Friday, May 20, 2011

"I shall be as secret as the grave."

I'm not totally sure it's purposeful, but it sure is cultural, that the LPC has a tough, tough time communicating with its members in a consistent, full and complete fashion. Today's communique with some details about the upcoming "extraordinary convention" seems to have been posted on the party's website, but not sent around to members - well not this member anyway.  I'd venture a guess that most members of the party are not twitterholics or cruising the party's website on a regular basis.  With all of the attention paid to this process, you'd think that a full-member email blast might have been in order.

The note does contain some useful and timely information that all members should have, about how to be apply for delegate selection, some deadlines and so on.  But the critical piece of information - what people will actually be voting on with respect to leadership vote timing is missing.  I guess it's just me, but when you are encouraging people to "have their say", you would think you'd tell them what they'd be talking about at the same time.  If the proposal isn't ready, the communique shouldn't have been issued.  Probably, they will issue another one, or a revised one.  Maybe that one they'll send it around to all of us? Sigh. There's enough confusion out there already. 

It's kind of like the exchange on Wednesday's Council of Presidents teleconference between one of the riding presidents and the Party President about how devoting 45 minutes out of a two-hour meeting to verbal briefings could have been avoided and allowed for more discussion and feedback if only some documentation had been sent in advance.  The President indicated that he was concerned, given recent incidents, with the potential for leaks to the media. To which the riding president replied: "Well, if it wasn't for the leaks to the media, I wouldn't have a clue what was going on."

I do have one specific beef with the information in the communique/note/blogpost with respect to the delegate selection process. One of the notations, under "Key dates - and How to participate" is:

Saturday, June 11, 2011/Sunday, June 12, 2011
Delegate Selection meeting date. You will be contacted if a delegate selection meeting is required in your riding.
As I've noted elsewhere, in my view, it is not acceptable to not hold a delegate selection meeting when less than the required number of potential delegates indicate their "intention to stand".  I understand the party finds it burdensome to organize unnecessary meetings. It's just that I don't see them as unnecessary, but opportunities for interaction.  These meetings are likely to be the only opportunity for members to question the delegate candidates on how they intend to vote and to ensure everyone understands the impact of the result of that vote.  To me, even if a delegate is to be acclaimed, the membership that they will represent, a membership that will have "delegated" their views, have the right to know what those views are even if they cannot impact them.  At any rate, these meetings might also be the only opportunity for members to get together to discuss the proposals period.  Surely what we need is more openness, more discussion and dialogue in the party, not less.

1 comment:

  1. Good post! I'm totally with you on the need for delegate meetings. Even more so, just meetings in general. My riding was considered one of the "most winnable" ridings in Canada and a so-called "target" riding, and yet we could not muster up a timing for regular meetings. People were interested, but the organization didn't exist. The LPC local office certainly did not provide communication with members to keep us abreast of developments either. And when there is little riding activity, the members are in the dark. No-one to ask about lapsed memberships. No-one to ask about Laurier Membership, donations, fund-raisers, etc. Quietly, the party becomes irrelevant.

    In Calgary SW (yes, Harper's riding) the constit ass'n had our own office for many years (called the Liberal Center). It was leased BY the riding, and we held fund-raisers to keep it going - and still had money for elections. This was in potentially the LEAST winnable seat in all of Canada for Liberals. When we found we were not having "official" meetings often enough, we banded together with Young Liberals and other ridings to create weekly Friday beer & wings mixers. These were easily the best-attended events. I remember people saying "some people don't drink". Well, we still had a better showing to these political discussions than any riding meeting - and we added members.

    Sometimes, to be more public, and engage our members more, we simply need to think outside of the box a little. Sit and discuss politics over a cold one is certainly more stimulating than the regular monthly meeting. Of course both should happen: monthly "set" meeting in a private venue and a "public" meeting at a "public house", where real creativity can be fostered.

    The key is to MEET.