Boring internal Liberal Party matters

The Presidential Election

Posted on by CalgaryGrit in 2012 Liberal Bienial | Leave a comment

For somewhat inexplicable reasons, the race for Liberal Party president has been generating more ink in recent weeks than the race for leader of the opposition. And if you’re going to this weekend’s convention in Ottawa, you’re probably getting 5 or 6 calls a day from candidates asking for your support.

Given the importance of this vote and the impressive field of candidates, I didn’t rush into a decision, and I encourage any undecided delegates out there to do their research before voting. Read pamphlets, e-mail the candidates, and talk to them at convention. Ask them tough questions, and press them on specifics.

The Candidates

Sheila Copps: Q & A profile, website, Twitter, Facebook
Mike Crawley: Q & A profile, website, Twitter, Facebook
Ron Hartling: Q & A profile, website, Twitter, Facebook
Alexandra Mendes: Q & A profile, website, Twitter, Facebook
Charles Ward: website

The Race

The media narrative in recent weeks has framed this as a “too close to call” Copps-Crawley showdown. That jives with what I’ve heard in Liberal circles, but given the media has a hard time handicaping leadership races, I have my doubts about their ability to call a party president vote.

Despite Copps’ high profile and media savvy, Crawley actually seems to be “winning” the air war – in the past week, nearly every article has framed him as the candidate who represents “generational change” and “new ideas”. That’s probably not fair to Sheila, and it certainly isn’t fair to the other candidates being overlooked, but you have to tip your hat to whoever is in charge of the Crawley’s media strategy.

My Take

Although I have a soft spot for Alberta Liberals, I simply haven’t heard enough from Charles Ward to consider him.

One candidate we’ve all heard plenty from is Sheila Copps. I’ve been a fan of Sheila since I joined the party, was a Copps delegate at the 2003 leadership convention, and many of the first posts I ever wrote on this blog lamented the defenestration of Sheila Copps from the Liberal fold. I’m a huge Sheila fan, but I’m looking for a President who will work quietly behind the scenes, and that’s just not her style. Moreover, her frustrating position on Bob Rae running for permanent leader makes me worry about the controversy that would follow her as party president. I hope Sheila finds in a prominent role in the Liberal Party, and maybe even as a candidate in the next election – but I just can’t bring myself to vote for her in this contest.

On the other side is Alexandra Mendes who declares in bold font on her website that “the Leader is the face, voice and final authority of the Party, not the president” – something I firmly agree with. Alexandra is perhaps the most qualified candidate for the job. She has experience in the party as an MP, riding association president, and volunteer, and outside the party running an NGO. She was born in Portugal, is a Quebecer who describes herself as a “fierce federalist”, and is quite personable in both English and en français. It’s hard not to like Alexandra, and she likely would have earned my vote if I’d seen a little more meat from her in terms of concrete reforms.

One candidate who has given voters plenty of meat is Ron Hartling. I’ve chatted with Ron several times this campaign and have nary a bad thing to say about him. Ron has been writing strategic plans to reform the party since 2006 and has the track record to back it up – what he accomplished in Kingston-and-the-Islands is remarkable. Win or lose, the party would be well served to have Ron speak to as many riding associations as possible about how his team found local wedge issues and built alliances with activists. Ron is as dedicated a Liberal as you’ll find, and would make a great President.

And before Christmas I was leaning towards casting a vote for Ron. Then I took a close look at Mike Crawley’s platform and came away thoroughly impressed. For a long time, no one in the Liberal Party recognized the many problems we were facing – now, the biggest risk facing us is that we’ll all spend a lot of time talking about the problems and talking about “renewal”, but nothing will ever get done. In my endorsement of Kyle Harrietha for VP Membership earlier today, I marvelled at the concrete changes he was proposing. I’ll do the same for Mike Crawley here.

