Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Some more more things...

...the YLC proposes: no MPs, Senators or candidates on the National Executive; policy resolutions to be debated by delegates; and, an Outreach Secretary.

Concerned about potential conflicts of interest, the YLC proposes that "Except for the Leader and the representative of Caucus ..., no person who is currently serving as a member of the House of Commons or the Senate of Canada may serve as a voting member of the National Executive", and that a voting member of the National Executive who becomes a nominated candidate would have to take a leave of absence from the Executive during the writ period.

I'm kind wondering what those conflicts of interest might be. Or, is there concern about the undue influence of Caucus in the affairs of the Party?

Not even any background discussion was required for this one: "All policy resolutions which are duly sent to a biennial convention by a PTA or a Commission according to the rules set out by the National Policy and Platform Committee must be considered by delegates at a convention before going forward to the floor for a final vote."

The next one, on the addition of an Outreach Secretary to the National Executive and Management Committee, I've got a bit of a problem with. I think the background, as opposed to the amendments themselves will suffice here, with one exception. My concern is in bold.

"The Special Committee on Party Renewal recently found that to be successful electorally, the Party needs to engage more consistently and more strategically in reaching targeted groups. This report recommended that EDA's, at their discretion, add outreach directors to engage the targeted populations of each of their commissions. These outreach directors would liaise with national commissions to collaborate on ensuring that strategic objectives are realized. The effect of the proposed amendment is that an Outreach Secretary is constituted as a voting member of the National Executive and as a voting member of the National Management Committee."

One of the related amendments: "Include the ORS in the list of appointments made by the National Executive under paragraph 23(1)(d)."

In the report of the Special Committee on Party Renewal, the Committee reviewed the revised composition and size (reduced from 64 to 25 voting members and 8 non-voting members) of the National Executive, stating:

"This reduction in size has been positive for the Party. National executive meetings used to be prohibitively expensive and, by virtue of the numbers involved, unwieldy. The new structure is far more apt to generate meaningful discussion and better decision-making. Efforts to “re-grow” the national executive should be resisted."

The voting members all have some sort of electoral mandate. The non-voting members of the NE are all appointments made by either the National Executive itself, the Leader, and/or the President.

There are some, like Quixotique, who have argued that all appointments to the Executive, and presiding positions of Standing and ad hoc committees should also be subject to some sort of ratification, or at minimum review by the membership (much as is done now by Parliamentarians for key government appointments), perhaps by the Council of Presidents.

Even if one disagrees with Quixotique's position or views it as unrealistic, it seems odd to suggest that a new executive/officer position, not dissimilar in type of mandate to the Membership Secretary should not be a nationally elected position. Otherwise, given the close relationship of the proposed position with the Commissions, one can see the battle lines drawing at the first NE meeting now. Candidates would most likely still have to campaign for the post, it's just that their electorate would be reduced from several thousand delegates to 25 colleagues.

So, I say if there is merit in adding the position to the National Executive, so be it. But if it is to be an appointment, it must be a non-voting position. Otherwise, the incumbent should receive a national mandate in return for their vote.

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