The North Okanagan-Shuswap NDP Riding Association is without an executive following Saturday’s AGM
The Association’s executive followed through with its threat to resign in a dispute over a debt from the last election.
Alice Brown, who was the President of the association, says members held off electing a new executive.
“But there was a motion from the floor to adjourn the meeting and stop a new election from happening until this issue is resolved.”
That issue is a more than 7300 dollar payment the national office paid the former financial agent for the 2014 campaign to make up part of the campaign’s debt.
Brown says the way campaigns are run has to change.
“We feel that either the candidate or the official agent needs to assume total responsibility for anything that happens during the campaign, including cleaning up their own mess, or they need to keep the executive on board so that money decisions are voted on.”
Brown says the executive was shut out of the last campaign and wasn’t responsible for the debt that resulted.
It had no say when the federal office paid what was left of the debt to the former financial agent of the campaign.
The executive felt it should go to the 2019 campaign.
It’s not clear what the next step will be or if the national office will step into the dispute.
Update: Pete McIntyre
The 2015 NDP candidate in the North Okanagan Shuswap riding says the focus should be on the next election, not one three years ago.
Jacqui Gingras says she’s disappointed the riding executive is planning to resign at a meeting this weekend over a dispute over a debt with the national NDP.
“To be quite honest, I haven’t been part of the meetings of the EDA (executive), so I don’t really know what their rationale is, but it takes the emphasis off of what’s really, truly most important and that’s 2019 (the next election).”
Pictured: Jacqui Gingras
Gingras says there won’t be any trouble forming a new executive as NDP support in the riding is strong.
“There is so much support for NDP here in this riding. We’ve seen that time and time again.”
However, Gingras says she won’t be running.
“No, but I definitely support the NDP.”
Gingras’ official agent from 2015, Kathy Porter, says she followed all of the Elections Canada requirements.
“As part of a contractual agreement between the EDA and the federal NDP, it is acknowledged the federal NDP has the authority to distribute rebate money as they see fit,” Porter tells Beach Radio News.
Porter feels the NDP has a good chance to make some progress in the riding.
“I think this kind of name calling and pettiness is unfortunate and doesn’t do anything to further the principles that I believe in.”
Jesse Calvert, the Director of Operations for the federal NDP sent CJIB News this statement:
“The Federal NDP works in close coordination with local campaigns both pre and post election to ensure they are in compliance with the Elections Act. We regret the decision of the outgoing Executive, but are certain that NDP members are ready to step up and help run a strong campaign in North Okanagan – Shuswap in 2019.”
The Executive of the North Okanagan Shuswap NDP Riding Association is planning to resign this weekend.
Riding Association President Alice Brown says it’s because of a dispute with the national office over more than 7300 dollars it transferred to the Official Agent of the 2015 campaign.
That’s a rebate for part of the debt from the campaign, but the Riding Association it should go to the 2019 campaign.
“It’s our seed money. And so we count on that money to run the election that’s coming up next year. To have all that money allocated back for debt put us at a real disadvantage to running our next election.”
Brown says the riding association executive wasn’t allowed to be part of the last campaign and disagreed with how money was spent at the time.
She says the explanation from the national office was that a debt has to be repaid.
“If we weren’t willing to pay it that they would just keep the money and pay it themselves. And it’s true that campaign debt is to be paid. But it’s also true from Elections Canada that the person responsible for that debt is the financial agent not the executive.”
Brown says it was up to the person who was the financial agent at the time to figure out a way to handle the debt.
She says there are various ways it could have been handled from a non-monetary contribution by the candidate, Jacqui Gingras to fundraising.
The decision was made to ask the national office to pay for it.
Brown says she’s not sure what that money, $7339.09, will be used for.
She says if the federal office changed its mind, the executive could be willing to stay on to put together a team to organize the campaign for 2019 and work with that team to make sure things run smoothly.
She says their decision is not based so much on the amount of money as the principle of the matter.
Brown says between them, the executive has more than 100 years of experience in campaign knowledge.
Brown, herself, has been a member for over 30 years and has run as a candidate in several elections.
CJIB News has contacted the federal office for comment but we have not yet heard back.
Big trouble for the federal NDP in the North Okanagan Shuswap riding.
The riding’s executive will be resigning en-mass June 16th to protest the national office’s decision to de-fund the local riding association.
Association Vice-President Kelly Stalker says the dispute is over the transfer of $7,339.09 from the Federal NDP to the Official Agent of the failed 2015 campaign in the riding.
Normally, that money would be transferred to the Riding Association to fund the upcoming 2019 election campaign.
Stalker says it will be difficult to operate without those funds.
The Riding Association says it was aware throughout the 2015 campaign that a deficit was likely.
It says it was told by the national office the Campaign was completely independent.
The Riding Association felt it had no recourse to intervene.
“We find it surprising that on the one hand, we are told that we have no control over how they spend their money and on the other hand, they can take the money from the Riding Association to cover their debts.” observes Alice Brown, Riding President.
“I’ve been a party member for over 30 years, run as a candidate in several elections and have always stood by my principles. I just can’t believe that the Federal NDP would rob our Riding like this and be so unwilling to correct their mistake.”
Following months of negotiations with the Federal NDP, the Executive of the North Okanagan Shuswap NDP has lost confidence that the Federal NDP is able to operate in a manner that is ethical and transparent.
Brown says it’s not so much the amount of money, but the principle of the matter.
The Elections Act is very clear that responsibility for paying Campaign expenses falls exclusively upon the Official Agent of the campaign. Failure to pay election expenses can result in jail time or fines.