Former NDP MP Jim Manly calls Greens “much more vibrant party”

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      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 exactly the same program that he was seeking nomination for the NDP on, and it’s...looking to deal with issues of the environment.”




      Feb 6, 2015 at 3:53pm

      Sorry Jim, but if Paul's program is/was "looking to deal with issues of the environment" then he should have sucked it up and supported the NDP candidate in the riding. Sheila Malcolmson has amazing credentials on the environment and social issues after twelve years in elected office, including serving as Chair of the regional Islands Trust Council. She's thoughtful, articulate, experienced in government and running for all the right reasons. Sorry but the Greens are still a fringe party, hoping for 12 seats, while NDP has done a good job as the official opposition and it seems more vibrant now than ever to a lot of us.

      ursa minor

      Feb 6, 2015 at 4:00pm

      The problem with the NDP is that they've sacrificed their principles for the sake of electability. For every fire-breathing social justice activist from the labour movement in their ranks, there's a career politician who thinks the NDP can be interchangeable with the Liberals. The problem with the Greens is they haven't figured out what their principles are. For every Green whose known for "environmental and social justice causes', there's a Randian Libertarian trying to delude the rest of them that blind obedience to free market ideology can build a sustainable future.


      Feb 6, 2015 at 4:40pm


      I'm sure Sheila is great, until she gets to Ottawa and Mulcair whips her into supporting whatever is the political flavour of the month. Manly's a great candidate, and 12 seats IS optimistic! Why not be? If I wanted cynicism I'd be NDP too


      Feb 6, 2015 at 5:09pm

      While I can appreciate the passion the Manley's have for the Middle East quagmire, this is Canada. I prefer my MP fighting for issues that affect us in our country not just one issue. We have enough problems of our own, and Stephen Harper is one of them! Splitting the vote with the NDP will ensure more Con MP's and is exactly how you get nothing.


      Feb 6, 2015 at 5:36pm

      As CBC's Terry Milewski said lately, it is a three party race except on Vancouver Island where the Greens are making inroads. The above story is even more reason to swing to the Green party. It is not unrealistic to believe that Vancouver Island might lead the country in going Green.

      @ ursa minor

      Feb 6, 2015 at 5:38pm

      The Liberals are interchangeable with the Conservative Party. The NDP is eminently electable without adopting hypocritical Liberal (adscam) values, as the last national election has already proven. I agree with your point that the Greens need to clarify and define their policies.


      Feb 6, 2015 at 11:53pm

      Clarify and define their principles?! On this, the Greens are mikes ahead! Where Nulcair bandied about on C-51, Elizabeth unequivocally came out opposed. Mulcair needed the Canadian Civil Liberties Assoc, BC Privacy Commission and nearly all media to condemn the bill before he found his "principles." You want clarity of platform? There is no more cprehensive platform than Vision Green: . Lastly, Greens are clear on the principle of respectful democracy, unlike the fear-based strategies the NDP like to use along with Harper. Time to modernize, NFP, you are bleeding out all your critical thinkers...

      Edward Bernays

      Feb 7, 2015 at 4:46am

      The natural order dictates that for the benefit of the majority a progressive movement must allow the extremists in the movement to become marginalized if it is to advance in a meaningful way. The NDP now has a clearer line towards governance thanks to the pressure release of the Green Party. Everthing is advancing as it should. Compromise is the hallmark of building consensus.


      Feb 7, 2015 at 4:55am

      I'd love to see how this country would look with a Prime Minister Elizabeth May at the helm. I do know there would be debate returned to the HOC. She is the only MP that I know of that is as knowledgeable as she is about our laws our parliamentary system and how to get along with everyone.

      James Blatchford

      Feb 7, 2015 at 7:52am

      Gaza Jim sure don't hold grudges much......apparatchiks?! Nice.