Sunday, February 12, 2006

Buzz Off

Looks like the NDP has had enough of Buzz Hargrove:
The NDP has expelled Buzz Hargrove, the country's most prominent labour leader, for actively promoting strategic voting and Liberal candidates in last month's federal election.

The Ontario NDP provincial executive voted yesterday to pull the membership of Hargrove, president of the Canadian Auto Workers, for violating the party's constitution regarding provisions against endorsing other candidates. It also automatically revokes his membership in the federal party.

Hargrove argues that he advocated "strategic voting" in ridings where the NDP was not competitive, as a way to stop the Conservatives. I must say, I do find it somewhat troubling that the NDP demands such purity from its members. Although I understand the obvious frustration for party officials, watching the Buzz and Paul show, their decision still seems at odds with the spirit of the Party.

Freedom of thought and expression is a fundamental principle. While Hargrove could justifiably be shunned from the official Party apparatus, formally turfing him sets a bad standard. If a person feels that strategic voting is the answer, the Party should not involve itself with an individuals stand. Inclusion and diversity are supposed NDP traits, I think this expulsion slightly contradicts this tone. Afterall, the CAW endorsed Hargrove's call for strategic voting and therefore his opinion had wide support amongst some NDP activists.

This is not to say that Hargrove wasn't a complete pain in the ass this campaign. And, the ironic thing is Martin may have regretted Hargrove's support in the end. But, formally kicking out Hargrove gives a shaky appearance for a Party that professes such openness. There were other, less visible options that could have been done internally.


Mark Dowling said...

After Desjarlais we know that Layton intends to suppress dissent in the NDP. Buzz had it coming - you can't campaign against your own party and expect to stay in it, even in "the national interest".

Steve V said...


That's a fair point, and I don't really dispute it. I just think, given the fact that the CAW endorsed Hargrove's approach, it would have been better to imformally shun Hargrove, rather than a public banning.

Jan_ from_ BruceCounty said...

A long political strategy played in elections by Liberals has been to tell people to vote for us as voting for the NDP is a waste of your vote. Buzz's fawning of Martin reenforces that belief. Strategic voting in Emerson's riding sure backfired for many voters who said they did so. Now they get a nice blue conservative office in their riding.
We should all be pushing for proportional representation, therefore getting rid of the distortions in our electoral system.

James Bowie said...

If they'd had the mox to do this during the election they'd have had another five points.

They'd have another five points if Jack would shave.

Martin missed the great opportunity of the campaign when he didn't bood Hargrove from the stage when Hargrove endorsed voting Bloc.

Buzz is amazingly unpopular. Any public action to distance him will gain support.

Steve V said...


"They'd have another five points if Jack would shave."

I contend the Harper hair negated the Layton stash, translating into a statistical wash.

Anonymous said...

Mark, the way I see it, Hargrove was not campaigning AGAINST the NDP. He was campaigning FOR CANADA ... which Layton should have been doing!!! There is a very important nuance.

Time will tell whether Hargrove ... and I have been wrong.