Despite the media spin, Mike isn’t just the guy talking about “big ideas” – he actually has ready-to-implement reforms of all sizes. Expanding BC’s microtargeting experiment, community outreach packages for ridings, a databse of advocacy groups, the end of leader appointed candidates, an electronic welcome kit for new recruits, online polls of members, asking Liberals to submit QP questions to caucus…these aren’t flashy ideas and they won’t show up in newspaper profiles, but they can be implemented easily today and will eventually lead to a more engaged membership and more functional party.

So it’s a good platform, but talk is cheap. What else does he offer?

I share Crawley’s overall vision of the Liberal Party and feel he’d be able to “play well with others” on the national executive. He has experience running the LPCO board and people I respect who have dealt with him in that capacity speak highly of the man. I never base my vote on endorsements, but he’s got a nice list of endorsements from people who have been talking about party reform for a long time and who I know put a lot of thought into their decision – Joseph Uranowski, Jeff Jedras, Steve V, Rob Silver, Gerard Kennedy, Navdeep Bains, and many others.

This election for party president is one of the most important, and most interesting, in a long time. Luckily for the grits, it’s a strong field of candidates who all recognize the problems facing the party. I think any of them would make a fine President.

Preliminary Thoughts on the LPC Presidential Race

Posted on by CalgaryGrit in 2012 Liberal Bienial, Boring internal Liberal Party matters | Leave a comment

Elections for Liberal Party President have tended to be mundane affairs in recent years. In 2008, Alf Apps was the only candidate – either because the powers-that-be made it known he would win, or because everyone else was too lazy to run. In 2006, the presidency was overshadowed by the excitement of the leadership race. Before that we were in power, so no one really cared who the party president was, perhaps explaining how Stephen LeDrew found himself holding that office.

But this year, there’s a veritable buzz in Liberal circles about the contest. Maybe it’s because Liberals have bought into the renewal talk. Maybe it’s because Borys Wrzesnewskyj seems to be the only person interested in the party’s leadership. Maybe it’s because there’s a diverse and high-profile field of candidates for President.

I had my first opportunity to seriously size up the contenders on Monday, at an Edward Blake Society event, recapped here, here, and here. I’ll be posting candidate profiles in the coming weeks, including their answers to a short questionnaire I sent them – today I offer my preliminary run-down of the field.

Full disclosure: I have nothing to disclose, because I’m still genuinely undecided on who to support. I am, however, quite impressed with the entire field. While I’ve offered a few gentle critiques of each candidate, in each case their strengths far outweigh their weaknesses, which is why I haven’t ruled anyone out at this point.

Sheila Copps: Sheila is loud, proud, and can still fire up a crowd. I’d likely prefer a “behind the scenes” president who will build the party and stay out of the limelight, but there is something to be said for a president who will rally the troops and energize the base.

Behind the flash, there’s also substance. I share her desire to open the party, and she showed the strongest understanding at Monday’s Q & A of what the party needs to do to reach out to new Canadians. All that said, her incessant talk of “letting” Bob Rae run for leader has injected leadership politics into a convention that should have stayed clear of the topic.

Copps is a polarizing figure, but it’s a first-past-the-post vote, so you have to consider her the front runner at this point.

Mike Crawley: I generally share Crawley’s view on the state of the Liberal “brand” and where the party needs to go; his Star op-ed on this topic was fantastic. The man is energetic, thoughtful, and well spoken.

While Crawley has the vision thing down, I’d be more impressed with a few unsexy nuts and bolts proposals to make the party more efficient than by speeches about what the party stands for.

Ron Hartling: Hartling, meanwhile, is all nuts and bolts. His website contains a detailed platform, full of flowcharts and graphs, and his speech Monday was all about the need for a plan.

His record as Kingston and the Islands riding president is impressive, but his message often sounds like “if all ridings did what we did in Kingston, we’d be in government“, which ignores the millions of other factors that go into play during an election. Similarly, blaming Mike Crawley for the Liberals losing Ontario seats is an unfair attack Hartling should have avoided.

