June 30, 2014
The Federal NDP executive has apparently rejected the candidacy bid of well-known Nanaimo filmmaker Paul Manly, who has been seeking his party’s nomination for the new federal riding of Nanaimo-Ladysmith in British Columbia.
And the reason that Manly was given for his rejection, he says, relates to his activities when his father Jim Manly was in Israel. The elder Manly, a retired federal New Democrat MP, was part of an international delegation of parliamentarians aboard the “Estelle” Freedom Flotilla to Gaza in October 2012.
Earlier today, Paul Manly released the following statement to his friends and supporters and also posted it on his Facebook page:
Dear Mid Islanders, Friends and Supporters,
I would like to thank you all for your support and encouragement for my bid for the nomination to be the NDP candidate for the new federal riding of Nanaimo-Ladysmith. It is with regret that I write to tell you that the federal NDP has refused to allow me to stand as a candidate.
The local riding executive approved my candidacy for the nomination but the NDP National Director, Ann McGrath, has not approved me and the federal NDP executive will not let me stand as a candidate.
I have done nothing illegal or immoral, nothing that I am embarrassed about or which breaks the NDP constitution. The reason my candidacy is being blocked is political.
I have not received a written reason for this refusal and was told I will not receive a written reason. I was told verbally on the phone, that the reason was in relation to “what I said and did when my father was in Israel.” There was also concern that I was running to make Israel and Palestine an election issue.
In October of 2012, my father, a retired NDP MP, United Church minister and long time human rights activist took part in a humanitarian mission to the Gaza strip aboard the 54 meter sailing vessel Estelle. He was aboard the ship with European members of parliament and Jewish Israeli citizens who are opposed to the illegal Israeli blockade of the Gaza strip and the humanitarian crisis it is causing. The Estelle was seized illegally in international waters by the Israeli military and my father was taken to an Israeli prison and held incommunicado. During this time, I spoke up on behalf of my father and the cause that he was being punished for.
In addition to media interviews some of the things I did included a tweet I sent on my fathers behalf on October 18th 2012, an article I wrote that was published in Rabble.ca on October 22nd 2012 and an interview I did with Peter O’Neil in the Vancouver Sun in which I was critical of the NDP caucus for not standing up for my father, for international law or for NDP policy, the spirit of which my father had been working within (see note below). These are my unforgivable sins.
Israel and Palestine is an issue my parents are focused on, it has not been a focus for me except for the week when my father was seized illegally in international waters and held incommunicado in an Israel prison. This was not going to be an election issue on my platform. My political agenda is clear to anyone who views my Facebook profile, Twitter feed, Manly Media or Canadians Nanaimo YouTube channels or Manly Media company website. My key focus areas are water, First Nations, the environment, health care, the new energy economy and international trade.
I filed an appeal to the NDP executive and that too was rejected. It is clear to me that this decision will not be re-visited and I will not be given an opportunity to seek the nomination.
Thank you again for your support and encouragement. I wish the candidates who have been accepted for this nomination race luck and I wish the winner of the nomination luck in defeating the Conservative candidate and working with the NDP caucus in Ottawa.
The NDP has a reasonable and balanced policy towards Israel and Gaza. Section 4.1-f in the NDP policy book states “New Democrats believe in… Working with partners for peace in Israel and Palestine, respecting UN resolutions and international law, supporting peaceful co-existence in viable, independent states with agreed upon borders, an end to Israeli occupation of Palestinian land, and an end to violence targeting civilians.”
The most basic UN Resolution (SC 242, Nov. 22, 1967) calls for “Withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict” and the necessity “for guaranteeing freedom of navigation through international waterways in the area.” The continued occupation of Palestine, the blockade of Gaza and the seizure of the Estelle as well as other Freedom Flotilla vessels, run directly counter to this policy.