Editor, The News:
Your headline, Next NDP candidate won’t be a white man, (The News, Aug. 5) is not quite accurate. The next candidate for the NDP can be a white man – who is gay or bisexual or perhaps transgendered – a result of the adoption of the equity clause at the 2005 convention.
Up to then, members of the LGBT community could choose to reveal their sexual orientation at any time, if at all, and many have done so.
Members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered constituency wishing to run today in selected constituencies must make a declaration before allowing their name to stand. Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows has been selected as one of those constituencies.
I believe this is demeaning to all our members and could lead to doubts of whether such candidates are truly qualified and up to the task.
I question the intent of those who promoted this and wonder where they intend to go with it.
Social democracy was born out of a desire to elevate and broaden emancipation to all people.
I’ve been a member of the NDP both federally and provincially for years.
This policy made me very uneasy when first I heard of it. Like many others, I really hadn’t seen a problem in our party regarding sex, race, sexual orientation or any other consideration.
In fact, it is of historical significance that our party and its predecessor, the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation, had advanced that charter rights and equality provisions be made into law and discriminatory practices face legal sanctions.
I have no idea how the party became convinced that such a strong directive became necessary.
The members needed no such directive when they elected Carole James as leader – need I say a woman and part First Nation.
And how proud we were of the two MLAs, Jenny Kwan and Joy MacPhail when for four years they stood up to the Liberal sweep.
Just read the Hansard of those days to get an idea how they courageously fought the sale of BC Rail, privatization and closure of health facilities, cuts to education, advocacy and legal aid, women’s centres and so many other services.
Yes, the NDP’s history of inclusiveness and progressive policies over the years was a comfort for so many who otherwise would have felt alienated and without a voice.
Workers, pensioners and unemployed, many small business owners, professionals, single mothers and fathers, families needing assistance, those on disability or unable to fend for themselves, environmentalists, advocacy and support groups, and so many others, all look to the NDP to try to make things better.
The party has had several native members enter politics and some have sat as MLAs.
Others from other cultures, races and different ethnic groups have sought and won representation. I remember well, Rosemary Brown and Emery Barns, B.C.’s first black MLAs.
I have to believe the equity principle is misguided.
There are several gay and lesbian members sitting today but most everyone, like myself, see no issue here and frankly just don’t give it much thought.
The NDP has always fostered a sense of inclusiveness that bars none from seeking a more active political contribution.
They will get all the help party members can provide if they are sincere, believe in justice and fairness and are committed to promoting equality, a cleaner environment and preserving what is healthy and good in this beautiful province.