Boring internal Liberal Party matters

Making Change

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The much anticipated (well, by me) change report has arrived. This isn’t the first renewal/change/rebuilding report ever produced by the Liberal Party and it probably won’t be the last – the devil in these things is making sure they don’t just gather dust somewhere…especially in the age of minority governments when we’re stuck in perpetual election readiness. And now that we’ve surged to just above our historical lows in the polls, a lot of Liberals will be tempted to assume paying lip service to party renewal is all that’s really needed.

But they’d be wrong.

There’s a lot of work to do and, on the whole, this report appears to be a big step in the right direction. I’m sure I’ll have more to say about it later but, for now, here’s a summary of the commission’s answers to the “big questions”, and some of the more interesting recommendations:

Why don’t Liberals donate to the party as much as other political parties? How can we convince Liberals to donate to their riding and/or the national party?

A more engaged role for members is a prerequisite for successful fundraising. As such, there’s a need for more “populist” fundraising events to go along with the big ticket dinners – things like brunches and spaghetti dinners.

How can we engage party members in the community? How can we attract community leaders to join the party? How can we best reach out to community groups and multicultural organizations?

We need to walk the talk – attend community functions and organize social activities such as toy drives for women’s shelters or organizing dinners for the homeless. By showing the community we care, we can engage our members are recruit new ones.

How can we best rebuild weak riding associations? How can LPC and the provincial and territorial associations better serve riding associations?

Past candidates should be treated with respect and allowed to build up their profile between elections for multiple runs – we should not be so quick as to discard candidates after one or two failed attempts. Candidates should be nominated earlier so that they can work hard to raise their profile in the ridings.

How can we improve our party’s use of technology? How can technology best serve our ridings and members?

Data needs to be shared better within the party – we need to end the information “protectionism” that has interfered with our party’s ability to compete, and put in place more vertical organizations.

How can the LPC improve the party’s internal communications? What do members want to hear from the party?

We need to break down the silos and encourage communications between different sections of the party. The party website should be less top-down, and should tell party members information related to their needs rather than just rehashing press releases. Local riding websites need to be clearer and better maintained.

How can the LPC improve the policy resolution and policy discussion process?

There needs to be more input from the party membership into the policy process – especially from rural and unheld ridings, which don’t have a voice in caucus. A real two-way dialogue needs to be established.

How can we improve the structure of the party nationally, provincially, and locally?

Members don’t fully understand how the party works and would like more transparency and accountability. In short, the party, leader, caucus, PTAs, ridings, and national executive need to do a better job working and communicating together – of breaking down the silos.

SPECIFIC RECOMMENDATIONS

Fundraising
2. Timely receipting from events, within 14 days
3. Websites should make it easier for donors to choose where their money goes

Membership and Outreach
4. National Liberal day of community action in all 308 ridings
6. At least four town halls every year in every riding in the country. Caucus critics will help organize these.

Electoral Districts and Party
11. Adopt and embrace the 308 riding strategy
12. Paid fieldworkers
13. Post-election debriefings in unheld ridings
14. Twinning program for unheld ridings
18. An annual plan, balanced scorecard program, and recognition for riding associations
21. Resources for ridings including handbooks, website template, new member welcome package, and an election readiness kit.
23. A comprehensive human resources strategy

Data Management
25. Volunteer database

Communications
27. Interactive internet communications
32. Newsletter templates for riding associations
33. Make greater use of social networking sites

Policy Development
36. Review of the party policy process

Governance
41. National executive responsible for hiring and firing the national director
42. Electronic voting should be considered for future leadership votes
46. Code of conduct and sanctions for inappropriate conduct by members
47. Continue change commission consultations

Liberal Convention 2009: Iggy Nation (Within a United Liberal Party)

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

I’ll be flying out to the notaSeinfeldconvention tomorrow night. And even though it’s a leadership convention without voting, or suspense, or novelty tambourines, it should prove to be a good time.

To begin my convention coverage, I’ve posted interviews with the two Young Liberal Presidential candidates, John Lennard and Sam Lavoie. I’m not a young Liberal anymore, and I’m not endorsing or supporting either of the candidates, so I post the interviews without comment. I know John and Sam – they’re both good guys who would do a great job. I must say, I was very impressed with both of their answers on the WOMOV question.

