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Archive for July, 2006

We have a problem in out party. The way we develop policy has a problem. While the convention system has worked well in the past, it has become a lumbering beast, incapable of responding to the quickly changing world in which we live. It is not practical for us, as a party, to only be able to ratify, or even debate, policy at conventions that are years apart. When major world issues come into play, we cannot afford to not have some concrete response from a policy perspective.

Therefore, we need the four month policy. We need to be able to go from starting discussion to a concrete policy document ratified by the general membership in four months. This would by no means replace policy conventions, but would exist in parallel to them, allowing the party to be more nimble in its response to world affairs.

The difficult thing with creating a new way to develop policy is that this requires a new structure and infrastructure within which to exist, in addition to the necessary safeguards that must be put in place in order to ensure fair and inclusive representation across the country. Here, I intend to outline how I see a policy moving from inception to our policy book, and what changes and developments will be required to facilitate the new process.

The first thing every policy needs is an idea. This can be in response to a problem in the world, or just a new innovation for the country. A general idea can then be placed on a something created for this purpose, the Liberal Party Policy Forums, a web based discussion group where ideas can be debated and policy crafted. Each discussion thread would be monitored by a webmaster, who would be able to combine threads on similar topics, ban abusive poster, and other typical forum modification tasks. I emphasize that this person will not influence the policy decisions.

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What should Hedy Fry’s theme song be?
Ring of Fire – Johnny Cash
Fire – Pointer Sisters
Burning Down the House – Talking Heads
These Boots Are Made For Walking – Nancy Sinatra
Beautiful Grit – BANG sugar BANG
Free polls from Pollhost.com

This poll will be open for a day or two. Keep the Kennedy nominations coming!

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Today, just after midnight, Calgary’s one millionth citizen entered into the world. With that birth, at the Rockyview Hospital in the cities south, Calgary becomes the third city in Canada to reach the one million mark. Calgary also is one of Canada’s, and the world’s biggest cities, sprawling to almost 800 square km, giving us a population density of 1250 people per square km. London, by comparison, has four times our population density.

Calgary continues to expand, like a tumor, into our surrounding landscape, devouring valuable agricultural land. Our infrastructure is stretched to the limit, and our public transit system is straining and generally ill conceived. Calgary needs a plan – it needs to do two things. First, it needs to focus it’s development into urban core projects, revitalization downtown, not unlike Vancouver. When I can walk around downtown on a weekend and not see anyone, or drive along 6th Ave alone, there is a problem. We need to focus on the inner core development, creating a viable, walkable, city core. Secondarily, there needs to be a concerted effort to direct the sprawl that does occur. The south of the city should be established as a permanent boundary. We need to be developing out towards Airdrie, along the Calgary-Edmonton Corridor. It will encourage the development of the already vitally important trade route. In order to have a more sustainable city, we need to have a better designed transit system, one that does not use its bus lines as feeder routes to C-Train stations, but creates rapid lines around the city. We also should look into the development of a rapid rail line from Calgary to Edmonton, to further emphasize the economic corridor.

Happy one millionth Calgary!

Additionally, keep the Kennedy and Fry nominations coming. Hedy Fry’s poll will be up tomorrow.

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On Themesongs

I have done a bit of an overhaul of my blog. If anyone has any suggestions, I’d love to hear them. CHECK IT OUT!

Campaign songs are cool, and I was thinking that it would be cool if we could have some contest for the Themesongs for each leadership candidate. So, now, I’m going to be taking nominations for Hedy Fry and Gerard Kennedy. (Yeah, I know the Frog Lady did something like this – but this time, You Decide Canada! Plus, the Captain Planet Theme didn’t make the Dion list.)

In your nomination, please leave a song name, the candidate you are leaving it for, and an optional short comment. For each of the candidates, after their song has been chosen, I’ll do a photomontage to their song. Not unlike this one.

Fry and Kennedy: GO!

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On Poor Matilda

My car was broken into on Monday. Additionally, if anyone is wondering what the title means, my car is named Matilda. I’ve heard that a Conservative is somebody who has had their car broken into, but, frankly, this doesn’t make any sense to me. Sure, for the first five minutes, I wanted to kill somebody, preferably the person who broke into my car, but I wasn’t about to discriminate. Thankfully, I managed to hold off that urge, even though they took the Liberal convention bag I got last year. (This being something that holds particular meaning to me – I know, I’m a geek.)

It took me a half an hour for me to blame Ralph Klein.

We need, in this province, and in this country, a compassionate society, and one that addresses crime at its roots, not at the buds. There is a societal illness, but it is not crime. Crime is merely a symptom of this illness. To treat crime, to attack the symptom, rather than the cause, simply lets the infection grow while doing nothing to treat the greater problems facing our nation. The Conservatives have promised to get tough on crime. They have promised harsher punishments and greater enforcement. They are not proposing a solution.

