on confirmation of more for an update for tomorrow.


  2. We think of voter suppression as a right wing tactic, yet the BCNDP is exhibiting the same tactics.

    It is evident why voters stay away from polling stations. Disgust with party politics.

    I count among my heroes, Tommy Douglas, Tom Berger, and Dave Barrett.

    Some years ago I contacted the BCNDP headquarters about the use of their name and the tactics employed in a civic election in an area of less than five thousand people, could not get a reply.

    Interestingly, when I contacted the BCNDP just before the last election on another matter I got an immediate response.

    I still chuckle over Nicholas Simons response, which I deserved.

    Nicholas not only met with us but offered to bring in a number of MLAs to have a further meeting with us. What I do know about Nicholas is that he was available to us all the time. I wish I could say the same for BCNDP headquarters and their backroom.


    1. I’ve heard similar stories from all over BC Robert. And I agree, it is stories like this that turn people off politics, period. It just makes me sick.

      Nicholas Simons is an incredible MLA, as I have heard from my many friends in the Powell River/ Sunshine coast region. Accessible, real, down to earth and not afraid to fight. And I hear he is a hell of a musician too… 🙂


  3. Laila, indeed they are exactly like the Liberals, willing to say anything to get not only elected, but more importantly become the next soul dictator of British Columbia.

    I find myself in a major dilemma, I found for the first time in my near 40 years of voting, able to support the Federal NDP, but I refuse to buy membership because they force me to hold a provincial membership at the same time.

    Indeed they are 2 very different groups of people, one is set on moving forward, the other is stuck in the 80’s and hell bent on staying there.

    I know some people are far too honorable to say why Nathan Cullen would not run for the position of provincial leadership, but Laila, I think you exposed why he did not.


    1. I don’t know why Nathan chose not to run. I do know why some MLA’s chose not to run this time.

      It is very hard to wrap ones head around what happens to the inner circle, the power players in any party, that elevates them to a level where it becomes more about getting power, then making good government.


  4. Excellent piece and I’m looking forward to your update tomorrow, Laila.

    The past few years I’ve become totally disillusioned with “organized” politics – both here and in The Excited States. They rank right down there with “organized” religions: A pox on all of ‘em!

    Last May’s “Dix in the Ditch” campaign erased any hope of the BC NDP being any different, unfortunately . . . .


    1. You might find this interesting Bob..

      Sage Aaron– Key organizer for Adrian Dix leadership and May 2013 campaign
      – daughter of Sue Hammell, key organizer for Adrian Dix leadership bid and one of the architects of disastrous May 2013 campaign and platform
      – Campaign manager for Jane Shin 2013 election
      – COPE 378 staffer

      Glen Sanford– Top supporter and organizer for Adrian Dix leadership
      – Part of inner circle in War Room of disastrous May 2013 campaign
      – Key organizer for Brian Topp’s federal leadership bid
      – Fmr Caucus Communications Director
      – Forward BC NDP supporter

      James Papadopoulos– Spouse of Sage Aaron and son-in-law of Sue Hammell
      – Key organizer for Adrian Dix leadership and May 2013 campaign

      Korleen Carreras– Supporter and organizer for Adrian Dix leadership and May 2013 campaign
      – Member of current Provincial Executive for past several years (prior to 2013, and now Treasuer of Party and Forward BC NDP)
      – Was Assistant to Jan O’Brien, Provincial Secretary of BC NDP under Moe Sihota

      Kate Van Meer-Mass
      – Supporter and key organizer for Adrian Dix leadership and May 2013 campaign
      – Former Executive Assistant to Adrian Dix at Legislature
      – Campaign manager for David Eby (who I am hearing from all over is Forward BC NDP’s choice for leader) (Kate is also heavily involved with COPE, the Vancouver Municipal party)

      Michelle Mungall, MLA for Nelson-Creston
      – Supporter and key organizer for Adrian Dix leadership and May 2013 campaign
      – Works with Sue Hammell and Mable Elmore in organizing caucus and party agendas

      Mable Elmore, MLA for Vancouver-Kensington
      Mable and Sue are involved in a parallel organization called Women for Equity which is operating separately from the work of the WRC and not sanctioned by Provincial Council, much like Forward BC NDP. ( Also of this fame… or infamy http://bc.ctvnews.ca/mla-attaches-cash-to-ndp-membership-forms-in-video-1.598049 )


  5. Hmmm…COPE 378 twice invited Jagrup to speak to us, and he never replied or showed up. As for the Surrey-Tynehead meeting, I received a copy of the email complaint. I replied and asked the anonymous writer who (s)he was. I never received a reply. And, there was an explanation from the constituency president about what happened.

    I can’t speak to what happened in the women’s caucus as I did not attend, but given that the immediate past chair of the WRC was working on Jagrup’s campaign I find it hard to believe they would have refused to let him in.

    And neither Craig nor Jagrup are ‘new’ people or represent true renewal. To the best of my knowledge, Forward did not endorse a candidate.

    Lori Mayhew
    Secretary-Treasurer, COPE378
    Sent via BlackBerry mobile device


    1. Ok, how it is you can say seriously that Forward BCNDP did not endorse a candidate? Perhaps not formally in the press, but there was certainly the knowledge that Keating was the Forward choice.

