Wednesday, May 11, 2011

June 2012

Has a nice ring to it, don't you think? Some are demanding we adhere to the constitution and have a leadership straight away, others are talking about waiting two years, I would submit a porridge too hot, too cold analogy, the middle ground just about right.

I simply don't think the Liberals are ready for a leadership fight in the next five months, given what has happened, that logic borders on irresponsible. People don't even know what just occurred, what it means, digested the daunting mountain of work in front of us. I strongly believe this defeat needs to sink in, our core people given time to retool, we are in a great time of internal upheaval, budgets, staffing, restructuring our Parliamentarians, EVERYWHERE you look, you can see some serious transition required. Those pounding the table for an immediate leadership, in my view, don't quite grasp where we are, how much ENERGY is required to focus on dealing with this result. Liberals to me at the moment resemble tornado victims (not to be flippant), wandering around the devastation, wondering where to begin, not sure what just happened, in a state of shock frankly. Plowing ahead with a leadership reeks of a bad call, dividing when we need to rally together, distracting when we need to focus. We have basic needs at this point, so a delay is SHREWD and necessary.

On the other hand, I don't think Liberals can really wait two years for a leadership, because there is a compelling argument that much of the rebuild requires a leader, someone to build the team in her/his image, develop policy and direction, etc, etc, etc. Waiting two years strikes me as overkill on the "go slow" approach, once we get back on our feet, I foresee an unnecessary "dead spot" in our development should we delay that long.

I think June 2012, or thereabouts is the perfect solution. This decision would allow the best compromise. Waiting one year would mean the leadership race would begin soon, but at first on the back burner, gently rising in action, just as we get develop a rhythm with the new realities. Time to breathe, time to focus on structure issues, but not off the distance so much so that leadership isn't on our mind. Prospective candidates can quietly travel the country, glad hand, and actually participate in this grassroots conversation, offering their ideas and direction. Liberals can listen without pressure, ponder suggestions and reforms, a one year process could actually be the fundamental "rejuvenation". Not rushing allows time for real new blood to ponder a run, it opens up the possibilities. One year isn't so long that we sit in perpetual limbo with lame duck leadership, people can see a resolution and we build towards that culmination, hopefully a convention that we can look back on as the turning point for the party.

The one year option looks entirely attractive and responsible. It incorporates this election result and all the challenges we now face, some of which we don't quite comprehend yet to be honest. The date also reflects the fact we do need a leader, and waiting forever actually stunts reform and renewal, it becomes counter-productive. I believe if we all calm down and recognize what is best for the Liberal Party of Canada in totality, the wide angle lens, June 2012 or thereabouts, looks like "just about right".


Dan F said...

Watching the battles over interim leadership, I can't help but think that if we postpone the leadership contest, all the energy in the party that could be focused on renewal will instead be focused on the leadership battle (I'm seeing signs of it already).
An earlier leadership contest would allow a new leader to define themselves before the attacks start (and hopefully mount a strong and continuous defence when they do)

Steve V said...

If we postpone, not all the energy will go to leadership, but if we insist on sticking to the script, what we need to focus on right now will be completely abandoned. I also think a quick process doesn't allow new voices an opportunity.

Steve V said...

I also believe a quick process will just mean a platitude level discussion of where this party needs to go, rather than a calm, protracted debate and substantive discussion. I'm not into sprints at the moment, it will just mean everyone scrambles to support straight off, rather than allowing for a process to develop and breathe.

Kirk said...

5 months from now is way too fast. No time for either reflection on what happened and what then is required in a new leader as well as not allowing anyone outside the "usual suspects" to mobilize.

So of this I'm certain: Oct 2011 is too soon.

I say later in 2012 but 2013 is longer than needed and will get into our spinning our wheels.

The real question for me is when and how the reform process will start.

Right now blog discussion are the sole avenue for most Liberal Party members to mull over ideas for reform. Those in tight with riding associations are undoubtedly chatting with each other but the wider membership, to which I belong, has no idea how to become engaged outside of riding politics which are not the national level discussion that is ultimately needed.

The Liberal Party of Canada needs to download phpBB and install it on their web server. Revolutionary, I know but I think this whole internet thing might be useful for more than getting a quick $20 from members to cast a ballot.

WesternGrit said...

Kirk... I urge you (and anyone else not so involved at the riding level) to join En Familie. The nice thing about the discussion there, is that it is amongst Liberals - no prying eyes from quarters which mean us ill will (other party partisans - ie "anonymous", media with an agenda, etc.).

We have also formed groups online - Facebook. One good one is "Liberals Rebuilding the Liberal Party" ( As a result of discussions in that group many of us have decided to hold more "in-person" discussions in our own cities. We're organizing one in Greater Vancouver right now.

Hop on the group, and if there's no-one planning a meeting in your city, BE the one.

I agree whole-heartedly that we need a bit more time. I also feel 2 years is a stretch. If we can have some time to think about just who we are as Liberals (and why we do it), I think it can only have a good impact on our eventual choice of leader.