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January 13, 2011

NDP Leadership Rules Made Public

Twelve pages of rules developed by the NDP's Leadership Rules Committee and approved by the provincial executive are a model that deserves comparison to the rules for the BC Liberal party's leadership rules. The only problem is, like their party's constitution, the Liberal's leadership rules appear to be a secret.

Anyone can go to the Elections BC website and use its Financial Reports and Political Contribution System; with the click of a mouse you can see 47 leadership financing reports filed for candidates for the leadership of many interesting, weird and diverse political parties.

In the 2003 NDP leadership race, Carole James received $56,644 in donations with $28,306 of that amount coming from unions. Virtually all of the union donations were in excess of $2,500. The rules for the 2010 NDP leadership race prohibit candidates from accepting more than $2,500 from any single donor. It will be interesting to compare the financial statements candidates for both parties will have to file with Elections BC. British Columbians will know exactly who paid how much to help elect both the Premier and the Leader of the Official Opposition, with the difference being New Democrats have guaranteed that no person or organization can have undue influence through the size of their donation.

We still don't know who paid for Gordon Campbell's hijacking of the BC Liberal party from Gordon Wilson, but in late May we will learn who financed the new premier. British Columbians won't have to wait until 90 days after the NDP's April 17th vote to learn who is contributing to the party's candidates. The leadership rules provide: "Each candidate shall provide the BC NDP with a report of all contributors and the value of all contributions totaling $250 or more received from each contributor received prior to the first day of advanced voting and a second report prior to April 17, 2011. The BCNDP shall publish the reports on its website." How many BC Liberals will know who financed that party's candidates before their February 26th vote?

The NDP's Leadership Rules Committee provided a model that should shame the Liberals. With leadership races underway for both parties, let the comparisons begin!