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.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.
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."
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.