I’m on the train for Montreal, and I decided that I’d make my voting decisions for the Liberal biennial before crossing the border. So, before I dive too deeply into the open bar, here are my picks: Anna Gainey for national president and Leanne Bourassa for national membership secretary.
It’s unfortunate only two positions are contested at this convention. No disrespect to the acclaimed candidates – I think they’re great – but a race challenges everyone to put forward their plans and engage with the membership in an exchange of ideas on how to best move the party forward. I've thought carefully about how I’ll vote in the two contested positions, and I hope every other delegate will do so as well.
There’s a lot people can consider when deciding how to vote. Regional and gender balance could be factors for some, endorsements could be for others. I dismiss the first two, and don’t put much stock in the third – I’m interested in the opinions of people I respect, but I would never substitute their judgement for my own. For me, the consideration is simple: who do I think has the right experience, the right approach, and the right ideas.
On the membership race, I had the chance to speak with both Arif Khan and Leanne Bourassa. Both have a lot of good ideas for engaging the membership. I’d be comfortable with either, but I’m giving my vote to Leanne Bourassa. She’s a Calgarian who went to university in Nova Scotia and lives in Montreal, so she has seen and understands a lot of the country. She got bit by the Liberal bug early, and has a lot of on the ground organizing experience. And I really like her take on the role of the membership secretary, and her ideas around mentorship and member recognition. Leanne would be a great successor to Matthew Certosimo, or Matty C as I think no one but me calls him.
I really agonized over my choice for party president. I’ve gotten to know Brian Rice over the last few years, and I like what he’s done in BC, his commitment to riding-level organization and his championing of new vote-targeting techniques. I also admire and appreciate his engagement on social media, and his extensive travel across Canada to connect with grassroots Liberals. We would be well served with Brian as our national president.
It was a difficult decision, but in the end I have decided to support Anna Gainey. I like her mix of experience at the riding level and experience in Ottawa.; I like her take on how the president can be an advocate for the membership. And what really cinched it for me in the end was the extensive and detailed platform her campaign released. I like a lot of these ideas, from creating a nominations ombudsperson, connecting with progressive civil society groups, hiring a director of volunteer recruitment and mobilization, creating a program to recognize volunteers, building on the field worker program and getting smarter and more targeted with fundraising. It’s an impressive document.
Should Anna be successful, I would ask that she find a way to utilize Brian's expertise in data-driven campaigning, and emulate his engagement with grassroots Liberals on social media. Both are important to our future success.
So I’ll be supporting Anna and Leanne this weekend, and I encourage my fellow delegates to do so as well. And good luck to all the candidates, and thank-you to all their volunteers and team members who dedicated so much time and effort over the last few months towards a goal we all share: building a better Liberal Party, so we can work to build a better Canada.