Tomorrow night, I’ll have my review of the change commission report, and Thursday morning the Michael Ignatieff profile goes up. From there on in, there will be copious amounts of convention blogging…and, hell, if it turns into a non-event, there’s a BC election and a Canucks playoff run to cover.

Talking to John Lennard

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Why should young Liberals vote for John Lennard?

I think it’s a question of building the Liberal Party. I think the Liberal Party is desperate for change, for growth, for rebuilding. I think young Liberals need to be a part of that – I’ve got a couple of ideas, and a lot of passion for that.

I think it’s very important that young Liberals become the leaders of today in terms of moving the party forward. That’s why I’m running. I think I can do that better than anyone else, and we’ll see what the delegates have to say in Vancouver.

What’s the best way to get young Liberals to become leaders of the party?

I think the YLC’s job fundamentally is to become a link between our core constituency, which is young Canadians, and the party itself. That means young Canadians need to take on leadership roles within the party.

I personally was a campaign manager at the age of 20 and 21. I think the YLC’s job is to foster that kind of engamenet.

The hot topic of the convention seems to be one member one vote. I’ve seen your comments on blogs, so and you’re obviously getting mixed up in all that. I see you support one member one vote – are you for or against the youth amendment that would set a 25% quota on the points?

I’m against the YLC amendment. I don’t think it’s necessary, I don’t think it’s productive for the party.

I think it’s a very defensive measure to try and defend a small piece of the pie, a bit of the turf, rather than thinking about what’s in the best interests of the party. And the best interests of the party as far as I’m concerned is making sure every single member gets a direct say in the choice in the next leader.

I think it’s divisive as well. I think it creates a gulf between the youth of the party and the rest of the party. I think it’s time to stop treating ourselves as young Liberals as though we’re some sort of junior partners.

Finally, I think it sends a pessimistic message, that it allows us to think young Liberals can’t do more…that we need some sort of booster seat or training wheels to go where we want to.

I’m with you on that. But, just to play devil’s advocate, isn’t the role of the YLC President to look out for the interests of youth? So shouldn’t the YLC be protecting the gains they’ve made in the past?

I think the role of the YLC is to grow the party and bring more young people into the party. It’s not about protecting our piece of the pie – it’s making sure our voices are heard louder by bringing more people into the party.

My push as President of the YLC is going to be to bring more people into the party and make sure their voice is heard all the way up.

So, talking about the role of the YLC. Looking at the big picture, young voters don’t seem to be voting Liberal, the Liberal Party hasn’t had more youth candidates or elected more younger MPs than other parties. So, in that context, do you think the YLC serves a useful purpose for the party?

I think we need to get our organization away from a lot of the internal trying to defend our turf, or protected ourselves against the “senior party”. We want to bring people in, take a senior role in the party, have people run for MPs, have more young Liberal riding presidents – we have a 25 member national executive and there’s only one young Liberal on it outside of the YLC president. We need to get ourselves organized and start thinking big.

I get all these campaign e-mails and I saw you had an endorsement from Simon Begin, a former Quebec Young Liberal President who supported the Conservatives last year. In his endorsement, he seemed hostile towards the Liberal Party’s traditional position vis-à-vis Quebec, saying “the Liberal Party of Canada has never really made a point of opening itself to Quebec while in power” and “the abuse of power of some centralizing federalists contributed to the distorted Liberal Party’s image”. I know you’re at McGill so you obviously have a sense of Quebec – is that kind of your view of the province?

My opinion has shifted a bit since I’ve lived here over the past few years. I think it’s important for people to recognize Quebec’s distinctiveness.

I’m very happy to have Simon’s endorsement. The key is building the young liberal organization, so that means relying on connections we have to other provincial parties that share our philosophy, our general philosophy. In Quebec, in particular, there’s a huge organization of young Liberals there that are untapped.

See also – John Lennard interviews with Scott Tribe and Jeff Jedras

Talking to Sam Lavoie

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Why should young Liberals vote for Sam Lavoie?

Well, first of all, I’m the only candidate with executive experience so I have first hand experience dealing with the organization. But I think what people are really looking for in their YLC president is someone who has the right vision for the organization.

I see the YLC as a strong independent organization within the Liberal Party, which can push ideas and issues that matter to youth. If we do that, I think many young Canadians outside the Liberal bubble will look at us and see this is a good organization that represents their values, and they’ll want to get involved.

