Saturday, December 12, 2009

NDP to Formally Run Candidates for Winnipeg

There have been informal ties that city councillors over the last years for all three parties. Only the NDP have had formal political ties in the past to their provincial counterparts. During the 1970s and 1980s, the NDP ran under a party banner. Some candidates won under the banner while others.

In the next election, the NDP plans to hold nominations for an NDP slate of candidate where more that one member wants to run in a ward.

At present there are five provincial members of the NDP on Council. They are Jenny Gerbasi (Fort Rouge), Lillian Thomas (Elmwood), Dan Vandal (St. Boniface), Harvey Smith (Daniel McIntyre) and Russ Wyatt (Transcona).

It appears that Harvey Smith will face a challenge in receiving the NDP nomination.

Most, if not all, of the other Councillors have ties to the Liberals and the Conservatives.

Sam Katz has suggested that party politics don't belong in City Hall. He is a little disingenuous on the subject. Historically, there have been party slates and even now Council is set up more on the lines of government and opposition with the mayor picking a cabinet.

Still, I don't know that the NDP will find greater success than they have now by formalizing municipal ties.

My feeling is that if one wants to see party politics at City Hall, it has to begin with how local government is set up. And that direction comes from the province. It isn't something that councillors can do themselves.

I don't see a driving force from the electorate in regards to party politics at the municipal level. However, it is not hard to see that the status quo in city politics results in almost no change in the people elected. The last time I heard, Winnipeg has some of the longest serving councillors in Canada.

Is that a reflection of satisfaction or is it an indication that it is difficult to challenge sitting councillors to the point of impossible?

Too much happens at City Hall behind closed doors and party affiliations, caucusing and the like happen whether people want to admit it or not. Perhaps it is time to see the process formalized. It will be interesting to see if the NDP succeed in raising their profile locally by doing this.

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