The best single talk on the subject was by LPC president Mike Eizenga. These are my notes from his talk. He was extremely eloquent; unfortunately I couldn't write every word so my notes are a bit disjointed. Anyway, here's what he said...
We will not be able to win the next election unless we radically change the way we do things.
We need strong provincial territorial associations (PTAs) delivering resources to ridings.
We are stunningly over-governed: inefficient, expensive, and not suited to making effective decisions. We got this way in an attempt to include everyone.
Since we set up web-based membership, 150 people a day are joining the party.
Due to Bill C24, December 31, 2003 was the last day we could raise corporate funds. The Liberal party was the best Canadian party at raising corporate funds, but on January 1, 2004, we didn't have a donor's list. The NDP and Conservatives never raised a lot from corporations and had good private donor's lists. Last year the Conservative party raised $18 million; the Liberals raised $6.5 million.
In addition, the Liberals spend $4 million a year on bureaucracy. The Conservatives don't spend much on running their party. Their entire bureaucracy consists of a National Council with 20 members and a Policy Committee.
But the Conservatives' lack of PTAs causes problems for them. Everything is tightly controlled at the center. However, we need our PTAs to be a more effective resource for the ridings.
These are the principles and questions we need to address:
1. More seats at the table does not mean more representation.
2. PTAs must be principal inputs to the national party.
3. We need to shrink the size of the Liberal party operation. This will not be easy because we need 2/3 vote to amend the constitution.
4. We need to consider national membership - instead of joining LPC(O) join LPC. Have one membership office instead of 13.
5. We need grassroots policy and a renewed interest.
We need to change the party so that people will come to us to get things done. For example, people join the Sierra Club to clean up a polluted river because political parties don't get things done. This isn't a debating club. We want to change the world.