I’m a big proponent of open riding nominations. During the Liberal leadership race, I was proud when my candidate released an extensive party reform proposal including an open nomination process, and I was pleased when many of the other candidates – including the eventual winner, Justin Trudeau – joined us in supporting the concept of open nominations.
I don’t know enough of what’s going on in Toronto-Centre to comment on that process. I know Justin has promised open and fair nominations, and I know the party membership believes that open nominations are important to the renewal of our party.
So instead of getting into the weeds of what may or may not be happening downtown, I’d like to talk about a few ideas I’d like to see for a reformed, open nominations process, and invite you to share your own ideas.
The biggest problem with nominations over the years for any party has come when there’s a lack of transparency. Dates can be announced with short notice, and some people may get more notice than others, which can give one candidate an advantage and lead to the appearance of favourtism. This is the most common way the process can be manipulated. The solution? Transparency and plenty of advance notice.
As we prepare to nominate our candidates for the 2015 general election, I’d like to see all the dates published publicly well in advance. Nominations for all ridings (or you can do them in batches, but all published well in advance) open on this date, candidates must submit their nominations by this date, they’ll be accepted or rejected by this date, the membership cutoff is this date, and the nomination meeting is this date.
We could also consider lengthening the period of time between the membership cutoff and nomination meeting, if processing and approving membership applications is going to be an issue.
If everyone knows all the dates well and advance, it’s a fair and open playingfield on which everyone can compete. It would also ensure that anyone who signs up in good faith to join our party and support a candidate within the sign-up period is able to exercise their vote; retroactive membership cutoffs are one sure way to alienate supporters.