Tuesday, March 17, 2009

"I find my familiarity with thee has bred contempt."

Why does the Liberal Party repeatedly continue to dis its atrophying membership, paying lip service to its relevance and importance through examination of "change" and "renewal" while at the same time solidifying control by the (interim) (unelected) Leader, the caucus and unelected officials? It's a contemptuous attitude - contemptuous of the membership surely, but contemptuous of democratic principles more certainly.

First (or more correctly, recently first) was the selection of a "permanent" leader without membership involvement whatsoever, not even a consultation. And, it should be noted this selection was made by caucus members, themselves with little (or none, in the case of Senators) recent connection themselves to the membership either - most having either been "protected" from their membership given their status as incumbents in the last election, or appointed (by whom? not by the membership surely).

Next came the un-appointment (disappointment?) of the National Director and appointment of the new one by the IUEL when the Constitution clearly states that this is the role of the National Executive as the representatives of all members.

Amazingly, these acts were followed by the acclamation of 93% of the delegates to the upcoming "Leadership" Convention and another dissing of the membership - denied, in 278 out of 308 ridings their right to express their views on the selection of Leader.

While this is going on the Party enters its examination phase, looking at cultural and Constitutional change related to Leadership selection; the Party's structure; its Commissions; and, note this for later: "
The development of a clear process and tools for connecting grassroots policy development to all levels of the party." It does not specifically examine overall membership rights and responsibilities, nor, in this context, the nomination process.

And, while that is going on the (unelected) Party leadership announces a new/old regime to protect incumbents. Tories try to do the same and this time the MSM (in addition to Quixotique!) wades in. Some argue that Parties are private organizations and the electorate don't notice these things or care. But others know that, as did Sancho Panza, you are known by the company you keep ("
Tell me thy company, and I will tell thee what thou art." ). The Tories, surprisingly given their hammer-hold, top down, command-and-control propensities, bent a bit under the weight of democratic principle (or populism) and agreed that their membership will get some sort of say. The Liberal Party? Silent. Meanwhile, the MSM (voice of the electorate?) continue to call the parties on this antiquated, undemocratic practice as suggest that they might better be reigned in by public regulation through the form of some kind of registration. Hear! Hear! Elections Canada take note: somebody trusts you.

And, now, to cap it all off, the very body that is examining
"the development of a clear process and tools for connecting grassroots policy development to all levels of the party," informs us that we're just a tad too untrustworthy and indiscreet to participate in the development of the Party platform. We don't understand the realities of campaigning and governing doncha know. We can have our little say, at great personal expense, but we're not to expect much, it's just not our responsibility to decide nor let the electorate know what we stand for:

"People are free to debate and voice their views and that's the way it should be and you deal with that. Whether or not a certain debate will be incorporated into the platform, or have influence on the platform is not for me to decide, it's the leader's responsibility"

So, why bother having a convention at all I say? Why bother having a convention when there's only one candidate interested in being President of the darn thing anyway? Why bother having a convention when virtually all of the delegates are unelected and therefore not arriving at convention with any sort of delegated mandate from anybody anyway? Why bother having a convention where the main question has already been decided and any others, whether policy- or change-oriented will simply be ignored?

Why bother period.


  1. Quixotique - your last paragraph sums it all up and is precisely why I'm not bothering to attend the convention! Well said.

  2. Good article. It seems like more Liberal bloggers are starting to speak up about all the crap. It's amazing it took this long but at least it is finally happening.

  3. I assume it's a way to generate funds and publicity. Whether Elections Canada allows this 'in and out' one-candidate-leadership- campaign fundraising to go on, is another matter.