Inside Politics

7 NDP policy resolutions unlikely to hit the convention floor this weekend

Earlier this week, I posted a roundup of policy proposals that may be on the agenda when card-carrying New Democrats converge on Montreal this weekend.

Today, however, let's look at the ones that almost certainly won't even make it to an initial vote: the submissions that the resolutions committee put at the very bottom of the topically-themed lists that were posted to the NDP website last week, ranked in order of suggested -- but not binding -- importance.

As noted in my earlier post, before a resolution can be put a full vote on the convention floor, it has to get through the first round of approval --those seven similarly themed pre-confab panels that will meet behind closed doors on Friday morning to determine which resolutions will be up for consideration during the seven one-hour plenary sessions scheduled throughout the weekend's programme.

When you factor in the stringent time limits under which those panels will be operating -- 90 minutes total, of which no more than 30 minutes can be spent on motions related to the order itself -- not to mention the need for each resolution to have both a mover and seconder in the room, there's little chance that they'll get through the full list.

Which, of course, is why it's worth flipping to the back of the book to see which resolutions have been designated as lowest possible priority by the party.

Without further ado, the bottom 7 items on the NDP's policy to-do list, at least at press time:

  • [Exposing] the hypocrisy of the capitalist system where the rich are bailed out and receive huge bonuses while the working majority face huge cuts, and using its influence to help mobilize a mass movement against austerity measures, and to stand as a firm voice in defence of the needs of working people
  • Making living in a healthy environment a Charter right
  • Requiring nutritional labelling for alcoholic beverages
  • Renewing diplomatic relations with Iran
  • Giving the federal privacy commissioner the power to investigate political parties, and establish a privacy policy for personal information collected by the NDP
  • Repeal Section 159 of the Criminal Code, which outlaws "anal intercourse" for those under 18
  • Abolishing automatic federal NDP membership for members of provincial parties to ensure 'autonomy' for both


The full text of the above listed resolutions -- three of which, it's worth noting, originated in the riding of Toronto Danforth -- which is, of course, likely best known for being Jack Layton's erstwhile electoral stomping grounds:

Resolution #102 (of 102) for Panel 1 - Innovating and Prospering in the New Energy Economy

Crisis and Austerity Cuts

Submitted by the Toronto Young New Democrats

WHEREAS we are in the midst of a deep economic crisis, the "Great Recession", which mainstream commentators and economists are saying is comparable to, and could even be more devastating than, the Great Depression of the 1930s.

BE IT RESOLVED that the NDP asserts that working people should not pay for a crisis caused by the financial and industrial elite.

BE IT RESOLVED that the NDP expose the hypocrisy of the capitalist system where the rich are bailed out and receive huge bonuses while the working majority face huge cuts.

BE IT RESOLVED that the NDP use its influence to help mobilize a mass movement against austerity measures, and to stand as a firm voice in defence of the needs of working people.

Resolution # 53 (of 53) for Panel 2 - Building a Clean and Sustainable Canada

Right to a Healthy Environment

Submitted by Toronto-Danforth

Be it resolved that the following clause be added to Section 2.1 of the Policy Book:

2.1 New Democrats believe in:
g. The need to amend Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms to enshrine an equal right of all Canadians to live in a healthy environment.

Resolution #90* (of 91) for Panel 3 - Investing in a Canada Where No One is Left Behind

Nutritional Labeling on Alcoholic Beverages
Submitted by Elmwood-Transcona

WHEREAS The NDP will call on the federal government to implement regulations requiring nutritional labels on all beverages containing alcohol sold in Canada.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that according to Health Canada: "Healthy eating can help you improve your health and reduce your risk of many chronic diseases. Food labels found on most pre-packaged food and drinks give important information to help you make healthy choices;" and

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that beverages with an alcohol content of more than 0.5% are currently exempt from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency's nutritional labeling requirements; and

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that providing nutritional information, such as calories, carbohydrates, protein and fat content, as well as alcohol by volume, will provide consumers the necessary information to make informed choices.

Resolution # 40 (of 40) for Panel 4 - Redefining Canada's Place in the World

Motion on Canadian Diplomatic Relations with Iran

Submitted by the Quebec Section

BE IT RESOLVED that the NPD call on the government of Canada to renew diplomatic relations with Iran and to work together with the international community to keep the peace with Iran.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the NDP lobby the government of Canada to renew dialogue with Iran aimed at achieving concrete results in such areas as human rights and non-proliferation.

Resolution # 60* (of 61) for Panel 5 - Governing in an Inclusive and Fair Canada

Protecting Privacy

Submitted by Toronto--Danforth

WHEREAS Canadian citizens have a right to expect that their privacy will be respected in all
circumstances; and

WHEREAS political parties collect and receive detailed personal information about Canadian citizens;

BE IT RESOLVED that Section 5.8.c in the policy book be amended to read:
c. Increase the power of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada to protect identity and personal
data by giving the Commissioner order making powers and by extending the jurisdiction of the Commissioner to include political parties.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the New Democratic Party's Federal Council create a Privacy Policy to protect the privacy of personal information contained in any information system created or used by the New Democratic Party; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Federal Council will implement this policy, including publication of the policy on the NDP web site, within a year of the passing of this resolution.

Resolution #56* (of 57) for Panel 6 - Strengthening Human Rights and the Canadian Identity

Repeal Section 159 of the Criminal Code of Canada

Submitted by Toronto-Danforth

WHEREAS section 159 of the Criminal Code of Canada is an outdated provision that unconstitutionally discriminates against members of the LGBTQ community;

WHEREAS Courts of Appeal in Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia (OCA 1995, QCA 1998, BCCA 2003) found section 159 unconstitutional and discriminatory under section 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in terms of sexual orientation;

BE IT RESOLVED THAT the New Democratic Party believes in the need to repeal section 159 of the Criminal Code and therefore supports Bill C-448, An Act to Amend the Criminal Code (Consent).

Resolution #28 (of 28) for Panel 7 - Building on Our Momentum

Membership Fairness: Directing the Establishment of an Independent Federal Membership

Submitted by London-Fanshawe

WHEREAS the current structural relationship between the federal party and the provincial parties is not always to the advantage of one or another and as we build toward forming the first federal NDP government we must have a structure which respects the autonomy of each; and

BE IT RESOLVED THAT the federal NDP initiates a separate independent federal membership process, following negotiating an understanding with the provinces, and all appropriate amendments to the constitution be made and be approved by Federal Council, and that a flat national membership fee be established and be implemented no later than January 1st, 2014.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that all current NDP members in every jurisdiction receiving notice of the changes, so that the autonomy of each section is clearly established prior to the next federal election so that all Canadians are equally able to participate in the New Democratic Party of Canada

* For Panels 3 (Investing in a Canada Where No One is Left Behind), 5 (Governing in an Inclusive and Fair Canada) and 6 (Strengthening Human Rights and the Canadian Identity ), the second last resolution is listed, as in all three cases, there were very similar resolutions which were given much higher spots on the list, which suggests that the resolutions committee likely just considered them to be redundant, and not necessarily low priority. 

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