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Thursday, May 14, 2009 

Hale Reports On Suspended Memberships In NDP Leadership Race

Robert Hale, a Saskatchewan lawyer was commissioned by the provincial New Democratic Party to conduct a review into the specifics of how 1100 potential memberships requests came about. The Provincial Office of the party has issued the following news release:

"Stricter oversight by both the Dwain Lingenfelter campaign and the Saskatchewan New Democratic Party might have prevented the invalid sale of NDP memberships in the Meadow Lake constituency from going as far as it did, Robert Hale said today.

But Hale, a Swift Current lawyer who investigated the membership affair on behalf of the party, said the safeguards in place for the process caught the irregularities in a number of areas, and voting process for the June 6 Party Leadership was not put at risk.

“The (Dwain) Lingenfelter campaign did not direct, authorize or condone this activity,” Hale said. “However, their policies did allow this to proceed further than it should have. If they had taken more time to speak with (the local DLC volunteer) and perhaps to members of the Band offices prior to spending $10,000, this could have been stopped sooner.”

However, sufficient concerns about the amount and quality of the membership applications were raised by the Lingenfelter campaign, the Provincial Office staff, the Meadow Lake constituency, the Chief of one of the Bands involved, and the other three Leadership candidates, that the problem was resolved early enough to prevent any negative consequences.

Hale concluded that (the local DLC volunteer) acted alone, without the authority or approval of the Lingenfelter campaign. However, he said that even if the intent had been to control the election with these improper ballots, it would not have worked.

“For those who might claim that this was an attempt at some type of voting fraud, it is important to note that the address was the Band office,” Hale said. “While we do have enough information to question the integrity of the individual who presented these applications, it would be entirely inappropriate to question the integrity of the officials at the Bands.

“Band officials would have arranged for members to receive their mail. The most likely outcome is that many ballots would have gone in the trash because people were not expecting them or they would have been returned to sender because the address was incorrect.”

He rejected out-of-hand (the local DLC volunteer) explanation to the Lingenfelter campaign of why he acted as he did because such actions are acceptable in Aboriginal communities. He said his consultation with past candidates, volunteers, canvassers, local executives and other volunteers clearly indicated this was not the case.

Hale accepted and supported the philosophy which allows Party members to pay for the membership of others, but said this case indicates the Party needs to put in place tighterregulations on this practice.

Saskatchewan NDP Provincial Secretary Deb McDonald said the Party now considers the matter closed.http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif
“We are satisfied with the report and in due course will consider Mr. Hale’s recommendations about how this incident could be avoided in the future,” McDonald said. “At this time, however, the Party believes it is now time to move forward with letting the members decide who the next leader of the New Democratic Party of Saskatchewan will be.”


In addition, the $11,000 that was paid for the rejected memberships has been confiscated by the New Democratic Party and will be used to defray the costs of the Hale inquiry. Should the $11,000 not cover the full cost of the review, the Lingenfelter campaign must pay for the difference.

When the Hale Report news conference concluded, Dwain Lingenfelter was scrumed by the local media. One question, in particular, caught my attention:

-Reporter: Do you feel vindicated by the review?
-Lingenfelter: I felt vindicated when I wrote to the Party asking them to review me and my campaign.


UPDATE:
I am monitoring the websites for all 4 candidates to see if there are any further statements on the Hale Report. I will post them as they appear:
-Statememt by Dwain Lingenfelter
-Statement by Ryan Meili

Vindication for Lingenfelter personally and hopefully those who tried to smear him on a personal level are willing to apoligize.

Some important lessons for the party to learn and consider the next time there is a leadership race.

Looks like a white wash, I am afraid. No answers, to the questions that were suppose to be answered. Perhaps that was because of the short time period Hale had to complete his report. He never even had the opportunity to interview the person who is accused of forging the memberships. So for that, we really don't know if the person really acted alone.

the Saskatchewan party types are trying to spin this issue that criminal activity occurred because signatures were forged. They assume that forgery itself is a crime. What idiots! I could sit and write out the name of the prime minister of Canada on a piece of paper and that is not a crime. However, if I wrote his name on a cheque that I tried to cash for my own financial benefit, then that would be fraud as a result of a forged siganture.

These Sask party guys and their media friends at News talk radio are going to try and spin this as long as they can.

They are scared shitless of Lingenfelter. No matter what the other NDP camps say, Lingenfelter can throw Wall out of power in the next election. That is for sure.

