Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Liberals: I need your help changing the leadership selection timeline

(UPDATED: See bottom of post)

If you're a Liberal who was acclaimed as a delegate to the upcoming extraordinary convention to change/set the timing for the next leadership race and you're not satisfied with the choices on offer (voting No and picking a leader in October, or voting Yes and letting it drag out as late as late February of 2013), I need your help.

I'm proposing a sub-amendment to the amendment proposed by the National Board of Directors (read their original here) that would see a permanent leader selected next fall, between September and November of 2012.

Here's the text of my sub-amendment:
Whereas the leadership selection timeline proposed by the National Board of Directors would leave the party for too long without a permanent leader,

and Whereas it is desirable to have a permanent leader in place by the end of 2012 to join with the grassroots in the rebuilding of the Liberal party of Canada,

Be It Resolved That proposed constitutional amendment number one be amended as follows:

i. in (a), strike “October 1, 2012” and replace with July 1, 2012
ii. in (b), strike “November 1, 2012 and February 28, 2013” and replace with “September 1, 2012 and November 30, 2012”
iii. in (b), strike “February 28, 2013” and replace with “November 30, 2012”
Moved by: Jeff Jedras, Scarborough-Centre
As mentioned, this change would move the timeline forward by three months and prevent us from going into 2013 without a permanent leader. My originally preferred timeline was spring 2012, but I think Fall 2012 is a good compromise between those who want a shorter timeline (but feel going this October is crazy) and those who want a longer race. Three months sooner may not seem like much, but I feel we can't allow this to drag out into 2013. This timeline would allow for a long enough race to allow for fulsome open debate in ridings across the country and for new entrants to consider throwing their hats in the ring, while allowing us to also move past the leadership issue and move forward on rebuilding the party together.

If delegates are to have a chance to vote on this compromise position though, I need your help. To be put to delegates my sub-amendment needs the written support of at least 25 delegates to the extraordinary convention.

Delegates: Need your help ASAP

If you were acclaimed as a delegate and would like to see this sub-amendment voted on at the extraordinarily convention:

* You need to send an e-mail indicating "I support the sub-amendment proposed by Jeff Jedras" (paste the text of the sub-amendment into the e-mail to be safe) to the Liberal Party at

* Please cc. me at jjedras(at) so I can track the number of submissions.

* The e-mails must be received by LPC at Noon Eastern Time this Friday, June 17, so please send it now. Won't take but a second.

* Note: you must send the e-mail from the e-mail address you used to register for the extraordinary convention or it won't be valid and counted.

(UPDATE): Please use the subject line "Support for sub-amendments submitted by Jeff Jedras" for your e-mail to help LPC classify them.

Give delegates a better choice

Right now, like many delegates I feel I'm being forced to choose between two bad options.

The timeline as proposed is much too long. Even if the race won't officially be called for some time, the unofficial race will begin immediately and I don't want to see our party distracted by leadership drama when we should be focused on re-building.

At the same time, if we vote against the executive's proposal we'll be forced to pick a leader in just four months, which is far too short to allow for a proper race with a full field of credible candidates campaigning across the country.

Instead of being forced to hold our noses and pick the lesser of two bad options, let's give party members a third choice: a better choice. That's what I hope to do with this sub-amendment.

How will it work

Before voting on the main amendment proposed by the executive, the sponsors of any sub-amendments will be given a chance to speak to their proposal, and delegates given a chance to debate it, followed by a vote. If the sub-amendment is passed (by a simple majority) then debate proceeds to the main amendment as amended. If it fails, debate proceeds on the original unchanged amendment. The amendment itself will require 2/3s support to be successful. (Read the rules here)

Happy to answer any questions by e-mail or in the comments. But if you're an approved delegate and want to see delegates given a third option, please follow the instructions above. And thanks!

UPDATE: One little wrinkle to my amendment was pointed-out in the comments by Peter.

I just moved all the dates back a few months from those in the main amendment, but I also cut the window for the leadership vote from four months to three. In doing so, the date in (a) is one month past the five-month notice window to meet the end of the three-month window I set in (b). It doesn't invalidate the amendment I've proposed, but it does make it a little less neat than it should be.

Therefore I've informed the party I've changed the (a) date of my amendment to July 1, 2011, and I've asked those who have already e-mailed their support to resend reflecting their support of the changed amendment. The text above has been edited to reflect the change.

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Jordan said...

Not a LPC member but agree 100%.

Karl said...

I can't help you there Jeff. I know it is well-intentioned but I see your proposal as the worst of both worlds.

Rather than a period for rebuilding prior to a leadership race, you'd have leadership occur more or less instantaneously, as an September 1, 2011 or later membership would then be good all the way through leadership, so you have an incentive to begin membership sales right away. I'd far rather have the option of a 2013 Leadership Vote and spend the next 12 monhts on rebuilding our policy and communications, building up riding organizations, etc. THEN have a leadership, potentially with a wider field than could start to deploy under your approach.

Karl Littler

PDO said...


Your amendment as written is not Constitutional.

There has to be five months between the 1(a) date and the second date in 1(b).

The way you have it now is August 1 and November 30. This is only four months.

August 1 needs to be changed to July 1.

Hope this helps.

KyleHarrietha said...

