Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Some more things...

...of a constitutional amendment nature. In addition to the OMOV amendment to the amendment, the YLC (and this is not to pick on the YLC, it's just that they have put forward some of the more interesting proposed constitutional amendments) have proposed a couple of sets of changes to the composition of the National Executive which are worthy of debate. They have also proposed one regarding ex-officio delegates at Convention which might raise some eyebrows given the "other" discussions about influence going on right now. Let's start with that one.

The amendment itself is simple. It would remove the words "has served" and replace them with "is currently serving" in paragraph 62(1)(h)(in the section right to attend and vote at conventions), so that it would read: "each person who is currently serving as a member of the House of Commons or the Senate of Canada and who is a member of the Party."

The thought process is very interesting. Here is the background paragraph provided in the amendment document (highlights are mine):

"Background: Concerns have been raised about the influence and number of ex-officio delegates versus that of elected EDA delegates. This does not suggest that certain elected positions do not warrant ex-officio status, however, under the current rules some individuals have virtually a life-time ex-officio status. Also, it should be noted that a proposed amendment that will be considered at the Convention will reduce the number of EDA elected delegates from 20 to 14 (and youth from six to four). Should it pass, the influence of EDA elected delegates will be diminished even more so. The amendment would limit the number of parliamentary ex-officios to sitting MPs and Senators and reduce the overall number of ex-officios versus elected EDA delegates."

To Quixotique this is a good amendment, very much in keeping with the overall premise of the move to OMOV in leadership selection that the member is ultimately supreme, and real-time participation in the Party is more important than historical, and is certainly more democratic than the current (new in 2006) delegate structure. (As an aside, the prevailing wisdom for the upcoming leadership convention is that former MPs and Senators, whether or not they are former Liberal MPs or Senators, as long as they are current members of the Party, will be allowed to be delegates.)

It's just that I can't square the thinking on undue influence with the "other" amendment. Are the youth not arguing here that "delegates for life" are an artificial enhancement of the influence of a faction (elites?) within the Party? Maybe someone could explain (rationalize) it to me.

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