Monday, April 06, 2009

One Member, One Vote, Several Opinions

Grab a beer, sit back, and get ready for a stimulating post on the nuances of internal party electoral reform!

As you may have heard, the Liberal Party will be voting on changing its leadership selection process from the current system of choosing the leader at delegated conventions (when we feel like it), to a weighted one member one vote system (WOMOV). This is basically the system the Tories use - every riding gets 100 points and if you win half the riding you get 50 points, if you win a quarter of a riding you get 25 points...the math is fairly easy to figure out so I don't think I need to include any other examples.

So what do I think about this and the proposal to set "youth quotas"? What system would I like to see? Glad you asked!


The Leadership Selection Process

First off, I don't think the current system is quite the affront to democracy it's often made out to be. For all intents and purposes, we currently have a WOMOV system since, instead of 100 points, every riding gets X delegates. In both cases, the points and delegates are divided based on the percentage of votes a candidate receives.

So if you "cleaned up" the current system by removing ex-officios and delegates from clubs and commissions, the only difference would be that the delegated convention transfers the second choice vote from everyone to Liberals elected as delegates.

It also has the added benefit of making for one hell of an exciting show - and I don't think that's something that should be discounted completely when it comes to getting Canadians and Liberals excited about the party and the new leader.

That said, WOMOV is a fairer system, so I'd be supportive of making the change.


Youth Quotas

The Young Liberals have proposed amending WOMOV to WOMOVW25QFY - Weighted one member one vote, with 25% quotas for youth. In short, at least 25 points in every riding would be reserved for youth. I know a few of my young Liberal friends will disagree with me on this one, but I'm not a big fan of this amendment.

For starters, it really defeats the entire purpose of "one member, one vote", and if you argue there should be quotas for youth, there's no valid reason to argue there shouldn't be quotas for the other commissions - that means points for women, seniors, and aboriginals. Hell, it also means there's no valid reason to argue there shouldn't also be quotas for immigrants, farmers, or bloggers.

But the main reason I don't like this amendment is that I don't think it's needed. Youth still get their delegate spot quotas for conventions which means they still have their previous influence when it comes to policy, party executive positions, and constitutional amendments (such as this one). The main argument for having youth delegate quotas before was that it got more young people to conventions, getting them excited about the party, and making them members for life. Is there anyone out there who can really say that a youth who knows his or her vote is worth 1.5 points is going to be more excited than a youth who knows their vote is worth 1.3 points?

In the end, if the intent of WOMOV is to democratize the party, then let's go all the way on it.


My System of Choice

As mentioned above, WOMOV lacks some of the excitement you get from conventions. So, to remedy this, I'd propose the following version of WOMOV (copied somewhat from the primary system):

1. Carve the country up into, say, 30 regions of around 10 ridings each - so, for example, Edmonton would be a region, BC Interior would be a region and so on...it doesn't really matter how you divide them up.

2. Randomly divide up the voting schedule so that it takes place over 4 weeks. I'd set it up where you had 2 regions voting the first week, 4 the second week, and then 12 each of the last two.

3. On the final weekend, you could also hold a series of provincial or regional "mini-conventions" that anyone would be free to attend, to watch the results come in - this would include the reading of the second choice votes if candidates fail to reach the necessary majority on the first ballot.

This would give you the New Hampshire/Iowa/Super Tuesday excitement of the US primary system condensed over a month and, since the order would be drawn at random, it wouldn't favour any one particular region. You'd get Canadians more excited in the entire process, compensating for the loss of convention pizazz.


In Conclusion

My sense is that there's enough support for WOMOV that it will pass at the convention. So the real question becomes what kind of WOMOV system we get.


See Also
A BCer in Toronto
Scott Tribe
Far and Wide

Labels: ,

63 Comments:

  • Why do you hate young people Dan? Did John Lennard put you up to this? It seems like he hates the YLC too.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:35 AM  

  • Probably because they are failing to listen to any sense of logic in this matter.

    By Blogger James Curran, at 10:48 AM  

  • John Lennard has nothing to do with any of the Liberal blogosphere posting their dislike of the YLC's amendment.

    By Blogger Scott Tribe, at 10:54 AM  

  • Thankfully, someone -- SAM LAVOIE -- is standing up for the youth!
    The other 2 don't have a hope.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:56 AM  

  • Yeah good on Sam for "standing up for youth" three weeks before his term is up..

    ...When did he ever during the last 2.5 years?

    Now thats a record someone can be proud of, gag!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:00 AM  

  • I see some YLs are posting anonymous comments on blogs to unfairly slander one of their YL presidential candidates and stump for another.

    First of all, doing so anonymously is pretty chickenshit. Secondly, you're reflecting pretty poorly on the candidate you purport to support. Do you think spreading obvious lies is going to help your candidate? And thirdly, you're making a pretty damm poor case for giving youth a greater than their numbers warrant say in this party when these are the kind of tactics you employ.

