Wednesday, May 6, 2009

"A word to the wise is enough. "

In a strange twist, change recommendations proposed by the Change Commission may have received more support from our Leader Michael Ignatieff (ILMI no more!) and our new National Executive than from the representatives of the "grassroots" assembled as delegates to the weekend convention and contributors to the report. It's not that they don't or wouldn't necessarily support the report and recommendations, it's just that the report didn't get much exposure at Convention, other than amongst the Party leadership, who apparently nonetheless see the writing on the wall that the membership will be ignored at peril.

The blunt, well written and representative report was released with little fanfare just days - hours, really - before delegates began arriving in Vancouver for the Convention about ... hmmm, well, 'nuf said.

Council of Presidents, which was held Thursday before the official convention began was not formally briefed on the report and its recommendations, although outgoing Party President Doug Ferguson, also a Commissioner did use his remarks to speak about the report and his comments were very well received. Unfortunately the room was not full of many riding presidents - some not having yet arrived, and others representing their presidents who were not attending. Workshops held later that day on the report, were sparsely attended by riding presidents/designates (mostly because there were several competing workshops and one could not be everywhere at once), but again the report and its recommendations were enthusiastically received by those who were able.

Our printed Convention agendas told us that the Change Commission Report would be first up at the morning session of the Constitutional Plenary, but alas that presentation and discussion never occurred. The presentation was apparently switched to the afternoon to allow for the important debate on WOMOV and other amendments to occur first, and then only "time permitting". Needless to say, it never happened, and there was concern in certain circles that some "deep sixing" might be underway.

But apparently not. The Leader is reported to be very supportive of the report and its recommendations, and incoming President Alf Apps enthusiastically so. Apparently Apps held an extensive NE meeting following the close of the convention (as opposed to the traditional meet and greet) where the report was discussed, approved in principle and set on a course for implementation and monitoring. That is very good news.

So good on the former Leader and Executive for commissioning the work. Good on the Commissioners for the valuable work they performed on our behalf. Good on the members who participated and who clearly saw themselves and their opinions reflected in the report, and good on the Leader and the new Executive for moving forward with the recommendations.

As Quixotique stated in this space just before the Convention, the most important recommendations about change in the report - perhaps really the entire report - are about membership engagement at various levels and activities through out the party: policy development; party processes such as nominations; adherence to the LPC Constitution and provisions as a recognition that they represent the will of the membership; and, accountability mechanisms.

Too bad really that we moved ahead before the Convention and the report however, with mechanisms such as incumbency protection and unvetted appointments; but with any luck, such things are about to change.

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