Wednesday, March 22, 2006

POLITICS AS USUAL: Membership SHOULD have its privileges!

Okay, so this is going to be my first serious (I hope) blog... here it goes.

The current liberal leadership rules are causing some consternation with some regarding the early cut-off date for membership sales. And while I have no problem with causing any liberal frustration, I can sympathize.

I have been a card carrying Tory for 12 years now. I renew my membership faithfully when my local riding association sends me the notice. I renew federally on line and I am happy to do so. I am active (most days) in my local association and even if I miss a few meetings, I do offer my comments via email to the executive of the day.


It seems to me that this process just becomes a game the various camps play with each other. Instant liberals or insta-tories are not helping the process along.

Let's begin with the premise that we believe in parliamentary parties and that these vehicles should continue (some may argue we should abolish them, or more precisely, ask what's the point if a) they are all the same and b) MPs can switch with no consequence, and I will comment on that later, but for now let's assume we want to continue with political parties).

Then, shouldn't there be some sort of privilege that goes with being a party member. Specifically, shouldn't we have the right to choose our candidates and our leader.

We are the ones who stay on between elections, attend the fundraisers, stuff envelopes, put up with the grief from our non-partisan brethren who snicker at us for our commitment.

If I had my way (and I am seriously considering a motion to ammend our Party Constitution at the next AGM, if for no other reason than to get people thinking about it), I would limit the cutoff date to December 31st of the year PRIOR to the leadership/nomination being called.

The only membership sales allowed in the "campaign period" would be for renewals. AND you would have to demonstrate you were a member in the previous calendar year.

Why do this?

First, it makes being a member more important between these races.

Second, it means we don't have to cull the list after every nomination/election and put up with those who throw out their cards after their candidate doesn't win.

Third, it would make recruitment into the party a priority at all times, not just when you want to win a nomination/stack a riding association/etc.

Fourth, all those who want to run for nomination/leadership/party executive would have an interest in maintaining those high membership numbers all the time because they would never know when an election/leadership may be called.

Fifth, the "star factor" would fade a little. These so-called "stars" would actually have to appeal to the existing membership.

Sixth, fewer and fewer dead people may sign up for the leadership convention.

So that is my $Q.02 <-Trademark meaning my two cents worth.

I have other process related rants, but they can wait for now.

Q out.

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