‘The role of a constitution is to provide scope for good government, while at the same time placing limitations on the powers of the governors’. Dr. Mark Cooray
The non-consultative drafting and subsequent ramrodding of the current BC Conservative Party constitution in 2015 is a perfect example of a totally ill-conceived and inadvisedly implemented document that has now, appropriately, begun to cause the BC Conservative Party a huge problem. Possibly an insurmountable problem – at least in time for the 2017 BC general election.
A proper constitution should be written in clear, concise and irrefutable language so that there is ‘no room’ for ambiguity and misinterpretation.
A proper constitution should maintain the balance between providing a ‘road map’ and rules for good governance and also clear rules for dealing with abuses, and misuses, of power.
In short, a constitution should protect those who are bound to it from bad or unethical decisions made by incompetent, ill-informed, unethical or otherwise self-serving people who cannot be legally controlled through any mechanism other than the constitution.
So what does that have to do with the BC Conservative Party?
Everything – as the BCCP has become the ‘poster boy’ for everything that can, and should, go wrong in a political arena.
Most journalists and observers rightly conclude that the BC Conservatives have been in a state of fractious disarray and confusion for a number of years. So much so, in fact, that the federal Conservatives and most small ‘c’ conservatives in BC reluctantly moved their support to the BC Liberals as the ‘conservative’ right of centre alternative to the leftist NDP.
In 2014, a small, self-serving group literally usurped control of the BC Conservatives after the majority of the Executive Committee resigned. Instead of going to the membership for nominations and/or legitimate ratification of appointees , a small group literally appointed itself as the new ‘Board’.
In a third world country, we would define this as a coup, usually a military coup.
The then existing constitution, while silent on many possibilities in many respects, as are most constitutions, at least provided a framework for ‘good government’ and ‘limitations on the powers’ of those governing.
With the complicity of less than 75 individuals (at that time, less than 2% of the entire membership), this self-appointed unelected Board called a Special General Meeting in June, 2015 to change the Constitution and Bylaws.
Intelligent people, responsible people, accountable people – know there is a reason it is supposed to be difficult, almost impossible to change a constitution without a very clear, overwhelming mandate. Just look at the strict requirements necessary to make even the smallest change to the Canadian constitution – or US constitution.
The BC Conservatives, however, ignored the importance of the ‘protection’ of a good constitution and the importance of ‘defending at all costs’ the sanctity of the constitution itself.
Self-serving individuals created amendments to the constitution that served their own purposes, namely to ‘censor’ open debate, discussion and disagreement. This, of course, was done to ‘unify’ and ‘strengthen’ the BCCP. Of course.
In addition, the new constitution crippled the ability of the members to demand a leadership review, dropping the leader’s approval requirement from 60% support to 40% support. This is not a misprint. The leader of the BCCP only requires a 40% approval rating.
In addition, language was added that virtually requires ‘full support’ for the leader once elected, specifically ‘full support’ from the Board of Directors. (Clause 12.09)
After this somewhat long explanation (I consider it important to build an accurate and complete picture), what does this have to do with the BC Conservatives heading into the 2017 election?
Absolutely everything. The revised constitution has now literally hamstrung the BCCP – and thrown it into complete disarray, confusion and probable litigation.
The same ‘leader’ who is still scheduled for a court date in November, 2016 for alleged ‘smear campaign’ tactics at the 2014 leadership convention has now been returned as ‘leader’ but under alleged similar suspicious circumstances. (This is, not surprisingly, the same ‘leader’ who had essentially the entire Board resign leading to the ‘coup’ in 2014 and the same ‘leader’ instrumental in the drafting and institution of the ‘new constitution’.
How does this all tie in and why does it matter?
It matters because the BC Conservative Party has aspirations to elect MLA’s and professes to offer ‘good governance’.
It matters because the members of the BC Conservative Party are currently unable to get proper answers from its Board of Directors concerning the status of its ‘leader’.
It matters because the membership requires more than 60% participation in a petition to force a leadership review.
It matters because the BC Conservative Party is so caught up in its internal dysfunctionality that it can’t even update its own website to confirm who the ‘leader’ even is. (As at the date of this publication – more than a month after the leadership race).
It matters because the Board of Director members of the BC Conservative Party are forced by its own draconian bylaws to ‘fully support the Leader’ – or resign. Clause 12.09 (The leader currently reportedly under investigation once again for election improprieties).
It matters because the BC Conservative Party created a constitution that is punitive and authoritarian – intended to enforce compliance and eliminate dissenting points of view. (Debate and the ability to discuss and manage divergent points of view is the basis for democracy. Totalitarian third world states require total control and subservience).
It matters because BC is about to hold a general election, to elect representatives who are accountable to the people who elect those MLA’s.
It matters because MLA’s should represent the interests of their constituents – not the deeply and obviously flawed self-interest of individuals who appear to care more about ‘cop brain’ police state control and compliance from its own members, instead of good governance.
The same people who wrote and ratified this democratically troubling constitution (that already resulted in alleged internal litigation and controversy) now want to be able to draft legislation that affects the entire Province of BC.
Ask yourself the really important question.
If the BC Conservative Party does not have the moral compass and integrity to institute a constitution that protects and ensures the rights of all within the BCCP, and a constitution that does not protect the party from its own internal abuses, how can it legitimately ask for your vote?
Consider the implications of the BC Conservative Party applying its own faulty application of democratic principles to the residents of British Columbia – as your government.
I, for one, find this a chilling prospect.
There are alternatives available heading into the 2017 election. Already more than half of the paid members of the BC Conservative Party at the election date in 2013 have left the party. Please investigate viable and supportable alternatives – who will represent you, the voter.
Take the time to learn more about ‘Right for BC’ and ‘Independent Candidate Endorsed’. rightforbc.com.