    By Blogger A BCer in Toronto, at 11:01 AM  

  • @Thankfully, someone -- SAM LAVOIE -- is standing up for the youth!
    The other 2 don't have a hope.

    --Either does this youth amendment. As for standing up for something, try blogging with a name on your comments and then you have the right to argue an issue.

    By Blogger James Curran, at 11:03 AM  

  • Take a look at the En Famille message boards and see if you can find anything from Sam or his bunch expressing concern over the OMOV proposal as it pertained to the youth. You'll have a hard time finding anything there.

    That's standing up for the YLC?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:10 AM  

  • For what it's worth, I don't have a huge preference in the YLC race - I've met all three candidates and I think they'd all do a good job. If I had a vote, I could see myself voting for any one of the three.

    I'm just giving my 2 cents on this issue which is, I think you'll agree, far more important than the YLC race.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 11:39 AM  

  • Jeff I agree no one likes to see such personal attacks against, so take a look at all the LIES being said about Lavoie by ANONYMOUS poeple here.

    https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=28423454&postID=8911905458960587056

    I would hope NEITHER campaign condones this crap and would like to hear them say so.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:04 PM  

  • I'm disappointed I have to do this.. but I've updated my blogpost today (which is mentioned in 'Grit's links at the bottom) to state that as far as I know, none of the Liberal bloggers who've posted against the YLC's amendment were contacted by any of the YLC's candidates and asked to organize an end-run against its amendment.

    If anything, when one blogger posted his dislike, others saw and felt the same way, and posted accordingly. I was hoping we wouldn't see this turn into a smear against one candidate, but unfortunately, and rather predictably, that's what has started to happen.

    By Blogger Scott Tribe, at 12:15 PM  

  • The youth amendment passed last time WOMOV was considered, and will more than likely pass again this time.

    To my knowledge it is the only amendment to the WOMOV amendment and other changes cannot be done from the floor. No worry of a plethora of quotas being submitted.

    The amendment is about the future of the Liberal Party, and what direction we want to go in. Is all the progressiveness and pressure from youth elements seen as a positive aspect of our party as so many say in speeches, or is it a detriment?

    I believe the impact youth have on the party is positive, and the contributions of people brought into the party originally as youth is great.

    That is why I will only support WOMOV with the youth amendment.

    By Blogger Kyle G. Olsen, at 12:42 PM  

  • Kyle:

    I believe the youth have a positive impact on the LPC as well.. but I also think you don't need an artificial quota which brings artificial power to continue youth's positive influence.

    As for the likelihood of the amendment passing. it's early in the game.. we'll see.

    By Blogger Scott Tribe, at 12:48 PM  

  • And where do quotas end Kyle. Next biennial it'll be the women and the senoirs wanting quotas. And so on and so on.

    You're so progressive that you'd vote down OMOV just to get your own way.

    And judging by the slanderous comments by anonymous youth on this thread, no, you're not a positive voice in the party.

    OMOV means everyone is equal. Period. End of story.

    And, no, your amendment will not pass.

    By Blogger James Curran, at 12:49 PM  

  • Get real Sam-haters!
    This guy busted his ass for Bob Rae's leadership campaign while John was no where to be seen.
    Sam is a hard worker who supports the youth First, not his future job prospects.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:20 PM  

  • Good post Dan. I think I agree with you.

    I know costs werent something you focused on in supporting (W)OMOV but it was SO difficult to find people with the coin to fly out to Montreal, pay the delegate fees and accomodations last go around even with the generous travel subsidies and tax credits. The whole thing seemed kind of elitist.

    With respect to youth, I think the Liberals (and political parties in general) have deeper problems with "youth" that quotas arent going to fix. While it varies from riding to riding it just doesnt seem like young people, even politically aware young people, see political parties as a useful vehicle for advancing their beliefs. I think there may be one active Young Liberal in my riding at the moment.

    By Blogger KC, at 1:24 PM  

  • WOMOV doesn't mean everyone is equal James. It means every riding is equal.

    2 votes in a riding in northern Quebec still gets as many points as 1000 votes in Trinity Spadina.

    The favoured position of youth was brought in for a reason in our party, because it gives our party an advantage in recruitment, in policy development, and training the next generation of leaders in the party.

    Voting down WOMOV because it doesn't contain a floor for youth vote share is the very definition of progressive. It isn't like we will need to use the leadership election process before the next chance to modify it anyways.

    As for the comment that it is the thin edge of the wedge re:quotas for other groups, let me inform you that all the commissions within the party knew that this proposal was passed by the national executive. Only the Young Liberals voted to propose an amendment, just as we did in 2006.

    If WOMOV fails then maybe we can think up a better system, such as the primary one that Dan proposed, and bring that about next convention.

    It is not like the process is a one shot deal.

    By Blogger Kyle G. Olsen, at 1:31 PM  

  • As it turns out CG, this amendment seems to be less about Youth Voice and more about the YLC Presidential race. I guess the wedge issue is this one. How mature of our youth.

