Bylaws of the Green Party of Manitoba

Bylaws of the Green Party of Manitoba

As adopted November 20, 2010 and amended July 24, 2011, November 215, 2012, November 16, 2013, and November 15, 2014.

Membership Fees

1. The membership fee shall be set at:

Adult membership
$10.00 annually, or $25.00 tri-annually for an individual 18 years of age or older.

Youth Membership
$5.00 annually for an individual between the ages of 14 and 17.

Sustaining Members
Individuals who make monthly auto-donations to the Party shall be deemed sustaining members and the first $10.00 donated every year shall be applied to a membership in the Party, unless the individual making the auto-donation declares otherwise.

Membership Entitlements
2. Members in good standing shall be eligible to vote, count in quorum, make, withdraw, or move to amend motions at a general meeting or at a meeting of a unit of the Party, such as constituency association, caucus, or standing committee. All members shall be considered in good standing, for purposes of voting eligibility, as of the date of their completed membership form, or in the case of renewals, on the date on which they expressed, in writing or by email, their intention to renew, provided their membership fee is paid on or before the date of the meeting at which they wish to vote. If a member application is dated 30 days or more before a meeting, that member shall be eligible to vote.

Code of Conduct
3. When acting on behalf of the Party, attending Party meetings, or Party events, all Party members, volunteers, and staff shall:

(1) uphold municipal, provincial and federal law when acting on behalf of the Party, or attending Party events, excepting cases of non-violent civil disobedience;
(2) support the aims of the Party as expressed by the Common Values of Manitoba Greens;
(3) treat other members and the public in a respectful, responsible, and open manner;
(4) refrain from intolerant conduct that promotes sexism, racism, or other forms of discrimination;
(5) refrain from bullying, coercion, (sexual) harassment, verbal and/or psychological abuse;
(6) refrain from deliberate misrepresentation or lying;
(7) refrain from theft or abuse of position for personal gain;
(8) refrain from all physical violence, including destruction of property, either through direct participation or promotion;
(9) refrain from misusing the conflict resolution committee.

(10) while engaged in Party business, all Party members and candidates must follow Election Canada’s Shared Code of Ethical Conduct, available on the Elections Manitoba website.

Termination of Membership
4. Membership in the Party shall terminate when the member:

(1) resigns in writing to the executive council;
(2) is not in good standing for 12 consecutive months;
(3) joins another provincial political party;
(4) is expelled by executive council on recommendation;
(5) ceases to reside in Manitoba; or
(6) becomes deceased.

Resolutions to Meet Resolution Standards

5. Resolutions which are submitted to general meetings of the Party must meet the following resolution standards. A resolution may be deemed incomplete by the resolutions receiving committee and will not be presented to the meeting until it is complete. It is the responsibility of the presenter to create a complete resolution.

  1. Title – The resolution must have a title which accurately and succinctly describes the resolution.

  2. Format – The resolution will consist of one or more “whereas” statements and one “therefore be it resolved” statement.

  3. Length – Complicated ideas which require more than one operative statement must be broken down into separate resolutions before the meeting is asked to consider them.

  4. Background – The “whereas” statements will give the background and reasoning to the motion and must be factual. “Whereas” statements are part of the discussion but do not appear in the policy book after the resolution passes.

  5. Operative – The “therefore be it resolved” statement is the operative part of the resolution and will be recorded as the policy if the resolution passes.

  6. Clarity – The operative statement must be understandable by those with minimal knowledge of the subject and must stand alone when separated from the “whereas” statements.

  7. Content – The resolution must answer what, where, when and how as appropriate.

  8. Who – The resolution may only give direction to the GPM.

  9. Redundancy – The resolution must include information on the change being requested. Is this new policy or does it add to or replace current policy? Which policy? Redundant resolutions will be rejected.

  10. Budget – Resolutions which ask the party to spend money must be worded in a way which allows the executive council to balance the budget and Party priorities.

