Friday, August 30, 2019

The NDP's centralized culture of paranoid candidate oversight is coming back to haunt

In the wake of the withdrawal of labour leader Sid Ryan -- who had already run for the party previously both provincially in Ontario and federally -- from the race for the NDP nomination in Oshawa due to the inordinate length of time the party HQ was taking to "vet" and greenlight his run, another potential candidate has now withdrawn for the same reason. 

Janet-Lynne Durnford put her name forward to carry the party banner in Simcoe North all the way back in May, but as Labour Day weekend approaches her candidacy had still not been approved. Durnford publicly posted about this on Facebook August 29:

It turns out that this is a serious problem for the NDP across Canada. According to the CBC as of August 30:
...nearly half of the 338 ridings in Canada don't have a New Democrat candidate yet.
According to the NDP's website, the party has yet to nominate a single candidate in New Brunswick, P.E.I., Nunavut or the Northwest Territories.
Given that the election is nearly at hand this is not good. And it is in no small part due to the party's highly centralized and deeply paranoid vetting process where party bureaucrats scour the past comments, actions and social media posts of potential candidates for anything that might be seen as controversial on issues like Israel, for showing too much independent thinking, or for having made critical comments about the party in the past.

All parties have the right to and should make sure they do not have candidates who have committed certain types of criminal acts, who have made racist, bigoted or misogynist statements or who clearly have politics different from the party they are seeking to run for. But, as we have noted in the past, the NDP's paranoia about and desire for compliant conformity from its candidates goes much deeper than that and reflects its desire to be a tightly scripted mainstream bourgeois party as opposed to a democratic left movement with all of the different currents and activists that this would involve. This paranoia even included the creation of the creepy spying Facebook avatar Fred Checkers in 2015.

Excessive bureaucratic paranoia and candidate oversight takes a lot of time and effort on the part of staffers. Time that could be much better spent doing something more productive, which would be just about anything. And time that is now running out given that Trudeau could call the election as early as next week.

See also: Two months later, let's have a look at the shameful Parkdale NDP nomination fiasco again

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