I am not saying that criminals should be able to get away with their crimes. What does need to happen is a concerted effort to address crime at a societal level. Carolyn Bennett talks about how the cutting of after school and extracurricular programs in St. Paul led to increased gang activity. As a society, we need to find and treat the infection, not the symptoms. When someone has scurvy, you don’t treat the bleeding gums. You must give that person a big dose of Vitamin C. The same holds true for Canada. We can’t patch up what is merely an indicator of a greater problem – Canada needs it’s Vitamin C, and here, that means (imsorryimsorryimsorry) Vitamin Care.

Greater funding for youth programs to spur community involvement is a start. Directed and conscientious spending on social assistance. Should we hold individual criminals to account? Absolutely – they violated the laws laid out by a societal framework. However, we cannot ignore that at least some of these crimes can be reduced by addressing the larger problems confronting us. (The largest issue, for me, right now being that I have no passenger side window. It’s Ralph’s, and the ass who stole my bag’s, fault.)

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On Instant Liberals

Using the term “Instant Liberals” apparently is a bone of contention for some people, and I have been, in different ways, informed of this. Now, today we are going to learn that there are some ways to make a point, and there are other ways which diminish the stance you are trying to prove. I will attempt to compare these methods, while providing a response to the topic of both these posts.

Anonymous said…

and i take it “instant liberal” as opposed to “sign ups” is your usual codespeak for immigrants?
nice racist attitude.

davenport liberal said…

Instant Liberals, I wonder about this new phrase.

Now, would you define it as a person who joins mearly for the convience of it. That actually has no interst in the party but merely wishes to use it.

Then lets see 400 youth signed up at a beer party for Dion in BC.

Wonder if they were sober? Do they remeber, is the better question?
That would be one hell of a hang over.

Instant Liberal …….. Yes, now I know Rae and Ignatieff. Rae for three months and ignatieff for 2 years since he was courted to run for leader.

I guess all the people singed by all the camps are instant liberals.

I thought we were to have a clean race?

The Name
It always looks better when you leave one. All the posts that I have attacking me in a non-constructive way have come from Anonymous bloggers. Personally, I won’t block them, but it shows a lack of faith in the strength of your point not to attach an identity to it.

The Discourse
Random attacks are bad. It does not do anyone good to say that I am a racist, or speak in deceptive code all the time. When someone is trying to make a point, it would do them good to give considered thought to their opinions, as Davenport clearly made more of an effort to do. Additionally, thoughts always look better when they conform to the rules of the language in which they are written, and whether it be Davenport’s sentence fragments, or the entire post of Anonymous, there needs to be some greater attention grammar. Stop contributing to the entropy of English.

On this topic, however, I dispute both of them. Instant Liberals are not exclusively immigrants, which is not to say that there are not immigrants among them. These are people who have shown no interest in the party. I dislike that this becomes a numbers game, and one of strength of organization, instead of one of content. It would have been interesting to see a race where cutoff was one week from the date of the convention call. I wonder who could have had the most support in that circumstance.

Are people signed up at a beer garden instant Liberals? Probably, but some of them are probably interested. Are people signed up from an ethnic community? Possibly, but not necessarily. What does, unequivocally, make someone an instant Liberal, is someone who has their membership paid for by a candidate or campaign, for the exclusive purpose of stacking a vote. This shows no commitment to a party or a cause, only to the manipulation of a contest.

On the other comments, specifically that of the vote delivery claim I made, I think that Kennedy has a lot of organizational strength, but it is, regardless, difficult to deliver large numbers of delegates. As to distribution – I don’t see how having a widespread signup list makes it easier to deliver. It would just make it easier in the DEMs if they DO have a good GOTV campaign.

I don’t really understand what this has to do with my blog, or the most recent post, but Judy LaMarsh was a Liberal MP and, under Pearson, the first female Cabinet minister in Liberal history, and the second in Canada. She also said, at the convention that elected Trudeau, “Don’t let that bastard win it, Paul – he isn’t even a Liberal.” Hmmm, perhaps this comment was a thought provoking jab at some of the other candidates, or at me, depending on how you look at it, although it would be an incredibly roundabout way to do it.

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So, in Alberta, the dust from the massive membership drive has begun to settle. How are people doing? It’s still a bit of a mystery, but frontrunners have begun to emerge. From my projections, there is going to be only four candidates that are able to deliver any significant number of delegates from the province.

These candidates are, in projected amount of delegate spots, Kennedy, Ignatieff, Volpe, Dion. Some of you may be surprised to see Volpe’s name on this list, but this becomes more clear when you look at the campaign he’s been running – one of pure Instant Liberaling, not one of meeting current Liberals. However, there are very real threats to doing something like this. Kennedy and Volpe will have problems delivering their voters. In the last month of the campaign, it will become a GOTV campaign – sheer organizational strength. Who can swing that remains to be seen, but I question seriously whether Volpe can translate mass signups into voters. It still isn’t clear how many other forms were dropped throughout the campaign, so we don’t really know what were are looking at.

Regardless, this race will come down to how distribution works, how well the candidates pull out their instant Liberals, and how well the candidates will be able to convince those who are undecided – the party faithful, and returning faithful, who have reentered the fold. It’s going to be a long way to Super Weekend.

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