Tuesday, July 20, 2010

On An "Image Of New Blood"

The Mark has a video interview with Warren Kinsella and I think he raises a crucial point on "new blood", as key to any thoughts of a Liberal turnaround. Kinsella argues we need new people to run for the federal Liberals, if you want to appear fresh and able to contrast.

I've had intermittent rants on this topic, and frankly every time you address the need for turnover, on a series of fronts, everybody circles their particular fiefdom and it appears hopeless. God forbid somebody say Joe Volpe should pack it in and help revitalize a tired brand, that's just blasphemy based on a narrow self interest. Heaven help you if you say anything about Ralph Goodale and his disproportionate influence, we should all thank our lucky stars that he holds a seat in hostile terrority. In other words, Liberals don't seem capable of internally reforming themselves, only complete annihilation, brought about by outside events, will force what is SO PLAIN AS DAY.

Pecking orders, hierarchies, tenure, a bloated and stagnant machinery, all achieve a paralysis and the rest of us are left to sit here and hope that Harper implodes, because there is no proactive solution on the horizon. New faces, armed with fresh ideas, and most of all the passion and enthusiasm that tends to wane with tenure. The Liberals have some of these assets at our disposal, just not enough of them, and not used to maximium capacity.

It's is logically impossible to position yourself as a vehicle for change, as something decidedly different from the current, when people see the same old institutional faces for an eternity. Would a concerted effort to recruit a new breed of Liberals lead to the promised land? In and of itself, absolutely not, but that focused effort would certainly help in addressing a key liability, that of a tired brand, that needs oxygen.


Volkov said...

Absolutely, we should recruit "new blood" to take over the reigns of the Liberal Party. No doubt about it. It's the driving force of the party.

But can you honestly say that we should throw out the current members we have, old guard or not, just on the basis of "new blood"? They are members of the party all the same, and while it is disingenuous for them to stay on forever, it's equally so to ask them to leave, despite what they've committed and done for the Party. Our success comes from a constant process of renewal - but we can't cut off the experience we have and hope for the best.

RuralSandi said...

Well, rumours are that Dalton McGuinty may run for Federal liberal leadership, Kinsella worships him - coinidence?

Maybe I'm too suspicious, but we do have some new blood that just need to get a little experience and we should continue to encourage new folks, but Kinsella's merger and census stuff lately makes me wonder what he's up to.

Steve V said...

New candidates can have "experience" too, not sure why that's the exclusive domain of Ottawa. If people really care about the party, and not just their individual fiefdoms, then maybe they could put their egos aside and realize that for the good of the party, time to give other people the reigns. I know how a lot of ridings work, once you get in, get your people around you, it's almost farcical to think anybody could every mount a serious challenge. Just make sure you keep up appearances, and it's like a seat for life in some cases. I see a lot of people going through the motions to be honest.

ottlib said...

Mr. Kinsella's assertions are wrong on so many levels.

First, I find these kinds of assertions coming from a man who has been in and around the Liberal Party since Jean Chretien was elected the leader of that Party to be a bit rich.

Second, there are 70 Liberal MPs. There are 308 seats in the House. That leaves 238 candidates who have never been in the House. Certainly, some of those candidates could be running again after unsuccessful bids in 2008 but even a conservative estimate of 100 political newbys is not unreasonable.

Third, there are a fair number of current Liberal MPs who were elected to their seats after the defeat of the last Liberal government. The leader of the Party actually falls into that category. These folks are having a much greater influence on the party than what would be considered the old guard, and that influence will only grow as a new influx of Liberal members arrive. (see my previous point).

Fouth, although a sitting member automatically achieves the nomination if they want it no candidate is untouchable. I saw that in the months before the 2000 election. I was contacted by a friend of mine who had worked with me when we were both assistants in Marlene Catterall's office. I was informed that a Liberal in the Ottawa West-Nepean Liberal Association was selling memberships to take the nomination from her and my friend was requested my assistance to stop him. That was the first and only time I have ever purchased an LPC membership and the first and only time I had ever gone to a nomination meeting. The man's attempt did fail, because Marlene's team had the better organizational ability but it was not a sure thing. This women had occupied that seat since 1988 and made Ottawa West and then Ottawa West-Nepean a safe Liberal seat but the Party still would not protect her from a challenger, as it should have been.

There are many Liberal members who I would like to see gone but it is not up to the Party to turf them out. It is up to their associations. If there in no one with the ambition and the organization ability to them off then we are stuck with them.

Finally, some of the current political back room operatives are hold overs from the last Liberal government but you do need some people who have actually won an election to be on the team. Indeed, Mr. Kinsella was just such a person until he left the OLO (possibly not by his own choice) so again it is rich to hear statments about "new blood" from him.

JimmE said...

This story might get some new blood interested in at least running against the present PM


Dylan said...

I hesitantly agree with Kinsella. The KW area is a prime example of Liberal "regression" happening.

Former Kitchener-Waterloo and Kitchener-Centre MPs Karen Redman and Andrew Telegdi are both slated to run for the party in the next election. Both were defeated because Liberal voters stayed home in the last election (Telegdi lost by 11 votes, but if you look at his TOTAL votes from 06 to 08 he lost around the area of 10,000).

I was saddened to hear that Telegdi and Redman (who lost nearly 6,000 votes from 06 to 08) were going to be the Liberal candidates in the next election because it flies in the face of party renewall in (former) Liberal strongholds.

Maybe the KW Liberal campaigns believed that the issue for low Liberal voter turnout was Dion. But if that is the case, wouldn't their personal popularity and track-record of representation push them over the edge? Telegdi has some personality issues - I have heard from a number of people that he seems out of date and arrogant. Redman, from what little I have seen and heard of her, seems competant and well-liked. But then again, both of them have had nearly a quarter of a century of parliamentary experience between them. Isn't it time to find new, refreshing, innovative candidates to compete with CPC incumbents who are largely invisible in the area instead of resurecting old Chretien stalwarts?

Who is leading the Liberal party? Igantieff, or Jean's Ghost?

Steve V said...


Telegdi doesn't deserve another run. Fact of the matter, he took the last few days of the campaign off, which most certainly cost him the last election. You don't reward that, you get somebody else who will work their ass off until the last minute.

And, while I like Redman, and I know the party is accomodating her, she lost and it is time to give someone else a chance.

These two examples, both losers, show that once you get a hold of a riding, its very hard for any "insurgent" to dare challenge your little kingdom. The Liberal Party very much resembles 10th century Europe.

That's what the Liberals need, more Hedy Fry. Change is a comin!