Sunday, March 14, 2010

Why is the NDP Hiding its Constitution?

If one was to consider joining the NDP they wouldn't be able to, if one was to wonder what foundational principles guided the NDP they wouldn't be able to find them. It's not that the NDP doesn't want members or that it doesn't have principles, it's that the party is withholding its constitution to get votes.

Unlike every other political party that openly displays its constitution; the NDP has purposely concealed theirs from the public.
On all other websites, Conservatives, Liberals, Greens, party constitutions can be easily found; the NDP site is the only one that does not include it. And what suggests the absence is intentional is that the NDP document used to be available on some separate New Democratic Party web page, but that has long since been deleted.

The reason for the absence of the document is so Canadians aren't repelled from the NDP by the strong socialist principles in it's constitution but attracted to the party by the general superficialities it has been replaced by. Where once Canadians through investigation could eventually find it on the internet and read the NDP Constitution with its denunciation of capitalism, now they can only find how that party will 'move the focus of government from the board table to the kitchen table,' whatever that means.

The absence of the NDP's foundational document is extremely telling, as a political party's constitution contains the values and rules that are paramount to the party and overrule any platform, any policy, and any action of its Leader. Any direction the party is to take, any stance that it is make, it must conform to the parties constitution. In fact party constitutions not only include criteria for leaders, candidates, and membership but they often set out rules of behaviour for members to follow. Thus before becoming a member of the NDP a person is required to promise to "abide" to the constitution of the party, the problem here of course is that no one can read the NDP constitution because it is purposely being withheld.

The question of membership validity derives from the NDP requiring potential members to promise to obey to its constitution before signing up, while at the same time not making it available to be read. The image to the right is a screen capture from the NDPs online sign-up page. It requires that before a person becomes a member, they must make this declaration:

I promise to abide by the Constitution, policies and principles of the NDP both federally and provincially/territorially.
But as stated previously, no one can see what the Constitution even says, yet the NDP requires sworn obligation to it. It must then be asked how can a party require obligation to a document they do not make public? My answer is that they do so unethically.

Two years ago I had come across that the New Democratic Party was the only political party to not include its constitution on its party website, and in response I made this early YouTube video. The Conservatives, Liberals, and Greens all had (and still do) easily discoverable constitutions right on their party websites, while the NDP did not.

I contacted the NDP multiple times about why this was the case and I have never received a reply. And though at the time the NDP did have their constitution available on the internet, only found through various attempts of Google searches, now that previously found constitution has been completely removed. If one today is to search for the NDP Constitution whether on the parties website or through Google or again through communication with the NDP, all they will find is dead links and unanswered emails.

Again the reason why the NDP does not include its constitution on its website and that it has removed any copy of it from periphery sites, is because it contains an extremely anti-capitalist view that would repel potential voters and members. Completely gone from the internet is the NDPs official stance against any profit whatsoever, and now any Canadian who valued freedom within the economy and would have disagreed with the NDP's most foundational principles, will be misled.

The preamble of the NDPs Constitution (as documented in this video at 4m26s) states that its principles can be defined as:
"That the production and distribution of goods and services shall be directed to meeting the social and individual needs of people within a sustainable environment and economy and not to the making of profit;

To modify and control the operations of monopolistic productive and distributive organizations through social and economic planning. Towards these ends and where necessary the extension of the principle of social ownership."
I predict there will be some who point out that the NDP makes available its platform on its website and that's good enough, but again the platform is subordinate to the NDPs constitution and does not include any details on the requirements, limitations, and duties of being a member of that political party, let alone other important features. Indeed the NDP does not require someone to abide to the platform to become a member but it requires obligation to its constitution, and as said previously it is interesting to note, even if that constitution is being withheld.


croghan27 said...

"That the production and distribution of goods and services shall be directed to meeting the social and individual needs of people within a sustainable environment and economy and not to the making of profit;"

You have a problem with saying the economy should be directed to the betterment of the citizens? said...

Croghan I don't believe I said that, if you suggest I did I would appreciate an exact quote. I did point out it would be widely problematic for the NDP if it was widely known that they were against profit of any kind.

