Saturday, January 14, 2012

Liberal Members Vote To Allow Supporters To Lose Too

Without buying a party membership you can become a Liberal supporter and not vote too.

Liberals this weekend passed numerous amendments, one of them allows for non-members to vote for Leader, and though this issue was passed by a majority, both sides of the debate lost, because so few delegates actually voted.

Whether the Liberal Convention was a success or not does not depend on what was passed or what wasn't, that's a matter of opinion, but what measures its success is how many Liberals were involved. And though the National Convention can be satisfied with 3200 delegates being registered, only half of them actually participated when it mattered. 

On Saturday at their national convention Liberal delegates voted and passed multiple amendments creating a new class of participation "supporters" that is free and opens the opportunity to vote for Liberal Leader to all Canadians.

Canadians who want to have a say but not want the political association or to pay ten dollars for a membership card can sign up as a supporter and choose who will lead the Liberals as they rebuild and reinvigorate their red machine.

With 75% for and 25% against, the open leadership vote amendment surpassed the 66% requirement for acceptance and was met with cheers from the crowd. Though there were 3200 delegates registered for the convention, only 1744 voted on this pivotal amendment, significantly undermining the arguments on both sides of the vote.

Even at a convention where only Liberal members could attend, most of them the supposed most faithful and ardent of supporters, and each one having to pay hundreds in delegate fees and many having to pay additional travel costs, less than 55% actually attended perhaps the most important vote of this biennial event.

Those opposed to giving anyone the power to vote for Liberal Leader argued members should have some privilege in return for their hard work, yet with such a poor attendance at this vote, members clearly don't deserve such a privilege.

Those who supported the amendment argued the party needed to adopt it to get more people involved, yet with such poor attendance at this vote, allowing more people to vote isn't going to help when we can't even get our most passionate Liberals to attend critical moments for the future of our party.

Liberal members at this convention can argue they achieved substantive results, and perhaps they did, but  this convention's participation was not one of them.

Only the future will tell if the Liberal Party can do a better job of getting supporters to participate than it does for its members, but if this convention is any measure, the party is just broadening the base of those who show up but don't vote.


A Eliz. said...

Perhaps by next Bieninial., they will get rid of this! That is the one thing I did not agree with, as soon as I heard it. I think MP Mr Valearti? from Guelph did not like this at all. said...

There are many benefits and costs either way, in the end it was the only amendment I marginally cared about and didn't want it to pass.

Whether we still retain it by the next biennial is possibly a matter of when we hold our next leadership, and I suspect it won't matter.

If leadership happens after, we'll keep Leadership open to all. If Leadership happens before we'll probably still keep it even if Canada picks a dud so it won't appear like we are fixing a mistake.

Only thing those who opposed it can do is hold those who spoke out in favour of this, like Rae, Apps, Copps etc, accountable in 4 years after the next biennial and probably after the general election. said...

But to be clear I like Rae, and hope opening the leadership vote works, for his sake, for the party's sake, and for our sake.