      The delegate issue speaks to bad politics in a party. It has been going on in various forms in every party since time began I bet. People who complain are of course, labeled complainers for not going along with the program. The Liberals do the same thing. Find a reason to discredit those who speak out. That too, is bad politics.

      The bigger issue by far and the one the NDP supporters have been trying to deflect on this story, is the one surrounding the rumours that were started about Jagrup Brar being Moe’s boy, and the motion asking him to leave the womens caucus meeting.

      Those are the two issues that no one wants to talk about. There was a solid effort to paint Brar as being driven by Moe Sihota, and in some cases, it was the racial undertones to the rumours that were so incredibly offensive. Not to mention it was also being said that he was a part of the Bakers dozen, when in fact he stood by Carole James when no one else was.

      It appears that in this particular case, loyalty is only as good as it is convenient. Quite eye opening, and quite sad.


      1. “Ok, how it is you can say seriously that Forward BCNDP did not endorse a candidate? Perhaps not formally in the press, but there was certainly the knowledge that Keating was the Forward choice.”

        I briefly worked for/with Jagrup in the May election. I have a ton of respect for the work that he has done in the party, and I greatly admire his work on social justice issues in BC. I have no doubt that he would have made an excellent party president.

        I can seriously agree with Ms. Mayhew. I spoke to Forward organizers (including some friends) and was told that they were not endorsing a candidate for president, as both were excellent choices. I count as friends people who worked on both Jagrup’s and Craig’s campaigns. I was asked repeatedly by friends on Craig’s campaign to wear buttons, etc, but felt that I wouldn’t support either candidate publicly.

        “[T]here was certainly the knowledge” is vague and (therefore) meaningless. I spoke to a lot of people who wondered why Forward hadn’t endorsed a candidate. Who had this knowledge? How did you get this certainty? It is statements like this that (unfortunately) cause me to question the veracity of the other claims you make.


  6. Hi Laila,
    I would have appreciated a call or an email about these allegations. You took entirely one side, cite no sources and did not give me or anyone else associated with Forward an opportunity to respond. I’d be pleased to talk to you about what I know happened at the convention.
    Over the last few months there have been several unfounded attacks from anonymous sources aimed at tearing down a legitimate effort by a large, diverse group of mostly young people. The fact that some feel getting new, younger people involved is a threat, or is somehow inappropriate, is indicative of a reluctance to change with the times.
    However, a strong majority of people in the BC NDP, evidenced by the convention results, are excited about the opportunity to improve and modernize our party.
    First and foremost: neither I nor my husband, James, was involved in getting anyone elected for president. Forward decided that as a group we were not endorsing a presidential candidate and communicated that to delegates, both before and at convention. We did, however, organize for a great group of executive candidates that balances experience with fresh perspective and insight.
    Both Jagrup Brar and Craig Keating were strong, admirable candidates for election. The candidates endorsed by Forward were prepared to work with whichever candidate received the support of convention.
    I am disappointed with the constant and continued inference that I do not have a right to participate in the political party I feel best expresses my values due to vague and insulting allusions to my parents. I am lucky to have my family but they are not me and I am not them.
    My husband and I have managed campaigns for the NDP. James help Jasbir Sandhu win a federal seat in the 2011 election. I helped Jane Shin become an MLA in 2013. We are both fiercely proud we were part of getting two great representatives elected.
    The complaint about the Tynehead meeting was investigated and everything was found to have been done appropriately and in accordance with both the rules and history. This has been addressed several times, including by the president of the Tynehead executive.
    The response Forward candidates heard from delegates at convention was overwhelmingly positive. We held a very popular social event to which both presidential candidates were invited, and attended. We had an active group of young volunteers working the convention floor. I think this positive response is a strong indication that the BC NDP has grown up and that we’re beginning to move past the culture of eating our own.
    The new, democratically elected executive has a clear mandate out of convention to modernize the party, implement the changes necessary to win the next election – including the changes suggested by the election review panel.
    I’m looking forward to supporting our new executive as they do the hard work to get ready for the 2017 election. New Democrats needs to stand united now, more than ever.
    Once again, I’d be pleased to discuss any of this with you at your convenience.


    1. I would be more than pleased if NDP members would speak to this situation as well Sage, in particular since certain people who say they were in the room, such as https://twitter.com/lindsay_cw who has made several comments about this on twitter, but then deleted them and asked me to DM or give my email address – which is public – refused to answer any questions I have asked about the sequence of events, who passed the motion to remove Brar,who supported it and why.

      It is remarkable that so many NDP members, who have all, I might say, including yourself, forwarded and supported my work whenever it is in reference to the Liberals, all now choose to take the stance that I am not credible, that my sources are not credible, that I have not told the entire story etc etc.

      How does that happen? Because quite honestly, you can’t play it both ways in this case. Either my work is credible as are my sources, or they are not. Recall I was the first to break the news about the ferry exec increases earlier this year, among other stories.

      When those young people have deep and longstanding connections to certain backers and longstanding NDP members, everything can be called into question Sage.

      My hope is that one day, the NDP, if still relevant as a party, will hold themselves accountable for internal bad politics like they do the Liberals when they examine their backers and influence… and why that is perpetuated.

      Somehow, seeing people deleting tweets and messages is not giving me a good feeling about that ever happening.


