Wednesday, April 22, 2009

"In the night all cats are gray."

I have been tardy in finishing up my posts on proposed amendments to the LPC Constitution. There is one last, little, wee, inoccuous, housekeeping one that rots my socks. Not because it should be defeated, it shouldn't be; but because of what it indicates about our current administration (and here I am not talking about ILMI or his or the Party staff), and how carefully all of us delegates must scrutinize the candidates seeking office to the National Executive and to hold them to their words in the future; to hold them accountable to us, the membership, and to us through upholding of the Party Constitution, whether we or they agree with what is in it or not.

The amendment is to amend subparagraph 54(3)(e)(v) (Appointment of additional members of the Leadership Expenses Committee) which is currently inconsistent with wording elsewhere in the Chapter and to other Chapters, to read (additions emphasized):

(v) any number of other members of the Party appointed by the co-chairs in consultation with the National Executive and respecting the principle of equal participation of men and women and the recognition of English and French as the official languages of Canada.

Avid readers of the LPC Constitution will note that this amendment would make this subparagraph virtually identical to that currently contained in the Chapter on the National Election Readiness Committee (Chapter 32) except that in the case of the NERC, the consultation is intended to be with the Leader and the National Executive.

My problem is not what either subparagraph says or does not say, but with the way in which the clause has been (as have several others which Quixotique has pointed out in other diatribes) dishonoured by the NE and its constitutional advisers.

Just before the last National Executive meeting, members of the NWLC were concerned that the National Election Readiness Committee had been announced with a membership that was 2/3 men and 1/3 female. While no member of the NERC was present at the NE to discuss the issue with them, it was raised, and the answer? That the intention of the words "respecting the principle of of equal participation of men and women..." was unlikely to have meant 50/50 in all instances. I get that, but 2/3-1/3 is pretty far off from the "principle of equal participation" and in this day and age, particularly when the women's vote is so bloody critical to the Party, it's not a grand message to have an Election Readiness (Campaign) Committee that is so old, white and male. But that's not even the most critical "breach".

The fact of the matter is that this clause requires the NERC Co-Chairs to consult the Leader and the NE, and while the (interim) Leader may have been consulted
(actually you can bet your booty he was), the National Executive most certainly was not. They were told, like everyone else. And not even formally so, they had to ask, well after the fact of the appointments/announcement. Apparently the youth were equally concerned with the composition of the Committee. Not with the individuals themselves or their caliber, but with the overall representativeness of the composition of the Committee. This aspect was not addressed.

So, one wonders what the point is of having constitutional instructions, when those instructions are not abided, or worse, ignored.

The Renewal Committee in doing its very fine work, while not placing sole responsibility on the PTA's, nonetheless said this with respect to their obligations: "Put succinctly, one can easily come to the conclusion that some PTAs have failed to live up to their new constitutional obligations, and that the transition from administrative and membership functions to a more proactive organizational role has been slow." They often admonished the full administration since the 2006 revamped constitution for not adhering to or implementing intended changes swiftly enough. After all, that new Constitution represented the will of the Party.

The addition of a consultation with the National Executive on the appointment of the NERC was a conscious one. We should expect the Co-Chairs to have then consulted - I would say specifically with the NWLC, but most certainly with the full Executive. It is an obligation that the Party has imposed on them, not one that can or should be ignored in the guise of tradition or prerogative.

So while we are all swept up in Constitutional change, I certainly hope that there is as much discussion at Convention, and concrete action post-convention for cultural change in our Party.


  1. who does Quixote support in the exec elections?

  2. Not sure about Quixote, but if Quixotique was to take a lead from him, it would most certainly be for those who appear most to wish for a more chivalrous deportment of our governing body.

    Quixotique will be supporting:

    Alf Apps for President: Even though it he will be acclaimed, Quixotique believes it important that he and others know that his proposed program and outlook toward the Party be supported, and that through support he be held accountable to that program and outlook.

    Steve Kukucha for English Vice-President; strong on accountability understanding the balance required at the table between the various elements of the Party's leadership.

    Brigitte Garceau for French Vice-President; experienced at all levels of the Party, a good understanding of the concept of party.

    Maryanne Kampouris for National Policy Chair; a platform and experience rooted in membership engagement. Independent and Party-minded. Quixotique does not think that Joan Bourassa has done a bad job, in fact the opposite, but prefers Maryanne's approach, but most importantly is not terribly pleased with the overall deportment of the current executive and that taints her perspective in this instance.

    Membership Secretary, Rob Jamieson. Again, realizing that Rob is acclaimed, in Quixotique's view, Rob is one of the current bunch who deserves to continue to develop the more democratic aspects of the Party given her understanding that he has consistently stood up for grassroots and membership engagement in most aspects of the NE's very difficult decisions over the past couple of years.

    Quixotique is not a youth, nor aboriginal, and there are, as you know, no elections for the NWLC executive.