Saturday, April 13, 2013

#mtlqc13 - Day 2 Review

Aaron Wherry has been documenting the resolutions passed at the NDP's convention in Montreal - and so I haven't seen much need to comment on them in detail. But the most noteworthy development in today's policy debates came from a resolution which wasn't passed - but which nonetheless signalled the NDP's willingness to tackle difficult but important social issues based on members' input.

The following resolution was pushed up the priority list in the resolution panel, and came to the floor for debate this afternoon:
Resolution on Upholding Sex Workers’ Rights to Life, Liberty, Security, and Equality Submitted by Vancouver East
WHEREAS Canadian values include respect for human and labour rights of all persons, including the right to life, liberty, security, equality and freedom of expression and association as set out in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms;
WHEREAS Canadian courts, the Parliamentary Subcommittee on Solicitation Laws and the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry concluded that criminalization of sex workers increases the violence perpetrated against them and decreases their access to police and other legal and social protections.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT we, the NDP, support the repeal of sections 210, 211, 212(1), 212(3), and 213 of the Criminal Code of Canada in order to improve the health, safety, equality and social citizenship of sex workers.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT we, the NDP, do not support the enactment of legislation that prohibits the purchase or sale of sexual services or sex workers’ ability to work with others.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT while the prostitution laws remain in force, we, the NDP, call on all Canadian police departments to immediately halt enforcement of ss. 211, 212(1), 212(3), and 213 and, instead, ensure sex workers have equal access to police protection and the justice system when they are the victims of crime.
Now, the resolution didn't pass. But that wasn't a matter of it lacking support on the convention floor: instead, after one strong speech favouring the resolution, Libby Davies moved that it be referred to federal council with instructions that it return a formal policy later this year. And that motion, combined with the obvious support of the convention for the cause of ensuring that sex workers are recognized as citizens rather than stigmatized, looks to ensure that the NDP will present an unprecedentedly inclusive policy in the years to come.

The other major development today was Tom Mulcair's speech to members following a successful leadership evaluation. And while I raised some questions about his past speech-making in yesterday's review (based in large part on an address to Saskatchewan's leadership convention which was generally strong on content, but rushed and wordy), he hit the mark today - combining his characteristic intelligence with a far better connection to the audience than I've seen from him in the past. And both that and the review vote bode extremely well for his prospects in holding and building on the NDP's current coalition in the face of a new Liberal leader.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous3:50 a.m.


    I must violently disagree with your evaluation of Thomas Mulcair's Saskatchewan speech.

    There were some brief *moments* that were "rushed & wordy". These moments usually occurred when he recited some damning quote or litany of statistics.

    But, overall - Mulcair was actually casual, passionate, and quite funny. This was most apparent during the earliest section of his speech.

    It was a manner of presentation I would have him emulate consistently.

    For reference, the following is an archived copy of Mulcair's Saskatchewan speech (made about a month ago). See the "Leadership 2013" video, at the 3rd hour:

    Dan Tan