During the leadership race, Jagmeet Singh made carding and street checks one of his priorities. Day two of the NDP policy convention started by debating this policy, motivated by an impassioned and radical speech from Hamilton city councilor Matthew Green.
The motion was served by the riding associations of University-Rosedale and Brampton East. It calls for a federal ban on carding and street checks by federal security forces and to work with provincial governments to ban these practices
“This pernicious act is an extension of a neoliberal system,” said Green. “We know that Indigenous people, labour and environmental activists and racialized people are targeted under these acts,” he said.
Green said that he’s been personally targeted by racial profiling, and that this experience made him take on his local police force. Green joined the NDP for the first time when he saw Singh talking about ending carding and street checks during his leadership race.
Rima Berns-McGown, Ontario NDP candidate in Beaches-East York, implored that delegates pass the motion unanimously. When the vote was called and the chair said that it looked unanimous, at least one delegate raised their opposition to it. Spontaneous boos erupted.
The motions blocks are 60 minutes. With 35 motions in this morning’s block, and no option to pass the motions omnibus, delegates only got through seven motions. They all passed with very little opposition.
Fred Hahn, president of CUPE Ontario, gave a barn burning speech, motivating a motion moved by CUPE and CUPE Ontario to stop intolerance. He implored delegates to go beyond serving motions and getting involved in local organizing against hatred.
Hahn told delegates that the rise in far-right, Islamophobic organizing around the Peel District School Board was one location where NDP members need to be more openly and visibly involved in political organizing.
This motion was re-ordered in the prioritization panels to be moved higher. Another motion to combat intolerance, the twenty-ninth motion in the block, did not make it to the floor. It specifically named Islamophobia, racism, anti-Semitism, hate, xenophobia and bigotry. It also referenced the police and the RCMP, and increasing their capacity to fight hate crimes.
The motions that passed called to suspend the Safe Third Country agreement, to close wage gaps that exist between white men and women, racialized workers, disabled workers and workers from “other demographic parameters”, to fight sexual assault in the Canadian armed forces, to give free access to menstrual and contraceptive products to all citizens, and to change the NDP policy manual to introduce changes to improve the experiences of LGTBQI individuals with air travel and security services.
The rest of the motions in the block won’t be debated. This includes a motion that fights to extend workers’ right to strike, fight for the rights of LGTBQ refugees, disability justice, big data and privacy, special measures for live-in caregivers and changes to the temporary foreign worker program.
The debate drew out the tensions that exist within the NDP between the work that activists want to do in the street while also reconciling the role that a mainstream political party must play in Canada. Condemnation is the most common remedy that motions demand, but rarely do the motions reference the ways in which these motions could be acted upon. As the third party at the House of Commons, the immediate power that the NDP holds is in political manoeuvering.
There has not been any debate on what the best ways to force the Liberals into putting these motions into action.
Andrea Horwath addressed delegates at 11:15. The next policy block is early Saturday afternoon.