      1. This has bothered me for a while:

        “When those young people have deep and longstanding connections to certain backers and longstanding NDP members, everything can be called into question Sage.”

        Is the implication that if someone has worked in the party and has friends and relatives in the party, then nothing they do is ever done either independently, or lacks value?

        And somehow working on the central campaign in 2009 or managing a local campaign in 2013 are strikes against Sage. I would love that idea to be explored further, because it’s bizarre.

        It is exactly the experience of working on various campaigns that has inspired people to demand a change in how we campaign. I would never expect someone who has never worked on a campaign to demand that we change the party database, for instance, one of the proposals that Forward is pushing for (and something that every party member absolutely should get behind).


        1. No Brenton,I am not saying that at all. What I am saying is that sometimes, those connections and backgrounds need to be examined when impartiality is being claimed or insinuated.

          If there is nothing to hide,there shouldn’t be an issue with anyone taking a look. What alarms me more than anything, is the repeated,concentrated efforts of many to re-direct the stream of attention away from the very incriminating transcript of a conversation between a high ranking Keating campaign member and a delegate, that”

          1) confirms where at least once source of the rumour about Moe Sihota and Brar originated and/or was spread. and….

          2) that source also indicated that more than a dozen caucus members were giving the Keating campaign that information.

          That very few are calling for an investigation into this within the party, and that so many remain silent even when asked to confirm or deny… and we all know what that implies…. is incredibly damaging.


        2. Feel free to discuss the rumour issue elsewhere – I was hoping for a discussion about other things you’ve written.

          “If there is nothing to hide,there shouldn’t be an issue with anyone taking a look.”

          Take a look at what? Sage being Sue Hammell’s daughter? And that somehow invalidates the policy proposals that Forward put forward or the team they assembled?


        3. It is my personal opinion that there is nothing new about the people involved in Forward BC,nor is there anything new about how HQ handled the complaints about Tynehead or the use of the Forward BCNDP moniker.

          The constitution is grey on some issues and therefore open to interpretation – that HQ and the executive failed in to show how they arrived at their decisions, is meaningful to many who see that in the above case of the use of the name, there is a disparity between a past incident and the current use of the name. Why? The party has given no reason.

          In Tynehead,there exists communications from head office detailing how delegates should be handled that was sent out to CA presidents, which differs from what was actually done. The party says there is nothing wrong with what happened- and fine, that is there choice – but very much like nothing was wrong when Mable Elmore was seen stapling money to membership forms…. It is all open to interpretation depending on who is doing the interpreting.

          Who was behind Forward BC? Sage is the only person whose name is out there and she has been the only person communicating to the press. There hasn’t been a lot of transparency to the public in terms of who is a part of the group, beyond Sage, other than ” a group of communicators and campaign managers”.

          I say good luck on modernizing what is left of the party, after this debacle of a convention.

          Sage put herself in the position of being the spokesperson of Forward BCNDP.


        4. Have to reply here because there is no “Reply” button on your response below.

          “It is my personal opinion that there is nothing new about the people involved in Forward BC…”

          I’m not sure anyone claimed or thinks that people in Forward are “new” to the NDP – as I wrote elsewhere, people that want to reform the party necessarily have to have been involved to some extent, in order to have a strong opinion about what needs fixing.

          I’m not new to the party, but I hope to work with the Forward folks on reforming the party, because after working on numerous campaigns I see the need for change.

          “Who was behind Forward BC? Sage is the only person whose name is out there and she has been the only person communicating to the press. There hasn’t been a lot of transparency to the public”

          If you were at the convention, you would have seen quite clearly who is/was involved. There was a table set up, with volunteers and organizers. There was clear promotional material with a slate of candidates, all available to everyone. Every member there was able to go to Forward organizers and ask questions about anything.

          Let’s be clear, here: Forward, intent as it is at reforming the party from within, is not aimed at the public.


        5. I disagree. The social media campaign for Forward BCNDP in conjunction with the press was very much designed to indicate a ” grassroots effort” to change the party, youth, renewal, blah blah blah…..which played to a public that the NDP had totally lost in the last election.

          A communications pro like Sage is well versed in engaging the public and controlling narratives. While the effort was to concentrate on having a large number of Forward BCNDP delegates at the convention, the press was geared to show very much that a group was intent on changing and modernizing the NDP. thereby sowing the seeds of change in the readers eyes.

          Public perception is everything, and we both know it.


        6. When will the NDP finally accept that they are defunct. No one wants a union controlled party anymore than the dictatorship capitalistic one we have now ..”grassroots?” give me a break


  7. I’m curious as to how Forward was allowed to call themselves Forward BC NDP. Why, they even have a website! http://www.forwardbcndp.ca/ Looks official, doesn’t it?

    Guy Gentner was suspended for two years 25 years ago for using the BC NDP “brand”. He at least, called his municipal organization the “New Delta Party” and didn’t use the acronym NDP. They used the name like they were entitled to it. Are they saying they weren’t aware they couldn’t do that?

    In a letter last month addressed to president Moe Sihota and provincial secretary Jan O’Brien, he pointed out that Forward B.C. NDP is not a duly constituted body approved by the provincial executive. Therefore, he argued, the use of the NDP name violates the party’s constitution.

    Gentner sent a follow-up letter dated November 4 to O’Brien, stating that the “misappropriation” of the party’s name is a “serious matter”.

