OWN NDP sending delegates, resolutions to national convention

During a general meeting on Feb. 2, the Ottawa West Nepean NDP voted to send seven delegates and five resolutions to the federal party’s national convention, which is taking place April 8-10 in Edmonton.

Alex Cullen, Marilyn Davis, Jim Patterson, Kevin Nguyen, and Marlene Rivier were elected as the riding association’s five voting delegates to the convention. Shelley Rivier and Dan O’Hagen were elected as alternate delegates.

During the convention, the OWN delegates will vote on whether the party should undertake a leadership review. They will also debate and vote on dozens of resolutions chosen by the party’s resolutions committee from among hundreds submitted by riding associations from across the country.

During the Feb. 2 meeting, OWN NDP members voted to submit five resolutions for consideration, four of which have a strong environmental theme and a fifth that urges nuclear disarmament. A sixth resolution, calling for a moratorium on the construction of new pipelines, was narrowly voted down.

Debra Mair did much of the research and legwork behind the environmental resolutions, including the resolution urging the federal party to enable remote participation during future conventions and other national meetings.

“I’d like to participate in the party’s convention, but I’m not willing to go on an airplane [and contribute to the generation of thousands of pounds of greenhouse gas emissions] for a two-day meeting,” said Mair.

The other environmental resolutions passed during during the meeting would see the party pledge support for the Leap Manifesto and renewable energy co-ops, and direct the federal party to consider divesting any investments it might have in large fossil fuel corporations.

The most hotly debated resolution concerned pipelines, calling for a moratorium on the construction of new pipelines “until it is demonstrated that such infrastructure is compatible with the objective of reducing carbon emissions.”

Marilyn Davis was one of those who voted against the resolution. “I’m in favour of reducing carbon emissions, but pipelines are by far the safest way to transport oil and gas,” she said. “I want to make sure we don’t have another Lac-Mégantic rail disaster.”

Along with choosing delegates and resolutions, the Feb. 2 meeting also featured two short presentations:

  • Janice Ashworth gave a brief overview of the Ottawa Renewable Energy Co-op (OREC), which allows members to put some of their RRSP and TFSA investments into local solar projects.
  • And Jack Wilson, who is the vice president of the OPSEU local representing instructors at Algonquin College, spoke about his union’s campaign to convince the college to abandon its campus in Saudi Arabia. (Jack also spoke about the issue yesterday on the CBC Radio program Ontario Today. You can hear that interview here.)
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