    As for you Kyle, it's not a one shot deal. you're right. It only took us 3 years to get it back to the floor. What's another three years if it fails this time? Heck, soon the leader will be able to appoint himself. He or she won;t even need the approval of the caucus.

    By Blogger James Curran, at 1:51 PM  

  • KC - good point re: cost.

    KO - the principle of making ridings equal makes sense because that's how you win an election. And I think it's something that's neccesary to make sure candidates step foot outside of Toronto during a leadership race. On the flip side, I just don't see how this ammendment will get more youth involved in the party. Maybe I'm missing something.

    General - I don't think this ammendment is that awful...and it's well intentioned. So I'd still support WOMOV with the ammendment on it, my preference would just be to do it without ammendment.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 2:03 PM  

  • James why do u insinuate that this is about the young liberal presidency race? Sam is so far ahead its OVER.

    By Anonymous cookiecutter, at 2:09 PM  

  • Is there a copy of the actual proposal that the national exec has endorsed and that delegates will be voting on publicly available - as opposed to your wonderful, and I have no doubt very accurate summary?

    By Anonymous Rob Silver, at 2:18 PM  

  • Gee cookiecutter, then why are anonymous people or ones using handles getting on Liberal blogs who oppose YLC and using it to attack John's candidacy? If Sam's going to win, as you so confidently predict, you'd have nothing to worry about - or to gain.

    Jim's point is that some people have gone from debating whether the YLC motion makes any sense or not and taking it to a smear attempt on YLC candidates.

    Quite frankly, I don't think any of the Liberal blogs who have so far opposed the YLC amendment have actually come out and declared an endorsement for 1 YLC presidential candidate over another - yours truly included. Furthermore, John Lennard hasnt even said he opposes the YLC amendment.. he's said though he'll support OMOV with or without the amendment of the YLC passing.

    That is hardly a sign of John "hating or not standing up for" the youth in the party. What it does show is some in the YLC are attempting a smear campaign.

    By Blogger Scott Tribe, at 2:20 PM  

  • Scott some consistency would be appreciated, take a look here.

    Lots of anonymous smears of Lavoie that are essentially all lies.

    Will BOTH candidates please stand up and condemn such nonsense? It would be nice to have a clean positive race.

    As for the amendment being a YLC Presidential race issue, I'm pretty sure an overwhelming majority (80-90%) of youth will support the amendment like that many did in 2006, so it's hardly a "wedge" issue at all, I'm sure John Lennard and Kerry Nelson and pretty much any YLC member who speaks publicly about it will be saying soon that they support the amendment wholeheartedly too.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:35 PM  

  • Rob Silver, YES there is. The LPC National Exec endorsed the following:

    Proposed LPC amendment:

    (a) Delete section 56 and replace it with the following:

    (1) The Leadership Vote is a direct vote of all members of the Party who have a right to vote on the Leadership Vote weighted equally for each electoral district in Canada and counted in accordance with this Section.

    (2) Every member of the Party who ordinarily lives in Canada has the right to vote on the Leadership Vote, if that member has –

    (a) been a member of the Party for the 41 days immediately preceding the day of the Leadership Vote;

    (b) paid the registration fee (if any) for the Leadership Vote established by the National Executive;

    (c) complied with the registration procedures established by the National Executive or by the Leadership Vote Committee.

    (3) At least 27 days before the day of the Leadership Vote, the National Executive must publish on the public website of the Party the registration procedures for the Leadership Vote.

    (4) Each member of the Party who has a right to vote on the Leadership Vote may vote by a preferential ballot on which the voter indicates their preference for leadership contestants. A ballot is not spoiled because the voter has not indicated a preference for all leadership contestants.

    (5) The ballots must be counted, under the direction of the Chief Electoral Officer appointed under Subsection 56(6), in accordance with the following procedure (that is illustrated in Appendix B):

    (a) Each electoral district is allocated 100 points.

    (b) On the first count:

    (i) for each electoral district, the first preference votes recorded in favour of leadership contestants on the ballots cast by the members of the Party who live in that electoral district are counted and then the 100 points allocated to the electoral district are allocated to each leadership contestant on the basis of the ratio the number of the first preference votes received by that leadership contestant bears to the total number of votes counted;

    (ii) the total number of points allocated to each leadership contestant from all electoral districts in Canada are added to produce a total for the “national count”.

    (c) On the second count, the leadership contestant who received the least points on the first national count is eliminated and that leadership contestant’s first count ballots are distributed in each electoral district among the remaining leadership contestants according to the second preferences indicated and counted according to the procedure set out in Subparagraph 56(a)(i) as if they were first preference votes.

    (d) On each subsequent count, the leadership contestant who received the least votes in the preceding count is eliminated, and that leadership contestant’s ballots are distributed among the remaining leadership contestants according to the next preferences indicated.

    (e) The first leadership contestant to receive more than 50% of the points allocated on any national count is selected as the Leader.