Now I want to know about Pederson who demanded Lingenfelter resign. Pederson better pull his horns in and figure it out. Meili's people and Higgins people have acted with class but Pederson has not.

Why would anyone vote Link over the SaskParty? They are similar, but Link is much older. With Link as Leader, the NDP will lose even more seats in Regina.

Parkadeboy it is a crime under section 368(1). It is also a crime that has no time limits, so if Link is elected as leader, and the Sask Party decides to go to the police to press charges, it will sabotage the future of the next election.

Buckdog, why won't you publish my posts?

Sunnyside ... I want to make an observation about your comments. Are you trying to be negative towards the New Democratic Party or towards Link?

When you write:
-"Looks like a white wash, I am afraid."
-"No answers, to the questions that were suppose to be answered."
-"we really don't know if the person really acted alone"
I think Hale did as good a job as could be expected. All of these comments are very negative towards the Party - so if that is your intent, fine.

Parkadeboy, Yens Pedersen's surname is spelled PEDERSEN not Pederson. FYI.

Buckdog, I am just trying to present the other side. If you post only pro-Lingenfelter comments, it makes your blog appear bias. I am entitled to my opinion, and last time I checked, we are talking about the New Democratic Party, a party that welcomes democracy and free thought. A party where people inside it have many different views, and we vote for a leader who reflects our views. I feel Lingentfelter won't reflect my values inside the party, that does not make me against the New Democratic Party.

I understand you are supporting Lingenfelter, and of course I respect your decision.

I do agree with you about Hale not having enough time to make a conclusive report, but the party does strongly feel that the findings were adequate, I however do not feel that the reports findings were conclusive. I do find many holes and unanswered questions in the report, and I don't think I am the only New Democrat who feels this way.

It is not the job of the NDP to vindicate, charge or convict Lingenfelter or anyone in his campaign.

These types of actions are best left to other authorities, including the police. And, if the police were interested in investigating any of this, which I assume they are not, they would ask the NDP to hand over the relevant materials and I am sure the NDP would comply.

Hale did the best possible job with the resources, terms of reference and timeframe given. It would have been preferable if he had been able to talk to the "overzealous" volunteer but given a week and given the fact this particular volunteer zealously did not return phone calls Hale had little choice but to go ahead with his report if he wanted to submit it on time.

Being a one man show, Hale also had little choice but to take interviewees at their word and could do little more than just that. Anything else other than this would have been pure speculation on his part with very little in the way of hard and conclusive facts.

That said, many unanswered questions remain in this saga. If using campaign funds to pay for memberships, it just makes no sense that $11,000 worth would be converted into ten and twenty dollar bills rather than using a cheque unless someone was trying to hide something.

Furthermore, believing a single campaign volunteer acted entirely on their own in this matter with no direction from senior members of Link's campaign team seems highly questionable considering the amount of money and number of memberships involved.

While the party may not have had the capacity or resources to do much more on this one, voting members in the upcoming leadership convention may not be so quick to give Mr. Lingenfelter the benefit of the doubt.

Should Link make it through the leadership campaign as victor, spurred on by the Sask Party, it is even less likely the media and ultimately the voting public will give him the benefit of the doubt.

And this, like it or not, is something all members of the party will have to live with at the end of the day.

Sunnyside, when you used the exact same line that has been repeated by the Saskatchewan Party all this week, ... especially the use of the word 'whitewash' ... I assumed that you were a Sask Party functionary merely mouthing their official line. As I say on the banner for this site, I don't tolerate right wing crap very well. Excuse me for thinking that you were from the Sask Party - to ensure that others in the NDP do not think you are Sask Party, perhaps consider NOT using their EXACT lines in this matter!

Perhaps the Sask Party is using the line, because it so obviously stinks. We should stop coverin g up for problems, something you know goes to bite you back in the butt many years later, if we don't proactively and effectively handle these situations. It reflects poorly on the party as a whole. I would rather the Sask Party have less ammunition against us, than more.

In all fairness, while the New Democratic Party is having a good old fashioned 'hair pull' of a Leadership race, some of us are still trying to man the parapets and keep a keen eye on the tireless activities of our REAL enemies.

-Higgins is not the enemy of Pedersen, Meili and Lingenfelter;
-Meili is not the enemy of Pedersen, Higgins and Lingenfelter;
-Lingenfelter is not the enemy of Pedersen, Meili and Higgins;
-Pedersen is not the enemy of Higgins, Meili and Lingenfelter;

The 'enemy' are those who would privatize the Crown Corporations, erode Medicare, curtail organized labour and implement all of the other tired old planks that Right Wing thinking in this province lusts for!

