The NDP has gone astray, says a former New Democrat MP.
Jim Manly, who represented the old B.C. riding of Cowichan-Malahat-The Islands from 1980 to 1988, didn’t stop at that.
While the ex-MP remains an NDP member and pays his dues annually, he thinks that the Greens have become a more dynamic party compared to the NDP.
Not only that. When this year’s federal election comes along, Manly will campaign for his son Paul, who is running for the Green Party of Canada.
The NDP brass isn’t going to be pleased by this, and Manly said that a number of party members on Vancouver Island aren’t happy with the NDP either.
“I don’t expect it will sit very well with the NDP,” Manly told the Straight in a phone interview today (February 6). “There are a lot of local New Democrats who are upset, but a lot of other local New Democrats understand very well what the situation is and a number of them are supporting Paul.”
That situation has to do with his son Paul, a filmmaker known for environmental and social justice causes.
Paul had sought to run for the NDP in the new riding of Nanaimo-Ladysmith.
But as his father related, Paul’s application to run in the nomination was “not approved by the Ottawa apparatchiks”.
“I’m quite sure that he would have done very well locally...because people here know him but he was not approved in Ottawa,” said Manly, whose old riding has a portion of it included in the new riding where Paul wants to run.
According to Manly, this all goes back to 2012 after he and a group of other people on board the ship Estelle tried to break through Israel’s naval blockade of the Gaza Strip.
Manly and his companions were arrested by Israeli security forces, and back at home, his son Paul criticized the NDP for not speaking out.
“We had hoped that the New Democrats and other parties also would speak out. Not particularly for me but for the people of Gaza and of Palestine,” Manly said. “And they didn’t and this has never been Paul’s central issue. It’s been a very important issue for Eva—my wife—and myself. But it’s never been Paul’s central issue.”
Manly continued: “But when the party didn’t even speak out strongly when our boat was apprehended in international waters, which is an international crime, and we were kidnaped and taken into Israel, and so there were a number of New Democrats who had wanted to, we know that, and they were muzzled by [party leader] Tom Mulcair, and that’s what Paul spoke out about.”
Last year, the NDP headquarters blocked Paul’s nomination bid.
“I think it was a foolish decision that reflected their inward-looking approach right now,” Manly said about the NDP. “The NDP is not reaching the way it should be to new constituents.”
According to him, it typifies a deeper malaise.
“I think it reflects the fact that the New Democratic Party has lost its way,” Manly said. “And that the Green party today is I think a much more vibrant party that is dealing with the central issues that face Canada and our world today, namely, you know above all, the environmental crisis. And the New Democrats have a better policy on that than the Liberals, and certainly better than [Conservative prime minister Stephen] Harper. But they don’t really come to terms with it.”
In January 2015, Paul won the Green party’s nomination as its candidate for Nanaimo-Ladysmith.
His father said: “I think that Paul will be an excellent member of Parliament. I have a lot of confidence in him. He has a program that...is exactly the same program that he was seeking nomination for the NDP on, and it’s...looking to deal with issues of the environment.”