Also, management skills are important – it’s not very sexy, and it’s not something you put in your platform, but I believe I can get the best out of the next executive. I know I can get the executive to work together and set common goals.

And, finally, I think I’ve put forward a very detailed platform on my website on a range of issues. If I become president, that’s something I can be held accountable to.

Thinking about the role of the YLC. I was involved in the YLC and I think it’s a good organization, but the Conservatives have more youth candidates and MPs than us, the NDP and Greens get more youth votes than us, and it’s clear we haven’t had a bonanza of young Canadians join the Liberal Party. Do you think the YLC has done its job or does it need to seriously change course?

I think that’s a fair point. As a member of the executive, I can take some responsibility for this, but I think the party as a whole has been under-performing of late.

If we’re talking about the role of the YLC, I think we need to emphasize reaching out to non-Liberals…especially on campus clubs, since that’s the easiest place to get involved in the party. We need to really build ties with other groups – for example issue based groups and multicultural communities. The way I see it, we’ve taken a lot of these groups for granted in the past and we need to reach out now and build a relationship.

We need to run with the ball as an organization and advance youth issues, because then young people will see us as an organization they want to get involved with. We need to create a dynamic organization that young people will want to get involved with.

You talked about getting more people involved in the party. You’re from Quebec where the party’s hit a rough patch and I know you have a lot of supporters from Western Canada, where it seems we’re permanently in a rough patch. What do you think is the best way to get young people involved in these areas where we haven’t been as strong traditionally?

The issue in Quebec, and I think it’s the same in Alberta, is that we don’t have a Liberal backbone. One of my proposals is to strengthen our campus clubs, both financially and with resources. For example, there’s a club at Grant MacEwan [in Edmonton] where a lot of work has been done by the Liberals there, but they had to start with no resources at all.

So in my platform I said any YLC surpluses would be spent on campus clubs, since they’re on the ground and that’s where most of the needs are. So I think every campus club should get $250 to help them recruit members – we need to acknowledge the important role they pay in bringing in new members.

Also, we need to do a better job communicating with young Liberals. A lot of clubs never talk to the YLC – we need to give them the tools necessary to do their work. So we need to pressure our MPs to go out to campus clubs and speak there, to get people more interested in the party.

I’ve also proposed recognizing riding clubs, so that we reach youth who aren’t at campuses. But until that’s done, we’re a campus club centered organization.

So the last thing I want to talk about is the big controversial one member one vote proposal. You seconded the YLC amendment to put a 25% quota for youth into place. Do you not think that goes against the principle of giving all members an equal say in the leadership process?

First of all, I think we need to agree on the definition. This isn’t a one member one vote proposal, this is a weighted one member one vote proposal. People tell me, Sam, why would rural Canadians want to join a party where all the members are from Montreal and Toronto…so I agree we should have weighting by riding. But then, why would young Canadians want to join a party where all the decisions are made by people who are 40 years old and over? It’s the same principle.

It’s simple to me. There might be 10 Liberal members in Repentigny and they get 100 points. And maybe there are 200 members in Westmount Ville Marie and they get 100 points. So a Liberal in Repentigny is already worth 20 times more.

And you need to ask yourself, where is Concordia? In Westmount Ville Marie. Where is McGill? In Westmount Ville Marie. The problem is most of our youth are involved through campus clubs and most of our campus clubs are in urban areas where the Liberals are. So the youth vote would be under-represented under a weighted one member one vote system.

So why 25%? This is nothing new. We would have had 6 of 22 delegates under the current system. There’s been a consensus within the Liberal Party that young Liberals should be over represented because young Canadians are under represented in politics. This will force leadership candidates to recruit youth and pay attention to the YLC.

I think it’s a bit of a false debate. Other people say, why can’t we just sign up 25% of the membership. I say, why can’t we do both?

But do you think this is actually going to get more people involved in the party? How does making their vote worth 5 points instead 1 point going to make them more likely to join the party?

You need to go out and get people from other parties involved. In Quebec, the provincial Liberals give a big say to their youth, so if we want to get these people involved with the federal party, we need to be able to show them they’re respected here.

I’ve read some things…can people stop saying we’re being selfish. I’m 22 years old! We’re not going to have a leadership race until I’m way past my youth years, so what could I possibly have to benefit from this?

Fair point. So, I guess the last thing I’ll ask on this, is if you think there should also be quotas for females or aboriginals or any other groups?