5.1. Resolutions Receiving Committee

The executive council may appoint a resolutions receiving committee before every general meeting. The committee will ensure that all resolutions meet the standard. The committee concerns itself with the format and standard of a resolution and may not debate the issue of the resolution. The committee will declare a motion incomplete if it fails to meet the standards. Incomplete resolutions will not be considered by the general meeting until they are completed. The presenter may edit and resubmit a resolution until the general meeting adjourns. Once the resolution is complete the general meeting will decide if the issue is of interest and worth debating.

5.2. Appeal

The opinion of the resolutions receiving committee on the completeness of a motion is final. If a presenter feels that the resolution is unfairly labeled as incomplete, they may request the general meeting to dismiss and repopulate the resolutions receiving committee and reassess the completeness of the resolution. The agreement of 50% of members present is required to dismiss the resolutions receiving committee.

Leadership Contest
6. A leadership contest shall be held every second year, beginning in 2006. The contest shall be declared by the Chief Financial Officer of the party not later than three months before the biennial convention, with the election to take place at the biennial convention, unless required earlier by the resignation of the leader or by the will of the membership.

6.1. Minimum One Year Membership for Leadership Contestants

Unless waived by the executive council, a leadership contestant must have been a member of the GPM for at least one year before seeking the leadership of the Party.

6.2. Requirements for the Election of Leader and Council Members

  1. The executive council will set the date for any election of leader or council member and will set dates for the opening and closing of nominations.

  2. Any leadership contest will be announced to Elections Manitoba at least three months before the date of the election and subsequently announced to the members.

  3. Leadership contestants must declare to a GPM officer their intentions and, by the close of nominations, complete an application. This application is to comprise: a completed applications form; the names and phone numbers of five nominators (who must be in good standing as members of the GPM); a 250-word bio; and, a high-quality digital photo of the contestant.

  4. The Party (executive council or designate) will evaluate the registration package and will notify prospective candidates, at their primary e-mail address provided, whether or not the Party accepts their nomination as a candidate.

  5. Following the close of council nominations, the Party will send an election package to Party members informing them of the field of executive council candidates and of the election procedure.

  6. Due to privacy concerns, executive council candidates will not have, and are not to have, direct access to Party membership lists to promote their campaigns. The Party may also provide additional means of communication that shall be determined.

  7. Leadership contestants must abide by Elections Manitoba rules and reporting requirements.

  8. No Party member or contestant shall make defamatory statements about any contestant in any public or private media forum.

  9. Any member may be a nominator or show support for any contestant.

  10. The election will be conducted by secret ballot at a Party convention, unless the will of the floor of an annual general meeting determines otherwise.

6.3 Completed Application Form Required

Prospective candidates for provincial elections must submit an application form for executive council approval by the specified deadline before being eligible to formally register with Elections Manitoba.

6.4 Member Must Be in Good Standing

Unless waived by the executive council, provincial election contestants must be a member in good standing before the close of nominations, have no outstanding debt to the Party, and have not initiated legal action against the Party of officers of the Party.

Resignation of Leader
7. Upon the resignation of a leader, a leadership contest shall be called at the earliest convenient time, or if possible at the next scheduled general meeting or biennial convention. Executive council shall appoint an interim leader.

Deputy Leader
8. The leader shall appoint a deputy leader the deputy leader shall be on all council email/mail/phone lists and may attend all council meetings as a non-voting member, and shall assist and work with the leader.

Election and Duties of Officers Other Than Leader
9. At the biennial convention, beginning in 2008, the Party shall elect the following officers who shall be responsible for the duties assigned below.

President
The president shall be responsible for the internal administration of the Party. S/he shall issue general meeting and council meeting notices and draft agendas, assist Party committees to perform their tasks and carry out any tasks or functions assigned by the Party or the executive council.

Treasurer
The treasurer shall be responsible for the financial affairs, records, and accounts of the Party and regularly present financial information to council. S/he shall also present both a written financial statement and annual budget to the GPM annual convention.