    On November 7, O’Brien told Gentner by email that party officers have dismissed his complaint.
    Dismissed….no reason given….hmmm……

    Also, all the presidents were sent the following information in October from Lena Shillington, the convention organizer.
    “Unused credentials
    If you have unused credentials, please let me know as soon as possible. I have a general waitlist of people from all over the province who want to be a delegate. If you have space that you are willing to give to someone on this waitlist, I will send you their name and constituency and you or I can send them the spare easy code.
    On that, if you have people who are keen to be a delegate and don’t want to act as an alternate, tell me their names and I can put them on the waitlist too.
    Please send me this information right away before the Early Bird deadline.”

    And then there was this from a June 22, 2013 provincial council email:
    “Open Credentials
    Thirty days from the start of the 2013 convention, each constituency association will inform the BC NDP of the number of open delegate credentials available. The BC NDP will then assign open credentials to members with a special emphasis on youth, women, visible minorities and other underrepresented groups.”

    Sounds to me like this was the proper process for the use of unused spots, at least that’s what she was telling the 85 Presidents who were responsible for the spots. Certainly doesn’t sound like Sage’s husband filling in the empty spots on the board was appropriate at all.

    I attended convention although not the Sunday morning women’s caucus. I myself spoke to a couple of women who had just left the meeting and they were so disgusted and angry at what had happened in there regarding the treatment of Mr. Brar that they were in tears!

    Change huh? Moving the BC NDP Forward? Renewal? Whenever people are left with a bad taste in their mouth, it’s usually for a good reason.

    And just so I don’t get blacklisted by my own party for speaking my mind, because we all know that is exactly what has been happening in the past few years, I’ll just sign myself

    A veryunhappymember


  8. Thank you for the article, but I do feel you only scratched the surface.

    Sue Hammell not only put Keating in power but also Dix, so I do not think the party has moved forward at all.

    What is even more scary is who Sue and her friends will decide the next leader of the party will be.

    A lot of good people in the NDP who are more in the center not left winged have been further silenced by this backroom regime. Keep up the good work there is a lot more that needs to come out.


    1. Thank you Rob, I have heard from a number of people all over the province, who are confirming what I have written about the incidents at the convention. They like to say it is anonymous but the fact is they would love to know who is telling me all these things specifically so those people can be punished.

      Quite frankly, it’s like watching Sean Holmans documentary, Whipped, all over again.


  9. Well of course the response from delegates at convention was overwhelmingly positive. That’s what happens when you “delegate stack”.

    You fill the room with your supporters. Nothing new or progressive about it; it’s what’s been done for eons by people wishing to pull off a coup.

    And make no mistake about it; it was a coup. A well planned one too. Right down to making sure your candidates in the regional caucus’ had enough supporters there to ensure they were elected.

    Combined with a whisper campaign, it was very, very effective.

    However Sage’s comment about a strong majority being excited about her “changes” is debatable.

    After having 2 1/2 months to campaign, Forward’s choice for President must have been freaked when he barely squeaked by the popular challenger, who only campaigned for two weeks and would likely have won if he’d had a week more. 931 registered for convention. 303 voted for Brar. 485 for Keating.

    That means 143 didn’t vote at all. Now who would pay $375 to attend a convention that was going to elect a new President, and had a race for the first time in living memory, and not bother voting?

    That’s 33% for Brar; 52% for Keating and 15% didn’t vote. Hardly a ringing endorsement. Even with a stacked deck. Even aided and abetted by some in provincial office.

    It’s a shame that the party has so many people in it who are more concerned about their personal ambition than what is good for the party, and are willing to do whatever it takes to win.

    The BC NDP has definitely not grown up and it has definitely not moved past the culture of “eating our own”.

    In fact, it’s the lowest we have sunk so far. And there is now no difference between us and the BC Liberals.

    For shame!


    1. Great comment. Yes eating their own is still exactly what is going on. Which is why people were deleting tweets on Twitter yesterday after trying to explain what happened at the womens caucus. It was said that I misrepresented what happened, but she admitted Keating had been there already and that perhaps the motion was amended to include Keating but she wasn’t sure.


      1. “You fill the room with your supporters. Nothing new or progressive about it; it’s what’s been done for eons by people wishing to pull off a coup.

        And make no mistake about it; it was a coup. A well planned one too. Right down to making sure your candidates in the regional caucus’ had enough supporters there to ensure they were elected.”

        Uh, that’s just called campaigning: There’s an upcoming vote. You want to win it, so you tell people who you know support you to go vote. They go. You win. Mission accomplished, and well done to you.

        That is really bizarre. If I want my candidate to win a nomination race, am I supposed to just hope people turn up? If I ran an election campaign like that I would be laughed out of the room.


        1. uh no….campaigning is when everyone knows it is happening, and all the different players lay out their platform or vision, and then the voters (delegates) decide. Haven’t you been paying attention? That’s what happened in May. That’s why we lost. Voters chose the Lib’s vision.

          Filling the room with your supporters is called stacking. Sending people to delegate selection meetings, or going with a list of names in your pocket, to acquire spots for a specific reason, and not being forthright about why you are there, is called a coup. A fine line for some, I agree.

