Think Forward BC NDP Invitation [September 19, 2009]

To BC NDP Supporters,

Today, the BC NDP has an opportunity to be more assertive in building a more effective, functional and relevant party for our members and our communities. We must ensure that representation at all levels of the party, including MLAs and candidates, reflects the full diversity of the province we live in. We must also transform our desire for internal party improvement into a strategy for meaningful change for the people of BC, starting now. This process must be democratic, transparent and as open sourced as possible both for the party members and the public at large, for a robust, dynamic, innovative and resilient political movement.

What are these documents?

The latest draft documents—on principles (Draft #7) and action (Draft #3)—describe a new vision for the BC NDP. They explore building a social movement, democracy within the party, sticking to party policies, empowering members, improving relationships with labour and other progressive groups, and improving the economy with progressive businesses, all within a context of environmental sustainability.

Why now?
After an unsuccessful campaign, many members are frustrated and looking to create change within the party. While various “reform” movements have come and gone, we are at a crucial juncture in our history and now is the time to build an inclusive movement that takes the party forward and isn’t afraid of embracing new ideas while being grounded in traditional NDP values. Some change can be accomplished through existing party structures, while others may need more fundamental/long-term re-thinking. We hope these questions will be part of an ongoing dialogue with members, caucus and staff.

How did this document get started?
The first draft of the document came out of the Vancouver-Kensington constituency association strategic planning process in July 2009. A number of people began sharing the document around and it quickly became a consensus document with dozens of people having contributed ideas.

Draft #5 of the principles document was endorsed by the executive committee of the Vancouver-Kensington NDP constituency association on August 17, 2009. Both drafts have been sent around to all constituency presidents (with a request that it be shared with members), the Provincial Executive Committee and caucus.

The statement is a living document, open to growth, improvement and consensus building. Constructive criticisms, suggestions for improvement and additions continue to be most welcome, as are suggestions for where to go with this document and what to do with it. The aim is to be as inclusive as possible; my contact information is below.

There is no one in charge of the document. It belongs to all the people who have read it or contributed to it. No one owns it. I am the contact person for a group of people who are merely stewarding the document by distributing it, collating contributions, then distributing it some more.

Because this document belongs to us all, there is no list of endorsers, but a desire for everyone in the party to have some input into the future of the party. Instead of publishing the names of endorsers or contributors who might lend “legitimacy” to the document, we’ve kept it open so that it’s about the ideas with an open-sourced process for everyone.

The ongoing Sustainable BC process has provided some inspiration for the document.

What next?
There has been some solid constructive criticism of both documents and there is surely room for more. Please consider these ideas and send in your refinements, feedback and comments.

I invite you to read the documents and share them with others you feel are interested in embarking on a constructive approach to transform the party into a powerful force for change.

If you would like to take part in discussions on how to turn this vision into a reality, you can get more information here:

Thank you for your commitment to progressive change,
Stephen Elliott-Buckley
Vancouver-Kensington Constituency Executive


One response to “Think Forward BC NDP Invitation [September 19, 2009]

  1. Gene Thorsteinson

    I have been a supporter of the NDP for over 40 years, when it was the CCF, but there has always been a stigma attached concerning socialism. How will it be possible to tell the people that we are not communists, but believe in social justice that protects all, not just the few. Citizens are afraid that an NDP government will stall investments in BC leading to more unemployment. Is it possible to alleviate these concerns by communicating to big business and assuring them that the government has no intention of nationalizing their business?

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