Secretary
The secretary shall be responsible for all written and other records of the Party, including the maintaining of the Party’s minutes, resolutions, and internal Party and Manitoba Legislative Assembly election results, but excepting those records required by law to be kept by the treasurer or Chief Financial Officer. It will be the responsibility of the secretary to update and reprint the constitution in a timely fashion to incorporate constitutional amendments adopted by the membership. It will also be the responsibility of the secretary to compile all administrative directives adopted at a general meeting and add them to standing document entitled “Green Party of Manitoba Administrative Directives”, noting the date of adoption by the membership.

Membership Development Co-ordinator
The membership co-ordinator shall be responsible for maintaining the Party’s membership registry and database of supporters. S/he shall co-ordinate the work of the party’s membership development committee and guide the committee in developing and implementing: a) membership recruitment and retention programs; and b) work with the communications committee on various in-reach strategies to communicate effectively with the Party membership.

Election Planning Co-ordinator
The election planning co-ordinator shall be responsible for guiding the Party in developing and maintaining constituency associations, organizing election training schools, assisting with candidate recruitment and nomination, and other election readiness activities. In election years, the election planning co-ordinator will function as the Party’s central campaign chair.

Members-at-large
Members at large must attend at least 50% of executive council meetings and perform duties as assigned to them by executive council.

Leader, President and CFO Not To Be Related
10. The Leader, President and CFO shall not be closely related by blood or marriage.

Executive Council Deputies
11. There may be a designated deputy for each council position. Deputies shall receive all executive council communications and may attend all executive council meetings, but will not be counted for quorum and may not vote, except when attending on behalf of an absent councillor, in which case the deputy shall for that meeting exercise the responsibilities of that position. If a councillor resigns, or is absent from his/her position for more than three months without prior arrangement with executive council, his/her deputy shall be appointed in his/her place. Only if a councillor resigns and his/her deputy is unable or unwilling to assume that position, shall the position be deemed vacant. Vacancies on executive council may be filled by appointment until the next general meeting. Where there is a contest for any council position, the person receiving the second highest number of votes shall be designated deputy for that position. Where a position is uncontested /filled by acclamation, the councillor or another member of the Party may propose a deputy for his/her position, subject to executive council approval. Members-at-large may serve as deputies for other executive council positions, but do not themselves need to have designated deputies.

Executive Council Procedures
12. The executive council shall meet at least 6 times a year, and shall hold a meeting at the request of any officer of the Party. Any member may attend and participate in an executive council meeting. The executive council may invite non-members to attend and participate in any of its meetings. Every individual member of the executive council may vote only once on any matter decided at an Executive Council meeting regardless of how many positions as officer s/he holds. The executive council may make decisions by email or telecommunication provided that there is active agreement of all officers and the decision is formally affirmed in the minutes of the next executive council meeting.

Meeting Attendance
13. The leader and all officers of executive council must attend meetings on a regular basis, or if unable to attend to request their Deputies to attend and/or submit a written report, or to participate by email or teleconference in annual (biennial) conventions. Officers who fail to attend at least 50% of executive council meetings, or to send regrets and/or a written report in lieu of attendance, will be removed from executive council.

Constituency Association Nominations
14. Constituency associations shall have the main responsibility for nominating a candidate for endorsement by the Party for election to the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba in their respective constituency; nominations are subject to the approval of executive council, and if possible a general meeting. Executive council or a general meeting can nominate a candidate where there is no active constituency association, but shall consult all Party members in that constituency if there are more than five members in that constituency.

Memberships Sold by the Constituency Associations
15. Constituency associations are encouraged to recruit new members for the Party. The standard membership application form shall be used, and submitted along with membership fee to the Party membership chair. Members recruited by a constituency association are deemed to be members of the Party in good standing as of the date on which they fill out a membership application and submit payment to the constituency association. It is the responsibility of the constituency association executive to transmit all membership applications and membership fees in a timely way to the membership chair.

Fundraising by Constituency Associations
16. Constituency associations are encouraged to fundraise. Donors should be requested to make cheques payable to the Green Party of Manitoba, noting on the memo line that it is for the _________ Constituency Association. The Party will issue the tax receipt for the donation and remit a portion of the donation to the constituency association according to the provisions below:

  1. Constituency associations shall retain all proceeds from fundraising activities and all donations under $10 (those not requiring an official receipt).

