Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Three things I hope for from Leadership 2006

The Liberal Convention begins today, and for the second time in two years it picks a new nominee for the Prime Ministership of Canada; although this time it won't be automatic, the new leader will actually have to win an election. What will happen over the next four days. I am not in Montréal so will have to rely on the reports of those of my fellow bloggers at ProgBlogs and LibLogs, among ohers, who are on the ground.

There are a few things that I hope will come out of it. First, the campaign really hasn't generated the kind of national spark that some past classic conventions did, such as the 1983 Progressive Conservative battle that saw Joe Clark ousted by Brian Mulroney. So I hope the Liberal Party will emerge not just with a new leader but also a new sense of itself, which it needs desperately after being so rightly hung out to dry by Sponsorgate. We need policies that show us to be pro-business and pro-environment but also differentiate ourselves from the other parties -- and that does include the Greens which can no longer be seen as just a fringe group.

Second, the party has to become more democratic and bottom up. The delegate selection process introduced some time back has made the process more transparent but it still operates as a US style caucus or closed primary. I'm hopeful the party moves to either one member, one vote or some kind of weighted system that gives some power to the regions of the country; but still takes out the ultimate decision away from the party insiders. For, let's face it, it's those ex officios or "superdelegates" who will ultimately decide who leads on the first ballot this Saturday, and maybe wins the entire convention.

Third, we need to come out united and support who wins no matter who he or she is. This is stating the obvious, for sure, but we've seen too many situatons where a party comes out of a convention totally bruised and still at odds. They either lose the coming election, or the winner purges out the runner-up, or the person who comes up short just quits and joins another party. This must not happen now. We need to get rid of Stephen Harper, and we're only as strong as we are united.

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