BC NDP chief electoral officer wants Appadurai barred from leadership race: report

The chief electoral officer of the BC NDP’s leadership race is recommending candidate Anjali Appadurai be disqualified from the race, according to a leaked report obtained by CityNews.

If the party executives follow Elizabeth Cull’s advice, David Eby would be the only eligible candidate and the next premier of B.C.

The report says Appadurai has been under investigation for multiple breaches of the party’s rules.

The Appadurai campaign has been accused of encouraging BC Greens to leave their party and temporarily join the BC NDP to vote for Appadurai, offering to pay for new members’ memberships, and using Dogwood BC’s list to recruit members.

“The CEO decided that the harm from this misconduct cannot be remedied with any consequence short of disqualification of the Appadurai Campaign,” the report stated.

“In their opinion, the improper coordination with third parties (primarily Dogwood) played such a significant tole in the Appadurai Campaign that it is impossible to create a level playing field at this point, and impossible to restore the Leadership Election campaign to a state of integrity in which I could have confidence.”

The report claims Dogwood actively recruited new members through paid advertisements, paid phone support, and electronic mail.

On Aug. 6, Appadurai promised her backers that groups like Dogwood would assist her in gathering thousands of new members, according to the report.

Of the more than 2,000 potential new members contacted, 17.7% were deemed “ineligible” because they already were supporters or members of rival political parties, which was outlined in the report.

For her part, Appadurai says she’s disappointed but no surprised by the recommendation.

“The CEO has reported that 17.7% of the more than 2,000 new members contacted are ‘ineligible’ because they’re supporters or members of other parties. But she has not made clear what definition she is using to define “supporters” of other political parties: it is clearly an unreasonably broad one,” Appadurai said in a statement regarding the matter.

“New members are being disqualified because they previously volunteered for or donated to another political party, even in another jurisdiction.”

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“I am disappointed but not surprised by the recommendation. Like so many of us, I wanted to take part in a healthy contest of ideas and a renewed conversation about the relationship between the party grassroots and its decision makers.

“I believe that British Columbians deserve this conversation, especially in these extraordinary times.”

Policies addressing climate change and healthcare access were among the many documents the Appadurai campaign had already released.

She has also advocated for free public transportation in major cities and a 25 per cent pay increase for nurses in her policy proposals.

“From the beginning of this race here’s been a careful narrative cultivated online, an absurd story about a hostile takeover by outsiders. But what my campaign has been about from day one is traditional democratic socialist values, galvanized by the urgency and passion of a new generation of NDP movement organizers,” Appadurai said.

“Let me be clear: our campaign followed the rules, and this recommendation of disqualification is the result of a biased and unlevel playing field, repeated changes in interpretation of the rules, and ultimately – an attempt to control a situation in which an underdog candidate out organized the frontrunner, signing up many more members in just 25 days.”

The BC NDP executive is set to vote on Cull’s recommendations on Wednesday.

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