          Just out of curiosity, since people were at the meetings, why didn’t they identify themselves as Forward people and secure support for their vision from the “regular” members in attendance? And why did PO send out one set of instructions for dealing with extra delegate spots and then allow something completely different to happen? See, that’s the problem when inconsistencies occur. People become suspicious of the outcome. Try as I might, I never could get past the picture of Mabel stapling money to memberships at the last minute during the last leadership race. Perhaps it was innocent. Perhaps not. The point is how it looked, right?

          Here’s another question. Did a lot of those “supporters” pay the $25 youth delegate fee to attend? Because if they did, then I would say it was quite a bit easier to stack the deck, wouldn’t you? As the rest of us, including seniors, had to pay $375 to attend. Not quite a level playing field, imo….


        2. The difference between a campaign and a Presidential race is RESPECT of the members. That was clearly not evident at this convention. The extremely poor manners shown at the Women’s caucus was proof of that. Remember that the people that attend convention are your activists that you rely on heavily for money and time.

          The tactics such as “Moe’s Boy” would have lost you an election because of the undertones it represents. That type of sleezy campaigning wouldn’t be tolerated anywhere in this province.

          The lack of respect shown to those members at the Women’s Caucus was over the top. With the financial position the party is in, I suggest that some need to learn how to treat their members before they lose any more donors.


  10. for some, politics is simply a game, a blood sport.

    they have been at it so long they no longer know why they went into it to begin with.

    the NDP is no different. many come/came from the labour movement where “politics” is a great training ground. its tough, no holds barred.

    this attitude has maintained its hold on the party. some of it comes from having to fight so hard to win an election, to remove the socred/lieberals, whatever, that they forget if you want to represent the side of the “good guys” you actually have to be one or at least act like one. this is missing in today’s NDP.

    nothing is going to change until the party decides the party is more important they and their personal agendas are. people such as sue hammil, I would conclude, believes her way is the only way. this is not democracy. this is the attitude of someone who has been in the “wars” too long.

    it is amazing there were no “good standing rules” or letters of people willing to accept nominations. there was a time it was required. to not abide by the “rules” for reasons of political expediance and/or gain is just another form of the lieberal ideal.

    when the party failed to win the last election the majority of people involved ought to have resigned from their positions. its nice to call out others but when you don’t do it yourself, you are just as much of the problem as the other guys.

    Dix ought to have stood down from his “leadership” position. However, if he does, he loses the extra salary. those who remain in positions of “leadership?” who were involved in running the caimpaign ought to have resigned. It simply would have been the right thing to do. if the delegates had wanted them to stay on, it could have been put to a vote of the membership.

    Horgan volunteered to take over the position on an interium basis. it would have been the right way to go while the party contemplated its navel and searched for new leadership material. as long as this does not happen, the party is going nowhere.

    we have seen that B.C. Hydro is going to increase rates by 25% over 5 yrs and child poverty is the highest in Canada at 18.6%.

    Where are the constituency presidents and table officers?

    should there not be a strategy to work within their communities, writing letters, speaking out?

    no, because everything is at movie central. if the NDP is ever to become government again they need to be active at a local level. people need to know who they are and what they stand for.

    if they don’t younger people will not become involved and the lieberals will continue to rule the province, unless of course the b.c. provincial conservatives ever get their act together.

    it may come that they electorate becomes so disillusioned by the lieberals, they may vote for any party which shows some hope and change. in doing so, they may all vote green or provincial conservative. of course, those who have gotten used to their positions and perks in opposition will continue there.

    i’ve been voting NDP my whole voting life. i know do it while holding my nose. the principles which the CCF and the NDP were founded on have given way to whats right for me, in my position, and how i can get ahead.


  11. I attended the convention, heard some rumours about Jagrup being Moe’s boy, but dismissed them.

    Was in attendance when Jagrup asked to speak to the allegations at the Women’s Caucus.

    I was so disgusted by the behaviour towards a fellow NDP’er Jagrup, that I stood up and refused to be a part of such bias and disrespect to another person.
    That is what happened in that room.

    I spoke with Jagrup outside the room, he thanked me for my support, and I am also in agreement that there doesn’t seem to be much change at the levels of Council that that should be.

    I too have more information about what went on there, but not sure I want my name blacklisted either.


  12. The real problem with the NDP is that they have pandered to perceived minority groups far too long and have forgotten about the mainstream citizen in BC and Canada. Last may’s electoral fiasco has been all but swept under the carpet as the NDP will do the same thing all over again, expecting different results. The NDP are not just dead in the water, the party has become irrelevant.

    The “Eye” is a lefty but has not voted for the NDP since Glen Clark was bought off by Eastern Interests by forcing SkyTrain on what we now call the Millennium Line. That decision has all but destroyed public transit in Metro Vancouver and have left TransLink in financial purgatory.

    What I see now with the BC NDP is that it has become a family affair, with Sue Hamill and her extended family running the show and crowning who they see fit to continue.

    Here is a message for the NDP: In the last election, just under 50% of the people did not vote, that with the corrupt liberals, lead by a 21st century version of Lucretia Borgia at the helm, won should tell them something is drastically wrong. Instead we have the NDP autocracy is full swing, undemocratic, arrogant and unelectable.

    The “Eye” suspects that Genter was kicked from being an MLA because he was going to stand up against another NDP favourite homeboy, Mike Farnsworth, who, as Clark before, sold his soul to Eastern interests. The NDP’s ship has sailed off into the sunset, with the captain crew unaware that there are no passengers.