Alexandra Mendes: If the voting system favoured a consensus candidate, Mendes would probably win. There’s nothing about her campaign that especially stands out, but she has a lot going for her – she’s likable, has a good understanding of the challenges facing the party, and has experience as an MP, organizer, and in running non-political organizations.

Charles Ward: Charles is an Alberta Liberal, which gets him a few marks in my books. Beyond that, I know absolutely nothing about him.

Primary Debates

Posted on by CalgaryGrit in 2012 Liberal Bienial, Boring internal Liberal Party matters, Featured Posts | Leave a comment

In his Macleans.ca debut, my friend Jeff Jedras takes aim at the proposal Liberals will be voting on in January to move to a US-style primary system to choose the party’s next leader and nominate candidates.

While I’ve already voiced my support for this system, Jeff raises three valid critiques which I want to take the time to rebut – one logistical, one conceptual, and one on the decision-making process.

1) Logistical: “One concern is the potential for shenanigans; supporters of another party signing up as Liberal “supporters” to vote in the primary and negatively influence the process, such as voting for the least-favoured candidate.”

Again, I point to the Alberta Liberal example, where such shenanigans were tried (against a much weaker party) and failed spectacularly.

The reason for this is simple enough – most people don’t give a big enough damn to try something like this, and those who do are too high profile to risk getting caught. Finding 50,000 rabble rousers willing to sign up and make Tony Genco the next Liberal leader simply can’t be done under the radar, and whoever tried to organize a campaign like this would seriously hurt their credibility.

Seventeen US states let Democrats vote in Republican primaries and vice versa. Their rationale is that a candidate who earns primary votes from across the aisle, will also earn general election votes from across the aisle. If Karl Rove can’t find a way to get Denis Kucinich the Democratic nomination, then I don’t think we have much to fear here.

I know some are concerned about special interest groups taking over a nomination meeting, but a $10 membership fee isn’t going to stop them – if anything, a supporter system makes a takeover harder since it takes more votes to win. If an anti-abortion group goes from needing 100 votes to 120 votes to win a nomination meeting, it makes it that much more difficult for them to get their candidate of choice nominated (remembering of course that all candidates still need to be green lit by the party).

2) Conceptual: “One of the key incentives for joining a political party is the opportunity to vote in leadership and nomination races. This proposal devalues membership. Already, during each successive election, it has become harder to get Liberals to volunteer to knock on doors, stuff envelopes, and get out the vote. We need committed members, and more of them, to successfully rebuild this party.”

Here’s the thing. By itself, party membership means nothing. The point of signing someone up to be a member is to get their contact information so that you can get them to knock on doors, stuff envelopes, and get out the vote. I agree we need more of these people, but the way you get them is by making it easier to join the Liberal fold. Consider the supporter system a gateway drug to lure liberal-minded Canadians into the big red tent (and yes, I totally intend to put that line, creepy as it is, on a button at the Ottawa convention). Once they’ve registered, they can be invited to become full fledged members, volunteer, and donate money.

Yes, we need to make membership meaningful to retain and engage members. But if we want to grow the membership, we need to tear down the barriers to becoming involved, and a primary system would do just that. You don’t think a few of the millions who signed up to vote for Barack Obama in the 2008 primaries also gave their money and time to get him elected in the ensuing general election?

I know many are uneasy about “instant Liberals”, but if this change means thousands of new Canadians pouring into our ranks, then that’s fantastic. There are instant Liberals I signed up for leadership votes who are now more involved in the party than I am.

3) The Process: “The party executive wants to amend the constitution so the new leadership selection process can be adopted at the biennial convention in Ottawa January 13-15, 2012, barely two months from now. Meetings to elect delegates to that convention are happening now, and many are being cancelled and the delegates acclaimed due to a lack of people willing to fill all the available spots. It’s not as if this concept has been debated in Liberal circles for months. We’re just getting this now. We’re talking about fundamentally changing the most important thing we do—selecting a leader—and we’re rushing into it.”

I know the Liberal response to every problem is to call a Royal Commission, but this gives delegates to the January convention two months to debate the idea – plenty of time to make up their minds. Liberals have talked about “renewal” for years without anything happening – it’s time to get off the pot or shift the way we do politics.