    (6) The Leadership Vote Committee and the National Executive must jointly appoint a Chief Electoral Officer who will be responsible to make all arrangements necessary for the conduct of the balloting on the Leadership Vote and adjudicate all disputes over accreditation and the right to vote on the Leadership Vote.

    (7) The Chief Electoral Officer appointed under Subsection 56(6) must act independently of the National Executive and each of the leadership contestants.

    The YLC's amendment then is:
    Proposed YLC amendment to the LPC amendment

    Under section 56(5)(a) of the proposed LPC amendment, add the following:

    (i) No less than 25 of the 100 points shall be allocated to members aged 25 or less.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:43 PM  

  • If you are wondering where that amendment info comes from it comes from here:

    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=80196361192
    (Link)

    That comes directly from the YLC VP Communications who would have direct knowledge of what the LPC National Exec passed.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:46 PM  

  • Scott in fairness I think the skepticism comes from the fact that there was no such outrage whatsoever in the blogosphere over the VERY SAME amendment that was at the last leadership convention and that passed with easily more than 50% support.

    So why the outrage now and not then? It's a fair question, since you were a blogger at the convention right? Did you comment on it then? Did ANYONE on Liblogs?

    Why not? I'm NOT saying it has to do with internal YLC politics, it sure it doesn't but I think some would like to be enlightened on this since this seemed pretty non-controversial in 2006.

    My own intuition is there has been a growing widespread resentment of the power of the youth in the party and people think they have too much power now and would like to see it reduced so are against this amendment because they don't want to see youth have 25% or 33% of the vote in any future leadership ever (I think in reality youth only make up like 18% of the population so it's pretty dman big stretch to say they'd ever get up to the 25% they are asking for now or the 33% they had in 2006). But maybe I'm wrong.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:16 PM  

  • You want evidence of the claim that there is fairly widespread resentment of the power of youth in the party? Here you go...

    (Link)

    "Liberal MP Carolyn Bennett (St. Paul's, Que.), who is heading up the party's "Change Commission," acknowledged that the new policy development process is "imperfect," however she said it's still far better than the old system of policy workshops and delegates voting on policy resolutions.

    She said under the old system, policy workshops were often poorly attended, and that certain segments of the party learned how to "run from room to room" and manipulate the policy process to get the resolutions that they wanted passed. Both Ms. Bennett and Mr. Trudeau said they hope that a process emerges from the convention that will allow a one-member, one-vote system to choose both future leaders, and policy resolutions"



    Now just who are they referring to here? Exactly!

    So soon no dedicated representation for youth at policy conventions either! Just a mater of time, maybe next convention they'll move an amendment to abolish the YLC altogether!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:22 PM  

  • These are all still just vote-buying/vote-selling contests as far as I can see. In real parliamentary democracies, the people elect their representatives and the MP hire (and fire) the leaders. Accountability, what a concept!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:38 PM  

  • As a former (current? future?) blogger, and as a candidate for President of the Young Liberals of Canada, I have never been comfortable with "anonymous" commentators using sections such as these to smear fellow Liberals. This is not the way to do business in the Liberal Party of Canada.

    Looking forward to a thoughtful, passionate and respectful debate at convention,


    John Lennard

    By Blogger John Lennard, at 3:38 PM  

  • Perhaps Braeden will also propose women be given 60 of the 100 points, and seniors 25 of the 100 points and aboriginals 15 of the 100 points. whoops, it doesn't add up. like this amendment.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:43 PM  

  • Huh? The other commissions did not submit their own amendments to the amendment to my knowledge, and cannot as the deadline has passed.

    Lets keep the argument to what is proposed here.

    By Blogger Kyle G. Olsen, at 4:15 PM  

  • One of the many anonymous commentators asked me:

    It's a fair question, since you were a blogger at the convention right? Did you comment on it then? Did ANYONE on Liblogs?

    I was indeed at the 2006 Liberal Convention. I was also not a Liberal blogger or a Liberal member at the time, and to be fair, I wasn't exactly following the Liberal policy resolutions that closely.

    I am however a Liberal this time around, and I feel the amendment for quotas is a bad idea. So, I'm speaking out on it now. Fair enough?

    By Blogger Scott Tribe, at 4:21 PM  

  • Yup, thanks Scott. I guess just of us are puzzled why this is so controversial now, but maybe I guess with no leadership race going on people focus their eyes elesewhere now compared to then.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:39 PM  

  • I wonder if Jim Curran can look into his crystal ball and give me the winning lottery numbers so that I can help pay some of my student loans.

    I don't understand how he can be so sure about this amendment failing given that the EXACT motion easily passed in 2006. It seems like he is blinded by his own feelings on the topic.

    On another note, I do think it is unfortunate that this has begun to degenerate into a Sam vs. John thing. This issue is so much bigger than the YLC race. It is about the future of the YLC itself. I really wish all of the Presidential candidates would come together and openly support this amendment. That would end some of these shenanigans.

