Monday, April 6, 2009

"There is a time for some things, and a time for all things; a time for great things, and a time for small things."

There is a good and intelligent debate going on about the YLC's proposed amendment to the National Executive's proposed constitutional amendment to institute a universal vote in leadership selection. Good that the debate is occurring a few weeks before the Convention so that members who are not delegates can make their views known both publicly and to the EDA delegates who will (should) be carrying their views to the plenary. But what about the rest of the proposals? How will they fit with what the membership may or may not wish to see in the context of renewal?

Quixotique has received the draft of the full set of proposed amendments and other than the leadership selection proposal(s), sees not much renewal, a fair bit of housekeeping and a couple of items that while perhaps well intentioned should also receive scrutiny, debate and discussion well in advance of the Convention. In general the proposals seem to fit with the Renewal Committee's stated premise in their report that not much really needs to be done, other than a more aggressive implementation of the 2006 changes:

"This report is, of necessity, more tightly focused than the Red Ribbon report. Many of its recommendations will urge speedier implementation of the provisions in the 2006 reform. However, some fine-tuning is required."
Every Voter Counts: the 308 Riding Strategy, Report of the Special Committee on Party Renewal

Here's one that might provoke some discussion.
A set of amendments (a related amendment is brought forward from 2006 by a Quebec EDA) related to the "Suspension and revocation of membership".

While it is reasonable to expect that an organization have the right to suspend or revoke a membership under certain circumstances, those circumstances should be clearly defined and penalties or remedies commensurate.
The proposed amendment does not appear to provide for reasons for the consideration of termination by the National Executive (it does require notice be given to the member, the right to address the NE, and a 2/3 vote):
"The National Executive may terminate the membership of any member of the Party whose conduct is considered by the National Executive to be detrimental to the Party..."
It does also not appear to address how the consideration of termination might reach the NE, in other words, whether a complaint needs to be filed, who can file such a complaint if required or request a hearing into a member's conduct (i.e. PTA, EDA, any other member?), nor provide guidance to the NE as to what might constitute "detrimental conduct".

The proposal also would allow for a terminated member to apply to join the Party again after 18 months and the re-application would be decided by the Membership Secretary:

"A person whose membership has been terminated under subsection 9(2) may apply to join the Party again only if 18 months have passed since their membership was terminated. Their application must be considered personally by the National Membership Secretary and may be rejected by the National Membership Secretary for any reason. If the membership application is rejected by the National Membership Secretary, then the person may not apply to join the Party again for another 12 months and this subsection applies to that further application."
If a 2/3 vote of the NE is required to terminate a membership, is it appropriate that the reinstatement decision be given to the Membership Secretary? Not taking a position here; just asking.

The amendment goes on to describe "suspension" as opposed to termination, indicating that in such instances, the Leader or National President may make the decision to suspend (again no guidance), although if the NE does not confirm the suspension, it will die.

"The Leader or the National President may suspend the right of any member to participate in the affairs of the Party and its organs for a period of no more than six months if the member whose membership may be suspended under this subsection has received notice...

The Leader or the National President, as the case may be, must report any suspension under subsection 9(4) to the National Executive at its next meeting, and if the National Executive does not confirm the suspension, then it will cease."
If I were the Leader or the President (both scary thoughts), I'm not sure I'd want the responsibility for suspension, but then again, that's probably why it's proposed that either have that responsibility in the first place, so that the consideration is taken very seriously.

It is likely that consideration was given to the seriousness of "detrimental conduct" requiring a booting out period of 18 months, versus a 6 month suspension for "less detrimental conduct", but it would be kind of nice to have some further explanation of the thought process behind the proposal, in particular the vagueness of the "why and the how".

Quixotique has actually just become quite concerned about her continuing status as a paid up, card carrying member of the Party!

More to follow in subsequent posts.

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