The reality is we need to lay down the ground rules for the next leadership race before we find ourselves in the next leadership race. We’re now a third party, and a series of rolling primaries would add much needed excitement to the contest, helping us introduce the next leader to Canadians.

I don’t think the end result would be any different under one-member-one-vote or the registered supporter system. But, like Jeff says, process matters, and this new way of electing leaders would send a message to Canadians that the Liberal Party is willing to change and open itself up to Canadians.

UPDATE: Jeff responds to my responds here, to which I respond here and he responds here. At this point, I call him and argue Hitler was against a primary system, to which he calls me a redneck and hangs up. Let’s agree to disagree and call it a draw.

A Roadmap to Renewal

Posted on by CalgaryGrit in Boring internal Liberal Party matters | Leave a comment

The Liberal Roadmap to Renewal has been released and can be read here. There are several longer drafts floating around I’ve put on my weekend reading list, but at 80-100 pages, I may just wait for the movie version.

While the process feels a little too top-down for my liking, we’ve been talking about renewal for years so I’m glad something is being done and that members have concrete proposals before them to debate and vote on at January’s Biennial convention.

As for the proposals themselves, some are unnecessary, some are flowery, and some skate around the real issues. Why we need to affirm the policy process is beyond me – I’d much rather see it reformed and made meaningful.

At the same time, there is some real meat in this document. The most visible and flashiest change would be moving leadership and nomination races to the primary-style system I blogged about earlier this week. This, coupled with the end of protected nominations for incumbents and the end of leader’s ability to appoint candidates would be a significant leap towards creating a more open and grassroots party.

I won’t go into detail on some of the bookkeeping changes being discussed, because if I do you’ll never visit this blog again. It’s not exciting stuff, but I will say that the move towards streamlining and centralizing accounting, fundraising, and operations will save money. And raise money too, come to think of it.

Fundraising to defend the new leader and buy more technology doesn’t require constitutional amendments, but those are worthy initiatives I’d be willing to open my chequebook for. The party needs to adopt a culture of data collection, so good on them for moving into the 21st Century.

The document is rather quiet on what must be done to engage existing members, but those kind of initiatives don’t require constitutional change – just a willingness by people in positions of power to make things happen.

An Open Party

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The Liberal White Paper on party reform has been leaking out over the past few days, and will reportedly be released in full tonight. I’m sure there will be a lot of worthwhile ideas within it, but the one likely to grab the most headlines is the proposal of moving to a primary-style system where any Canadian could register to vote for the next Liberal leader (and perhaps in local nomination meetings too). Without a doubt, this will be a hotly contested vote at this January’s convention.

Before the rhetoric starts flying, both sides of this debate need to recognize this isn’t going to lead to millions of Canadians stampeding out to vote in Liberal Party primaries. A $10 membership fee and the stigma of political party membership is a deterrent for some, but if you give a damn about who the next Liberal leader is, those are pretty small barriers to jump over. So when supporters argue it’s going to double the party base and opponents argue it’s going to lead to a takeover, they’re both being melodramatic.

With that caveat given, I come down strongly in support of the concept, for the following reasons:

1. It will get more people involved in the party. Not as full fledged members, but consider this a gateway drug. First you hook them with the primary system, then you lure them into the seedy world of political rallies, membership forms, volunteering, and donating money.

2. The party will get valuable information from these supporters. In the new age of micro-targeting and fundraising, having additional data on Liberal-inclined voters is worth a lot more than a $10 membership fee.

3. Symbolically, it’s the right play to make. It would send the message that the party is changing and that it’s open. Voters have grown increasingly cynical of backroom old-style politics, and this would counter that.

4. It would create excitement and draw media attention to the Liberal leadership race. In the past, this would have been a given, but life as a third party is different. The next leader is likely to be an unknown to voters, so getting media attention during the race makes introducing him or her to voters afterwards a lot easier.

