Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Time to Heal Divisons is NOW

We all know what happens when we exit a leadership race with hard feelings about the outcome. We suffered the effects of 1990 for a long time. Some good Liberals (like Sheila Copps) left politics because of the bitter rift. Some people are still caught up in it, arguing against a current candidate because they have supporters on the Chretien side or the Martin side.

Right now we have some bitterness going on. As an example, the CBC web site is reporting that "Ignatieff's supporters suggested rumours of delegates spoiling their first ballots have been invented by opposing camps to bring down the frontrunner." After one person wins and seven people don't, supporters who believe this sort of allegation may believe they were cheated out of victory.

Other examples of bitterness can be found in the comments to this web site, many of which attack me and the candidate I support with a lot more vitriol than thoughtfulness. Libnews virtually gave up reporting on the leadership race because, in their words, "The Liberal blogs have turned into a partisan brawl."

My message to leaders is: Do you want delegates to switch to you on the nth ballot? Do you want to really address the issue of party renewal? Do you want to win the next election? Then make up with each other - publicly. Ensure we are a united party. This means going beyond telling your supporters to not do any dirty tricks. These means sincerely healing rifts and making up.

Update: After seeing a picture of the flyer that's circulating at the convention, I don't see that it's so bad. It's a plain white piece of paper with the words, "If you're having second thoughts about your candidate - Don't vote on the first ballot." If that's really allowed, then I don't see the problem with it. It could apply equally to all supporters.


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