Wednesday, October 22, 2008

One Member One Vote

Aaron Ginsberg has a good post in defence of the delegate system for choosing a new leader. He argues that one member-one vote can be a recipe for disaster because:

- It all comes down to how many new members a candidate can sign up.
- It doesn't give extra weight to party insiders.

They are both valid points. The first can be handled: just set a cut-off date, such as the last election, for party members. People who sign on after that can't vote. We should be doing that with either system, because people who want to be delegates currently sign up new members to get themselves to the convention. And as we saw in this election, those new members from the last leadership race did not vote Liberal.

The second is a bit trickier. I agree that party insiders, who after all are the most knowledgeable, should have more influence. There are other ways of achieving that. In the last leadership race there wasn't nearly enough information coming from insiders. Even worse, the Dion/Kennedy camps used the strategy of demonizing insiders to discredit the more experienced camps supporting Rae and Ignatieff. (We had the ridiculous situation where the 12-year cabinet veteran claimed that the guy who just became a resident of Canada and the guy who just joined the party were "insiders".) In fact, people now criticize Dion for not listening to Liberal party advisers enough, but that was the platform he won the convention on. He confused "renewal" with "rejection of experience", and his supporters enthusiastically provided him with a mandate to continue with that losing strategy.

One of the many problems with rejecting the influence of insiders is that then we have to rely on the media to tell us what's in our best interest, and the media is not always our friend. We should be getting a lot better information about candidates from within the party: not just of the form "I endorse so-and-so" but position papers on each candidate, what their leadership would mean for the party, and so on. To make this important decision we need better information, and we need some direction.

Some media pundits have opined that the Liberal party needs an Obama to fire up the grass roots. I disagree. A good leader can make use of different people to appeal to different groups. For example, the leader could bring out Justin Trudeau and Ken Dryden as motivational speakers. But there needs to be good strategy for when and where to use them.


Anonymous said...

First it doesn't come down to how many new members one signs up, because those members then have to go out and vote. The same criticism could be made of the delegate system for the first vote.


MississaugaPeter said...

Please give me an example where anyone on Gerard's team did the mentioned "Even worse, the Dion/Kennedy camps used the strategy of demonizing insiders to discredit the more experienced camps supporting Rae and Ignatieff."

You guys never learn. The reason that neither Rae or Iggy became leader is because of bullshit statements like this. You guys never learn.

Yappa said...

Hi anonymous 4:33 -

I think that's exactly the point I make in the post.

Hi mississaugapeter -

Dial down the rhetoric already! Sheesh, Gerard didn't win either. And statements like that have NOTHING to do with anyone's winning or losing. I remember the Kennedy supporters last time being simultaneously super sensitive and really nasty. There are lots of opinions and lots of good people in the party. Try to be a tiny bit less combative, okay?

MississaugaPeter said...

Hi Yappa,

Refrain from making unsubstantiated statements and I will disappear.

In 2006, I supported Gerard and never made ignorant, unsubstantiated statements about the Rae camp. Gerard would have never tolerated it.

During the past federal election, I worked on Gerard's campaign. He would not allow us to criticize the incumbent NDP MP Peggy Nash in any way.

Looks like you Rae folks are going to again alienate others, and as a result, will look for external reasons why the majority of Liberal delegates do not want your man as leader.

P.S. Who on Gerard's team was "really nasty"? Or is this another unsubstantiated, alienating comment?

Jill said...

Wow, that is rich coming from you Yappa. As a volunteer for one of the candidates last time, I can say without a doubt, that Rae's campaign was by far the dirtiest campaign of all the front-runners.
I was so turned off, I will definitely not support Rae this time.

Yappa said...

I didn't see any nastiness coming from the Rae campaign whatsoever. I'm starting to wonder if I'm beset with Conservative trolls trying to stir up trouble and promote the candidate least likely to be a successful leader while maligning the candidate the Conservatives most fear.

I was not a volunteer for any candidate or a delegate at the convention, but I supported Bob Rae. I am writing mostly from memory, but here is some of what I wrote at the time:

Race-Based Hatred
Why the campaign sucked, part 4
Smearing candidates
Geeze Louise

Collette D. said...

One Member One Vote..
I've posted on facebook,{Support for Justin Trudeau}, a plea for Justin to reconsider & run for the Liberal Leader. People will say he is too young & too inexperienced,{sound familiar {"Obama"}, but Justin's life has been immersed in the knowledge of Canada & Canadian politics. He is a charismatic man, intelligent, talented & a truly passionate politician. He could rally the youth vote like no other & excite all Canadians across this country of ours. Ignatieff & Rae are both good men, but as Liberal leaders they are also "safe". Safe might get you to the finish line, but it will get you there in 2nd place & that's exactly where the Liberals are right now, in official opposition. As for Mr. Kennedy, he is looked on as the man who helped engineer Mr. Dion's win & after the election results, be it right or wrong, there will be division & anger should he throw his hat in the ring. So even if it's 2 years down the road, the mere thought of Justin Trudeau as Canadian Prime Minister, fills my heart with hope for Canada's future, and after 2 or more years with Mr. Harper at the helm, who better to restore to Canadians our rights & freedoms then Mr. Justin Trudeau. So please, everyone who believes in this idea, send e-mails, hold rallies, make phone calls, text your friends, make a video for you-tube & send it to every Liberal site to let Justin know we believe in him, & tell the Old Liberal Guard and their well oiled spin machines that SAFE is NOT ENOUGH !!

Yappa said...

I just bumped into this post about Justin Trudeau. I have no idea if any of this is true, and I'm not anti-Justin Trudeau, but the post and comments are interesting (and funny):

Angry in the great white north, May 2007

Collette D. said...

Thank you for posting my thoughts about Justin Trudeau for Liberal Leader Yappa, & I've skimmed though "Angry in the great white north", didn't read it all though, didn't have enough Gravol on hand to stomach that amount of B.S.. I did have a laugh though, because I consider myself a resident of the great white north & what makes *me* truly angry, is listening to Conservatives run off their mouths
Oh Lord, I feel nauseous already..

Justin scares the political life out of the other parties, the name Trudeau on it's own can make every pair of Tory knees knock together & make every Liberal vying for the leadership scream out loud *Please Don't Do This To Me*! I understand why the knives come out for Justin Trudeau, it's FEAR, and as Fear is a commodity the Tories strive to only export, they don't know how to act when someone drops a little fear on their doorstep. The level of arrogance & heavy handed reply shown by Harper & his band of angry men to any & all situations, is one of the reasons we badly need Justin Trudeau in the race, to remind politicians that the art of reasoning can be used as a very effective weapon, force, or the threat of it, doesn't always have to be the only answer!

Bobby Kennedy once said:
Too often we honour swagger, and bluster, & the welders of force.
Too often we excuse those, who are willing to build their own lives on the shattered dreams of other human beings, but this much is clear, violence breeds violence, repression breeds retaliation, and only a cleansing of our whole society can remove this sickness from our souls..

We Need Justin Trudeau To Run For The Liberal Leader! {Collette D.}