And Now For Something Completely Different…

What’s the only difference between the Ukraine elections and the Liberal Party leadership review vote?

John Turner was sent to supervise the Ukrainian elections whereas John Turner’s old supporters will supervise the Canadian ones.

But seriously folks…

I posted a while back about how some Calgary ridings did not hand out leadership review ballots at their delegate selection meetings (DSMs). From feedback I’ve received, it does not appear that this is widespread outside of Calgary. For the record, I don’t think this was intentional; Martin would have gotten a healthy approval rating in the Calgary ridings in question and if any media scribes really wanted to embarrass the Liberal party (hint hint), it’d be pretty easy for them to confirm the leadership review vote wasn’t held in the ridings in question. I write the missed ballots off to disorganization and incompetence.

What is widespread is how the party is trying to downplay the vote as much as they can. I’ve seen copies of the notice given to members from Calgary and Saskatchewan that doesn’t mention leadership review. And I’ve had Liberals from Ontario and Edmonton e-mail me saying leadership review wasn’t mentioned on their DSM notifications. And now, via Norman Spectator, comes this piece from Anne Dawson:

Paul Martin’s Liberals are being accused of attempting to “stack” the party’s upcoming policy convention to ensure that the prime minister receives a strong endorsement for his first year of leadership.

Some Liberals in Ontario say they fear the same underhanded tactics that helped Mr. Martin win an overwhelming victory during the 2003 leadership contest are being employed again — this time to ensure the prime minister receives an endorsement in the 90-per-cent range so that he compares well to his predecessor Jean Chretien, who received 91 per cent after his first year in office.

Rank-and-file Liberals are complaining that their party is still deeply divided into “Martin and Chretien camps” after the bitter feud between the two men that forced the former prime minister out of office.

They also say Mr. Martin organizers are quietly orchestrating “secret” riding association meetings to chose delegates to attend the March 3-6 policy convention in Ottawa without notifying all association members.

This way, only Martin loyalists show up at these meetings and, in turn, elect only Martin supporters, certain to give the prime minister a strong leadership endorsement vote, to attend the convention.

Andrew Kania, who says he signed up 5,000 Liberals in support of failed leadership contender John Manley in the Brampton-Springdale Liberal riding association before to the 2003 leadership race, questions why none of his signups was advised of a meeting last week which elected 14 delegates to attend the convention.

I’m not advocating a leadership convention right now but I think it’s wrong that the party isn’t even notifying their members that such a vote is being held. Ironically, I’d wager half the Liberals who’d vote in favour of review would do so over bitterness towards the tactics used by Martin’s advisors during the leadership putsch.

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