Saturday, December 06, 2008

Moving Up the Leadership Vote

Liberal Riding Association presidents are meeting tomorrow and an item on their agenda is a motion to move up the leadership convention and allow all Liberals (rather than just delegates) to vote.

I have written posts in support of this idea before, and got a really negative reaction from some Liberals who think it will be unconstitutional, making the new leader open to a court challenge. The unresolvable problem, they think, is that the constitution states that the executive can't override a decision by the body, and the body voted down "one member one vote" at the last convention.

I am always impatient with the "it's impossible" argument. Lots of impossible things turn out to have a solution, but you can't find the solution if you don't try.

Assuming a solution is found and the vote is moved up, I have a concern about timing. It's not that an early leadership vote favors Ignatieff. I think that's fair: I support Rae, but we have to move up the vote, and if that favors Ignatieff then I'll accept it. The situation is just too dire to postpone it if we can find a way to move it up. Whoever is ahead at that time reaps the rewards.

No, my concern about timing is that there seems to be a great deal of confusion over what just happened, and we need to at least get the facts straight. A Globe article recently quoted a Rae staffer as saying that Dion didn't let anyone outside his circle participate in coalition decisions and they weren't happy with the decisions. Is that true? The popular belief these days is that Rae is Mr. Coalition and that the potential failure of the coalition should be seen as his fault. I see it quite a bit differently: that he was the one willing to stand up for the party, and that after the coalition had been announced it was craven of Ignatieff to hang back out of personal ambition. But much hasn't been disclosed yet. We need a lot more information about what went on.


Anonymous said...

I agree...we need more democratic dialogue in the party from the GRASSROOTS up and no more backroom deals. While Bob Rae has been out sticking up for the coalition that THE WHOLE LIBERAL CAUCUS--
ALL 76 MPs--SUPPORTED,supporting the party, and putting his butt on the line for the Canadian people and Canadian values (as his speech today shows) talking about Mr. Harper's subversion of democracy by seekign progation of Parliamwent and today rae was also talking to the Canadian pople that the coalition does not include the Bloc, I think that is good becasue Harper and his team were sending very disturbing incorrect messages to the Canadian people. Bob has the courage, leadership,and experience to take this on. Also, Rae is talking about the economic crisis, Harper's manufactured national unity/constitutional crisis--Rae is doing this becasue in his 30 years of public service, he has always put Canada first before himself.

As for moving up the leadership, if we are to unite as a party and bring back people we have lsot nad bring in new members, we need to have an open, fair and inclusive process--for all the 3 candidates. If we installed a candidate solely through the caucus/executive method, then we as Liberals would be hypocrites nad would have no way to attack Harper and challenge him for his dictatorial and horrible ways. We have to show that Liberals are more fair and have integrity. The coalition must go forward--anything else would be admitting defeat.

Democracy was compromised this week by Harper, lets not repeat it as a party. Dion should stay, he has literally put his life on the life for his country (he needed bodyguards during the 1995 referemdum days when he was Mr. Unity). If not, then Goodale (or someone else) can be interim leader until the convention in May.

...let's keep this discussion's a good start.

Anonymous said...

Go ahead, screw Vancouver out of the convention in May. We have already lost whatever seats we had out there anyways.

wilson said...

'Dion didn't let anyone outside his circle participate in coalition decisions'

Ralph Goodale and Marlene Jennings were the negotiators for the Libs in the coalition.
The Lib caucus was told about the coalition after the negtiations were complete.
It was in a National Post article.

It was also reported that Dion got a standing ovation when the MPs were told of the coalition and some details.

So how did Dion go from a standing ovation to this movement to get dumped, in one short week?

Answer: Ontario was polled at 66% against the coalition.

Anonymous said...

There is no mechanism in the Liberal Party to remove a leader before he wants to go (without a convention or leadership review).
There is also no mechanism to choose a permanent leader. At best, you would have an interim leader if Dion resigned, which wouldn't be Bob or Iggy as long as they are leadership candidates. The result? We get Ken Dryden or Ralph Goodale, and people see how great they are as leaders compared to what we're offering, and get upset when the new leader is chose.

Yappa said...

Anonymous at 12:12 -

You make good points, but why are you so defeatist? If we bring enough pressure to bear on Dion, we can get him to go voluntarily. If we decide we can't face 5 more months until the leadership issue is determined, we can come up with a solution.

The possibility of a winter election have grown enormously over the last week. With Harper soaring in opinion polls, he may very well manoeuver the country into one (perhaps managing to blame it on the coalition, even).

If we can find no other solution, we could make Dion a leader in name only. Rae and Ignatieff could take over public speeches and private decisions. Or the party president could. Or something along those lines.

The main thing is that we (1) decide what we must do; and only then (2) find the best possible way to achieve it.

Yappa said...

Hi Wilson -

I think you prove my point that we just don't know enough yet about what happened. That National Post has proved itself to be completely untrustworthy in describing Liberal affairs, and willing to publish anti-Liberal propaganda that is untrue. It is not a good source. There are a lot of mixed messages out there - that's why I mentioned what the Rae strategist is supposed to have said, because it runs counter to what I've heard elsewhere. We need some transparency from the Liberal party.

burlivespipe said...

Yappa, you're too nice.
Wilson, take your stinking CON fish wrap and plug an orifice with it, one of your choosing.
Harper has played russian roulette not only with the economy but now national unity. It's part of destroying legitimate opposition in this parliament and now his agents are out fomenting more hatred. Because using patriotism as a funnel for personal power and hatred worked in the US during the last decade doesn't mean it will work here.