Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Don't Get It

I love a good protest as much as the next person, but I prefer it be rooted in certain underlying facts, rather than a study in contradictions. Here is the development on amending the Liberal constitution:
But according to a draft document circulating among Liberal officials on Monday and seen by the Star, the party wants to convene a special general convention on June 12 to amend the Liberal constitution.

It would be a “virtual” convention, held over the Internet, with Liberals casting electronic ballots to change the leadership-succession rules and push the choice of a leader further into the future.

According to the document sent to the board Monday night, Liberals found a loophole in the constitution allowing them to escape an early vote. The national board will go ahead and set a leadership vote for Oct. 19 as required but then convene the special “virtual” convention on June 12 to change the six-month limit in the constitution. The board envisions that a leadership vote can then be set sometime roughly a year from now

Okay, so the "brass" has devised a plan, like all entities we do have a leadership structure, and by nature they tend to make decisions and shit, that's sort of their job. Now, I get the past, and I think we need to turf a lot of the "brass" to be frank, but let's STAY FOCUSED ON THE ISSUE AT HAND. I read that WE will decide if the Constitution will be amended. I read that WE will have a VOTE to decide, not told what will happen, but the membership will DECIDE if the "brass" idea has merit or not. It's not different than a referendum question really, and last time I checked 30 million don't participate in the phrasing, but they do on the validity, so what's the beef exactly here, other than fighting OLD battles? About the only interesting point I've heard comes from Bob Rae, who laments that we can now suddenly have online votes, when in the past that was deemed impossible, some merit in that criticism for sure.

I've read a PILE of grassroots Liberals resisting this idea of a quick leadership vote, so the idea here isn't simply a top down creation, in fact it looks very much like a response to feedback from the membership, MP's, party people AND the top down types. In other words, an amalgamated opinion emerged that we needed to WHOA on the leadership question, this isn't a cabal deciding unilaterally, it's the "brass" calling on the membership to decide if they're reading the mood correctly. If you don't like it, then VOTE against it, but doesn't the fact you have a VOTE sort of undercut this boogeyman argument? I mean I'm VOTING, I have my voice, so where exactly don't I HAVE a voice in this instance, just this one, not others, again STAY ON TOPIC.

This morning I read an argument for a quick leadership race, by the always thoughtful Adam Radwanski. Facsinating that one name seized upon, Justin Trudeau, is himself saying leadership should be put on the back burner, even he is resisting a quick vote. The "push back the vote" crowd comes from Liberals from all stripes, so the fair thing to do, is to have a democratic vote and let LIBERALS decide. Again, I want Apps to step aside, I want to tear the house down and build from scratch in many regards, but I can also separate all that from THIS PARTICULAR ISSUE. We will vote, the brass doesn't decide, WE DO, so rather than ranting wildly, why not look at the substance. Looks like grassroots democracy from here, on this ONE issue at least.

29 comments:

Omar said...

Why, WHY are they doing all this only eight days after a federal election?! A federal election where they experienced a fucking drubbing??? EIGHT DAYS. The smart thing to have done would have been to get the brand out of the goddamn spotlight for a spell, but NO. LibCom decides to place themselves squarely back in the spotlight with everyone rolling their fucking eyes and saying, "Here we go again". It's ridiculous. It's bush. It's bizarre. Carry on though. As someone else says on these here blogger pages, "What do I know"..

Kirk said...

I think some people feel this is against Bob Rae and instead of looking at the substance which is we WILL have a leadership convention on Oct. 19th of this year OR we will vote for this amendment and have one much later.

If anyone thinks that postponing the Leadership Convention is a bad idea then VOTE NO on the amendment.

I know I'm just writing what Steve wrote but I hope that those who hear "get Bob Rae" in these words and actions will eventually see that that is not what is actually being said.

Kirk said...

Omar, we are only setting out rules for an interim leader and deciding on a leadership convention date. Nothing more. Everyone who is trying to make it about something more should pause for a few days, themselves, and then come back to this.