Our motion is to make sure an under-represented group gets fair representation. If we’re successful, I think it will be easier for other groups to do this at the convention.

I think, in theory, I’d be fine with women having 50% representation. That’s not the issue right now since it’s not up for vote, but I’d be inclined to support that at another convention.

A Post About Nothing

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

The use of “Seinfeld” as a prefix in political jargon has become almost as annoyingly common as suffixing “gate” to scandals. The latest example is this weekend’s “Seinfeld convention” in Vancouver (christened as such because, with the golden boy being crowned without a vote, it is seen to be “a convention about nothing”).

This follows a barrage of headline double dipping, where every election over the past few years has been dubbed a “Seinfeld election” at one point or another. Here’s my beef with this:

1 – A “Seinfeld convention” sounds like a ton of fun! Giddy up! You’re telling me that a Seinfeld convention in Vancouver wouldn’t draw a packed house, generate tons of excitement, be a great time, yada yada yada. If you want to make it sound boring, maybe call it the “two and a half men convention” or something like that.

2 – Seinfeld wasn’t a show about nothing (not that there’s anything wrong with that!). You had more plot in a given episode than you’d ever get in Friends or Frasier. The “show about nothing” was in reference to a pilot Jerry and George wrote within the show. I don’t know about you, but I tend to think a bubble boy, dead fiances, some puffy shirts, a Soup Nazi, and beached whales would add a lot of excitement to an otherwise dull convention.

3 – It’s not creative. Sure, calling the 2004 Alberta election the “Kleinfeld Election” was kind of clever. Just like if Bill Gates was involved in a scandal, calling it Gates-gate might be cute. But it’s lazy to just toss “Seinfeld” in front of every election as an adjective and then act like you’re as witty as Larry David.

So let’s put a little more effort into it guys and quit the headline re-gifting. I fear we’re suffering from a case of creativity shrinkage here.

Policy Watch

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Although the focus of the upcoming LPC convention seems to be all about WOMOV (oh, and I guess picking a leader), it is still a policy convention.

As discussed before, policy debate took place online for the first time ever – a welcome change since it gave everyone the opportunity to participate. And it appears to have been a big success, with close to 1,000 Liberals participating, almost 25,000 votes cast, and some resolutions drawing 80 or 90 posts about them. Considering the number of people who skip policy workshops at a convention, that’s not bad.

The problem, as also previously discussed, is that rather than using this vote to prioritize policies, the Council of Presidents were the ones entrusted with this most sacred of duties.

So it’s probably fair to examine how the policies chosen differ from those voted in by members. Well, as you might expect, the results are mixed:

Policy Comparison

The four most popular online policies were all voted in by the Council of Presidents, although numbers 5 and 6 were not. Of the 13 winners from the online vote, 9 of them will be debated in Vancouver. The four “upsets” are:

In Agriculture – “Natural resources” (18.6% prioritized, third place) over “Supporting agricultural producers and expanding trade” (26.2%).

In Education – “Improving child care and parental leave for Canadians” (12.3%, third place) over “Creating a national system of early learning and childcare” (29.2%).

In Social Policy – “Reducing child poverty” (13.3%, third place) over “Poverty reduction & guaranteed annual income strategies” (32.4%).

In Health and Aging – “Aging with dignity” (9.5%, fourth place) over “Preserving high quality health care” (35.7%).

In Animal Rights – “A Ban on the Duck Hunt” (8th place) over “An End to Shark Hunting” (1st place). [sorry, sorry, but this policy stuff is just so dry otherwise…]

Now, just by looking at the titles, you can see that the general thrust of most of these is similar (big surprise – Liberals like child care and don’t like poverty). The only really suspect choice would be “aging with dignity” but en famille users are probably a tad younger than riding presidents, so it’s not too shocking.

More surprising are the four “bonus” policies that found their way to Vancouver. By my count, 17 policies that were debated in the 13 online workshops were prioritized…I’ll plead ignorance as to the exact mechanism that led to this, but it did allow a few suspect policies to make it through, the most obvious examples being:

1. The “regional development” policy (general support for regional development), which gathered a whooping 0.8% of the prioritized votes in its workshop, and was only approved by 63% of all members who voted on it.

2. The “human rights commission” policy (it’s a bit complicated, so read it for yourself if you’re interested), which finished dead last in the Justice workshop, and was only approved by 51% of Liberals.

