Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Belinda Stronach's Ideas Reviewed

I have just finished reading through Ms Belinda Stronach's ideas for the renewal of the Liberal Party (h/t Clear Grit). I have said before that I am glad Ms Stronach is a Liberal and a smart one at that. Let me go through some of her ideas.

  1. The need for a grassroots strategy.
    This cannot be denied. For too long it seemed an elite crew had the keys to the party machinery. Liberals must feel they can influence the party's direction, and thus will become more involved with the party (important in the ground war during elections). In here when Ms Stronach mentions grassroots financing she is correct - if more money came from individuals than corporations, the party would be more reflective of its members than corporations. However we need to get a lot more contributions from a lot more people to remain financially in the black.
  2. One Member One Vote.
    While I recognize this is as grassroots as it gets, there is one problem with this. Let's say Ontario has a larger number of Liberals than Alberta. That would mean Ontario has a larger influence in the party than Alberta. I would like some sort of equal representation of ridings, and one-member-one-vote within each riding itself.
  3. A Convention on party renewal in advance of the leadership selection.
    Certainly. This should be a must. If we are serious about renewal we need to hear from the Liberal leadership candidates their ideas on such issues.
  4. Caucus Election of Ministers and Critics.
    I still think the cabinet should be the privilege of the PM/leader. However if a system was proposed where the cabinet was appointed by the PM/leader and then approved by the caucus that would be a suitable compromise and check to the power of the PM/leader.
  5. No parachute candidates.
    I don't have a problem with a person from one riding deciding to run for nomination in another riding and gathering suitable support to win the nomination. However the process adopted when Michael Ignatieff was crowned, as well as when Raymond Cho was not allowed to run for the provincial Liberal nomination in a by-election in Scarborough Rouge-River, left a bad taste in my mouth. To be truly democratic, anyone wishing to run for the Liberal nomination should be allowed to do so, as long as the person has been a bonafide member of the party for some time. Let the local party members decide on their representative. Now, the leader can appoint someone, or the riding association can decide so-and-so will be on the ticket as someone else has no chance of winning the nomination.
  6. More women in the party.
    While I support more women in politics I don't think a party should make special affirmative action to that end. Like any male-dominated field, women will be rare.
  7. $1 Memberships.
    To join the Party or to renew one's membership should be recognized as an expression of political faith, not a fund-raising opportunity.
    I agree 100%. The present membership fee of $16.50 in my riding (for a year only) is quite steep, in my opinion. Also, Ms Stronach's other ideas in this section, such as party auctions, shares etc. are quite innovative.

Please do go over to her site and read her ideas. As we head into another election in a year's time (likely), we should have atleast implemented a few of those suggestions.



Davenport Liberal said...

The good thing at least people are talking about it.

I agree PM should pick the cabinet.

$1 memberships may be to low how about $5 across the field. this would allow for a break even with printin gthe forms and then the renewals mail outs.

I still think you run in the riding you live and if you are that focused on a riding then move adn get involved in the community there


mezba said...

$5 would be acceptable. It's not too low yet not too high at the same time.