  2. All donations $10 and over shall be remitted to the Party, which will issue official receipts. The Party shall retain 35% and return 65% to the constituency association. Any cheques made payable to the constituency association must be deposited in the constituency account and a tax receipt cannot be issued for these donations.

Support from Council to Constituencies
17. The executive council shall provide reasonable administrative support to the constituency associations.

Caucuses
18. A caucus shall be a self-organizing body of the Party created by its members for the purpose of meeting, researching, organizing events and actions, and communicating to the membership and to the public regarding a public policy issue or area of their choosing. A caucus shall be self-governed yet accountable to executive council and membership. A caucus shall operate in a manner consistent with the Green Party of Manitoba’s constitution and with its values and principles.

Operation of Caucuses
19. Caucuses shall network with council, committees, and the shadow cabinet to advance its purposes through:

(1) creating literature to distribute, provided the literature is approved by the caucus membership and further ratified by the executive council;
(2) passing policy resolutions for submission to the policy and platform committee;
(3) creating press releases that will still be subject to the Party’s current press release policy;
(4) organizing fundraisers or other events. All funds raised by the caucus will go into the Party’s general revenue and all activities are subject to the provisions of the 
Elections Finance Act as well as any other applicable federal, provincial, municipal or international laws.

Once a caucus has been active for a year, its chair may ask that executive council spend up to 50% of funds that caucus has raised to promote an issue /event, etc., of that caucus’s choosing. A member may be a member of no more than three caucuses at once. To join or resign from a caucus, a member in good standing must submit his/her will in writing to executive council or to the caucus facilitator.

Caucus Must Have a Facilitator
20. Each caucus shall assign/elect a facilitator at the beginning of its first meeting, according to its wishes. The facilitator’s responsibilities are:

(1) to report to executive council after each caucus meeting;
(2) to set the date of the next caucus meeting; and
(3) to ensure that there are at least three members in good standing on the caucus list at all times and that none of these members belong to more than three caucuses.

Quorum of Caucus
21. A caucus meeting will be official only if half plus one of its members are in attendance. Members of the party may join a caucus at the beginning of its meeting and count towards the total members of that caucus.

Attendance of, and Membership in Caucuses
22. All members of the Party in good standing may attend all caucus meetings, but will only have a vote within the caucuses of which they are members.

Disbandment of a Caucus
23. A caucus may be disbanded by vote of executive council if it is acting contrary to the benefit of the Party or if it has released literature, spoken to the media, or planned events without the Executive Council’s approval. Executive council will be required to report to all members of the Party if it disbands a caucus.

Standing Committees
24. The following standing committees shall be established:

Policy and Platform Committee
The policy and platform committee shall be responsible for developing comprehensive policies consistent with Party values and principles, and for developing an electoral platform derived from those policies. The committee shall maintain an up-to-date policy book containing passed and draft policies, two copies of which shall be kept in the Party office. Any member or recognized unit of the party may submit a policy resolution or suggestion to the committee, which shall be responsible for collating such submissions and placing them in a standard format. The committee may undertake to research and develop policies in any area where required. The committee may consult with organizations or individuals outside the Party as required to ensure that policies are well-researched and based on good evidence. The committee shall maintain regular communications with the executive council and regional advisory committee on policy issues, and with constituency associations, the media committee, and the elections planning chair on platform development. The committee shall present a policy report and a separate draft platform report to the annual convention for approval. Executive council and the policy and platform committee should be empowered to develop an election platform as an ongoing process, based on Party values and principles, policies already passed, and input from other units of the Party on specific issues. The leader, deputy leader and elections planning co-ordinator shall be ex officio members of the policy and platform committee.

Fundraising Committee
The fundraising committee shall develop and implement strategies for revenue generation within the guidelines of the
Elections Finances Act. The treasurer and CFO shall be ex officio members of the fundraising committee and shall ensure compliance with the Elections Finances Act.