In Conclusion

Either way, it’s probably not a huge deal since the policy process doesn’t really lead anywhere in the end. But, because it’s not a huge deal, you should be giving the grassroots a real say in it – especially when a thousand Liberals took the time to debate the policies and vote on an average of 25 policies each.

And, if you look at the results, fears that the online vote would prioritize a slew of “radical” policies like legalized marijuana or abolishing the monarchy proved to be unfounded.

There are a lot of changes that need to be made to the policy process for future conventions, and I would hope that giving the grassroots a larger say is one of them.

LPC Ammendments and Policies Online

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I know this blog has been annoyingly “inside baseball” of late but, really, what else is going on these days…except for Brian Mulroney’s joyful dismemberment of the Conservative Party (again!).

But there is some more internal Liberal news out there with the LPC releasing the constitutional amendments and policies that will be voted on the first weekend at May by Liberals in Vancouver. If 40 pages of constitutional amendments to debate and vote upon doesn’t boost convention attendance, I don’t know what will!

The Globe summarizes some of the policies here (and, surprise, surprise, guess which policy they’re drawn to? The carbon tax has become our own abortion issue it seems), while DT gives her preliminary run-down here – I’ll have more later.

One Member, One Vote, Several Opinions

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

Grab a beer, sit back, and get ready for a stimulating post on the nuances of internal party electoral reform!

As you may have heard, the Liberal Party will be voting on changing its leadership selection process from the current system of choosing the leader at delegated conventions (when we feel like it), to a weighted one member one vote system (WOMOV). This is basically the system the Tories use – every riding gets 100 points and if you win half the riding you get 50 points, if you win a quarter of a riding you get 25 points…the math is fairly easy to figure out so I don’t think I need to include any other examples.

So what do I think about this and the proposal to set “youth quotas”? What system would I like to see? Glad you asked!

The Leadership Selection Process

First off, I don’t think the current system is quite the affront to democracy it’s often made out to be. For all intents and purposes, we currently have a WOMOV system since, instead of 100 points, every riding gets X delegates. In both cases, the points and delegates are divided based on the percentage of votes a candidate receives.

So if you “cleaned up” the current system by removing ex-officios and delegates from clubs and commissions, the only difference would be that the delegated convention transfers the second choice vote from everyone to Liberals elected as delegates.

It also has the added benefit of making for one hell of an exciting show – and I don’t think that’s something that should be discounted completely when it comes to getting Canadians and Liberals excited about the party and the new leader.

That said, WOMOV is a fairer system, so I’d be supportive of making the change.

Youth Quotas

The Young Liberals have proposed amending WOMOV to WOMOVW25QFYWeighted one member one vote, with 25% quotas for youth. In short, at least 25 points in every riding would be reserved for youth. I know a few of my young Liberal friends will disagree with me on this one, but I’m not a big fan of this amendment.

For starters, it really defeats the entire purpose of “one member, one vote”, and if you argue there should be quotas for youth, there’s no valid reason to argue there shouldn’t be quotas for the other commissions – that means points for women, seniors, and aboriginals. Hell, it also means there’s no valid reason to argue there shouldn’t also be quotas for immigrants, farmers, or bloggers.

But the main reason I don’t like this amendment is that I don’t think it’s needed. Youth still get their delegate spot quotas for conventions which means they still have their previous influence when it comes to policy, party executive positions, and constitutional amendments (such as this one). The main argument for having youth delegate quotas before was that it got more young people to conventions, getting them excited about the party, and making them members for life. Is there anyone out there who can really say that a youth who knows his or her vote is worth 1.5 points is going to be more excited than a youth who knows their vote is worth 1.3 points?

In the end, if the intent of WOMOV is to democratize the party, then let’s go all the way on it.

My System of Choice

As mentioned above, WOMOV lacks some of the excitement you get from conventions. So, to remedy this, I’d propose the following version of WOMOV (copied somewhat from the primary system):

1. Carve the country up into, say, 30 regions of around 10 ridings each – so, for example, Edmonton would be a region, BC Interior would be a region and so on…it doesn’t really matter how you divide them up.

2. Randomly divide up the voting schedule so that it takes place over 4 weeks. I’d set it up where you had 2 regions voting the first week, 4 the second week, and then 12 each of the last two.

