She may not be heading to Halifax, but that hasn’t stopped ITQ from following, with equal parts bemusement and amusement, the fracas surrounding once-and-not-likely-future NDP candidate Dana Larsen, who was — at least, according to his tweeted version of events –unceremoniously banned from attending the convention — or even hanging around the building — earlier today.
Apparently, the party was distinctly unimpressed with his efforts to get out the vote on a pro-pot legalization resolution that may well not even make it to the floor, and revoked his credentials on the spot. In fairness to the party, it turns out that NDP national director Brad Lavigne gave him a heads up via email earlier this week that he would not be welcome on the voyage due to his alleged offers of “financial inducements to other delegates” which are “contrary to the democratic principles of the [party]”. Did I mention this is an NDP policy convention? Just checking.
Anyway, this led to a mini-outburst from his supporters, which — predictably — wound up splattered all over the wall of the Facebook page set up for the convention, which – even more predictably – was hastily disabled, thus prompting Larsen to convert the page he set up in support of his resolution into an “unofficial and uncensored” alternative event page, that – at the moment – has more members than the original, many of whom are now happily expressing their utter outrage and disbelief at his treatment at the hands of his fellow New Democrats. Larsen, meanwhile, is using the party’s twitter hashtag — #hfx09 — to spread the word about his ejection from the floor in between media interviews, which is convenient for those of us stuck watching the convention via CPAC.
I’m going to let you in on a little journalistic secret here, NDP organizers: We — we-the-media, that is — expect — nay, demand — at least one zany resolution from every party policy convention. If you’re not going to give us a leadership review — or, better yet, a multi-ballot leadership vote, complete with delegates, drama and intrigue, and — of course — thundersticks — then you’d better darned well give us something to get us out of bed in time for that three hour plenary session at the crack of nine on Saturday morning. In recent years, for the Conservatives, it’s usually something about abortion or same sex marriage; for the Liberals, it’s Quebec nationhood and — thank you, youth wing — legalized prostitution, and for the NDP, it’s nationalizing the banks and decriminalizing soft drugs. It happens every time: One of your riding associations comes up with a crowd-pleasingly controversial proposal, we write about, it either passes and goes nowhere, or it fails, and we all go home, satisfied by having taken part in a proud Canadian political tradition.
Instead, you boot the guy out, thus giving us something even better to cover: a banned delegate with an axe to grind! And a twitter account! It’s like you planned the whole thing just to give us a good hook for this weekend’s coverage. Since the delegate in question is on the ground in Halifax, and even under an NDP government, you can’t have the province put him on the next plane back to BC, he can scrum with reporters, maybe round up a few dozen supporters to picket the opening session — really, he’ll wind up with far more media coverage than he would have gotten if he’d managed to pass his pro-pot resolution in the first place. It’s just the silliest thing ever, although while we’re on the subject of silliness, ITQ would suggest that keeping the full list of policy resolutions under wraps is a close second, since they always end up leaking out anyway, and really, see above re: proud Canadian traditions.
Anyway, ITQ is hoping to liveblog — by CPAC, that is — at least some of this weekend’s official festivities, but she’s hoping that some of her friends who are lucky enough to be there in person will keep her in the loop as far as the off-camera antics. Solidarity forever, y’all!
UPDATE: Hey, remember what I said about policy resolutions always leaking out online? Funny thing.
I’m only about a third of the way through, and am mostly skimming, but from what I can see, there’s nothing particularly shocking — it’s pretty standard NDP stuff, really — but feel free to discuss any particularly intriguing proposals in the comments.