Have a fun leadership contest. I am going to keep my eye on on the enemy!

I am not sure what more can be done then to have an internal party report be released to the media. The report covered the money issue, covered how an individual signed up so many individuals without their knowledge and gave a clear timeline of events. Certainly it would have been positive for the individual responsible to have talked to Hale but certainly talking to band officials it seems they gave the biggest account for the process he used. If members feel something needs to be changed then it is their duty to change how things work.

The SP may raise this in the future but what are they going to gain? The report clears the candidate so what else is going to be gained by the SP to raise this in the future?

They certainly have their own internal issues to work out. They have an MLA who lost an election to an individual who would later be appointed to a high level position by the SP. This seems fine and dandy except the MLA accused the individual and his campaign of committing voter fraud(Ballot stuffing and threats).

The issue of Brad and getting liquor for cabinet ministers during his time in the Devine administration is also an issue. I do not recall an apology from Wall in regards to that or an investigation on the ethics of such a practice.

John, "The SP may raise this in the future but what are they going to gain? The report clears the candidate so what else is going to be gained by the SP to raise this in the future?"

John, how long have you been following politics in Saskatchewan. The media has allowed the Sask Party to get away with all sorts of non-sense. Where do I begin? Spudco, Murdoch Carrier, and that other one, the Caucus Fraud Scandal. The scandal Link's campaign has beren involved in over memberhsip fraud, is as serious, or maybe more serious than anyone of the other scandals. The Sask Party would rather be tearing down the NDP's reputation than coming up with good policy, and frankly we have dealt with all of these scandals in such foolish ways, by pretending we dealt with them when we didn't. This stuff have got to end. Dwaine needs to lose, and this party must move on to being the party of Social Democracy and working for the people of Saskatchewan, rather than getting caught up in stupid scndals.

It has never been the scandals in the NDP that have hurt the party, but rather their ineptedness at dealing with them.

Leftdog,

I have to take issue with your chastising of sunnyside and your insistence that we focus on the enemies at hand - the right.

Sunnyside has called the Hale report a whitewash because that's what it is. If this happens to be the same terminology the Sask Party is using, so be it.

To write a conclusive report based on information provided by the party in question and without talking to or giving the person who bears the brunt of the blame an opportunity to at least add to or explain their side of the story is highly dubious. Hale would have been much better advised to title his report inconclusive or unfinished and the fact that he decided to try and draw conclusions in it based on zero fact means that he and the party will be taken to task on this matter as they both should be.

In terms of the internal debate that is currently going on over the Hale report, memberships and several other things, yes it can get a bit testy at times but this is not necessarily a bad thing. From its very earliest beginnings as a movement, the CCF/NDP has encouraged vibrant, open and democratic debate amongst its members. It is one of the things that has made us strong, vibrant and more powerful as a grassroots movement than the other parties. Unfortunately, while in government for the past 16 years debate was often suppressed under the mantra that we just need to get through this or that crisis, the next election, etc. and we will discuss these issues later. However, at times it has also been used to protect people that should not have been protected.

Now that we are in opposition, it is precisely the time to debate and discuss these things and if we do not do it now, we will forever fail as a social democratic movement. Those who mistake debates of ideas for personal attacks are the ones that likely don't have a place in our party.

The right will always be there and they will always try to chip away at Medicare, the Crowns, labour, the working poor, etc. We already know this, we have known it since the beginning and we will continue to fight against it.

However, we must also be wary of less visible enemies from within - these being complacency, ideological shallowness, the pursuit of power for its own sake, avarice, etc. Without ideas, debate, passion, vision and pursuit of ever greater and larger social democratic goals - the dream dies and the right is left alone to do what it wants both outside and within our party.

I think Hale, McDonald and the committee did the best they could, with what they had, in a situation of bad timeing. Labeling their efforts as a 'whitewash', in my opinion isn't warranted. My support for the work done by Hale, McDonald and the committee was also called 'support for Lingenfelter' - not overly appropriate to what my points have been.

There are many provinces where the NDP exits as a debating society, residing in perpetual opposition while the local right wing political party savages the lives of ordinary working citizens. Other provinces like Saskatchewan and Manitoba have learned to both pragmatically govern from a social democratic agenda AND debate, discuss and design policy from the floor of convention.

