Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Mid-Week Musings

-Adam Radwanski has a good article on cleaning up leadership races. Here's the crux of it:

To really achieve clean leadership campaigns, along with fair nomination races for local candidates, would require an overhaul of our entire concept of party membership. Rather than sending out recruiters with stacks of membership forms to try to collect (or pretend to collect) $10 fees, we would need to shift to something closer to the American model. In other words, give every voter the option of registering for the party of their choice, and hand every registered Liberal, Conservative or New Democrat a vote in their respective parties' leaderships or nominations.

It won't happen, because no party's MPs will vote for it -- not when it means transferring so much power from the elites to the common folk. But it's the only way that we'll ever really clean up party politics.

-This has the potential to re-open some old wounds.

-Blue Blogging Soapbox links to an interesting story on the fiscal imbalance:

"The real force behind the fiscal pressures currently faced by provincial governments is competitive tax cutting by provincial governments intent on getting ahead in the race to the bottom,'" concludes the report, compiled by economist Hugh Mackenzie for the left-leaning think tank.

-Speaking of which, Harper's three priorities for the fall will be:

1. The fiscal (im)balance
2. The environment
3. International competitiveness


  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Idealistic Pragmatist, at 2:16 p.m.  

  • I'm with Radwanski on giving every party member a vote in a leadership race, but I'm not with him on duplicating the American model of party registration. Mainly because in the U.S., party registration is NOT the same thing as party membership; it's about getting to vote in that party's primary and nothing more. For example, I registered as a Democrat so that I could have an influence on my state's Democratic primary, but I would never have joined the Democratic party because I don't believe in what they stand for. If party registration had meant I'd be considered a member of the Democratic party, I would have remained an independent.

    By Blogger Idealistic Pragmatist, at 2:17 p.m.  

  • Don't forget the 4th unspoken priority at this time...

    4. Making sure that Elections Canada never gets ahold of those Convention Books! :)

    By Blogger Meaghan Walker-Williams, at 2:29 p.m.  

  • How about something easier than an American-style election (which would be a very expensive proposition)?

    In order to vote at ANY nomination or delegate selection meeting or AGM, etc, you have to be a member of the party for two years prior to the vote.

    We should also do away with the multi-year memberships so that someone has to physically renew their membership and NOT be signed up by someone else for a continuous period.

    And finally, establish a standard fee across the country - youth, senior and regular fee.

    This way party members and not special interests get to decide the future of the party.

    By Blogger Hamilton Liberal, at 3:32 p.m.  

  • IP; I take almost the opposite approach. I don't have a problem with the delegated convention system (since delegates are chosen on a percentage of leader support) but I would like to see the US system.

    You could do the same thing here - people can register to be eligible to vote in nominations and leadership races, but you could have a separate party membership which would come with other benefits.

    That would solve a lot of the problems we see in both nomination and leadership battles.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 3:58 p.m.  

  • CG,

    That would also be okay with me, actually. As long as party registration isn't viewed as the same thing as party membership, it would work just fine. Start confusing the two, and it would get very unpleasant very quickly.

    What would be your objection to a one-member, one-vote approach to choosing the leader, by the way?

    By Blogger Idealistic Pragmatist, at 4:03 p.m.  

  • IP; It's less fun ;-)

    That's probably a serious answer too. Conventions create a lot of buzz and excitement and fire up both the party members at them and the general population. The convention system also ensure that all regions and demographics (ie. youth, females, etc) get representation. If you went to 1M1V, candidates would sign Liberals up en masse in Toronto and ignore rural Alberta completely since the votes just aren't there. I think it's been fantastic to see so many Liberals come out to Alberta over the past few months and I don't think you'd see that in a 1M1V race.

    That said, I wouldn't mind one member one vote so long as the system got changed to voter registration. My main beef is that people think it would solve all the problems with instant Liberals and masse sign ups, when this isn't the case at all.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 4:23 p.m.  

  • CG, know, leadership conventions aren't necessarily incompatible with allowing every member a vote. Just saying.

    By Blogger Idealistic Pragmatist, at 4:27 p.m.  

  • Radwanski's cure is worse than the disease; American political parties are notoriously weak and disorganized and the registration system has a lot to do with it.

    Combined with Canada's Westminster system of government, the results would be disastrous.

    By Blogger Demosthenes, at 3:11 p.m.  

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