Thursday, October 30, 2008

Deception: How The Dion Campaign Won The Leadership

My motivation for writing this post is to ensure what took place in 2006 never happens again. I know the delegate system cannot change before the next leadership convention, but the "Decoy delegate" strategy that was adopted by the Dion campaign in BC must never be repeated. We as Liberals have to openly be aware and conscious that these types of dealings are not just corrupt but that they are wrong. We must stop justifying winning at all costs. We must stop doing anything that is possible, and instead do what is right.


Prior to the last weekend in September of 2006, Liberal Party organizers worked diligently for their respective leadership campaigns. delegates from each riding across Canada were selected to attend the Liberal Leadership Convention in Montreal. Reflecting back on it, and the extent of it all, it is only the more tragic that such an impressive and monumental democratic process is shrouded in deceit.

On that fall weekend of 2006, thousands upon thousands of Liberal Party members voted at their local Delegate Selection Meetings (DSM); they voted not just on who they wanted as Leader but on who they wanted to be delegates to the Convention. This complicated delegated leadership process consists of a two-portioned ballot; the first portion pertains to voting for a leadership candidate and the second pertains to voting for delegates who have declared their support for one of the candidates.

So since each riding is limited to 14 delegates, if a leadership candidate receives 50% of the vote on the first portion of the ballot, then that candidate is allotted seven delegates. It is by the second portion of the ballot that those seven delegates are chosen out of all delegates who have declared their support for that candidate. What is important here is to recognize that delegates are awarded convention spots based on who they declared their support for.

It is on that point that the Dion campaign in BC pursued a strategy of deception and dishonesty. For I have been in communication with numerous delegates who went to Montreal who have told me that they were organized to run for other leadership candidates with the sole intent of supporting Stephane Dion once at the convention.

The Dion campaign implemented what I term a "Decoy delegate" strategy. It operated as follows: In ridings where Dion had poor support or organization, they would plant delegates who would declare themselves for other candidates. Then as the first portion of the ballot would determine which candidate was awarded delegates, these decoy delegates would often be chosen as representatives. Once in Montreal these decoys would support Stephane Dion.

This strategy had two significant consequences. First in planting these decoy delegates, riding associations were actually lied to, they had their representative delegate vote stolen from them. Second once at the convention, with estimates already known about how many delegates each candidate should have had, these decoy delegates not voting on the first ballot and changing their votes after it, created false momentum, something of which cannot be overvalued at a leadership convention.

As I noted earlier, I know for a fact that the Dion campaign used this decoy delegate strategy in BC. I have been in contact with numerous delegates who have admitted that they were organized as part of such a plan. I have also inquired and have "off-the-record" admissions from various Dion organizers that such a strategy was used in BC. And throughout all of this perhaps the most surprising thing to me is how most Liberals within the organization either knew that this strategy had been used or that they had suspected it.

My motivation for writing this post is to ensure what happened in 2006 never happens again. I know the delegate system cannot change before the next leadership convention, but the "Decoy delegate" strategy that was adopted by the Dion campaign in BC must never be repeated. We as Liberals have to openly be aware and conscious that these types of dealings are not just corrupt but that they are wrong. We must stop justifying winning at all costs. We must stop doing anything that is possible, and instead do what is right.

A corresponding story


Anonymous said...

Nice little conspiracy theory -
too bad the 1st ballot didn't work that way - your vote was predetermined. SO this theory is essentailly BS (courtesy of Ryan Sparrow perhaps?)
Subsequent ballots were free votes - ie NO obligation on the delegate to vote for any one other than who they personally choose at that moment.

Mike said...

I have no idea if this is true or not but I've heard of very shoddy deceptive practices from delegates of all camps orchestrated by their team. I'm not sure why Dion's camp is singled out here. Ultimately people want to win so badly that they do stupid things, I'm sure it will happen this time too.

I agree though that a practice like this might be dishonest, but how do you propose to prevent it for this upcoming convention? I wasn't going to comment on this, but since I see no one else has I thought someone should ask.

whopitulia said...

What Mike Said. There's no way to police dirty deeds done dirt cheap and I think you can be more creative than this. :)

partisan_non_partisan said...

Mark Marissen organizing a dirty campaign?

After observing the BC Liberal team this past election, I'd say it's more than likely.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous: This is no theory. I know numerous delegates who have told me this is true. I have emails from Dion organizers. This is factually true.

Mike: I have evidence of Dion's campaign organizers doing this, from delegates admitting to it, to the very organizers. Do you have evidence of any other campaigns? I doubt you do, yet you still make the accusations. I find that odd.

Whop: I don't know what you mean by being more creative?

A way to fix this is to get rid of the delegate system.


Anonymous said...

Anon: The first vote did work that way because Kennedy's numbers actually dropped, ie Decoy delegates didn't vote. Coincidentally all the decoys I've talked with, were Kennedy delegates.


Steve V said...


Anonymous said...

Steve: What are you suggesting is silly?


Mike said...

I'm not willing to trash other members of the party on record like you are or single anyone out, but while I have not heard directly of a decoy delegate strategy from other camps I have heard from delegates of equivalent dishonest tactics. It's all heresy though since I wasn't there, and I find your chat transcript with Miron a smear job that's not convincing at all, as he's obviouslly just concerned with finding out who was impersonating him. Did you ever call him like he asked? I assume not. Bascially this is accomplishing nothing on your part you are just smearing some people that have worked a lot harder than you for the party.