    By Blogger Justin, at 4:45 PM  

  • Anon316 - No one cared about this ammendment last time because they had other things on their mind (i.e. leadership). It was also abundantly obviously that OMOV would be voted down, since everyone was having a blast at the delegates convention. This time, I think the general consensus is that OMOV is likely to pass, hence the online ink being spilled on it.

    I agree with Justin above - turning this into a YLC presidential thing is silly. That's not to say the candidates can't take a position, but this should go beyond the current race.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 5:34 PM  

  • My issue with the Youth amendment is what about those ridings that have only 1 or 2 active Young Liberals. Like say ... in Alberta.

    So does that mean that 1 youth voter could technically carry the weight of 25 pts?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:19 PM  

  • Apparently so, anonymous.. Isn't it a grand plan? (not so democratic however).

    By the way.. just had a little chit chat with Liberal officials. We've been going around on the blogs saying it isn't fair to give an organization that has 12-14% of Liberal Members a 25% delegate quota.

    Well, as it turns out, we've given the YLC too much credit.. because I've been told they're apparently at around 10% of the Liberal membership, and have been for awhile... and yet we're supposed to give them a disproportionate 25% quota in a new system that was supposed to be more democratic?

    By Blogger Scott Tribe, at 6:39 PM  

  • Perhaps if the youth want to be respected and considered, they should grow up. C'mon, let's just get this OMOV started and in the future improve it.

    If it fails because of this silly nonsense of the youth thinking nobody loves me, the Liberal party will look so bad.

    One step at a time, moving forward - get it.

    Lyn

    PS: I agree with James Curran on this.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:41 PM  

  • thanks scott on the info. 10% and these spoiled brats wants 2 1/2 times the say. no f-ing way.
    go jim go!!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:53 PM  

  • http://www.facebook.com/groups/edit.php?officers&gid=76280527080#/group.php?gid=76280527080&ref=nf

    By Blogger James Curran, at 6:59 PM  

  • Scott said:
    "yet we're supposed to give them a disproportionate 25% quota in a new system that was supposed to be more democratic?"

    They had a 33% quota in the last leadership race. Point me to your post (or for that matter anyone's post) in the past where you complained about that? It's been well known for quite a long time that youth got 1/3 of the votes in leadership races.

    This proposes an 8% decline in their influence from 2006.

    So this isn't even quite preserving the influence they've had in every leadership race for a very long time. Reduce them to their bare numbers and then they will be a 10% bloc that no one listens to. Given that they are more left-wing on average than the rest of the party perhaps they'll just become seen as the "lunatic fringe" of the party that everyone ignores. Maybe many will just leave for the NDP.

    Scott if that's what you want fine, just say so because you don't seriously believe they'll get to 25% of the membership ever -they are not even 20% of the population - someone would really have to have their head in the clouds to believe they could could get to 25%, 15% maybe, 20% with 5-10 years constant work perhaps, but 25%? No way, basically mathematically impossible and would defy all sociological logic.

    It's a perfectly legitimate view to hold to want youth influence to decline dramatically from the status quo, just others who want a vibrant youth wing that plays a serious role in determining the outcome of leadership races would disagree with you, including I'm sure each YLC candidate, no matter what position they are running for.

    By Anonymous RyanM, at 8:04 PM  

  • Ryan: Try reading up a couple comments for my response to "anonymous". I wasn't a Liberal when I was observing them as a blogger at the past 2006 Convention. I wasn't as particularly concerned about what the various Liberal motions on policy were for internal party procedure.

    I AM a Liberal now.. and I'm saying as a Liberal I see no need for this artificial quota. Whatever happened in the past doesn't concern me as much as the present, or the future.

    You want people to listen to the youth Ryan? Get the YLC to aggressively go out and recruit new members and get the numbers up to the 20 -25% range. If the YLC had done the past few years rather then engaging in internal bickering and power struggles with one another.. maybe your membership levels in the Liberals wouldn't be at the 10% level.

    I'll keep repeating the same thing every time you folks who bring up this point up. There can be a vibrant youth wing - but it doesn't need an artificial quota to have that vibrancy; what it needs are some leaders willing to go out and work at getting young people reasons to sing up to the membership, rather then bickering at each other or planning when the next social event is.

    By Blogger Scott Tribe, at 9:29 PM  

  • (That would be "sign" up to the leadership).

    By Blogger Scott Tribe, at 9:34 PM  

  • "what it needs are some leaders willing to go out and work at getting young people reasons to sing up to the membership, rather then bickering at each other or planning when the next social event is."

    I agree but one could also say what the LPC needs is someone who can raise $25 million a year like the Conservatives and someone who can win us 50% of the vote too. But I'm not sure if those claims are any more realistic than yours.

    So Scott you keep acting like everything will be fine, but what if it's not? A person willing to have a full debate should be willing to provide your thoughts on what you think the consequences will be if your confidence in the YLC's recruitment abilities is misplaced.

