Monday, July 03, 2006

Let’s err on the side of inclusivity

While I can understand how leadership candidates would want to do everything they can to maximize their candidate’s chances of success, I was still disappointed with the reaction of some of the candidates, as reported in the Globe today, to a decision by the Newfoundland Liberal Party.

In a nutshell, as I understand it, in Newfoundland and New Brunswick the parties are in the process of reforming their membership rules, from a system of lifetime memberships to one requiring annual renewal. After some confusion, Newfoundland has given some 50,000 members until September to renew and still be eligible to vote for the leadership.

So, who would have a problem with that? According to the Globe story, the Volpe campaign. I don’t know about the other campaigns as they’re not quoted, but I sure hope they don’t share the views of those quoted in opposition. Mark Watton from Ken Dryden’s campaign is also quoted, but while he’s “annoyed” with the situation he at least says he accepts it.

Volpe continues to show himself to be the old-time, win at any costs, mud-slinging politician. His spokesperson, Corey Hobbs (you may remember Corey from kiddie-donationgate) says this whole thing is a nefarious Bob Rae plot. I won’t attempt to synthesize his theory, read the story if you’re really interested.

The Newfoundland ruling seems quite fair to me. It’s consistent with the rule that allows lapsed members to renew within six months of their expiry and still be eligible to vote an candidate selection meetings and other meetings that require people to have been members for X days. It would be a travesty to see 50,000 people disenfranchised because they weren’t aware of a rule change. We’re not talking about insta-Liberals here, these are in many cases long-time party members.

If we’re going to err, let’s err on the side of inclusivity and ensuring every possible Liberal is able to make their voices heard. Any candidate that wouldn’t support that shouldn’t be running to lead our party.

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Manitoba Liberal said...

50,000 Newfie Liberals?

In Manitoba at all time high levels we never passed 20,000 members.

Either Newfoundland is a Liberal hotbed or else that number seems rather large. How many of those lifetime members were members in the 1986 and are now six feet under and dust?

A BCer in Toronto said...

New Brunswick is high too, it's a function of their old, much more liberal membership rules. Some have undoutebly moved or passed away. One of the reasons why they're probably moving to a annual renewal system.