Monday, December 08, 2008

Legitimacy Meets Expediency

Very interesting idea floated by David Herle today, that isn't perfect (let me know when one comes around, I love FIRSTS), but seems to meet many of the criteria demanded, with a flavor for compromise. Herle makes the point, and I agree, that it's imperative Canadians have a sense of legitimacy, that the new leader starts with no baggage. Herle also accurately notes that time is of the essence, six weeks is nothing, when one considers a new team being put in place, preparations for a possible election, developing a strategy to counter Harper, a daunting timeframe.

With the notions of expediency and legitimacy as crucial, this concept is attractive:
"We need to get on with the leadership question very, very quickly, and I would argue within the next two weeks...

You could conduct a process that would take seven days. You start next Saturday with a nationally televised debate between the two candidates, in front of the decision making body. I suggest the decision making body should be the caucus, the National Executive of the party and the Council of the Presidents. That takes care of the representativeness, it takes care of consultation and it provides a wide spectrum of view within the party. So, you have a national televised debate, then all those people would be sent out to their ridings, for a one week period to consult their membership, their constituents. Then, on the following Saturday, there would be a mini-convention involving all those people. There would be speeches, it would be televised, open to the public. At the end of that process, you would have vote and you would have a national leader of the Liberal Party declared, after consulting the grassroots. The entire country would see it unfold, it's manageable and it's done within our timeframe".


Why I like this idea, it encorporates the "show" aspect, it allows the Liberals to present a public presentation that allows Canadians to see a form of democracy in action. Herle's strategic sense serves him well with this concept, a "mini-convention" is a perfect compromise. It's not one member, one vote, but it allows for real consultation, we would all have a chance to argue our views to what amounts to delegates. If individual people decide a vote in the riding is the best way to gauge grassroots want, that is doable, the idea is nimble enough to navigate. The riding representative then returns to express the feedback from the grassroots.

This idea also allows for the debate requirement, it allows for formal speeches on vision, and it gets it done by December 20th, providing plenty of opportunity for a new team to set up shop and establish a sense of competence and direction. Again, it ain't perfect, but it ain't bad either, this idea finds a way to hit on every concern.

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

All you've done is added the national presidents to the current process. Do you know how simple it is to have an internet vote/consultation? There are companies that conduct municipal elections in Canada can could have this setup for us in a matter of days. The Executive should make a decision after they CONSULT THE MEMBERSHIP.

Mike said...

This is NO MORE or NO LESS constitutional than OMOV. Why not go the whole 9 yards? I can't see ANY REASON why not to if you are already prepared to be going to do as Herle is proposing which is already going beyond the constitution.

Herle works for Ignatieff, he knows when that when the vote is decided by ex-officios alone (which is what he is saying, Ignatieff will win by a long shot).

I'd take his solution with as much credibility as one coming from John Rae.

It is no harder and FAR MORE legitimate to hold an online consultative vote. The reason Herle and Ignatieff are balking at that is OBVIOUS. In what they are proposing they will DEFINITELY win. They don't want to take ANY chances.

This would be obvious to any objective observer.

CathiefromCanada said...

I would support much of this -- I think it is important to do as much of the decision-making in public as possible.
The Liberal Party cannot toss its constitution, and I don't think the one-member/one-vote meme is sacrosanct anyway, but I do think caucus could select a leader after a public meeting.

Steve V said...

This idea seems to have component that does consult the membership. Why I find this attractive, it allows the Liberal Party an opportunity to present something substantial to Canadians, a PR component.

Mike

Stop being so overly dramatic.

Steve V said...

And, let's not forget, it was the grassroots that rejected OMOV in the first place, so all these cries now are selective to say the least.

Gayle said...

I am breaking my self imposed isolation - to which I will soon return - but I wonder how this process represents party members in my riding, since our MP happens to be NDP.

I do not understand the wisdom of excluding ridings where there is no MP. Surely ridings where you need to win MP's might have a better understanding of what is needed in order for the LPC to win there.

Not to mention the fact there is no possible way for this to look like anything but stacking the deck for Iggy. How do you think people who bought memberships so they could support Rae are going to feel about this process?

Cari said...

The caucus does not represent 308 ridings..members would scream if they are left out.

Steve V said...

gayle

Isn't every riding represented with this process?

It's just one of many ideas. What sets it apart for me, the nationally televised angle. A bit of a bounce, heading into the showdown is a nice bit of leverage.