Communications Committee
The communications committee shall be responsible for co-ordinating internal and external communications of the Party, including email, website, newsletters, press releases, media events, and printed materials. The membership development co-ordinator shall be an ex officio member of this committee. The committee shall develop and implement:

(1) media strategies to support Party objectives;
(2) training programs and materials for local candidates and volunteers;
(3) a media monitoring system;
(4) central distribution of press releases and media advisories for the shadow cabinet; and
(5) an official house style-guide to maintain a consistent image in all party communications.

Responsibilities of Standing Committees

25. All standing committees shall appoint a recorder to maintain an up-to-date contact list and ensure that regular reports are submitted to the secretary of the executive council. At minimum a summary report is to be made after each meeting, and a progress report at least twice a year. Standing committees are otherwise free to organize themselves as they see fit, including forming sub-committees, communicating by email, teleconferencing, and other alternate means as well as holding meetings. All members of the Party are eligible for membership in any standing committee.

Shadow Cabinet
26. The Party leader may elect nominate, remove and replace members to a shadow cabinet to be spokespersons on political issues within their portfolios. The nominations, removals and replacements are subject to approval by executive council. Shadow cabinet members are considered ex officio members of the policy and platform committee and shall receive all reports and minutes and be advised of all meetings.

Conflict Resolution Committee
27. The conflict resolution committee shall be established at the biennial convention and shall consist of three members, none of whom shall be members of executive council. The conflict resolution committee is a non-standing committee that will meet to review breaches of the code of conduct or any other provision of the Party constitution or by-laws and facilitate conflict resolution.

Initiation of a Code of Conduct Review
28. The conflict resolution committee does not initiate reviews on its own accord; a request must be made by a member(s) or executive council.

When a complaint is made:

(1) one member of the committee will be selected to follow up with the complainant and respondent; and
(2) executive council will be informed that a complaint has been received, the date, and the names of the individuals involved. Only disputes which involve and/or affect the functioning of the Party will be considered. The conflict resolution committee will not become involved in personal disputes or disagreements between members. After investigating a complaint the conflict resolution committee shall attempt to find a resolution satisfactory to the complainant(s) and respondent(s) through conciliation, mediation, or other measures. Executive council shall be advised if a complaint is settled. If a satisfactory resolution cannot be found the conflict resolution committee may recommend disciplinary measures, including a reprimand, suspension or revocation of membership(s). The disciplinary measures must be forwarded to executive council in a written report.

Review of Membership
29. A review of membership is a serious procedure and is intended to safeguard the Party against purposeful disruption. It is initiated on the request of executive council or by the complaint(s) of a member(s) of the Party to the conflict resolution committee. All parties to a dispute shall have an opportunity to make a statement to the conflict resolution committee. If the conflict resolution committee investigates the complaint and finds no basis for a review of membership, or if a resolution is achieved through conciliation, mediation, or other measures the review of membership does not proceed.

A review may proceed if a member:

(1) breaches this constitution, particularly the code of conduct, consistently or seriously;
(2) promotes internal strife;
(3) promotes ideas and values inconsistent with the common values of the Manitoba Greens; or
(3) refuses to participate in the conflict resolution process.

Recommendation from Review of Membership
30. After completing a review the conflict resolution committee will prepare a report for executive council. The report will recommend:

  1. Reprimand in the case of a moderate breach(es) a reprimand stating that further breaches may result in a suspension or revocation of membership;

  2. Suspension in the case of a serious breach(es) a suspension of membership in the party for a fixed period time, whereby the suspended member may re-apply for membership after the period of suspension is over;

  3. Revocation in the case of the most serious breach(es) revocation of membership, whereby a revoked member may not re-apply for membership.

Council to Accept or Reject Conflict Resolution Committee Recommendations
31. Once the executive council has received recommendations for disciplinary measures from the conflict resolution committee, they must either be accepted or rejected by a majority vote of the full executive council; telephone or e-mail votes from any executive council members not present at the meeting must be solicited. If executive council rejects the recommendation(s) forwarded by the conflict resolution committee it must provide a written reason for doing so and provide an alternative recommendation to the conflict resolution committee.