And funny you didn't answer my question, I asked what can be done to stop this from happening against at THIS convention. I would appreciate your thoughts for this time out since you even recognized that you can stop delegate system for picking the next leader. One member one vote will be voted on again and if it's voted down AGAIN that's democracy, there's a lot more to consider between the two systems then some cheap tactics used by different camps. You would just get different kinds of dishonest tactics most likely.

Anonymous said...

Mike: Please enlighten me how I smeared anyone or trashed Adam. Provide quotes or any type of argument.

I emailed him numerous times to no answer about this.

I also find it odd you suggested he worked harder then me when you don't know me. That's really odd.

You're sounding ruder and ruder with every comment.

I don't know how to prevent it for the next convention. Perhaps making Liberals aware of the situation and greater scrutiny is needed.


Mike said...

I'm just guessing, but from people I've talked to it would not be unreasonable to say that Adam worked 60 hour days for the party during the campaign and he's obviously worked full time for the party since he's been National Director. So unless you've worked full time for the party and you just haven't mentioned it yet then yes I think it's fair to say he's worked a lot harder for the party than you.

And you can't say it's not a smear against Miron when you said that this practice was corrupt and imoral and then start to say he was helping to perpetrate despite the fact that your quotes. You also seemed imply it was "curious" that he was appointed National Director. The Table officers of the YLC appoint the national director, you are implying impropriety on their part that it had to do with his support of Dion and not his qualifications. The table officers of the YLC all supported different leadership candidates you know.

When you accuse people of impropriety and only have anonymous sources to back it up. The Liberal Party won't look into this and you know it because they have ZERO to gain from doing so and have limited resources. And you already admitted that in a delegated convention this is no way to stop this from happening again.

And again we could go looking into the faulty practices of all leadership camps, but that benefits no one at this point since the leadership race wrapped up almost two years ago. One member one vote races like that in Alberta have had different, but equally problematic dishonest practices that have occured. You would just trade one for another.

Just answer me one thing in what way are these two posts of yours helpful to the party? Please don't say "it will help to bring in OMOV", because there are A LOT of reasons OMOV was already voted down last time and rest assured that people will be aware that different corrupt practices are possible with that system and the party just doesn't have the resources to prevent. So how are you helping?

Mike said...

missing words: "despite the fact that your quotes....don't demonstrate proof of anything"

Anonymous said...

Mike: You don't know me so I suggest you don't talk about things you have no idea on.

I don't understand what you mean by this: "And you can't say it's not a smear against Miron when you said that this practice was corrupt and imoral and then start to say he was helping to perpetrate despite the fact that your quotes." Despite the fact of what quotes and their relation to what?

Mike you are constantly asking me questions. You say that's you're only one, yet you don't stop asking me questions. I make it clear on my blog. I'm tired of this Liberal attitude of thinking this stuff is okay.

I know this happened. I have talked to delegates. I have talked to Dion organizers.

I want people to know about it instead of pretending its not happening.


Anonymous said...

Mike: Adam states the decoy delegate has nothing to worry about, even though Adam knows he was a decoy delegate.

Adam says he'll keep the decoys name out of it.

Adam not once rebukes the decoy delegate.

Please explain how that does not prove anything.

Mike said...

Um it doesn't prove anything. Your quotes are taken out of context and for all I know are fake.

You know the party won't look into this so I'm still wondering how this helps since you admit there's no way to prevent it. Just like there's no way to prevent other abuses with memberships, etc... without setting up a massive administrative apparatus just to oversee it which would drain resources from elsewhere.

And frankly I think you should apologize for saying that Adam was "coincidentally" appointed National Director after leadership. He was voted in by Table Officers from all camps based on his qualifications and you have no basis for implying otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Mike: I'm not going to apologize for coincidentally, because I know how party politics work.

Also these are not taken out of context and they are not fake. I can send you the correspondence but I will change the decoy delegates name so whats to stop you from saying its fake then?

I've told you again and again my purpose. I'm tired of this kind of Liberal attitude. It's wrong.


Mike said...

If you really believe that's how the MOST important positions in the party are filled that's very sad.

Would you say the same about Greg Fergus the LPC National Director? I'd hope not, but it would be just as ludicrous all the same. These appointments are taken very seriously as they aren't for volunteer positions but paid full-time positions with extreme responsibility beyond those of the people that appointed them. It has zero to do with leadership, and you have zero basis for implying otherwise.

Sending me the correspondences is useless, I'm sure you remember the fake e-mails said to come from db where she said she resigned from her position. Anyone can fake an e-mail address or message to try to orchestrate a smear.

I still maintain that you will look back after this leadership is over and realize that this post did not help anybody in any way shape or form and instead only implied impropriety on the part of people who have worked extremely hard for the party.

I don't condone any dishonest practices, but they simply can't be prevented for a leadership race and have probably happened in every leadership race in every party's history. That's just reality.

Anonymous said...

Mike politics do matter. That's a fact. I'm not going to argue all night with you, which seems to be what you want. I've been active in the Liberal Party for years, I know politics play a role.

But I don't get you're argument. You accuse me of making up these emails then in the next breath assume their legit.

Now for me making up the emails I could give you access to the email account that contains these emails, and there'd be no way I could fake adam's LPC address.

But I suspect you never thought I made up the emails, you just said it for effect.