Ask anybody who wasn’t cool in high school: getting excluded from a party blows.
B.C. filmmaker Paul Manly, son of former MP Jim Manly, has had his 2015 candidacy for MP of Nanaimo-Ladysmith blocked by the NDP, proving that, no matter where a party lands on the political spectrum, it’s tow the line or go home.
Paul Manly’s transgression? Writing an open letter in October 2012 demanding that the Canadian government stand up for his father who was, at the time, detained by the Israeli Defence Force. The elder Manly was arrested in international waters aboard a European boat on its way to Gaza to deliver food and supplies (and not weapons, we hope) during an Israeli naval blockade of the area. After five days, he was released and deported back home to Canada.
Paul Manly claims that, although the local riding executive of Nanaimo-Ladysmith approved his candidacy, the federal NDP executive stepped in to have him denied. Without giving specifics, the federal NDP told Manly over the phone that his candidacy was blocked because of “what [Paul] said and did when [his] father was in Israel.” We can’t really blame Paul for wanting his father back. If your dad wandered onto a boat and ended up detained in a foreign country, you would probably ask the Canadian government to bring him back too.
This political interference comes less than three months after the NDP’s national director Anne McGrath promised open nominations for the 2015 election. She told the Postmedia News that her party wouldn’t make the same errors in judgment as the Liberals and Conservatives who have been interfering with local nominations. Oops.
As hypocritical as this all sounds, maybe we’re misunderstanding what an “open nomination” means. Perhaps the NDP’s usage of the term didn’t mean that anybody could run. Maybe they meant that certain, specific platform-friendly people—at least one of whom wasn’t directly hand picked by the federal NDP executive—are maybe “open” to maybe running. Maybe.
Over two dozen candidates have been rejected by the NDP so far. Not exactly the 7-11 of open candidacy.
Israel is clearly a very touchy subject. We’ve learned the hard way that broaching the subject can be dinner party-suicide. That being said, we live in Canada, thousands of miles from the Middle East. Whether you believe in a one state, two state, red state, or blue state, hopefully we can agree that our country shouldn’t be limited to a one viewpoint solution.