3. On the final weekend, you could also hold a series of provincial or regional “mini-conventions” that anyone would be free to attend, to watch the results come in – this would include the reading of the second choice votes if candidates fail to reach the necessary majority on the first ballot.

This would give you the New Hampshire/Iowa/Super Tuesday excitement of the US primary system condensed over a month and, since the order would be drawn at random, it wouldn’t favour any one particular region. You’d get Canadians more excited in the entire process, compensating for the loss of convention pizazz.

In Conclusion

My sense is that there’s enough support for WOMOV that it will pass at the convention. So the real question becomes what kind of WOMOV system we get.

See Also
A BCer in Toronto
Scott Tribe
Far and Wide

The Policy Policy

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

The Hill Times delved into the world of Liberal Party policy on Monday, reporting:

1. The Liberals won’t be revealing their platform anytime soon

2. “The federal Liberals will hold a major policy convention in early May, but they are refusing to discuss policy ideas “

ABCer has already weighed in on this one, with a pretty good run-down. But I figured I’d toss my two cents in as well.

On the first point, I agree it’s probably best to hold off on the platform for the time being, although not necessarily for the reasons being argued. It appears many in the party are feeling burned over the Green Shift and are worried the Tories will rip apart any policy they float now. Well, I would argue that any policy that the Tories decimate pre-writ is probably going to meet with the same fate if it’s released during a campaign. If it can’t withstand attacks from a talking oil splotch then it’s probably not worth including in the platform.

But, yeah, holding off on the platform isn’t a bad idea, given we have no idea when the next election will be and what sort of shape the economy will be in. It wouldn’t hurt for Iggy to give Canadians a better sense of his values, and maybe floating a few minor policies would be a good way to do that, but he can hold off on the big ticket items for the time being.

On the second point, here’s my understanding of how the LPC policy process has been structured:

1. Policy debate has been taking place online for the past month on en famille (AKA Liberal Facebook).

2. Members have been allowed to vote on policies online for the past week or so.

3. The Council of Presidents (riding presidents and other people with cool titles) will then vote on the policies they want to see prioritized.

4. The CoP’s top policies will be debated and voted on at the convention.

Now, I’m a big en famille fan. There’s some good debate going on there about party renewal, and it’s a great way to use technology and engage party members. Having an online policy debate is good. Having party members vote online is good. I’m not sure why the national exec felt the need to cut back on the policy debate at the upcoming convention (how much time does an annointment take anyways?) but, sure, if they wanted to move some of it online, I’d be cool with that.

The troubling part of this is that the online debate and vote is going to mean about as much as if I put a poll up on my site and asked people to vote on Liberal policies here. Sure, the riding presidents will take the online vote under advisement but, in the end, no one’s forcing them to take the grassroots’ advice.

Now, I know what you’re all thinking: “But CG – doesn’t the party just ignore the policies that are passed at convention anyways? So why does this matter?”

Well, my friends, that only makes the situation worse – you’re not even giving members a symbolic voice in a symbolic process. The problem is basically this:

You’re not giving party members a vote in selecting the party’s leader.

You’re not giving party members a say in the policy process.

You’re not giving party members in a lot of ridings a say in nominating candidates.

There are valid reasons for making some of the above decisions but, taken together, you have to ask yourself where the value in membership now lies. If you want Liberals to give their time and money to the party you need to give them something in return and engage them.

With that in mind, I’d make the following three suggestions for the party’s policy process:

1. Force the LPC to put a certain number of prioritized policies into the party’s platform. Yeah, yeah, a lot of the policies passed are dumb or politial suicide. I would know, I’ve proposed a lot of dumb and suicidal policies. So force the leader to take one of the top three, or two of five, or seven of nine, or whatever number you want. At least then, you give some meaning to the process.

2. Force the party leader to explain why he’s chosen to not include the policies he rejects in the platform. I don’t think anyone can really complain about their policy being rejected if they find out why.

3. Give the drafters of the prioritized policies a chance to make their sales pitch in person to the critic or Cabinet Minister responsible for the issue. This helps connect caucus to the membership and, who knows, maybe it will encourage them to listen a bit closer to what the grass roots are saying.

Not everyone is interested in policy. And I’m not even convinced that the grass roots should be writing party policy. But some people do join political parties because of policy and, because of that, it’s a way to engage a good portion of the membership. And we’re not doing a very good job of that now.

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