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Archive for January, 2013

I received a message* from Marc Garneau yesterday about his proposals to reform the party and the democratic processes thereof. It was headed “This isn’t working”, which I thought was a somewhat poor choice of words, because without context it seemed like he was referring to his leadership campaign. Now, while I think that it is important to improve the democratic structure of our party, I disagree with how Mr. Garneau intends to do it. In his letter, he included three points on how to return ‘decision-making to the grassroots – our local riding associations”.

The first two points are almost entirely unobjectionable, but they need further definition. In his first point, when Mr. Garneau says that he is going to hold open nominations in every riding, does he mean that the party members will be able to vote, or will he be pushing for the extension to the riding level of the supporter system adopted at the January 2012 convention? He doesn’t elaborate, and the point is so vague to be effectively meaningless. I wouldn’t disagree with the impulse to hold open nomination meetings for any supporters resident in the riding, and I supported the same at the convention. If he is serious about the proposal, he needs to clarify what exactly is meant by an open nomination meeting, and who would be entitled to vote at that meeting.

The same can be said for the second point, which effectively is “I won’t appoint someone. Unless I have to. But I’ll be sure to give you a phone call first.” I hesitate to call this point a proposal, because this is effectively the situation that we have right now. The disincentive for a leaders to appoint a candidate is currently strong – riding associations are wont to resign in they do not feel they have been consulted. So far, I haven’t been won over by Marc’s bold new vision of the status quo.

The third point is where everything goes off the rails for me. While I am aware that it can be frustrating to see the hard earned cash for your fundraising efforts be sucked up by the national party, I think we need to remember that we are indeed a national party, trying to win a national election. There are some seats (Calgary Southwest comes to mind) where there is little point in spending money, but where large amounts of money can be raised. If we are not going to redistribute our party funds to target seats where we actually have a chance of winning but are not guaranteed a blowout, we are doing very little to advance the cause of national Liberalism, and much to promote a regionalized and fractured party comprised of private fiefdoms that has no chance of winning a national election. Growing back from our string of defeats is going to be difficult, and it is going to require a national effort.

*My computer attempted to autocorrect what I had originally written to ‘massage’, which would have been notable, to say the least.

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