I'll say this though, I have NO fear of going to the grassroots as an Ignatieff supporter. NONE, and that's all I'll say, lest I look presumptive. Call it a hunch.

Don't go into exile :)

Gayle said...

Will a representative from each riding be given a vote? I am not sure how the party is structured but it appeared to me that some ridings would not have a vote.

I have no idea who would win if the party ensures grassroots participation, but if you exclude them and Rae and his supporters feel they have been treated unfairly, you risk another internal war. Much worse than that, you alienate a whole pool of donors which the party certainly cannot afford to do right now.

Steve V said...

Cari

Doesn't the Council of Presidents represent each riding, particularly if they consult with the membership within each?

Northern PoV said...

the grassroots that rejected OMOV

huh - it was the delegates to a convention (the chosen few, you know how gerry-mandered these things are) not the grassroots that decided this

If the two candidates agreed to abide by a OMOV/weighted by riding process, then ratified formally in May, then every Liberal wins

Steve V said...

pov

Okay, now delegates from across the country are nothing but hacks. Where does it end? The point is, the idea was voted on, and rejected by Liberals. Another imperfect measure, but we're here because of it.

Steve V said...

Anyways, I'm not marrying myself to this idea, just think it deserves consideration.

Anonymous said...

You know, just having MPs pick the leader is not that unusual. In Australia both the Liberal and Labour parties always pick their leaders through a simple vote of the parliamentary caucus. Period. After John Howard lost last year, he stepped down and two days later the Liberal caucus in the Australia voted on a new leader and that was it! Up until very recently this was the process for both Labour and the Tories in the UK as well. In fact, up until 1965, it was the monarch who chose the Tory leader after getting "advice" from the party elders. They only started to let Mps pick the Tory leader in 1965 when Ted Heath won after the Queen let it be known that she really didn't want to choose the Tory leader anymore.

Gayle said...

Anon - that is not the problem here. The LPC do nto pick their leader like that, and party members - particularly those who may have been induced to buy memberships so they can support Bob Rae - rightfully have an expectation to have a say in this.

KC said...

I dont think Mike is being overly dramatic. It IS a process that favours Ignatieff. We already know where caucus sits on this question so that gives Ignatieff an automatic headstart. The EDAs even the odds a bit but when compared to a delegated convention where the national exec and caucus are 1 vote in every 30 or 40, here they are 1 vote in every 3 or so (Im guestimating).

Im sure if you had put THIS process to the membership at the last convention they would have rejected it as well (just like OMOV).

Gabe said...

Herle also made the point in that same interview that last week the spotlight was squarely on Harper and his poison pill and time out. Now it's on the coalition and the Liberal leadership. I think I've seen this movie before...

Anonymous said...

Why does Ignatieff want to shutout the grassroots?

liberazzi said...

Umm, kinda like the idea I floated yesterday, maybe I should start charging for my services.

Yappa said...

To me, the essential part of this is the debate. We need a real debate so people can compare the two candidates's ability to address issues and reach people.

As for the rest, I'm not sure, but I think the only way we're going to find an answer is to continue with this sort of discussion.

liberazzi said...

Lets be blunt. Iggy has this wrapped up. Rae should just conceed and arrange to be second in command, whatever that entails. This reminds somewhat of the debate we had after the election, where everyone was whinning about Dion being allowed to stay on. The writing was on the wall then and it is now. Please lets not waste time dicking around with how unfair life is and move onto the job at hand, which is getting rid of that dick Harper. Quite frankly, I dont care about the cat fight anymore, Rae or Iggy I really dont give a shit. Their both capable so decide on one quickly and get going. There are too many whiners is this party, that are holding this party back.

Northern PoV said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Northern PoV said...

Steve
I did not call the delegates hacks - you did.
(I was not impressed with the delegate selection process in 2006)

Simply - they were the wrong group to ask - it should have been put to the membership at large .... the grassroots.

Steve V said...

Pov

Maybe you're right, I'm just saying that the party mechanism adopted rejected it.

Steve V said...

Looks like Herle's suggestion wasn't far off:

"Late last night, the party's national executive chose a middle option for selecting an interim leader by Dec. 17 – allowing the party's riding association presidents, club presidents, and defeated candidates to weigh in, in addition to Liberal MPs and senators."

Just to add, it's being reported this morning that Ignatieff is way, way ahead in signing up new memberships.