Stuart Parker: Why I've resigned from the B.C. NDP

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      (This letter first appeared on Stuart Parker's blog.)

      Saturday, March 24th, 2018

      BC New Democratic Party

      #301 – 4180 Lougheed Highway

      Burnaby, BC

      V5C 6A7

      Dear Sirs and Mesdames:

      Please receive this as my official resignation as a member of the New Democratic Party, its provincial council and its Surrey-Green Timbers riding executive after seventeen consecutive years and a total of twenty years as a party member. I have served on constituency executives in Surrey, Burnaby, Vancouver and Toronto. I provided your party with a crucial endorsement that altered the campaign narrative during the 2001 election; I served as a paid consultant in 2002-03; I have recruited dozens of party members over the years; I have been attending conventions as a delegate from Forum 2000 with Ed Broadbent in 1985 to the 2017 Victoria convention; and, most recently, provided substantial assistance to the Surrey-Guildford GoTV operation that saw Garry Begg defeat Peter Fassbender.

      I did all of these things based on the belief that the BC NDP had learned something from its near-annihilation in the 2001 election, that it would not return to office and repeat the mistakes of the 1990s. Clearly, such a belief was utterly unfounded. Rather, it seems that the brain trust that led the party to within a hair’s breadth of total destruction is back in the driver’s seat with a goal of re-enacting a style of governing even less appropriate for today’s BC than it was a generation ago.

      It is not the 1990s anymore. The world has lost its appetite for centrist triangulation, Blairism and the Third Way. Nobody is looking for a BC NDP government to strike a course on minimum wage that places it to the right of Andrew Cuomo’s New York Democratic Party. Nobody is looking for a BC NDP to show it is serious by maintaining outlandish private school subsidies, subsidizing the oil industry through the LNG scam or completing WAC Bennett’s Two Rivers policy vision. One can no longer even make the case for the Third Way based on pragmatism.

      I am forced, therefore, to reach one inescapable conclusion following Thursday’s $6 billion LNG subsidy announcement: the BC NDP believes that subsidizing transnational oil companies to increase fossil fuel exports is the right thing to do, that, in the eyes of today’s NDP, the global investor class who own and run companies like Petronas are more deserving of a break on PST than homeless people trying to replace their shoes. The NDP believes in these things because it is just another capitalist party indifferent to the global extinction event the capitalist system is producing. That must be why, for instance, the terms of reference of the government’s fracking study include the approval of continued fracking.

      All the signs were there that this is where we were heading but I held on after the party enacted a fee to prevent poor people from seeking its nomination; I held on after the party approved Site C; I held on after the promise to keep BC’s minimum wage below New York’s, Seattle’s, Ontario’s and Alberta’s for the next four years; I held on after it became increasingly clear that the government is rigging the proportional representation referendum not just to fail but to discredit PR nationally for a generation.

      But this nihilistic, headlong embrace of global climate villainy is too much. Go to hell, New Democrats. I am ashamed I gave you a second chance.

      Yours truly,

      Stuart Parker,

      Surrey-Green Timbers Provincial Council Delegate

      CC        Rachna Singh, MLA, Surrey-Green Timbers

      Stuart Parker is a long-time New Democrat, former leader of the B.C. Green party, prominent advocate for electoral reform, university lecturer in history and international studies, and president of Los Altos Institute.