    1. All this and your comments show that the No Damn Progress people are hardly material to run the government.. no hope with NDP and the Cons have sort of flamed out


  13. Moe’s boy, I don’t understand. Jagrup and Moe come from different time era, different backgrounds, one supported Farnworth the other supported Dix. The only similarity I can possibly see is a fact that they both are from the same racial ethnicity. Border line comments like this are not moving forward but 30 years backwards.

    Where is the Equality or does this only apply to older caucasian women; too bad merits are not politically correct.

    Back in the day did not the woman’s caucus did more for women’s rights then simply protecting their positions. How do you move forward when mandates are designed to serve one single group. Say, the womans caucus seems to be the same core group behind Dix and Keating. I really wish I wasn’t a man, imagine the possibilities as a NDP staffer.

    Question, is Sage Aaron being groomed for Surrey Green Timbers or some other constituency? The acorn does not fall far from the tree; another 25 years of Sue Hammell legacy. God help us.


    1. most likely, along with those other “young people” Sage writes so valaintly about. MLA positions in safe ridings are as good as winning the lottery. some people like to look after their families. some like to look after the party, but you can’t do both.

      Sometimes politicians need to recognize it is time for new blood to take over. Sue obviously hasn’t gotten the message. I did write, new blood, not younger blood. So that takes Sage and the rest of the second generation out of the running.


  14. Old blood young blood its all the same just a younger face on the cover with the old regime pulling the strings.

    Young people misleading and being mislead. Crown it with a new face (Eby?) Sept 2014. What a sham. This is the dirty politics the young blood are learning with no ethical compass and could you imagine them in government. Only if Tommy Douglas was here to see this. He believed in building a new world; nepotism corruption was never on the agenda.

    A overhaul is due and Brar would have brought a fair, transparent new ideology the party desperately needed but the axis of evil feared it and resorted to dirty shameful conduct to stop a good man. What a shame.

    So Laila, the suspense is to much for me I cant’t wait for your update.


    1. Patience! Instead of an update, it seems to be turning into something that merits its own post. I will have it up perhaps tonight, more likely over the weekend.


  15. Hello Laila, I was speaking to some people regarding what took place at the NDP convention, but when I requested them to step forward I felt disturbed at how afraid they became. Code of silence seems to be the norm.

    This sometimes creates a loyalty versus ethical situation – with loyalty winning.

    Rather than focusing on ethical conduct, this back room regime judges these events by loyalty rather than ethics. Whistle blowers are not accepted within this culture and pay a high price if identified as one. In fact, many NDP staffers will deny there are any ethical issues within their command and encourage others to cast whistle blowers out of their ranks from within. In addition to their denial, members and key political players outside this regime are often secretly or subversively ostracized and “black listed” from a united leadership decision thus adding to the incentive to remain silent. In the end, they justify their silence through the “root cause” of feeling alienated by others as they feel they are being victimized by other people in their own party.
    The code of silence has long been an acceptable practice to shield and protect those few who are guilty.

    By allowing misconduct to go unreported and unpunished, the code of silence undermines the very purpose of the grass roots of NDP. It also erodes the public trust, and demoralizes the party members who stand for true NDP values. No positive or forward change can take place in the NDP until the culture of the entire organization is reformed from the top down and the code of silence is decisively eliminated.

    Although loyalty among BC forward and this regime who spend significant amounts of time together is natural and desirable, a code of silence that turns a blind eye to serious misbehavior and targets those who try to stop it far exceeds the bounds of tolerance. In effect, the code of silence shifts loyalties from the organizational mission to the party members. The code of silence within BC NDP encourages unethical behavior by allowing it to operate secretly and is indicative of an organizational culture of fear and hypocrisy.

    A key leadership responsibility is to ensure that the party makes it easier for members to do the right thing. Leaders must foster an environment and organizational culture that supports doing the right thing. Doing the right thing, doing it well and doing it for the right reasons that are supported by ethical values.

    NDP sending out an email asking for donations to help fight the hydro rate increases while diverting some funds to pay down party debt is a prime example of self interest, not for the welfare of British Colombians. With Keating now at the helm, unchecked and unchallenged this a prime example of in your face do what pleases us politics.


  16. Rob is right on the money in my opinion. I’d like to say to Sage that it has nothing to do with new, younger people getting involved, and people’s fear of change. The only way to grow is to embrace change.

    But I’d also like to say that there are far too many people in the Party these days who appear to be more concerned about what’s best for them and theirs, than what’s best for the Party, the members, and the people of BC. I’ve seen the alienation and blacklisting with my own eyes. Not with me, so far, but with others and usually young people although by no means is it restricted to that. In my case, as I started out on the Keating campaign and then moved over to the Brar campaign, if I say anything it is branded as “sour grapes”. I’ve already had that said to me.

    The reason people have been allowed to get away with this type of behavior is because it happens in the dark, behind people’s backs. No one will say anything to you face to face.

    A big, bright light needs to be shone on it or it will never stop. It’s visceral and it’s instant – no such thing as agreeing to disagree anymore – it’s friend or enemy, you’re either in or out, and with the core group counting on the desire to keep things “within the family” to stop people from speaking up. And some are using tactics that reasonable people definitely consider questionable.

