Friday, November 07, 2008

Good Idea

Some of the proposals from the Quebec wing, for the leadership race, are somewhat unattractive, namely that anyone with previous debt can't run, but there is one nugget that I very much hope is adopted:
d) Taxation of contributions received per leadership candidate

The Liberal Party of Canada must benefit from the fundraising capabilities of the leadership candidates.

Therefore, the imposition of a 15% tax on the amounts collected by each candidate appears reasonable to us.

The proposal also limits the maximum to 1.8 million, as opposed to the 2.8 million from the last race.

One of the bigger worries moving forward, that the leadership race usurps party fundraising, donors will be fixated on candidates, while the party suffers. I completely support the idea of a portion of all leadership donations moving into the party coffers. A 15% tax does seem reasonable, maybe even a touch higher. In this way, all existing members who engage are contributing to the big picture, while new members are also tapped. Some quick math, even with only a few contenders, that tax could translate into 1 million towards the party. I like it.

I've also heard talk elsewhere of demanding that all convention delegates be required to contribute to the Victory Fund. Given the fact, that the lowest contribution would require a mere $30 dollars yearly (after the refund), I think that idea is hardly much to ask. If you can't endorse that lowly sum, then maybe there are other Liberals more committed, that deserve to go in your place. I've passed this idea on to a couple people in the party.

Tax the donations, that way we walk and chew gum at the same time, with one eye on leadership, the other on the health of the party. It would be a good, practical application, to go along with all the "renewal" rhetoric we will be bombarded with, over the coming months.

21 comments:

Mark Dowling said...

I wonder if the same proposal would have come forward if someone from the Quebec wing was likely to make it to the starting line.

MississaugaPeter said...

Steve v,

You highlight the few positive, common sense points.

It's the other points that terrify me - from a move away from a Vancouver Convention to the amounts allowed to be borrowed. If some of these proposals were in place in 2006, we may have had only 1-2 candidates left by the December Leadership Convention in Montreal.

Forget leadership hopefuls seeking grassroots support.

It more like leadership hopefuls seeking moneybags support.

Steve V said...

I just ignored the other stuff, because it's only a proposal.

I have mixed feeling on the borrowed amount ceiling, because in one sense it shows foresight. It is true, that a considerable amount of time and energy was wasted in the year after Dion was chosen, because everyone was trying to pay off debt. That's a tricky one.

mark

Probably not :)

Sharkey Goes West said...

All of this is designed to benefit Ignatieff and Rae which the Quebec wing supports and block out all others. Completely unacceptable.
As for Vancouver, with only 8 MPs in the West, we need the Vancouver convention!
As a westerner, maybe I should just join the Conservative Party. The Liberal Party is not interested in any renewal.

Gayle said...

How could anyone possibly believe it is a good idea to move the convention?

Can any liberal go to the convention, or do you have to be a delegate?

Anonymous said...

These proposals were created and approved by Ignatieff supporters only.
Specifically Robert Fragasso and the losing candidate in Soulanges Brigitte Legault.
No feedback was requested from the membership as usual.
Don't be fooled.
This is a powerplay to push the other aspirants out before the game begins. That includes Kennedy, Hall-Findlay, Dalla.
When will the backroom politics end?

A BCer in Toronto said...

Can any liberal go to the convention, or do you have to be a delegate?

Anyone willing to pay the fee can go as an observer, but only delegates qualify for the travel subsidy, I believe.

Steve V said...

Yes, you can read between the lines on these proposals, but I would rather focus on the one aspect that has some merit.

Steve V said...

Okay, I guess it would be unfair not to include the reaction for the full proposal:

Privately, supporters of Mr. Kennedy, Ms. Hall Findlay and other camps are furious with Michael Ignatieff, the perceived front-runner whose supporters dominate the Quebec wing's board of directors. The board unanimously approved the submission, which rival camps contend is aimed at erecting barriers to potential candidates through a variety of measures.

“There are some Liberals who continue to see the party as a closed, private club and think the leader should be chosen by a coin toss or by the party elites,” said Rob Silver, a spokesman for Kennedy.

“The reason Gerard Kennedy had so much support last leadership is he trusts grassroots Liberals and thinks that it is attitudes like these that are at the core of our current problems.”

Ms. Hall Findlay, the only woman to stay in the 2006 race until the end, blasted the idea of imposing “artificial, exclusionary barriers” based on a candidate's ability to raise money. Had the party gone that route last time, she said, no female candidates or dark horses, including Mr. Dion, would have been able to run.

“More importantly, had that been the attitude six years ago in the United States, Barack Obama would not be president-elect today,” she said.

Ms. Hall Findlay said it's possible the Quebec recommendations emanate from “an honest concern” over Liberal party finances, which is understandable even if the proposals are objectionable.

“If, however, it is an effort to specifically exclude certain candidates or provide advantage to certain other candidates, then this should raise some very large flags about the conduct of this leadership campaign.”

Francesco said...

