Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Leadership Convention Will Probably Be In Ottawa

There is a Biennial Policy Convention slated for May 2009 in Vancouver, and some suggest the Party's National Executive will simply add selecting a leader to its agenda, however due to monetary concerns and the recent electoral loss in Ontario, there is a strong possibility that the Leadership Convention will take place in Ontario.

Even before Stephane Dion announced his pending resignation there was speculation that the Policy Convention in Vancouver would change, not only in its purpose, but in its location. To elect a leader, delegates from across Canada, from every riding, must travel to the Convention. Thus it is argued it only makes financial sense to hold the Convention closest to the majority of ridings, and that is somewhere in Ontario. Ontario is again made a focus when one considers the recent Liberal loss in that province during the last election.

Ontario has 106 ridings, over a third of the ridings in Canada, given Quebec's close proximity, and it's 75 ridings, a Convention in Ontario would benefit the most delegates and in turn potentially divert the money that would have been spent on transportation to the form of donations to the Liberal Party.

And perhaps the most influential motivation for holding the Leadership Convention in Ontario is the electoral loss in that province on Oct. 14. That considering the Party lost 27 seats from the 2006 election and 16 of those were in Ontario, there is a symbolic and pragmatic rationale for holding the Convention there.

The symbolism would abound in selecting a leader, in rejuvenating the Party, in Ontario. With Liberals from across Canada flocking there and with all of the media attention, the people of Ontario would be made more then aware of the Liberal renewal taking place in their province.

In the Globe and Mail today, it is reported the Liberals' National Executive is openly pondering such a change in location:

"Members of the Liberal Party's national executive held a conference call yesterday afternoon, but did not decide whether to transform their Vancouver policy convention scheduled for May 1 into a leadership convention.

Some pushed for a convention in Ontario or Quebec to make it easier for delegates from the two largest provinces to attend, but it was unclear if a convention centre could be found. The party executive is expected to decide Nov. 9, and must schedule the convention within six months of that date."
It is granted though that the Liberal Party has a long history of holding its Leadership Conventions in central Canada, only holding the Convention outside of the region once, in 1990 in Calgary, and that, with a building already booked, could demonstrate the need to keep the Convention slated in Vancouver.

I live in Kelowna BC and I know the people of my region would not enjoy the cost of flying to Ontario, but if this delegate system, in which our Party currently utilizes is to be voted on and most assuredly abandoned, together with the other reasons cited, it only seems fitting that the last delegated Convention take place in the first city a Liberal leadership Convention took place in, Ottawa.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Scott: do you honestly think that one member one vote will actually be passed by the LPC? Given what the backroom boys did to Dion before, during and after the election - there is NO WAY that they will give up the delegate system that gives them so much power.

MississaugaPeter said...

I agree with much that is written here, but this time, it is DEAD WRONG.

Moving the convention back to Ontario would further reinforce views (using your terms, symbolize) that the Liberal Party is only concerned about Ontario and Quebec.

It would be cheaper, yes, but at a cost the future leader would have to bear politically.

Anonymous said...

anon:
Yeah I think it will pass. It only survived in Montreal by less then 170 votes. Now after Dion I can bet money it will be gone.

Mississauga:
Like I said, we lost 16 seats in Ontario. 16 seats. The most anywhere. Yes there are political costs to hold the Convention anywhere, but considering the last election results, maybe we should be more concerned about Ontario.

-Scott

MississaugaPeter said...

If McKenna passes, it is safe to say that the next leader of the Liberal Party of Canada will be from Ontario.

That Ontario-based, Liberal leader better be able to get those 16 MPs back on his or her own merit (not because the convention was held in Ontario).

Anonymous said...

Mississauga:
If merit was the only thing that determined elections Dion should have won.
-scott

MississaugaPeter said...

Dion had lots of merit, unfortunately, it was not recognized by enough of the electorate. With that said, I feel some of the other 2006 leadership candidates would have lost even more Ontario seats if they had been leader.

As stated previously, the new Liberal leader from Ontario, better be able to place the right candidates in those 16 ridings and s/he better be able to make sure that the respective candidates mobilize effectively their grassroot supporters.

Here in Mississauga, we saw the tale of two Liberal candidates who ran two, totally different campaigns. The good one, run by new MP Bonnie Crombie, mobilized her supporters, and out-campaigned her opponent. The bad one, run by a good guy (an incumbent MP) who just ran an incredibly pathetic campaign - no where to be seen; no literature on the door steps of many residents in his riding - resulted in the only Conservative gain in Peel.

The outcome of these two Mississauga ridings in the next election will not be affected if the Liberal convention is held in Ottawa or Vancouver.

ALW said...

I'm curious as to why you think it matters where the convention is held - are voters in Ontario really going to take this into consideration when casting a ballot in the next election? (The cost thing I get, however)

Anonymous said...

Alw:
I think it matters because the farther the riding is away from the Convention the less likely delegates from that riding will go. And if the Convention is in Vancouver that means less delegates will attend in comparison if it was held in Ont. or Que.

Now considering delegates are reinvigorated from attending the Convention, this means there will be a smaller number of excited Liberals in Ont. and Quebec then there would have been if the Convention was in one of those provinces.

Also this is further exaggerated by the fact that Ontario and Quebec would get less representation at the Convention possibly disillusioning the large number of Liberals in those provinces.

-Scott

Anonymous said...

Mississauga:
I disagree. If the convention is in Vancouver and Ontario delegates can't make it there, a leader could be elected that is unrepresentative of Ontario. Not only that but there would be less Liberal members reinvigorated from attending the Convention to work for either campaigns.

Look I'm honoured everyone wants to come to my province, and you guys are welcome anytime, but I think it's best for the Party, as well as other National Exec. members, to hold the convention in Ontario.
-scott

burlivespipe said...

They've already got BC booked. I and a lot of people like me put up their vacation money last time to go to Montreal, to liberal heartland, because we thought it was the right thing to do.
If you are right, I will have to choose between continue supporting the party (through monthly donations), helping them prepare for the next election, or helping to choose the next leader. I can't do both.
Your rationale is all the more reason to make this a high-tech convention, where satellite convention halls in each region gather, watch the main event on screen, and vote electronically.

Anonymous said...

Burlives:
I know they already have Vancouver booked but even with that the Nat. Exec. is still looking at venues in Ontario.

I would say though in looking at some recent statements by Doug Fergusen, that it's 50/50 that the Convention will be in Ontario. Which still is more odds then anyone else is giving it.
-scott