When a New Democrat says to me that the party should not pursue power for its own sake, I generally retort that we should also not demand 'Marquis of Queensbury' rules of our party when our opponents are kicking us in the groin. I have never been a New Democrat who is satisfied to lay down electorally because our party is locked in passionate debate.

Social democracy in Saskatchewan has made its gains and brought benefits to our fellow citizens incrementally; like it or not. The forces arrayed against us are rich in capital, ink, and privilege.

I am old fashioned enough to believe that for internal debates, we don't need to fight within the ranks of our party with the same ferocity that we would fight the Right. Anyone who wants to deregulate, privatize and erode the things that make life better for Saskatchewan people deserves to receive our best strategic assaults.

Buckdog I am not saying don't fight the right, but lets make our house the best it can be to make up that fight. If politics were a team sport would you not find the best players to take on the fight, or would you keep a player on your team who is covered in scandal?

I am not saying that Hale did a bad job with his report, what he should have down is called it incomplete and admitted he didn't have the resources to do the job. From there the party should decide whether to send it to the RCMP for an investgation, rather than letting the Sask Party get the bragging rights.

Buckdog we too will become a provincial New Democratic Party forever in opposition, unless we learn to deal with our own problems, rather than allow the Sask Party to score political points for every screw up we make. We continue to allow our party to get caught up in distractions, when we fail to deal with scandals in a proper way, and it makes us look like we are more occupied with cover ups than fighting the good fight for Social Democracy.

"If politics were a team sport would you not find the best players to take on the fight ..." - I think we agree that we have some very good candidates for Leader AND some very good campaigns working the field.

I liked Romanow, but at the time it bothered me that he was unchallenged in his election as Leader. We're fortunate that we are having a good leadership this time around. To be honest with you, I am pretty happy that my party has such great talent - both new and veteran. At the end of the day, when the party picks a leader, I hope that no one leaves the party or the movement because their candidate did not win. We do have a pretty big tent and over the decades our party has been pretty inclusive. The Sask NDP has been big enough to welcome some pretty diverse members in its ranks - that's the key to our success.

We have elected Leaders in the past that I wasn't crazy about. But ... at the end of the day, the Party is bigger than the Leader and we have proven that on the floor of Convention a number of times.

No matter who the leader ends up being, I am confident that we will thrive because of the potency of what comes from the membership to the Constituency Associations and to the Convention. More than one Leader tried to manipulate the Convention only to get stung and rebuked by the delegates. THAT is our greatest strength, not the Leader. The Leader leads us, but the herd decides the direction. When we follow that method, we get elected and do good things.

Sunnyside, if the general membership elect Lingenfelter then I hope those who continue to attack the Hale report will respect the wishes of the general membership

A bit of advice from a political junky, but not a NDPer, stay away from Lingenfelter. And I don't say that because I fear Link, I actually think he would be easy to beat, being so damn arrogant and all, but the reason you shouldn't vote for Link is because he isn't a NDP, nor is he a PC, a Conservative, a Liberal, or a Saskie, he's just an oppurtunist, nothing more.
The NDP have to redefine their principles and then stick to them. Link leans which ever way the wind blows.
Leaders who are principled garner respect and people will vote for a leader they disagree with but respect, rather than one they agree with but do not respect.
Why am I telling you this? Because I know that most of the reader's of this blog are trying to decipher "the hidden agenda" in this posting and I love to torment NDPer's.

The ndp has always elected a leader with experience in the legislature. All of them were an MLA before they led the ccf or ndp. We will not elect a total newcomer as leader no matter what. Pedersen and Meili are both interesting and have ideas for the ndp but with no experience in parliament or legislature, they are going to be the next wave of leadership in the ndp but will not become leader this time around. It asks too much of a green, fresh individual to take the control of both our MLA's and the party at the same time.
If there are people who don't wank Link to lead they will probably support Higgins who is a MLA.
I hope that Meili and Pedersen run to be MLA's because one of them will be the next leader after Lingenfelter or Higgins.

Parkadeboy,

Your first comment is actually false. Tommy Douglas had no MLA experience before he led the CCF to victory in 1944. In fact, he had only resigned as MP for Weyburn 14 days before the 1944 election.

MJ Coldwell, who was the first leader of the FLP, was never able to win a seat in the Legislature in 1934.