The argument opponents of the primary system usually raise is that it opens the party to a takeover. Poppycock. The Alberta Liberals switched to an open supporter system for their recent leadership contest and, sure enough, Craig Chandler’s PGIB group threw their weight behind a far right candidate (who has since jumped to the Wildrose Alliance). The result? Their man finished fourth with 626 votes. If a weak Alberta Liberal Party can shrug off a right wing takeover in the heart of Conservative country, surely the federal grits have nothing to fear.

Even at the riding level, if a special interest group wants to stack a nomination meeting, they’ll find the 10$ a head to do it now. A supporter system actually makes takeovers harder, since it means more votes are needed to win. Instead of signing up 100 anti-abortion activists to win a nomination meeting, you might need 120 or 150.

No, the only downside I see is on the financial ledger. Any leadership format outside of royal succession is going to lead to instant members, so there’s an argument you might as well get some money out of it. This move will likely wind up costing the party over half a million dollars.

That’s not an insignificant sum of money to write off. In the end, I think much of it will be made back by eventually getting donations from some of the new members and by making membership meaningful enough that supporters will want to join.

The payoff of opening the party up to all Canadians exceeds this cost. It would be a bold move, at a time when the Liberal Party is hungry for boldness.

Report to the LPC Membership…

Posted on by CalgaryGrit in Boring internal Liberal Party matters | Leave a comment

…by ALF APPS. As posted on Facebook earlier today:

REPORT TO THE MEMBERSHIP

from the NATIONAL PRESIDENT of the LIBERAL PARTY OF CANADA
June 3, 2011

FELLOW LIBERALS:

I AM PLEASED TO REPORT TO YOU ON THE RECENT ACTIVITIES OF YOUR NATIONAL BOARD AT THIS EXTREMELY CRITICAL MOMENT IN OUR PARTY’S HISTORY.

EXACTLY ONE MONTH AGO, ON THE MORNING OF MAY 3RD, LIBERALS ACROSS CANADA AWOKE TO DEAL WITH THE CONSEQUENCES OF THE WORST ELECTION DEFEAT IN OUR HISTORY – INCLUDING THE DEFEAT OF OUR LEADER IN HIS OWN RIDING.

THAT VERY DAY, MICHAEL IGNATIEFF ANNOUNCED THAT HE WOULD BE STEPPING DOWN AS LEADER.

HIS ANNOUNCEMENT, TOGETHER WITH A FORMAL LETTER THAT FOLLOWED CONFIRMING HIS RESIGNATION, IRREVOCABLY SET SOME EVENTS IN MOTION UNDER OUR CONSTITUTION.

FOR GOOD OR ILL, THE NATIONAL BOARD IS CURRENTLY THE SUPREME AUTHORITY OF OUR PARTY BETWEEN CONVENTIONS. IT IS A BODY WHICH CONSISTS OF THE ELECTED OFFICERS OF THE PARTY NATIONALLY AND FROM EVERY PROVINCE AND TERRITORY ACROSS THE COUNTRY, FROM ALL FOUR OF OUR PARTY COMMISSIONS AND FROM THE CAUCUS.

[snip]

I HAVE CONVENED A MEETING OF THE NATIONAL BOARD FOR JULY 9, 2011, AT WHICH TIME, WORKING CLOSELY WITH OUR INTERIM LEADER AND CAUCUS, WE WILL ADDRESS THE FOLLOWING KEY CHALLENGES:

1. A PROCESS FOR CONDUCTING A NATIONAL ELECTION POST-MORTEM ENGAGING CAUCUS, CAMPAIGN PERSONNEL, DEFEATED CANDIDATES, PARTY OFFICERS AND OTHER LIBERALS;

2. THE NEAR-TERM FINANCIAL AND OPERATIONAL RESTRUCTURING OF THE PARTY REQUIRED DUE TO OUR REDUCED STANDING IN THE HOUSE OF COMMONS AND IN RESPONSE TO THE REDUCTION IN OUR PUBLIC SUBSIDY AS A RESULT OF OUR LOWER VOTE TOTALS IN THE LAST ELECTION AND THE IMMINENT REDUCTION AND LOSS OF THE PER VOTER SUBSIDY ON ACCOUNT OF THE PENDING BUDGET;