    What if the YLC just finds itself unable to keep up in recruiting with other sections of the party as seems likely? You've presented precisely zero evidence to back up your extreme confidence that the YLC can get to 25%. I'm sorry but "yes we can!" is just not good enough for the task nor a good enough justification to give to youth for why they should decrease their influence from 33% to 10%.

    Let's say Sam Lavoie wins do you think he can get to 25%? I'm not sure you like the guy (or the least you don't like what he's said on this amendment), but you have to at least consider it's possible he wins.

    Does the YLC deserve to have no influence then if Sam and his next executive can't get beyond 10% in your view?

    You may think I sound defeatist but I don't have any intrinsic reason to be all rosy about the YLC either, I just happen to believe it's a good thing when they can affect the outcome of leadership races which isn't possible with only a 10% bloc. And frankly I don't think anyone in the running for anything this year on the YLC could bring the YLC to even 15% of the membership let alone beyond 10% without if their amendment doesn't end up passing (the amendment passing creates an inherent incentive to recruit more youth).

    By Anonymous RyanM, at 9:45 PM  

  • I support OMOV. In terms how it relates to the YLC race, I think there are many other issues candidates are running on and this is just one of them. I think the problem is that Young Liberals sometimes focus too much energy on leadership races and not enough on policy work.

    Also, is it really necessary to come on this blog and post anonymous comments bashing one of the YLC candidates (see below for examples)? How does that relate to OMOV or the amendment? At the very least, could folks actually quote the candidates in terms of where they stand on the issue in the name of providing insight, rather than saying a candidate has not 'done anything for two years' or a candidate does not having any 'hope' of winning. That stuff bores me. I'm looking for more interesting points of debate.

    Examples of anonymous comments:
    "James why do u insinuate that this is about the young liberal presidency race? Sam is so far ahead its OVER"
    ----
    "Why do you hate young people Dan? Did John Lennard put you up to this? It seems like he hates the YLC too."
    ---
    "Thankfully, someone - SAM LAVOIE - is standing up for the youth!
    The other 2 don't have a hope."
    ---
    "Yeah good on Sam for "standing up for youth" three weeks before his term is up...When did he ever during the last 2.5 years?

    Now thats a record someone can be proud of, gag!"

    Chris Drew
    (I'm no longer a Young Liberal so the YLC race matters less in terms of who wins and more in terms of policy action from the next generation of Liberals!)

    By Anonymous Chris Drew, at 9:55 PM  

  • I love the idea of a young Liberal who is involved enough in the party that he/she takes the time to read a lengthy blog post AND comments on changing the leadership selection process...but will change their opinion on the YLC race based on an anonymous comment or two. Seriously guys, the anon "inside baseball" stuff isn't winning over any votes.

    Ryan/Scott - I'm not sure the relevant issue is whether or not the YLC can get their membership up to 25%...demographically that may just not be possible. I guess the real issue is whether or not this ammendment would help them increase their membership and I have yet to hear a compelling reason to convince me that it would.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 10:32 PM  

  • Dan, if they've had a historical quota at these Conventions already, and they were at indeed higher levels then 25%, as Ryan claims, I think the argument that adding a quota to OMOV will somehow magically make youth enthusiastic to join the YLC is a ludicrous statement.

    As I've stated, I've been told historically that the levels are at 10% membership for youth. I went back (just to be thorough) and I asked a followup question about whether the official knew what levels were like now, and he said without getting staff to look at demographics, it's at slightly LESS then the historical rate.. meaning the youth are at UNDER 10% levels.

    I'll add something also; based on that, the argument for me in all of this is why should we be giving a group that has so little membership in the Liberal Party a blanket guaranteed veto when in my view, they don't deserve it, and haven't earned that right? What about other groups in the LPC who have larger percentages? Sure, Kyle can say that doesn't matter because they didn't get a submission in time for this Convention.. but they might for the next one.

    By Blogger Scott Tribe, at 10:44 PM  

  • "So does that mean that 1 youth voter could technically carry the weight of 25 pts?"

    How is this different than rural Alberta or Quebec ridings that have 5 members? Those 5 members will be worth 100 points, while a riding in downtown Toronto with 1000 members will also be worth 100 points.

    It seems to me that we can't have it both ways and say that a riding weight is great but a youth weight is an affort to democracy.

    By Blogger Justin, at 11:27 PM  

  • You can criticize their membership numbers, but Young Liberals have always punched above their weight in terms of influence and pushing the party in a progressive direction and even doing little things like banging in signs, making phone calls, and volunteering on campaigns. We might not make up 25% of the party, but I guarantee you that we make up at least 25% of the effort, hardwork, and progressive influence.

    I don't mean this in a rude way, but maybe you have not been around the party long enough to understand the importance of the YLC to LPC, Scott.

    By Blogger Justin, at 11:34 PM  

  • Dan you raise an excellent point. It's a matter of numbers vs. influence.