Representatives to Elections Manitoba
32. The leader and executive council shall appoint representatives to Elections Manitoba on the Elections Act and Elections Finances Act. Any member of the Party is eligible for these appointments.

Financial Accounts
33. All financial accounts of the Party shall be maintained at a Manitoba credit union or caisse populaire, except where it may be required to maintain a special account(s) for the purposes of online financial transactions.

Personal Financial Gain
34. Anyone acting on behalf of the Green Party of Manitoba shall not benefit financially from his or her position as a member or officer of the Party. Members and officers of the Party are entitled to be reimbursed for expenses incurred on behalf of the Party, and/or compensation for income foregone for Party activities, provided:

(1) such expenses are supported by receipts, invoices, or other documentation;
(2) have been either: a) pre-approved by executive council or other designated authority, such as a standing committee, caucus, or constituency association; or b) deemed reasonable and necessary for the member or officer to carry out his or her duties on behalf of the Party.

Conflict of Interest
35. If any individual has a financial or personal interest in a company or organization with which the Party has business dealings, s/he shall disclose that interest and shall excuse him/herself from voting on any business decisions relating to that company or organization. If the individual is asked to absent him/herself during a discussion relating to his or her business or personal interest, his/her absence shall not affect quorum.

Signing Authority
36. Two or more members of the same immediate family (spouses, common-law partners, parent and child, siblings) shall not have signing authority on Party legal or financial matters.

Privacy Policy
37. All personal information provided by and concerning members, donors and supporters of the Party is the property of the Party. Such information shall not be released to any person outside of the Party unless required by law. Breaches of privacy may be subject to internal party discipline as well as civil and criminal penalties.

Use of Personal Information
38. Regarding the use of membership lists and other personal information compiled by the Green Party of Manitoba from members, donors and supporters:

General provisions
(1) confidentiality agreements shall be signed by executive council members, members of the conflict resolution committee, and any volunteers who have access to membership information or other personal data;
(2) due diligence shall be used to protect private information from unauthorized use;

Provisions specific to executive council
(3) members of executive council shall have access to such information only as required for their duties, and shall not distribute or disclose it to others without express permission from the individuals involved. Such duties include:

(a) appropriate uses of personal data include sending emails, newsletters, notices of meetings, and other official party information;
(b) sending contact information for members within a constituency to a duly constituted constituency association;
(c) assisting party caucuses in communicating with interested members;
(d) and such other uses as may be from time to time approved by executive council and/or a general meeting;

Provisions specific to individual members
(4) Individual members shall not have access to complete lists, and shall receive partial lists only as required for legitimate party business.

Categories of confidentiality
39. Records maintained by the Green Party of Manitoba fall into three categories of confidentiality.

Personal information
The highest degree of confidentiality shall be maintained for personal information, including contact information of members and donors. Such information shall not be made public except as required by the
Elections Finance Act (Manitoba), and shall be used only for legitimate party purposes as detailed above. Documents relating to personnel or disciplinary matters shall be retained as part of the permanent records of the Party but shall not be disclosed except with the permission of the individuals involved, or if required by law. Where such matters are referenced in minutes, the details shall be separated from the body of the minutes and only a reference shall be included, without names or identifying details. The detailed report shall not be included with minutes distributed to members on request.

Internal party documents
Minutes of executive council and committee meetings, minutes of general meetings, financial reports, and other internal records shall be available for consultation by members except as noted above, but will not be made available to the general public except by resolution of a general meeting or if required by law. Discussion papers, draft policy papers, draft platform documents, and similar works not representing official Party policy until formally adopted as specified in this constitution should not ordinarily be widely distributed but may be provided for information and discussion to any member of the Party and to members of the general public who may wish to participate in policy and platform discussions.

Public documents
Policy and platform documents, statements of values and principles, the party constitution, and administrative policies are freely available to anyone who requests them, and may be published in the form of newsletters, websites, blogs, or other media.

To download a PDF version of these bylaws, click here: Bylaws of the Green Party of Manitoba