Douglas had experience in parliament in Ottawa. He knew how to navigate the rules of an elected body. Neither Meili or Pedersen has the kind of experience needed to do anything in the legislature except to be rookies. Both would hurt us without any experience there. Yes they have some good policy ideas, but that only covers the party. What does each of them know about the public service, or cabinet process, or executive council, or picking deputy ministers, or senior staff people, or federal-provincial relations, or taxation policy, or just about everything that a leader needs? It would be a disaster for our party to pick someone as leader who doesn't even know where the washrooms are at the legislature. Youthful energy is nice but 'fools walk in' when they don't know what they are even doing.

That's not what your original position was.

From 2003-2007, our caucus was incredibly experienced. A lot of good that did us with the voters. Moreover, a lot of good that did us in terms of good progressive legislation. By the end of the piece, our MLAs were signing off on a lot of legislation drafted by bureaucrats.

Ryan and Yens are both personally successful individuals. I am confident either one of them could figure out the process. In any event, no leader of the NDP will be enacting laws until 2011. Unless of course, one camp of MLAs continues to cave in on Sask Party proposals.

Oh great. You are "confident either one of them could figure out the process." That is a ringing endorsement that will make the ndp want to run out and vote for your guy because they might be able to "figure it out".

I know you want youth. That is all fine and well. But there is a difference between youth and experience. Pedersen and Meili have no chance of beating Wall. No one in the ndp had heard of Meili before feb. and I can tell you absolutely no one in Sask. that is not ndp knows who he is. You think he can win? Yens was a bit better known in the ndp but also no one in Sask. even knows who he is.
I think you are on about both of them because you do not like Link. That is fine. But trying to convince us that two wet behind the ears, political amateurs could be possibly be premier is crazy.
Get real! Just come out and say that you don't like Link and that you are trying to justify electing a leader from the amateur bull pen for you own sense of self righteousness.

Yens is paper thin politically and has no chance of beating Wall in a debate.

Meili seems to have some youthful energy behind him, but would be lost leading our MLA's and the Party in the legislature. I have heard him speak and there is no spark or passion. He is too mild mannered at this point to deal with Wall and company.

But I forgot, you are ""confident either one of them could figure out the process." Good luck with that.

I don't think your description of Ryan Meili being mild mannered is at all accurate. If you listen to him speak on his various youtube videos, you certainly don't come away with that impression.

And re-reading your comments, to be fair, Yens is a lawyer and a past president of the New Democratic Party. It is hard to call that paper thin.

I would have to add both Meili and Pedersen have degrees. I believe Yens attended the most prestigious law school in Canada, at the top of his class, and Meili has a PHD in Medicine. Both know what it is like to study hard and come up to speed with regards to legislation. Now what degrees do Lingenfelter and Higgins have? I don't want to call certain candidates smarter than others, but if we are going to make the experience argument, we should also make the education argument. If you apply for a job your hiring is based both on experience and education.

I attended some of the debates and from the ones I attended Yens and Meili had the biggest applauses. Even in a crowd dominated by Link supporters. So to argue that the two younger candidates won't be able to take on Wall you are absolutely wrong.

At the end of the day, we have four candidates who have four different backgrounds and one common goal of making the NDP the best party it can be.

All four candidates are bright individuals and would do a fine job as leader. It is completely off-base to equate a degree with intelligence and a lack of a degree with a lack of intelligence. It is also completely off-base to write-off a candidate who may never have been elected to public office as being unable to hit the ground running.

Lingenfelter has had success in government and in the private sector. He has taken on conservative governments before and won. He also has a number of ideas dealing with renewal and policies for the province.

Pedersen has served as party president and that is no small task. He may not have been elected to public office but being party president means he has been in a position of leadership and has worked with caucus before. I certainly think if Yens was elected leader he would hit the ground running. Yens has had no trouble challenging the Saskatchewan party on a number of issues during the leadership race.

Meili may not have experience in elected office but just read his resume and you know he has a history of leadership. I certainly think given his experience in starting up the number of initiatives that he has done in the past that he would have no trouble hitting the ground running.

Higgins is a former union leader and cabinet minister. She has a history of leadership and bringing people together. She has taken on the Saskatchewan party before as a opposition critic and would have no trouble in adjusting to the role of party leader. She very well could be the Obama of the NDP leadership race in becoming the first female leader of the Saskatchewan NDP. She has raised a number of policies including policies on how to deal with poverty in Saskatchewan. An issue that is extremely important given it is often a root cause of many other serious issues including crime and health.

Any one of these four individuals would make a fine leader and one that all members could rally around if elected.

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