Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Making Change

The much anticipated (well, by me) change report has arrived. This isn't the first renewal/change/rebuilding report ever produced by the Liberal Party and it probably won't be the last - the devil in these things is making sure they don't just gather dust somewhere...especially in the age of minority governments when we're stuck in perpetual election readiness. And now that we've surged to just above our historical lows in the polls, a lot of Liberals will be tempted to assume paying lip service to party renewal is all that's really needed.

But they'd be wrong.

There's a lot of work to do and, on the whole, this report appears to be a big step in the right direction. I'm sure I'll have more to say about it later but, for now, here's a summary of the commission's answers to the "big questions", and some of the more interesting recommendations:

Why don’t Liberals donate to the party as much as other political parties? How can we convince Liberals to donate to their riding and/or the national party?

A more engaged role for members is a prerequisite for successful fundraising. As such, there’s a need for more “populist” fundraising events to go along with the big ticket dinners – things like brunches and spaghetti dinners.

How can we engage party members in the community? How can we attract community leaders to join the party? How can we best reach out to community groups and multicultural organizations?

We need to walk the talk – attend community functions and organize social activities such as toy drives for women’s shelters or organizing dinners for the homeless. By showing the community we care, we can engage our members are recruit new ones.

How can we best rebuild weak riding associations? How can LPC and the provincial and territorial associations better serve riding associations?

Past candidates should be treated with respect and allowed to build up their profile between elections for multiple runs – we should not be so quick as to discard candidates after one or two failed attempts. Candidates should be nominated earlier so that they can work hard to raise their profile in the ridings.

How can we improve our party’s use of technology? How can technology best serve our ridings and members?

Data needs to be shared better within the party – we need to end the information “protectionism” that has interfered with our party’s ability to compete, and put in place more vertical organizations.

How can the LPC improve the party’s internal communications? What do members want to hear from the party?

We need to break down the silos and encourage communications between different sections of the party. The party website should be less top-down, and should tell party members information related to their needs rather than just rehashing press releases. Local riding websites need to be clearer and better maintained.

How can the LPC improve the policy resolution and policy discussion process?

There needs to be more input from the party membership into the policy process – especially from rural and unheld ridings, which don’t have a voice in caucus. A real two-way dialogue needs to be established.

How can we improve the structure of the party nationally, provincially, and locally?

Members don’t fully understand how the party works and would like more transparency and accountability. In short, the party, leader, caucus, PTAs, ridings, and national executive need to do a better job working and communicating together – of breaking down the silos.


2. Timely receipting from events, within 14 days
3. Websites should make it easier for donors to choose where their money goes

Membership and Outreach
4. National Liberal day of community action in all 308 ridings
6. At least four town halls every year in every riding in the country. Caucus critics will help organize these.

Electoral Districts and Party
11. Adopt and embrace the 308 riding strategy
12. Paid fieldworkers
13. Post-election debriefings in unheld ridings
14. Twinning program for unheld ridings
18. An annual plan, balanced scorecard program, and recognition for riding associations
21. Resources for ridings including handbooks, website template, new member welcome package, and an election readiness kit.
23. A comprehensive human resources strategy

Data Management
25. Volunteer database

27. Interactive internet communications
32. Newsletter templates for riding associations
33. Make greater use of social networking sites

Policy Development
36. Review of the party policy process

41. National executive responsible for hiring and firing the national director
42. Electronic voting should be considered for future leadership votes
46. Code of conduct and sanctions for inappropriate conduct by members
47. Continue change commission consultations



  • What a thoughtful and articulate redprint for the LPC.

    Short and complete blog post I wish every Liberal bigshot read and acted upon.

    By Blogger MississaugaPeter, at 8:19 p.m.  

  • You rock.

    I wish they'd hire you, the whole country would be better off with you implementing renewal in the LPC, in my opinion.

    By Anonymous Jason Bo Green, at 11:14 p.m.  

  • it’s a great article.

    By Anonymous Data recovery software, at 4:43 a.m.  

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