    You are right it's virtually demographically impossible for the youth to get 25% BUT with a quota of 25% they are GUARANTEED to influence the outcome of EVERY leadership race.

    If you believe that youth are at the forefront of progressive ideas for the party then you would want them to have that influence so that leadership campaigns have to incorporate their views into the platforms or basically guarantee they won't have enough votes to win.

    If you believe that the youth wing have been kind of useless then you won't want them to have that kind of influence, you'd rather they only have a 10% voice which is really pretty marginal, we have 10% on the very far right in this party (the anti-abortion, so-con types or the ultra-libertarian types) and they have VERY LITTLE influence whatsoever on policy. The youth could just end up being treated as a radical fringe that no one need listen to.

    As for how the quota helps recruitment: Simple.

    Leadership camps will WORK LIKE MAD to sign up youth, because they'll want to make sure they've locked up as much of that 25% quota as possible. The lame example is given of 2 people making up the 25% but that's a ludicrous example, under OMOV we could have as many as 10 candidates in a leadership race, you think they will just all vy over 2 people? Obviously that makes no sense they'll just work to sign up more youth members than the other candidates do to win as much of the 25% as possible.

    Once increased numbers of youth are brought into the party through a leadership race THEN it should be the role of the YLC to make sure they stay, but I don't think it's unrealistic or bad to think that they would need help from leadership campaigns to boost their numbers, after all this amendment is SOLELY about leadership campaigns and what it will take to win one in the future.

    You convinced Dan?

    By Anonymous RyanM, at 11:35 PM  

  • *affront to democracy

    By Blogger Justin, at 11:35 PM  

  • 25% reserved for youth?!

    Next we'll be looking at something truly asinine like giving votes to unions!

    By Anonymous Darrell, at 12:42 AM  

  • Comment on your proposed system, CG (apologies if that doesn't flow well with most of the above discussion).

    I am not sure why having staggered votes would make things more exciting - I think it is possible the last primary skewed our perceptions of how exciting primaries are. Most of the time, the frontrunner wins in Iowa and/or New Hampshire and the excitement dies down as expectations shift.

    Thus it would be very rare for one candidate to have less than 50% of the vote, since no-hope candidates would tend to drop out. This might give the nominee an undue amount of influence over the party, but you may also think this is a good thing.

    The other thing with staggering is that while it would be fair only in a large number of contests (it may favour some candidates who get early selections and develop momentum). When you consider that the Liberals have elected 5 leaders since 1984, you could certainly see where this is a problem.

    Finally, the usual argument for staggered conventions is that it lowers the cost for candidates to run and encourages a bigger field. This is not much of a problem in Canada, however, where only party members (~1% of the population) vote, versus the US, where any registered Republican or Democrat can vote (often independents too) - so 30-70% of the population.

    By Blogger hosertohoosier, at 1:31 AM  

  • H2H - good points...obviously doing it all at once is "fairer", I'm just trying to think of ways to add some excitement to the process. And doing it over one month seems condensed enough to make it work.

    Having candidates drop out during the process also works better, in my opinion, than having mass drops outs at the convention when people have half an hour to make a decision of where to go. This isn't a slight on Dion or anything, but I think a lot of his second choice support came from the immediate "convention mentality" of the time, whereas people might have chosen differently if they had a week to think it over.

    And as for undue influence this causes...well, Martin and Ignatieff were basically crowned without competition under the old system. For all intents and purposes Chretien and Turner had first ballot wins (or close to it). I'd like to think the party has learned about what happens when you marginalize your opponents anyways, so I don't see that as a big issue.

    Admitedly some regions will have higher influence, but I'd like to think that would create added excitement in those regions, causing more members of the general public to sign up due to the extra local media attention and attention the candidates will pay to them. You could even do 4 regions the first week, and guarantee that at least one from each of Quebec/Ontario/Atlantic/West will be represented.

    In the end, I don't think any of the problems are major, and getting a full month of (positive) media coverage is better than getting it all over in a weekend, I think.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 9:43 AM  

  • It is interesting that for all the talk on the blogs, the anti YLC amendment facebook has 30 members while the pro ylc amendment group is nearly 200...

    Guys, I want OMOV passed, but if we defeat the youth resolution, it hurts OMOV's chances of success. And I do not think that those Young Liberals (and senior Liberals) who are supporting the YLC amendment are acting like "spoiled brats" as has been suggested. I think they are standing up for the youth and that is certainly admirable.
    I caution my fellow "old farts" to tone down the rhetoric on this.... it is not becoming of us mature folk.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:51 AM  

  • People are really missing the point here. OMOV wont diminish youth's voice at conventions because the whole system is designed to REPLACE delegated conventions and in exchange give every liberal in the country a vote. How will it reduce youth's voice if it gives every single youth in the party a vote which they currently do not enjoy in a delegated system?

    Furthermore, this is soley for leadership selection, which typically happens once every 10 years or so. This has nothing to do with policy, young liberals can still promote progressive policies and push the party in whatever direction they please.