3. THE PROCESS THROUGH WHICH LIBERALS THROUGHOUT CANADA CAN BE ENGAGED IN A FUNDAMENTAL RE-IMAGINING OF THE ROLE AND FUNCTION OF THE LIBERAL PARTY, INCLUDING ITS CORE VALUES AND BELIEFS, THEIR APPLICABILITY IN OUR EVOLVING POLITICAL LANDSCAPE AND, MOST IMPORTANTLY, MODERN METHODS THROUGH WHICH ORDINARY CITIZENS CAN BE BROUGHT TO A DEEPER LEVEL OF ENGAGEMENT AND COMMITMENT TO ITS MISSION;

4. A PROGRAMME FOR BUILDING UP OUR MEMBERSHIP AND FUNDRAISING BASE OVER THE BALANCE OF THE COMING YEAR;

5. THE PROCESS PURSUANT TO WHICH RANK AND FILE LIBERALS WILL BE ENGAGED IN DEVELOPING, CONSIDERING AND PRIORITIZING POLICY AND CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM RESOLUTIONS FOR DEBATE AND DETERMINATION AT THE UPCOMING BIENNIAL CONVENTION; AND

6. PLANNING FOR THE NEXT BIENNIAL CONVENTION ITSELF.

WE HAVE TO WORK HARDER AND FASTER THAN EVER TO BUILD UP OUR MEMBERSHIP AND OUR WAR-CHEST, BUT THE SILVER LINING OF OUR RECENT DEFEAT IS THE OPPORTUNITY FOR A COMPLETELY FRESH START AND FOR GENUINE CHANGE IN HOW OUR PARTY WORKS, COUPLED WITH SUFFICIENT TIME NOT ONLY TO UNDERTAKE OUR IMPORTANT WORK OF REBUILDING, RENEWAL AND REFORM WITH DUE CONSIDERATION AND CARE, BUT ALSO TO ENGAGE LIBERALS EVERYWHERE IN THAT PROCESS.

OVER THE COMING MONTHS, YOUR NATIONAL BOARD LOOKS FORWARD TO RECEIVING YOUR INPUT ON THESE AND OTHER QUESTIONS AS WE MOVE FORWARD TO BUILD A BETTER AND STRONGER LIBERAL PARTY FOR THE YEARS TO COME.

SINCERELY,

ALFRED APPS

It’s just like being there…only without the beautiful scenery, great weather, and free alcohol

Posted on by CalgaryGrit in 2009 Liberal Bienial | Leave a comment

Danielle Takacs has a very thorough video recap of the LPC Biennial Convention up on her blog.

Also, be sure to check out Jason Lamarche’s collection of interviews, including this one with Mark Holland.

As for me, I managed to conduct a few video interviews with MPs in Vancouver, which I promise to have uploaded shortly.

Convention Wrap

Posted on by CalgaryGrit in 2009 Liberal Bienial | Leave a comment

Well, that was a fun weekend. Certainly not as exciting as Montreal, but the LPC ran a well-organized convention (the Thursday night disaster aside) and the location and weather were so great it was impossible for delegates not to have a good time.

For those interested in the “inside politics” side of things, Steve Kukucha won the VP-English position, and Joan Bourassa was re-elected Policy Chair. Pierre-Luc Lacoste won the Young Liberals Policy Chair position by 11 votes, with Tom Cervinsky taking VP External. The big drama was, of course, the YLC Presidential race which ended in a dead heat (193-193, with 4 spoiled ballots). The John Lennard scrutineer picked “7”, earning the right to call the coin flip, but foolishly went with tails – when the coin came up heads, Sam Lavoie became YLC President. My sources have, as of yet, been unable to confirm what type of coin it was that was flipped.

