Tuesday, August 21, 2012


With the Federal Liberals behind in every region of the country, news that more than 20,000 people have signed up to the party under a new membership class is very encouraging.

Last January, ‘Canada’s Natural Governing Party”  created a new type of member. These members do not want to be Liberals but want a say in who the next leader will be. The new “associate” members just have to pledge to support “Liberal Policies”. They do not have to pay a membership fee.

The party’s goal is to have more Canadians involved in the selection process than ever before, which is very laudable. I like the move towards more direct democracy.

 I can tell you as a person who has been involved in a number of leadership races, that “Liberal ideals” are always trumped by winning. Often competing candidates have destroyed local associations to wrist away support from a competitor with no concern for the long term damage to the grassroots. This arrogance has resulted in many a riding swinging come election time because the ground troops have thrown their hands in the air in disgust.

What is to stop these “supporter class” Liberals from manipulating the outcome of the leadership, or using the opportunity to galvanize behind a single cause and transform the party? Could the membership of the World Wildlife Fund organize to become "members" with the intent of ensuring a leader that is willing to ban cod fishing or the seal hunt? It could very well be the thin edge of the wedge for many different special interests

 The party has its hands full to establish a set of rules and guidelines that strikes the desire for inclusion without leaving itself neutered by special interests.

Another rule passed at the last convention is that all 308 ridings shall have an equal number of votes for the leader. That is 100 each! Those votes will be split between the candidates based on their percentage of support from members and"supporters.

The Liberals will anoint/select/elect their sixth leader in nine years in April of 20123.

So far the only truly attractive candidate to declare is Deborah Coyne. I like her a great deal because she is sincere, passionate is willing to stand up for something she believes in. 

Others are testing the waters. Justin Trudeau continues to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for local associations as people flock to hear him speak. He continues to make the pancake and barbeque circuit through the provinces and territories.

Media reports are speculating that retired astronaut Marc Garneau will extend his mission to new frontiers by seeking the top job.  He has been putting together a national team and is rumored to be getting close to lift-off. 

Others touting a run at the leader of the third party's job include: New Brunswick MP Dominic LeBlanc, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty's brother, Ottawa MP David McGuinty, David Merner and   Martha Hall-Findlay.

Meanwhile,  a slew of candidates from the last great race are paying of tens of thousands of dollars in debt. Hedy Fry, Martha Hall Findlay and Joe Volpe lost a bid for in a top Ontario court for another extension to pay their 2006 campaign expenses.

It could get interesting. Really it could!

1 comment:

@mcmanustheautho said...


I do have a question - are these non-paying members eligible to vote in delegate selection meetings? If the Liberals go to an all member online system like NDP did last march, would a non-paying member have the same voting right as a paying member? Troubling.

The concept may bolster membership numbers, but as you correctly point out, opposition forces can sign up to affect the process.

By example, Conservatives could sign up and vote for the weakest Liberal candidate for leader to bolster their own government.

Agreed on Deborah Coyne, but feel she will not make it.

I also like Marc Garneau, very bright but needs charisma.