Saturday, May 02, 2009

It's morning in Vancouver. And hopefully dawn for OMOV

I'm back at the convention centre for the final full day of the Liberal biennial convention in Vancouver. And for a convention the media keep insisting we're saying is about nothing (I haven't met one Liberal that has said that, nor would they have came all the way here if they did) we've been pretty darned busy. I know my feet are killing me, from all the walking around.

Last night was a good night, but time management always seems to be a challenge for Liberal convention oganizers. I remember in Montreal in 2006, one of the keynote speakers (maybe Howard Dean, I forget) was running late and so the hosts had to fill, having one of the musical groups play song after song.

This time, it was the opposite problem: things went way too long. Particularly given that many delegates had just arrives in town and were still in Eastern time. The convention really should be a day longer, they just tried to pack too much into last night's program.

The opening by the Coast Salish chief and the later dancing by the Nisgha was great, the drumming stayed in my head for awhile. Paul Martin gave a great speech and Jean Chretien rocked the house, making me wish I could go back and write his name in in my leadership ballot.

And, of course, Stephane Dion spoke. I covered off my feelings on the content of his speech and his legacy last night. I'm told he spoke for some 40 minutes, and went over his time. Honestly, it didn't feel like he was up there that long to me. Not that he's a spellbinding orator or anything. It just didn't feel that long to me.

And, frankly, I don't think it would have been appropriate to rush him off the stage or make him just give a quick au revoir. With all he has done for the Liberal Party and for Canada, and, frankly, with the way the Liberal Party has treated him, he deserved to not be rushed but to leave on his own terms having said his peace and making the case for the ideals and principles that have driven him throughout his career.

I am very sorry though for the later speakers and particularly two great Canadians, Louise Arbour and Eric Hoskins. And I apologize to those who were hoping I'd be blogging about their speeches, which I really did want to see. I'm disapointed I didn't. But it was just so late in the evening at that point, my energy was fading, and I needed to seek nourishment and a beverage before heading to bed. As I said earlier, even if Stephane went long, it was waaaay to much to try to pack into one evening.

Today is a new day though, and potentially a big day for the renewal of the Liberal Party. The policy plenary is currently ongoing, but later this morning and in the afternoon is what for me is the main event, and one of the primary reasons I dropped a large chunk of cash I should have saved to be a votiing delegate rather than a non-voting blogger: One Member, One Vote.

I really think OMOV is going to pass. When I speak to delegates about it, I'd say easily 90 per cent are onboard. There is an organized yes to OMOV campaign, with nifty buttons. Nothing similar on the No side.

The question is the YLC ammendment. It's up in the air, but I wouldn't bet against it passing. The youth really know how to organize. Something is interesting though. When I speak to some delegates about it who aren't really familiar with the issue, they say sure, let's support the youth. But when we dive into it, that with OMOV anyone who takes out a $10 membership can vote, they see it really isn't fair to just reserve 25% of the riding points for youth, particularly when that's more than double their membership and much more than their % of the population. So, if enough people consider the issue, I think the ammendment might be defeated. But if it's just a reflexive "let's support the youth" without thinking further, it will pass. I don't want to call it at this point.

I will say though, for the record, that I will be supporting OMOV even if the ammendment passes. I think OMOV is a crucial reform. I think the YLC ammendment goes against the very spirit of OMOV, and has more to do with protecting influence then franchising youth. I think it's a bad ammendment. I think it will lead to problems down the road with other groups having a now legitimized argument for their own over-weighted quotas.

But let's not let perfection get in the way of progress. With that attitude, we'll never move forward. Let's pass OMOV.

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1 comment:

Derwin said...

any idea where we can find the text or video for the Hoskins and Arbour speeches? i'd love to see them.