MLA attaches cash to NDP membership forms in video
Published Wednesday, January 19, 2011 6:05PM PST
A cell phone video showing a New Democrat MLA attaching $10 bills to party membership forms has sparked an internal investigation in the already-troubled party.
On Monday, piles of NDP membership forms were delivered to the party's headquarters before its membership deadline. But thousands of them allegedly contained significant irregularities and they didn't include the necessary $10 membership fee.
Exclusive video shot yesterday and obtained by CTV News shows Vancouver Kensington MLA Mable Elmore attaching $10 bills to membership forms -- in what may be a violation of the party rules.
Insiders who were there told CTV News there were piles of membership forms and bags of money.
NDP leadership hopeful and Fraser-Nicola MLA Harry Lali said he's shocked by the situation.
"If this is not abuse and manipulation of the community I don't know what is. Quite frankly it sickens me," he said.
Elmore told CTV News she didn't believe she was doing anything wrong. Five of the six leadership candidates have now filed formal complaints with the party.
Lali said the scandal hurts the already troubled party.
"All of those memberships that have been contaminated should be thrown out to bring back credibility," Lali said.
Insiders say the problem memberships are all associated with front-running candidate Adrian Dix, who says he's not sure "how all that took place."
"But I can tell you many people pay for membership by cash and I'm sure all the other campaigns as well," the Vancouver-Kingsway MLA said Wednesday.
"We want to make sure the rules that were put in place are followed because that's why the rules were put in place to ensure we didn't have issues," NDP leadership hopeful Mike Farnworth said.
At least two rooms filled with memberships were sealed off at the NDP office Wednesday while the issue is sorted out.
MLA Dawn Black was selected the party's interim leader today and was only on the job for five minutes when she was forced to address the controversy.
"Look, there are always tensions around a leadership campaign and there will always be tensions around a leadership campaign but we will come out of this campaign united to defeat the Liberal government," she told CTV News.
The BC NDP Provincial Secretary ruled late Wednesday that all memberships delivered before Monday's deadline on Jan. 17 will be processed.
The party launched an investigation into the ballots after a frenzy of new memberships before the deadline. The campaigns of both Lali and Farnworth complained that numerous forms were submitted without payments properly attached.
Every B.C. NDP member is eligible to vote for the new party leader.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Jim Beatty