Friday, May 20, 2011

Constitutional amendments (Now with dates?)

(Scroll down for updated information)

As mentioned, today was supposed to be the day Liberal members found out that constitutional amendments they'd be voting on as part of the extraordinary convention to be held via teleconference next month.

In fact, today was the membership deadline to join the party if you want to vote for to select delegates to that convention, or be a delegate yourself. Unfortunately, that deadline seems to have passed without people getting to know what they'd be joining to vote for or against. As mentioned, a message and page has been posted with some information on the process, but not the resolutions themselves.

I have obtained a copy of what appears to be the close to final amendments we'll be asked to vote on but they're missing one key detail, which I've bolded: the date we'll be voting to move the leadership to. I pass these on to you because I believe all members should know where we're apparently at, even if it's not complete yet.
1. The members of the Party assembled in convention, as a Special Resolution, amend the Constitution to add as section 82(1) the following:

Notwithstanding anything else contained in this Constitution (including, but not limited to, section 54):

(a) the meeting of the National Board of Directors required by subsection 54(3) as a consequence of the resignation of the Leader in May 2011 shall be held at any time on or before [date to be inserted];

(b) at the meeting referred to in Paragraph (a), the National Board of Directors shall set a date for a Leadership Vote between [insert date] and [insert date].

This subsection (1) shall no longer be of force or effect on the later of the conclusion of the Leadership Vote contemplated by Paragraph (a) and [insert date].

2. The members of the Party assembled in convention, as a Special Resolution, amend the Constitution to add as section 82(2) the following:

Notwithstanding anything else contained in this Constitution (including, but not limited to, section 65), the next biennial convention of the Party (which is the rescheduled biennial convention of the Party originally called for June 17-18, 2011) including the related in-person meeting of the Council of Presidents shall be held on January 13 to 15, 2012 at a location to be determined by the National Board of Directors. This subsection (2) shall no longer be of force or effect on January 15, 2012.
Here's a link to the current constitution for reference. As I said, some key information is missing from the above. Namely, the dates the leadership would be delayed to. If the above is accurate though, we will be asked to vote on a specific date range, which is in line with what I've been hearing.

I know the date issue has been a contentious one. My preference is to have the leadership vote in spring 2012, about one year from now. I'd compromise and go fall 2012, but I would vote against a proposal that pushes it beyond next fall. We'll also vote, of course, on delaying the biennial to January 2012.

We can also glean from above that, rather than change the constitutional leadership process permanently, we seem to be authorizing a one-time exception to the rules to extend this leadership race only, and that this exception will sunset. This is probably a positive; we should consider a more fulsome reform of the process for future races though through the normal biennial process. This ad hoc amendment thing isn't ideal.

So, I await the actual final proposed amendments, including the hopefully not too late dates, to be publicly released and communicated to the membership.

Hopefully soon, please.

Federal Liberals will be asked to postpone electing a new leader for 18 to 22 months.
The proposed amendment calls for a new leader to be chosen sometime between Nov. 1, 2012, and Feb. 28, 2013.

I'm still digesting this, but my first reaction is negative. I want a longer race, yes. But as long as 22 months? No way. For me, 18 months would be pushing it, and is as far as I'd be willing to bend on this. But potentially 22 months? No.

Now for me the question will be which is better, picking a leader in 22 months of this October? I don't particularly like either option, so the question for me will be which bad option do I like less.

Also, this section here demonstrated incredible naiveté:
Party president Alf Apps says rules will be issued to ensure prospective leadership candidates don't start actively campaigning or fundraising before the official starting gun goes off.
Let's be serious here, shall we? The leadership race has already started and it will continue, and nothing the board says or does is going to change that. Nor should it. We're not voting on delaying the leadership, we're in essence voting on extending it. It is underway and it will continue until whenever the vote is held.

I favoured extending the race so candidates could take the time to really criss-cross the country, visit every riding, meet every member, and have a robust, fulsome debate on the future of our party. Trying to keep the genie in the bottle for as long as a year-and-a-half is patently absurd, and not overly productive.

I'm going to let this marinate in my mind a little (and get back to the Canucks game), but consider my initial reaction not happy at all.

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James Curran said...

lo on on ge gest Leadership in hiiiissssstooorryyy.

calgarygrit said...

Or, if these resolutions turn off enough people, it will be a really short one.

James Curran said...

You mean we'd have to follow our own constitution to the letter?

Jeff said...

It would mean that members had the option of very long and very short, and picked very short. If that is what the membership decides.