    I’ve always said that I don’t mind losing fair and square – after all, I’m a New Dem. I’m used to losing. But I hate cheating, I hate manipulating, I hate lying and I hate “bending” the rules. When you have to not only watch out for the “bad guys”, but you also have to watch your back with your own – that’s pretty sad. It makes us no different and no better than “the other guys”, no matter how noble the end result and/or intention.

    I’m afraid I don’t see anything that looks even vaguely like “renewal” or “moving forward” going on here. Until the Party has an honest and definitely painful open discussion about this, I’m afraid we’re not going anywhere.

    (Put my name Laila. I cleared it with the boss, lol…..)


    1. CherylB, I commend you for speaking out and exercising your democratic voice for what the BC NDP should stand for.
      With regards to your “sour grapes” comment, could you please elaborate on the events that caused you to change camps. I do not think you are alone in feeling this way.
      Curious to know who the boss is? 🙂


      1. I have to be careful about what I say Rob, as I’m sure there are people reading this blog, just waiting for a misstep. Suffice to say that I have worked in NDP campaigns across the country for 25 years, and before that campaign had never experienced what I saw as some of the very odd things that I experienced in this one. There were a lot of things that didn’t make sense to me at the time, but made me feel uncomfortable and a bit perplexed, as I couldn’t explain it away. And neither could some of the people that I trust and respect. Bits and pieces of “oddness” that all combined later to paint a picture. “Oddness” in the campaign, “oddness” from Provincial Office, “oddness” from some people I know and definitely “oddness” at Convention. I’m sorry I can’t be more specific. I can say that it was a very unique experience for me.

        I also can say that when I joined the Keating campaign I was in the “anybody but Moe” camp. Had I known that Jagrup intended to declare however, I would have been with him from the start. I have a lot of respect for him. And a lot of time. He is one of the few New Dems these days, that I feel truly embodies what I think a New Dem should be. He puts his money where his mouth is, as he showed with the Welfare Challenge. He gathers information and presents it objectively. He really listens to what people have to say. He takes his time to think something through BEFORE he acts or speaks. He’s a true team player. Supported by the majority of the affiliated unions. Already has a great relationship and understanding with and of caucus. Has a proven track record of successful fundraising. Respected by all. Great sense of humour. Loyal to a fault, as he showed when he stood by Carole James right to the end of the unfortunate “Bakers’ Dozen” incident, while not alienating the so-called dozen (most of whom supported his President candidacy, by the way). Completely trustworthy, unlike some others that I could name. I’m really, really sorry that he lost. In my opinion, he could have put us back on track. The outcome of Convention has made me truly fear for the future of my Party.

        I will also say that the racist “whisper campaign” is the most disgusting thing that I have EVER seen happen in this Party and I am absolutely ashamed to be associated with people like that. If that’s “sour grapes” – so be it.


        1. Cheryl .. your true nature is revealed by your first sentence which indicates you are afraid to tell the truth and have an agenda to pursue.


        2. Actually Gary – my first sentence reveals that in my opinion there are people reading this who will sue me if I’m not careful about how I say things, so yes. I guess you could say I have an agenda. Namely, keeping my money in my own household, instead of someone elses’.


        3. No problem in the supposed lawsuit because in a lawsuit EVERYTHING comes out and the NDP and Liberals do fear exposure. It seems, unfortunately, that most people involved in politics ie party orgs, have SOLD out their people, their conscience, their morals and their ethics…. for a buck or a bit of propped up power or influence. Sad and infuriating isn’t it?


  17. dirty politics?? No, just politics as usual. There is no real democracy anymore and this party is a s corrupt as the current Liberals. Money is the biggest issue as MLAs or wannabes will do or say anything to get ahead. The voters have been trained by the govts ensuring that they simply lie, deceive, ignore the taxpayers needs and wishes. Result – voters don’t bother because “There is no use” what a perfect plan by the idiot parties we have.


    1. Cheryl thank you for responding back. Your true nature comes out when you speak of the truth that may encourage and motivate others to fact find. Remaining a member of the party gives hope, sparks action and promotes change. Where would our nation be today if Trudeau or Douglas simply stayed home and complained about politics. BC NDP has been under distress for some time and its time that we the people restore it to its splendor and stand up for all British Columbians.


  18. Tell me something, would the likes of Tommy Douglas, Dave would have been allowed to run? Probably not. And that is why the ndp has become a limp biscuit. We desperately need a new party that will stick up for the average man, woman and child. Not a party that censures it’s members and withholds democracy and free speech.


  19. Hey Laila-

    Just put eyes on your piece on BCNDP convention, quite an interesting collection of allegations- triggering, as they were.

    I came to your tabloid through a BCC’d a mass email by Deb Rowland, I don’t know who that might be or what her connection to you is, or for that matter past spam I have received from nomorebcndpdirtypolitics@gmail.com . I do not enjoy getting unsolicited libel, so please let to your associated operatives know that this dilutes your message.

    Seems wildly inappropriate to play telephone with a story you didn’t even bother to cover in the first place.


    1. “I don’t know who that might be or what her connection to you is, or for that matter past spam I have received from nomorebcndpdirtypolitics@gmail.commailto:nomorebcndpdirtypolitics@gmail.com . I do not enjoy getting unsolicited libel, so please let to your associated operatives know that this dilutes your message.”