Seems people are letting a John Ibbitson article define what is happening when it itself was a distortion of the truth.

Steve V said...

Kirk

You're spot on.

sharonapple88 said...

Omar, we are only setting out rules for an interim leader and deciding on a leadership convention date. Nothing more. Everyone who is trying to make it about something more should pause for a few days, themselves, and then come back to this.

Ditto. There's a lot of crap going around, but I don't think shooting ourselves in the foot will help.

Do we have any candidates in this race? Without changes the clock's running down.

A Eliz. said...

Ditto ,how can we get rid of them? we really need new blood and get back to our very roots!

Steve V said...

We do need new blood, and I'll be quite vocal as well. That has nothing to do with the substance of this vote. There are a lot of irrational voices pushing agendas, we need to tune it out and keep our heads. This process isn't going to be easy.

sharonapple88 said...

Sometimes it would be easier if there was just one obvious leadership pick. We'd have no choice but to rally behind this person.

Volkov said...

Steve,

This is the EXACT thing I've been saying but I keep getting hit by Curiosity Cat and Jim Curran for it!

Steve V said...

That Facebook group title is a hoot, a complete contradiction. Stand up against the man by voting against their decision to let us vote!!

CC makes good points from time to time, but I think this is kneejerk reaction, again on broader points, not simply this issue.

sharonapple88 said...

I'm really starting to blame the brass. They've bungled this badly. What should have been a calm, orderly process has now gone off the deep-end.

Steve V said...

I blame the people that immediately started pushing for the leadership job, that's how this all started. There was blowback, from the grassroots, and much of what we see now is a response to that. Many, many Liberals want to push back the leadership vote, some prefer we leave it as is currently. We have to deal with this question, so a vote by the membership seems the best way forward. You can't just ignore the constitution, it's either ramp up immediately for a leadership or delay it. It can be quite a calm process really.

sharonapple88 said...

Maybe everything needs to start over again. There needs to be more communication, trust, and respect involved.

Bah, I keep on thinking of the story from the Bible about the two mothers arging over a child. To satify the two parties, the judge suggests dividing the child in two, which causes the real mother to abandon the child rather than having her child killed. What worries me is that we might be in a situation where people would rather see the party divided....

But maybe it's good to have this sort of fight now... as opposed to four years from now. (Although the Conservatives might pull a Chretien and have an election just a few months after the leadership race.)

Omar said...

Well, I'm heartened to see some of the commentary here include things like, "There's a lot of crap going around", "There are a lot of irrational voices pushing agendas" and "They've bungled this badly", because these things are pretty much verbatim what is being said around the water cooler at my work. People are BLOWN AWAY (but I don't think surprised) that Liberals are, so soon after the election, getting themselves tied in knots about leadership. Regardless of whether one of the sources is some Ibbitson article that may or may not have distorted the truth, the fact remains people are already talking negatively about Liberal fortunes and that has to stop. That such chatter has started almost immediately following the election must make Harper et al just giddy with delight.

Steve V said...

Omar

I don't disagree, but on this particular point, this is an effort to take leadership off the table. We have to deal with it immediately, otherwise the leadership clock is ticking. So, I'm disappointed that people moved so quickly, papa Jean calling people FOUR DAYS after we lost, but that's another issue, on this particular point, a vote is the best way forward.

CuriosityCat said...

Demanding a member of the Liberal Party to forego that member's right to run for any office in the party (a right set out in the Constitution in black and white, with no qualification) is a denial of the democratic values enshrined in our party and our constitution.

That is the issue here: the National Board of Directors is trying to strip a member's right under the constitution to run for both Interim Leader and permanent Leader.

Why not first amend the Constitution to make that a qualification for running for Interim Leader - if 2/3rds of the members vote for such a change, good. If not, let's not stand by passively while one group of Liberals strip a Liberal of his or her constitutional rights.