A couple of thoughts...it would be great to have the convention in vancouver, but honestly as party that is basically broke and every person will probably have to shell out a few bucks to travel to vancouver...airfare alone is roughly $600 - $800 bucks not including hotel (which is not cheap) it is expensive not so it is not a good idea but there are downfalls and really do you think it will translate into more seats...we have a better chance of winning twenty additional seats in ontario with an effective campaign in ontario then we do winning twenty seats west of regina - that is not going to change for a long time (sorry to burst your bubble G.K. supporters)...as for people bashing iggy or rae...look at your judgement from the last election and see how well we did in the last election before you start throwing stones...being originally from b.c. to rebuild in the lower mainland involves i) not running on platform which would see further taxes increased on the residents there ii) a leader who can communicate and understands what the country is looking for...also i recommend people should read nik's final analysis from election night...interesting how many liberals just stayed home that evening

Steve V said...

But that misses the point, you don't send ANOTHER signal to the west, that the Liberals are only interested in their central Canada prospects. It's a very short sighted viewpoint, and it's one that will hurt the party further moving forward. Just look at how few seats we have west of Ontario, you don't just fluff that off, and say we need to regain Ontario. I hate to break to the old Liberal mentality, but the days of sweeping Ontario are over, the benefit of a divided right gone, it is now a seesaw affair. Liberals NEED the west, in some capacity, and the lower mainland is key. 20 seats in Ontario aren't going to cut it, unless my math is horribly wrong.

At this stage, Vancouver was chosen, to backtrack now is seen as a slap in the face, so practicalities aside, I see the decision as an easy one, leave it alone and then try to work it for advantage.

Anonymous said...

Steve,

You know I am always one to make sure people have their facts and are not simply jumping on a bandwagon after being spun.

This play by LPCQ contains a few red herrings and errors than should not be taken as gospel. Could some of them be a ploy, not principle?

You purport to support at least one potential candidate, GK's position of openness, transparency and renewal.

A move to limit candidates' from the last race who still have debts would disallow both Mr. Kennedy and Ms Hall-Findlay from entering, at least until their debts were cleared. How is that in keeping with openness and renewal?

on the 15%..last time it was 20% of everything raised over $500,000...this time 15% on everything...no difference really when you do the math, other than a barrier to those who will raise spend/less.

limit last time was $3.4 million, not $2.8 million. LPCQ ( and Steve) have missed their fact checkers.

There is no proposal for delegates to donate to the Victory fund, but incentive for candidates who, in addition to bringing in members and raising funds and paying levies, aslo bring in new victory fund members.

So paranoid this party. So parochial and ungivin

Mushroom said...

Steve,

Party conventions generate TV coverage. Having speeches Saturday morning 1 am Eastern Time will not win new members and the result of the delegates' first ballot at 4 am is going to cause me a sleepless night.

I would support something in Vancouver such as a policy convention which would mark a significant opening of the membership and a movement to one-member-one-vote. We are still oiling a jalopy and a East Coast one at that.

Steve V said...

anon

Fact checking? Where exactly did I endorse the entire proposal, I merely pointed to one part that had merit?? Maybe read the post, if you're going to nitpick.

And, I floated the idea on VF, where did I say it was part of a proposal?

Just fact checking :)

Steve V said...

mushroom

Cooomeee on! Change the time then, that's just a lame excuse.

Anonymous said...

At tad sensitive eh? Fact checking referred clearly to your restatement of the last limit as $2.8 million (as per LPCQ) when is wasn't the 'fact', not to the Victory Fund.

And as for the VF, it's not a bad proposal to have candidates, while they are recruiting new members and donors, to recruit them to the VF as well, but to make that a requirement of delegate participation, when delegates have already paid a membership fee , delegate fees and travel is a bit rich, and not, frankly the inclusion you say you wish to see from the Party.

Annon again

Francesco said...

Steve
i am not saying that to hold the convention in vancouver is not a good idea...but you don't need to hold there to be competitive in B.C....i.e it is neither a necessary or sufficent condition to gain more seats...a real policy convention to win back seats in the industrial heart land of ontario, policies for rural canadians (we lost a few seats in northern ontario) and finally a candidate to capture more ridings in la belle province ..if we have the key we can unlock the door it is slightly open again for us there :-)

Steve V said...

anon

Yawn.


francesco

No, you don't need to hold it there to be competitive, but many Liberals are already counting on it being there, it's an important region, so to pull the rug now is counter-productive.

burlivespipe said...

I like Steve's idea on the Victory Fund. To add to it, I'd suggest that 50% of VF contributions be counted towards convention registration fee, thus providing a net benefit to contributors who are aiming at being on the floor anyways.
I'd also suggest that candidates with outstanding debts from previous elections be given a set window to pay off that debt, like Jan. 29th. If someone is a serious candidate, they can't afford to carry forward debt (and likely then once more) into what could be a critical convention.
I'd also suggest $1.8 million is a little steep - if we're looking at the minimum time period, $1.5 should suffice, also forcing leadership contenders to invest in technological means to meet and converse with the grass roots.
Set up skype clubs in regional centres, etc.

William said...

Why not 50%? If someone trully wants to be leader then half of what they collect should go to the party to fund the next election.

Steve V said...

"To add to it, I'd suggest that 50% of VF contributions be counted towards convention registration fee, thus providing a net benefit to contributors who are aiming at being on the floor anyways."

Burl, that's a great idea.

william

Sounds good from here, because it is actually in the next leader's self interest.