Thursday, November 06, 2008

Move The Liberal Leadership To Toronto, Save A Million Dollars

***Update: Kishone Roy was nice enough to point out the new Liberal Party's Constitution entails 20 delegates from each riding instead of the previous 14. This change results in a new savings of nearly 1.4 million dollars if the Convention was held in Toronto instead of Vancouver.***

When Stephane Dion announced he would resign as Liberal Leader once a successor was chosen, there was immediate discussion about possible plans and details for a Leadership Convention.

Acknowledging there is currently a Biennial Policy Convention planned for Vancouver in May, it was suggested that Convention absorb the much needed task of electing Leader. However when one considers that among the various issues the Liberal Party needs to address is its financial situation, it makes greater sense to hold the Leadership Convention in Toronto. This is seen when one compares the costs of the two locations to the party, Toronto reduces traveling costs to delegates by nearly 1.4 million dollars.

In the above table, in a comparison between holding the Convention in Vancouver or in Toronto, and using West Jet as the carrier for the time period from May 5 to May 7, Toronto by far is the most fiscally prudent location. The total cost of delegates traveling to Vancouver is $2,872,520, while the total cost for all delegates traveling to Toronto is almost half that at $1,473,640. From this calculation with holding the Leadership Convention in Toronto will produce an overall savings to delegates of $1,398,880,

The reason why Toronto would achieve this substantial amount of savings is because a majority of delegates who would attend the Convention are in closer proximity to that city than Vancouver and thus would reduce traveling costs. It should be explained that each riding elects 20 delegates to attend a Leadership Convention, thus the number of ridings and where they are located influences traveling expenses of the delegates. Ontario has 106 ridings, thus the province alone holds more then a third of the delegates. If one considers the proximity of Quebec and it's 75 ridings, the region is clearly the most central to a majority of the delegates.

Now there are some Liberals who would still maintain the Convention should be held in Vancouver, suggesting the Liberal Party must be a national party; however this argument assumes holding a convention in a different city would dictate the party's national representation, but it does not. Holding the convention in Vancouver merely present the image of a national party, it does nothing to establish true substance behind that facade. Election strategies and renewed structure on representation would strengthen Liberal nationalism, not simply the location of one convention.

It should be made clear, a Leadership Convention in Toronto does not merely save some money, it saves a lot of money. And when Liberals have more money, the Party has a greater pool to draw donations from. Considering the financial situation of the Party it only makes fiscal sense to hold the Convention in Toronto.

(For the sake of full disclosure I would like to add I live in Kelowna BC)


MississaugaPeter said...

One of the major reasons we lost the last election was because going into the last election, our leader had been successfully maligned as "Not a Leader".

I appreciate all the time you spent calculating, but I don't want our Party going into the next election reinforcing the idea that all we care about is Ontario and Quebec.

If the biennial had been set for Toronto, then I would agree. But that is not the case. And if we follow the logic you are suggesting, EVERY convention from now on should be in Toronto. I can't accept that.

Finally, is it fair that delegates from B.C. will again be paying the brunt of the costs of flying to the Liberal Leadership Convention?

Anonymous said...

Mississauga: First I should note because BC delegates would pay more if the convention was in Toronto doesn't mean its a bad idea. They wouldn't even be paying close to as much as PEI delegates would pay to come here, or any of the eastern provinces. I'm from BC, I see it as selfishness to suggest a majority of delegates have to pay more then we would, to attend the convention.

Every convention should be in a central location, be in Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto, Quebec City etc. We have to be realistic.


The Mound of Sound said...

Scott, this is no time for the LPC to "slight" the west by moving the convention to Ontario. Look at the "have" provinces in Canada today -Newfoundland and the three Western provinces. The Liberal Party needs to break out of its Central Canada enclave and make inroads into the West or it will continue to decline. Pulling the pin on Vancouver would help Harper many times beyond whatever good you think it would do the LPC.

Anonymous said...

Mound: Wherever the convention is held, its only superficially symbolic. There are far more effective means to unify the party's image across Canada then some location of one Convention.

Saving delegates 1.4 million dollars is not a trivial factor. The Liberal Party needs funds.

So in moving to Toronto, and instead adopting a greater electoral focus on those other provinces, the Liberal Party becomes better fiscally and nationally.