And, oh yeah, there was the leadership vote. 2023 votes were cast (by my count, that means about 80% of the delegates bothered to vote), with 59 ballots being spoiled. Among those were 4 Bob Rae write-in votes and 3 each for Belinda Stronach and Stephane Dion. Do that math, and that gives Ignatieff a solid 97% in the one-man race.

As for the event itself on Saturay, the party showed it learned its lesson from the way Sheila Copps was treated in 2003, and let Bob Rae and Dominic LeBlanc give nominating speeches. Both speeches were solid, but it was new party president Alf Apps who got the best line off: “We have 3 former Liberal Prime Ministers here which is great. To get 2 Tory Prime Ministers in the same room these days, you’d have to issue a subpoena.”

So, this brings us to Michael’s speech. To be honest, the introductory video didn’t really do it for me – the “our own 2 hands” song has a certain “sing a song for Jim sound to it, and the 6 pictures in a row with Michael and Obama (followed by Iggy in front of Air Force One) were a little to anvily.

The speech itself was good. My one knock would be that it was a tad generic – Bob Rae or Dominic LeBlanc could have given the exact same speech, the Liberal leader 10 years ago could have given the exact same speech, and the Liberal leader 10 years from now could give the exact same one.

But, at the same time, a long time Liberal told me at the after party that he liked that very thing about it, as it showed Michael was a true grit, and not just a tourist in the party or a conservative with a red scarf. And, thinking it over, he did eloquently manage to explain what the Liberal Party stands for. More importantly, he fired up the crowd – a job whose importance should not be under-estimated, as the individuals in the room will be counted on to give their time and money to the party in the coming years.

So, in the end, the Seinfeld convention served its purpose. Delegates had a good time, and were left with smiles on their faces. But fans will recall that the 9:30 slot after Seinfeld was not usually must-see-TV. The real challenge will be the next few months.

The Convention in Pictures

Posted on by CalgaryGrit in 2009 Liberal Bienial | Leave a comment
It’s a beautiful day for a convention!
Registration

Liberals campaigning hard to pass their policy resolutions. With enough work, their policy might wind up on a binder that the leader could look at any time he wants!

Creative campaigning by the Sam Lavoie YLC campaign…unfortunately the City of Vancouver tried to slap them with an $800 fine (for sidewalk chalk? What’s the deal with that?)

Justin and Jean chat…and the CPAC cameras come running

Freudian slip in the delegate package?

Vancouver garbage cans…with no place for garbage!

A letter from protestors to Michael Ignatius

One member one vote one shirt

There’s always a debate among delegates over how formal to dress. Well, there’s one solution to that!

Blue Liberal signs

Sometimes the buttons are just too obvious to design

John Lennard’s YLC campaign button

The Liberal bag…clearly not as much as the 2006 model

Convention Update

Posted on by CalgaryGrit in 2009 Liberal Bienial | Leave a comment

I’ll have some pictures and more detailed updates later this afternoon but, for now, a few random convention observations on Day 1:

Thursday 9 am: The (provincial) Liberal signs here are blue…go figure.

Thursday 11:45 am: Michael Ignatieff shows up to register, drawing dozens of excited “Michael! Michael!” chants. I suspect the signs, noise makers, chanting, and “spontaneous” demonstrations we saw in Montreal won’t be as common this time around.

Thursday 12:00 pm: I’m in line to register as media for the convention…I spend 5 minutes explaining to local reporter behind me the different between “right wing” and “left wing”.

Thursday 12:30 pm: No chants. No tambourines. But there are buttons! And t-shirts!

Thursday 2:00 pm: The common consensus appears to be that the free delegate souvenir bags are not as nice as those given out at the last convention. But there is free Liberal stain remover in them! (insert own joke here)

Thursday 8:00 pm: No Michael Ignatieff t-shirts anywhere but there are dozens of blue “Vote Steve” shirts. Yes, they’re in reference to the VP English party position race, but they seem a bit out of place at a Liberal convention.

More to follow later…

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