Thursday, May 5, 2011

"Spare your breath to cool your porridge." II

Interim or permanent.  Where does the twain meet on leadership?
If the interim leadership of the Liberal Party is going to turn into the ipso facto Leadership of the party for several years, there’s a whole different set of criteria and questions that need to be addressed.  An interim ‘mandate’ of stewardship in the House of Commons with a side glance to the Senate is completely different than the type of mandate a Party gives to its Leader after a race that encompasses a whole host of positions. 

As a member of the Party, under normal circumstances, I might ask the potential interim leader:
  • What kind of deportment do you see your MP’s exhibiting?
  • Given the seats we won and the platform we put forward who will you put on which committee and which will you place the most priority on?
  • What will be the general focus of the issues you will raise in the House: issues of the day, or positions from the election platform?
  • How will you work with the National Board to ensure that members’ voices are heard by Caucus and taken into consideration?
  •  How will you ensure that Liberal voices from non-held ridings are heard in the House and the Senate?
  •  How will you prepare the discussion that needs to be held between the Caucus and the membership on the future of the Party? What type of mechanisms for consultation will you propose?

Note that none of these really involve the potential interim leader’s positions on substantive issues, party values or principles that would normally guide discussions.  They are very stewardship in their orientation.

If given the opportunity, I would think members would like to ask the potential Leader:
  • What are the values you think Liberals share; how many of these and which are unique to the Liberal Party?
  • What will you view and/or accept as your mandate from the Party to accomplish and in what time frame(s)?
  • What are the steps you will take to rebuild the Party?
  • What are your short, medium and long term goals in this regard?
  • What is the relationship you envision between the Parliamentary wing of the Party and the membership; who makes which type of decisions and why?
  • What is the relationship you envision between the Party and the electorate/citizenry
  • How do you propose to achieve gender balance in all of the structures and organizations of the Party?
  • The Liberal Party is a federation of provincial organizations. Do you think this structure remains appropriate in the current communications era? How do you view the relationship(s)?
  •  As per above, what are your proposals for efficient use of LPC resources?
  • How do you view policy and platform development in the Party? What roles and what responsibilities should be assigned to each level/position?
  • What are your views on the collaboration between parties at various points in the electoral and governing  process? 
  • What are your views on our electoral system?
  • Should we be examining our various political processes in conjunction with each other; i.e. electoral, election-procedural; campaign and party financing; party-exclusive; parliamentary; constitutional and conventional? 
  • How can we ensure accountability at various levels in the Party?
I've got my own ideas on most of these, but I’m guessing that many other people also have a different set or subset, but nonetheless these are the types of things we should be looking at.  And, I continue to think that these are not mutually exclusive activities, but should be enacted by exclusive individuals.

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