WesternGrit said...

Didn't we MAKE money with the last convention? Did the party NOT subsidize flights from remote areas (they did)?

Go to the Facebook Group, "Vancouver Deserves The Liberal Leadership Convention" to express your thoughts!

They make a good point there... Western delegates have paid through the @$$ the past 3 conventions, to fly to Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal. The party DID subsidize those flights though (and STILL made money on the convention).

I argue this:

We can keep exploiting the same folks in the Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal corridor (they STILL have to pay convention fees), OR we can grow into a new area, and grow our membership in a metro area (Greater Vancouver) which has close to 3 million voters.

Bringing the convention to the West will grow the party - meaning more donations, more volunteers, and more membership fees. Keeping the convention in the East will mean the same faces, paying into the party, over and over, little growth, and little chance of "new" members becoming delegates.

Time to grow the party!

Anonymous said...

Westerngrit: You can't even suggest travel subsidies because they come out of the Party. Thus there would be substantially more travel subsidies and travel costs if the Convention was held in Vancouver.

People can make arguments about the West having to pay more, but if fewer delegates have to pay a small amount more, thats better then a proportionately larger amount of delegates paying proportionately much more.


calgarygrit said...

Well, those numbers are based on the assumption that there are zero costs associated with going to Toronto from Ottawa, Thunder Bay, etc... And they don't take into account the costs associated with moving the convention or hotel/rental costs (I'm not sure which city those would be higher in).

The fact is, the Liberal Party decided to hold the convention in Vancouver. They did this knowing people from Toronto would have to fly there. Changing it now would be done for leadership purposes and no other reason.

Anonymous said...

Calgary: Yes it does ignore those traveling costs but it also does the same if it was in Vancouver. Granted there are two more ridings that are substantially farther away in Ontario then in BC, I don't think that would change the numbers significantly.

When one looks at our government and our party strucure Calgarygrit, its sad to say but the Leader trumps policy by a large margin. Choosing a leader must by more inclusive, to be the most representative.


Anonymous said...

Where were you when the policy convention was announced so many MONTHS ago? Why was this not an issue then?

MississaugaPeter said...

Good for Gerard and Rae to go on the record. It seems that it is the Iggy folks that are trying to move this thing over to Toronto.


"The party has already booked a policy convention in Vancouver for May 1-4 and, until recently, it was expected that the executive would simply opt to turn that into a leadership convention. However, there has been pressure from some factions to move the convention to a more central location.

Insiders say the only other feasible option appears to be Toronto but only if the convention is held in mid-April. That would push back the deadline for recruiting new party members to December, which would seriously hamper the ability of dark horses to build support.

Rae and Kennedy came out in favour Thursday of leaving the convention in Vancouver in May. Rae said the party should not be setting up "artificial barriers" to candidacies while Kennedy argued that changing the venue would be a slap in the face to the West, where Liberals need to rebuild.

Ignatieff has not stated a preference but other camps say his supporters on the executive are the ones lobbying for a change of venue."

Anonymous said...

Anon: What is your name? Why did you hide behind anonymity?

If you read the comments you'll see I explained choosing a Leader requires greater inclusiveness, because a Leader is far more important then policy. Thus more people have to attend the Convention, which means move it to Toronto.

Mississauga: No where in that story does it say if its in Toronto it has to be in April. Thats just what those same people are proposing. Its completely compatible to hold it in May in Toronto thus giving everyone a chance.


Ron said...

The Liberal Party is quickly becoming known as the Toronto Party --- with only 8 seats west of Ontario, they have a much bigger problem than simply a lack of funds. They have no support! Moving the convention would be the death knell for the party. Have it in Vancouver or be satisfied with being a regional rump.

Al said...

You forget that there are dozens of British Columbians that need to fly in to Vancouver and likewise hundreds of Ontarians that would fly into Toronto. This significant oversight completely invalidates your comparison.

Anonymous said...

Al you are being sensationalist to a high degree. By you're own admission both situations overlook the specific costs to the more northern delegates, but instead of taking a rational stance of contemplating they would even each other out, you choose to disregard all of the data.

I suggest you tone it down a notch and calmly think before you comment.