This goes right to the heart of the party. Are we a party of laws, or of the lynch mob?

The Cat fights for individual rights,and in this case the individual is a member who wants to run for both offices, as our constitution allows.

Steve V said...

CC

For cripes sake, I say focus on the issue at hand and you start with a tirade about another point. I didn't even read it all. You guys are on outrage auto pilot, and it's getting boring fast.

Mark Francis said...

How I read this: "Liberals are afraid of having a leader."

Seems to be that the grassroots debate should be who the leader should be, not whether to avoid having one.

Ridiculous.

Steve V said...

Mark

It will be.

CuriosityCat said...

Steve V - perhaps you should read my earlier comment - it goes to the heart of the matter and explains why you "just don't get it" as your post heading says.

Stripping a member (say, Justin Trudeau if he decides to run for Interim Leader) of his right under the Constitution to run for any post (including permanent Leader) is just what the National Board is trying to do.

And we should guard against those in our midst who deny members of our party their rights, just as we should guard against attacks by the Harper Tories.

Steve V said...

"Steve V - perhaps you should read my earlier comment - it goes to the heart of the matter and explains why you "just don't get it" as your post heading says."

Or perhaps you could deal with the topic in the post, but no that doesn't fit your rant. ZZZZZ. Talk about not getting it, lol.

sharonapple88 said...

Seems to be that the grassroots debate should be who the leader should be, not whether to avoid having one.

No one's avoiding the race. There have been three leadership races in the past decade -- two in the last five years.

Some of the problems in the last one were:
1. rushing to find a new leader.
2. small pool running.
3. too much intereference in the race with the brass.

The same problems exist this time.

The five month rule was apparently established to push Jean Chretien to an early retirement. Long leadership races aren't that unusual for a party in a position like this. After the NDP was cut to 9 seats in 1993, Audrey McLaughlin apparently announced in April 1994 that she was stepping down as leader. Alexa McDonough didn't take over until Oct. 1995. After the PC was decimated in the 1993 election, Charest (interm leader) didn't get the post officially until April 1995.

Steve V said...

For the record, I favour June of next year for the leadership, no later.

Kirk said...

That is the issue here: the National Board of Directors is trying to strip a member's right under the constitution to run for both Interim Leader and permanent Leader.

Is that an explicit right? I've never heard anyone claim that as a right that they hold dear, explicitly or implicitly.

It would be better if Liberals concentrated on the more important question of whether we have a Leadership Convention sooner or later. Whether the party rejuvenates around a new leader or first the party reforms and rejuvenates then picks a leader.

The ability to be both the interim leader and run for (and possibly lose) the full leadership role is so far, far down the list of things to worry about. Make it a level playing field. Giving no one a boost from being the interim leader quickly chosen from within the caucus over other contenders seem to be sensible to me.

Big issues need our attention so much more than this one.

Steve V said...

Kirk

It's not like this is some long list of stipulations. Sorry, but I've always been on about Quebec, a non francophone is a non starter for me. And the "can't run for leader" provision, that just eliminates putting person before party, using that role to build and blunt. It's sort of common sense stuff if you ask me, like Bill Graham. Honestly, I think it more a case of wanting to get on some high horse, bring in all the past nonsense, instead of just moving forward.


We will vote on the leadership question, we don't people getting excited over a VOTE, that WE all GET.

Jerry Prager said...

Why do Liberals insist on paying any attention to what some one like Ibbitson in the right wing media has to say about anything. Boycott. Ignore. Don't link to their articles, frack them.

Steve V said...

I actually haven't read Ibbitson, what did I miss, or not, as is normally the case?

Jerry Prager said...

what are the rules for new members ?

Jerry Prager said...

steve: Ibbitson, someone commented, should have referenced the comment. I still say walk away from the corporate media.There's only three companies; so talk to three people. Announce the parties in front of ownership flow charts, talk about Keith Davies' warnings, (even Peter Kent's)