Friday, March 20, 2009

Harper's answer for Quebec: Give everyone titles

Usually I don't read that many stories out of Quebec for the simple reason that my French language skills suck and Babelfish was a pretty crappy translator, but with Google Translate doing a much better job I've been reading more Quebec coverage and there's some interesting stuff out there. Particularly with the Conservative meltdown in the province.

And speaking of that meltdown, here's a translated CP story on Harper's newly unveiled master plan to revitalize the Conservative Party in Quebec:

Harper tries to calm the discontent in Quebec REGIONAL BOARDS


OTTAWA - (CP) Prime Minister Stephen Harper has approved a restructuring plan for the team of the Conservative Party in Quebec in an attempt to quell the discontent of its activists and attempt to restart his training in the province.

The new structure will include 12 regional councils, the number of organizers in the field double and a new funding strategy will be implemented. Party activists have wanted to see revived a wing of the Conservative Party in Quebec, but the new strategy of Mr. Harper seeks rather a decentralized regional approach to compete with the Bloc Quebecois.

The Conservatives have the intention to combine the associations of counties in a dozen councils across the province.

In addition, to support the above, the number of permanent employees of the party in Quebec, which is now four, is expected to increase significantly in the coming weeks.

Finally, Quebec City and Montreal, conservative leaders will be appointed to form associations of counties, to improve the effectiveness of fundraising.
I think by counties they likely mean ridings, so they're grouping riding associations into 12 different regional councils rather than creating a pan-provincial organization, such as the Liberal model with the Liberal Party of Canada (Quebec) PTA.

While the balance between centralization and decentralization is always a tricky one, and at times the LPC hasn't always gotten it right (the fight for centralized membership lists, par example), while much depends on what each province makes of it by and large the PTA structure has been an asset for the LPC, allowing regions to be innovative on the ground and adapt more quickly to local issues, as well as represent regional issues to the central party.

Clearly the Conservatives decided they needed to do something different for Quebec (they run a very centralized party accross Canada) but rejected the PTA model for these 12 regional councils. A good comprimise for them, perhaps. They get more regional coordination and organization, but by opting for 12 regional councils rather than one pan-provincial organization they're not creating a group with the critical mass to bite back at central too hard.

I guess the question remains how seriously will CPC, and will Quebec Conservatives, take these councils. Is it just giving everyone titles, or will they be listened to and will they get to work. Time will tell. Interesting that they expect to ramp-up CPC paid staff in the province too.
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1 comment:

penlan said...

"In addition, to support the above, the number of permanent employees of the party in Quebec, which is now four, is expected to increase significantly in the coming weeks."

Sounds like a possible ratcheting up to an election? Sooner rather than later?