    OMOV isnt a threat to the viability of the organization, the threat to the viability is a the YLC not recruiting enough as we have recently witnessed.

    By Anonymous Colin, at 12:32 PM  

  • Justin.. thank you for your put-down on my not understanding the YLC in relation to the LPC, but as I said to you when you tried that on me at Facebook, there are plenty of other Liberals who've been in the party longer then me that have the same problems I do with this YLC amendment. If you want influence, you should be earning it. Maybe if your YLC leadership were out there busy trying to persuade young people to join, rather then engaging in internal petty squabbles, you wouldn't be in the position of declining membership.


    Annoymous re: Facebook groups. The anti-YLC amendment just got started, and there are a lot of YLC members on Facebook, and I'd daresay there arent as many Liberal delegates on there. So, I wouldn't be getting confident over comparing Facebook membership numbers.

    By Blogger Scott Tribe, at 1:13 PM  

  • It is interesting that for all the talk on the blogs, the anti YLC amendment facebook has 30 members while the pro ylc amendment group is nearly 200...

    If there's one thing the YLC is good at, it's getting really big facebook groups.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:21 PM  

  • "If there's one thing the YLC is good at, it's getting really big facebook groups."

    Very funny. I guess they're pretty good at passing amendments too, since this exact same proposal passed with easily more than 50% support at the last convention.

    And for the talk that this is just for leadership conventions, it's a slipperty slope the Change Commission will be recommending WOMOV without quotas for the entire policy process very shortly, just wait and see (I don't have direct confirmation of that, but that's what they've hinting at in their quotes in the Hill Times). Then youth will lose their influence on that too if they lose this battle.

    At least Scott Tribe is pragmatic in that he knows WOMOV vote has a better chance of passing if the YLC amendment passes and he would support the overall package once it does. It's just too bad others don't see the mathematical impossibility of passing the entire package without the youth vote (and yes it's pretty safe to say a very sizable majority will vote against OMOV without the amendment - the official position of the YLC in 2006 even without ANY contested YLC races was a very strong recommendation for all youth to oppose the package if the amendment didn't pass but of course it did so it was seniors that sunk the overall proposal since a good chuck of youth DID vote for it once the amendment passed).

    Unfortunately those who can't support the overall package with the youth amendment would rather hold out for EVERYTHING they want even though it guarantee the permanent and perpetual failure of WOMOV every convention. In the end the 99% of the membership who can't make it to conventions suffer most.

    Talk about hostage situations all you want, but conventions are a numbers game and it's the ONLY place the LPC Constitution can be amended so it's time to get real, if you want WOMOV the YLC amendment NEEDS to pass.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:27 PM  

  • "so it's time to get real, if you want WOMOV the YLC amendment NEEDS to pass."

    Music to my ears!

    As a young liberal, and someone who uses the internet I find this all very intriguing.

    One of the things I've heard from many young liberals is that they very much want this amendment to pass so that youth can keep their traditional voice of reason in the Party.

    I have to agree. I'm sure if you polled MPs and Candidates they would tell you that Young Liberals are a volunteer forced to be reckoned with.

    And we've seen the YLC record on passing progressive policies!

    This argument that we are lazy, incompetent, or "engaging in internal petty squabbles"...

    Isn't arguing about OMOV a petty internal squabble?

    Possibly...

    In any case, if you're reading this comment you probably already have a firm opinion. But if you don't - think about it. Do you really want to see youth diminished in the Liberal Party.

    Vote for the amendement.

    - David Valentin

    By Anonymous David Valentin, at 11:46 PM  

  • Why hasn't anyone talked about the Liberal Party's blatant refusal to post the results of the council of president's policy vote online?!

    Seriously, it's been overdue for a week now. I suspect they're trying to hide something. As in, I suspect the results are completely different from the En Famille votes...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:48 AM  

  • All of this reminds me why I am so happy that CPC doesn't have a youth wing. There's one party and no ghetto for ridiculous petty politics, nor some attempt for a guaranteed quota of influence on the party.

    Youth have time and energy far in surplus to most party members, as well as disposable incomes superior to the vast majority of members (crappy apartments or living at home and no dependents). They form the key backbone of staffers in the party and for politicians. All of this combines to give them a hugely disproportionate influence over the party - a quota is ridiculous overreach and is indicative of a lack of sense and ability on the part of quota proponents.

    For more evidence of why a youth wing is dangerous, take a look at the recent tempest surrounding the youth wing of the Liberal Democrats in the UK. Vicious backstabbing broke out into the mainstream media and has been the main story about the party for more than a month, overshadowing Vince Cable's apt criticisms of Gordon Brown's economic policies and response to financial and banking crises.

    I love that y'all are being distracted by this idiocy, but it's destructive for the party and the individuals to have youth wings. Does give hostile individuals (i.e. me) lots of material to dredge up against future candidates and staffers. Google is awesome!

    By Blogger Hey, at 2:09 PM  

  • Thanks for sharing with us.

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