I support your proposal Jeff. It puts a harder deadline for the end of 2012 and is an equitable compromise. I too would have preferred 12 months.

I'm surprised at the statement that the 2013 maximum timeline was put in to discourage membership sales.

If someone wants to sell for a Leadership campaign that hasn't started there's nothing stopping them now. Its only an extra $10 after all.

Jeff said...


Thanks for the note. I had the text vetted before submitting it, and just checked again, and I'm told that while the timing is not as neat as the original (as I shortened the window from four months to three) it is constitutional and valid.

It would probably be more neat to move the 1(a) date back one month to reflect the Nov. 30th deadline, as that is the real latest date the call could be made to give give months notice to a date within my revised timeframe, although my understanding is it's not technically necessary.

The only problem is I'd need to ask everyone who has e-mailed their support to re-send to reflect the revised text, but that may be what I do.

Quito said...

Memberships that are sold after October 1st are good through the next calendar year for the record. I don't think people will be rushing out in the first week of October to sign new members with a leadership 13-14 months away. I suppose someone organizing for the Biennial might...

Kyle H. said...

I'm not a delegate, Jeff, but I'll pass it along to my association members and they'll do with it what they will. I think they'll have a sympathetic ear, though - keep an ear out for Burlington!

PDO said...

OK. Good luck.

Mark said...

Jeff, your amendment is very close to comments I have made in discussions with my riding executive. I like your wording, and have sent in my support to For the record I am an 'ex officio' delegate.

calgarygrit said...

I'd prefer Spring 2012, but this is a better compromise.

If you give the national exec the power to call the race in 2012 or 2013, it gives them far too much influence (because of the cut-off change Karl mentions)...and basically insures leadership camps will go all out to stack the National Exec elections in January.

Karl said...

Just to be pedantic and correct Quito's erroneous assertion, it is September 1 that is the membership kick-over date not October 1.

National Membership Rules:

4.3 Memberships on or after September 1. If a membership takes effect on a date on or after September 1 in any year but before January 1 of the next year, then the membership remains current, in the case of a one year membership, from the date it takes effect until December 31 of the first calendar year that begins after that date and, in the case of two, three, four and five year memberships until December 31 of the second, third, fourth and fifth calendar years that begin after that date.

Karl said...

I see CalgaryGrit's point in his observation about the National Executive elections but my response would be that the Board's proposed amendment should be narrowed to have the leadership vote in the first few months of 2013.

Karl said...

Kyle, nobody said that the 2013 dates were put in place to deter membership sales. What I said was that they have the effect of discouraging Leadership hopefuls from beginning leadership-related membership sales (and associated campaign activity) on September 1, rather than say, when leadership is actually called.

What it comes down to is one either wants a leadership race in short order or one doesn't.

I don't.

Corina Ganton said...

I actually support the spirit of this amendment however I do not really support the wording of it.

I'm quite against the concept of 'grassroots' vs. 'non-grassroots'. So the addition of, join with the grassroots, like the leader can't be a part of the grassroots, and like the leader we choose will not have been part of the rebuilding that is already occurring.

But that's just me grassroots is an especially big pet peeve for me. However, the idea of moving it to late next year is actually a good one in my books. Too long without a permanent leader leaves us vulnerable to being forgotten about.

Jeff said...

Hi Corina,

We actually won't be voting on the "Whereas" part, just the Be It Resolved Part. I don't even think they're going to read the preamble.

James Curran said...

Just a thought. In 2006 it was widely accepted that the 10 month leadershipwas ridiculously too long. So now we decide to have a 17 month long leadership?

Mr.E said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeff said...


I think we both know people aren't going to await for an official start-gun to start leadership organizing. No rules we can dream up to put in place will stop it. Indeed, if some people haven't started already I'll eat my hat. So I'm not too concerned about the membership cutoff dates, frankly. My concern is trying to minimize the period where we're distracted by leadership drama, as I believe it will distract from the reform work that must be done. I think letting it drag on to 2013 is just too long.

Dan and Jeremy,

Frankly my first choice would be Spring 2012 as well, but I chose to submit Fall 2012 as my read is there wont' be sufficient support at Spring 2012 to get to the 2/3s needed to pass the main amendment. I'm hoping Fall 2012 is a compromise that can find broader consensus. Someone else may be proposing Spring 2012, but I'm not sure.

vanillaman said...

Jeff Jedras Just learned about your amednment today, I must say it is exactly what the Liberal party need's. Time To rebuild and time enough to get a permanent leader.I am sorry I am not a delegate, but I hope it gets passed and I wish it the best luck. I only WISH I could help MORE.

The Editor said...

See, this is the problem. This Party has lurched from one leadership race to another, losing seats EVERY time. The message needs to be sent to all would be leaders to put their ambitions on ice. This Party, the Party that I love and is my political home, has moved so far away from the grassroots that nobody has a clue who we are anymore. The first thing we do, BEFORE we talk about leadership races, is to build a grassroots organization that works from the bottom up, instead of the top down. Once we build that organization, and we decide what we want this Party to be, then and only then can we select a permanent Leader, because it will only be at that point that any leadership candidate will know what he or she will be signing up for. Frankly, I'd prefer the leadership get dealt with later rather than sooner.