Whipped screening and Q&A in Cranbrook

by Sean Holman on September 18, 2013

I’ll be screening Whipped and taking questions about the documentary in Cranbrook next week – the city represented by one of British Columbia’s most maverick politicians.

Before becoming a Clark administration cabinet minister, Bill Bennett had a public falling out with the BC Liberals – which included giving the public an insider’s take on the lack of power MLAs had when Gordon Campbell was premier.

A clip from that scrum almost made it into Whipped. As such, it seems appropriate that the documentary is now making its way to Bennett’s riding, courtesy of the College of the Rockies and the College of the Rockies Faculty Association.

So, if you live in the area, please join me at the college on Thursday, September 26 at 7:00 in Lecture Theatre Room 250. I look forward to seeing you then.

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Do I hear an echo in this room?

by Sean Holman on August 15, 2013

BC NDP MLA David Chudnovsky’s final speech included an impassioned criticism of party discipline. But it certainly wasn’t the first time such words had been spoken in the legislature.

In 1991, Social Credit MLA Nick Loenen also took on that subject. I included a clip of that speech in Whipped: the secret world of party discipline.

But here’s the uncut footage, in which Loenen states, “I believe that no leader can go to the people and regain the people’s confidence without addressing – in a very dramatic way – this whole question of the function and role of our governing institutions, namely this provincial legislature.”

Indeed, according to Loenen, “unless a leader is willing to do that, that person does not deserve the trust of the people of this province.”

However, 22 years later, our governing institutions haven’t fundamentally changed, with proposals to reform British Columbia’s voting system having been defeated at the ballot box.

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The failure of discipline

August 15, 2013

Former BC NDP MLA Corky Evans said many things during his memorable retirement speech in the legislature. He talked about his failures as a cabinet minister. He talked about his advice for new MLAs who would be elected three months later during the 2009 election. But, surprisingly, one of the things the maverick legislator didn’t […]

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The enemy within?

August 8, 2013

“We have met the enemy and he is us.” Cartoonist Walt Kelly coined that phrase in a 1970 critique of how we treat the planet. Forty-three years later, Randy Hawes paraphrased it during his final speech as a Liberal MLA. Hawes didn’t explain why he used the quote. But, moments earlier, the former caucus whip […]

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Ex-teacher schools the legislature

August 6, 2013

“They sent us here to govern and we don’t. Everybody who works here knows that the real governing takes place in the premier’s office with a few handpicked friends and advisors.” That’s just one part of former British Columbia Teachers’ Federation president David Chudnovsky’s final speech as an MLA, in which he diagnosed what ails […]

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Thumbs up from Common Ground magazine

August 1, 2013

Almost a month after it’s first broadcast, Whipped: the secret world of party discipline continues to make headlines. In a review published in Common Ground magazine, film critic Robert Alstead has described the documentary as an “insightful and authoritative look” at the “how BC’s political party culture stifles debate and democracy.” Meanwhile, in his own […]

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Whipped now streaming online

July 12, 2013

Whipped: the secret world of party discipline can now be watched by the world. The documentary is streaming online at the Cable Public Affairs Channel’s Website. You can see it here. I’d love to hear what you think of Whipped. Feel free to post a comment below or email me directly. After watching the documentary, […]

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Whipped airs this week on CPAC

July 8, 2013

The Cable Public Affairs Channel is scheduled to broadcast Whipped: the secret world of party discipline this week following a successful series of screenings in British Columbia and Ontario. Described by Independent MP Brent Rathgeber as a “fantastic documentary,” former MP Keith Martin has said it “should be viewed by all British Columbians and indeed […]

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Like talking to a brick wall?

July 8, 2013

A majority of Canadians don’t take part in our formal political system and I suspect party discipline may be partially to blame. A recent public opinion survey commissioned by democracy think tank Samara found: * 69 percent haven’t contacted an elected official in the last 12 months; * 80 percent haven’t attended a political meeting […]

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As British Columbia goes, so goes the nation

July 2, 2013

“I think it’s a fantastic documentary. It’s specific to the British Columbia legislature. But the lessons and the anecdotes are applicable to Ottawa as well.” That’s Edmonton-St. Albert MP Brent Rathgeber‘s take on Whipped: the secret world of party discipline. Rathgeber, who recently quit the Conservative caucus to sit as an independent, offered that opinion […]

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