We can't help but direct the economy, but to rid it of all profit-seeking behaviour is to put it mildly ridiculous.

RayK said...

"We can't help but direct the economy, but to rid it of all profit-seeking behaviour is to put it mildly ridiculous."

Yeah, but the sentence you've quote above says nothing of the sort as anyone who can read can clearly tell. said...

RayK, the quote from the NDPs constitution is clear, it states the economy shall be directed to meet social and individual needs and not to the making of profit. If it's so clear RayK, what do you think the quote means?

"That the production and distribution of goods and services shall be directed to meeting the social and individual needs of people within a sustainable environment and economy and not to the making of profit."

RuralSandi said...

I think it should be "law" that any political party be required to make their Constitution known. If not, they shouldn't be allowed to be a political party.

What have they got to hide? said...

RuralSandi in this case I don't think a law is required or justified. I would however look at whether people who have joined the NDP have to now "abide" by its constitution. Though it was a requirement to abide to it when joining, it was not provided for reading and thus that part of the membership agreement should be made void.

CanNurse said...

I'm disappointed in you Scott, in that you wrote this blog. It is, in my opinion, a complete non-issue, particularly at this particular time. We have a country that is going to hell in a handbasket with a pororoguing power-mad destroyer at the helm. We have for Canadians human rights daily being undermined & attacked in all sorts of ways, we have parliamentary breaches unheard of since Confederation. We have attacks on charitable organizations, arms-length agencies, and bizarre committees trying to search out anti-semitism in McCathyist ways. We have an enormous deficit, a non-budget,& our country breaking international laws & treaties. I could go on & on!
We have a country in a very precarious condition, with a minority Government & divisions in other parties. And so you thought you'd just contribute to further bashing of the people who are doing none of the above atrocities to Canadians.
The NDP should have their constitution public. But, oh well. The Liberals should have a different leader too. But they don't But the 2 are the best hope we have if we want to survive as a democracy.
Someday, far in the future, when we're not in a completely chaotic crisis - we can look at that. In the meantime, all you've done is contribute to further Canadian disunity. You have a public forum that, at this time, you have used very shabbily, in my opinion. Thanks a bunch from all of us who are working very hard to unite people to oust Stephen Harper's government. Sooo disappointed. said...

CanNurse I appreciate your guidance and accept your judgement, clearly you are far more noble than I. In my effort to better direct this blog would you do me the honour of telling me what I can write about and how often I have to write about it?

I ask because even though I have more posts and newspaper articles under my belt scrutinizing this conservative government then most, not to mention the petitions and political activism, clearly that is not enough.

So please CanNurse please enlighten this poor servant of yours and censor me as you please. Clearly the NDP withholding its constitution is not a big deal, and we should only criticize others and not ourselves.

kinch said...

You have quite a few "positive" statements in this posting. You write as if you have the reason why the constitution isn't up anymore. I'm sorry but that kind of writing makes me question everything on your blog and what sort of motive you have.

I suggest you contact the party. The website just went through a redesign and things might have got shifted around a bit.

I can provide you with a copy of the constitution in the meantime if you want. said...

Kinch you can question away about anything I wrote, but I'm afraid you cannot deny that for over two years (see video) that the NDP has withheld its constitution. That today, just as was the case years ago, the NDP is the only party to not include its constitution on its website or any where else for that matter.

Furthermore I had contacted the NDP years ago and I've contacted them now, and I have yet to receive a reply.

I point out problems with Liberals, Conservatives, the NDP, the Greens, our government, you name it; a quick glance at my last 10 posts would easily demonstrate that.

Thank you for offering a copy of the constitution, but if I could ask you, in your opinion, how can the NDP require a declaration for membership that requires people to abide by the Constitution when the NDP does not provide a copy of that same constitution to read?

RuralSandi said...

I don't agree, I think it should be law.

Democracy? Shouldn't people be able to know "exactly" what they are voting for?

Voting and secrets?

Afterall, the NDP are so sanctimonious and claim to be so principled they shouldn't have any problem letting people know exactly who they are, what they stand for, etc.