Saturday, October 25, 2008

Liberal Reforms Part 1: The Delegate System

The delegate system has too many problems to keep.

Dion won the leadership with the support of about 10% of the Liberal membership. To move forward enthusiastically and with the potential for good donations and lots of volunteers, a leader should have greater support than that.

Wannabe-delegates win their local elections by signing up friends and co-workers as members. Those people aren't really Liberals and they don't stay with the party, or in this election, apparently even vote for the party. They shouldn't be selecting our leader.

I have written about my experience trying to be elected a delegate. I didn't even make it on the ballot, and it was fishy. In comments on my blog, other people talked about widespread problems with delegate submission forms being "lost". Werner Patels has written about losing a delegate election in different but fishy circumstances. There were also numerous stories about riding association brass picking a leadership candidate and then making sure that their staff and family got picked as delegates so they could vote under direction.

The system is not just undemocratic, it's disenfrachizing. You have people who want to be delegates - who want to be active in the party - and they're cheated out of being able to do it. You have people voting to choose a delegate to choose a leader, and their vote is turned into a joke when someone wins with a tiny fraction of the vote. You have Canadians looking at a party that has an antiquated, undemocratic system of leader selection, and they're not impressed.

See also: Moving Towards Improvement

1 comment:

Werner Patels said...

Thank you for your great post. Indeed, delegated systems are anything but democratic. It's like an opinion poll that attempts to probe the views of 30 million Canadians based on a sample of 800, 1,000 or 2,000 people -- simply ridiculous.

One member, one vote -- that's the only way to go.

Heck, even the Alberta Tories, who are not exactly known as champions of democracy in a one-party province, use the one-member-one-vote system for electing their party leaders. So, why can't the Liberals?