      Let me make this very clear to everyone.

      I have no idea who Debbie Rowland is,nor do I know who runs that email address mentioned above. I suggest you contact Ms.Rowland directly, since you have her email address, as I have done after being notified this morning that an unsolicited message was sent out…. imagine this…. to only NDP members, or so it would appear.

      An appropriate response would be to report her to the email provider for spamming.

      Oddly enough,no one has responded from that email address to my questions, and I suspect it was created specifically to send that email out.

      Either way, all communications are easily traced and whomever is behind this little bit of nonsense will have to answer for it, and explain where and how they obtained those email addresses. That information is clearly coming from someone who has access to what should be private and confidential information.

      For the record for all readers, I do not ( and never have) send out mass email communications of any sort – period.

      Long time readers and subscribers know this very well. Readers have the option of subscribing to my site on the home page – by their own choice – and are sent notifications of new posts when I post them, but those come directly from my site, not via my email address. I do not enter their information, they do.

      It’s rather laughable that someone would go to this extent though. And not cover their tracks either.

      As for my “associated operatives”… you’ll have to take your conspiracy theory somewhere else. Or contact whomever sent you that email in the first place.


  20. somebody is using address’s from PO same as before convention, they were given to forwardbc and Keating but nobody else could get them.


      1. some members were being called from internal lists by forwardbc and Keating’s team these member lists should have been offered out but Jagrups team was not given the lists they had to send message to PO and they e mailed the members.The only people who can get lists are presidents and they only get their own members names.


  21. Thanks Laila very much,for posting this story.

    Very sad to see what is happening, and not happening, in the BC NDP.

    Instead of John Horgan as interim leader, Adrian Dix is hanging on, and speaking on many issues although he has little credibility with either the public or many (former) NDP supporters.

    It’s been so disappointing to me to see how many principled, thoughtful stalwart NDP individuals have been pushed aside or ignored like: Mike Sather, Corky Evans, Guy Genter, Tom Perry, Harold Steves, Joan Smallwood and Gary Coons.

    And now of course what’s happened with Jagrup Brar.

    Vision Vancouver is not the model I want for the BC NDP.

    Backroom politics and “Liberal Lite” is not going to re-engage progressive voters.


  22. As I stated on Laila’s latest blog; please read it she just posted it.

    Let me be frank. I am a white middle aged male and I feel truly ashamed of what happened during the leadership race and the party presidential election. Dirty, backstabbing, intolerant, racial, self-serving politics that thrives in the BC NDP that is destroying our party. I have been a NDPer for my entire adult life as well as my parents, family members as far as I can remember.
    You want to know what is going on, click the links below. Aaron and Hammell can not threaten or intimidate these people who decided to report the facts. Thanks Laila for all you have done as well.
    Also Harry Lali comments,


    My friends who are in or associated with BC Forward are paranoid. Those who have been loyal to me for many years have warned me to chill out for awhile because they are head hunting and trying to narrow down names. Once again, this approach is not proactive and lacks renewal and tolerance. The regime and BC Forward got caught with their pants down and instead of being accountable they are resorting to dirty undemocratic ways. When you find out who I am, its only going to hurt your selfish cause and will only result in more people standing up. All in due time.


    1. I have to say this. I was sent both those links last night.

      The Asian Journal piece is inflammatory,and incorrect in some details. Neither of the parties in the documents I have are south Asian and it is clear the author of that article must have the same documents.

      What is also alarming is the suggestion that members go to the BC Liberals. That is not at all what I would suggest. I would suggest NDP members, regardless of race, ethnicity or gender, who have questions about all of these events and documents, hold their party accountable. File a complaint. Speak up. They cannot sanction,shun or punish those who stand up in numbers.

      The Harry Lali editorial was very surprising and strong. But will he suffer the consequences of speaking out like that? If I were a betting woman,I would bet Harry has already had a call or two about that editorial.

      The silence from all parties involved speaks louder to the culture of politics than anything else.


  23. Can ‘equity’ imply racism or discrimination? Who decides when ‘equity’ is applied? For which special interests do the ends justify the means?

    I was asked by a WRC member to confirm at the Women’s Rights Committee convention (on Friday) if Jagrup supported the Equity Mandate because she told me there was a rumour going around that he did not. I have to ask, why would anyone start that rumour?

    Jagrup had also been asked by several women to attend the Women’s Caucus (on Sunday) to address some rumours. I was in a room when Raj Chouhan and Jagrup returned from the Women’s Caucus. Raj was very upset. He said he’d never seen anything like it and was extremely disappointed in what he had just witnessed. They stated that after a member asked to allow Jagrup to speak for one minute to address the rumours, a motion was put forward (and passed) to remove ‘men’ from the Women’s Caucus.

    Why would any member who asked to address a group of members, particularly a member who is running for president of the party, not be afforded the courtesy and respect to do so?

    In the WRC report to Convention 2013 it states “It is time to give members of all equity seeking groups a voice in order to advance the inclusion and representation of equity seeking groups within the NDP, and our Caucus.” I understood that under-represented groups for the purposes of ‘equity’ to be defined as e.g. person of colour, first nations person, self-identified LGBT.

    What does ‘equity’ really mean when we censor any debate or discussion of issues that imply, real or perceived, racism or discrimination?


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