Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Talking to John Lennard

Why should young Liberals vote for John Lennard?

I think it’s a question of building the Liberal Party. I think the Liberal Party is desperate for change, for growth, for rebuilding. I think young Liberals need to be a part of that - I’ve got a couple of ideas, and a lot of passion for that.

I think it’s very important that young Liberals become the leaders of today in terms of moving the party forward. That’s why I’m running. I think I can do that better than anyone else, and we’ll see what the delegates have to say in Vancouver.

What’s the best way to get young Liberals to become leaders of the party?

I think the YLC’s job fundamentally is to become a link between our core constituency, which is young Canadians, and the party itself. That means young Canadians need to take on leadership roles within the party.

I personally was a campaign manager at the age of 20 and 21. I think the YLC’s job is to foster that kind of engamenet.

The hot topic of the convention seems to be one member one vote. I’ve seen your comments on blogs, so and you’re obviously getting mixed up in all that. I see you support one member one vote – are you for or against the youth amendment that would set a 25% quota on the points?

I’m against the YLC amendment. I don’t think it’s necessary, I don’t think it’s productive for the party.

I think it’s a very defensive measure to try and defend a small piece of the pie, a bit of the turf, rather than thinking about what’s in the best interests of the party. And the best interests of the party as far as I’m concerned is making sure every single member gets a direct say in the choice in the next leader.

I think it’s divisive as well. I think it creates a gulf between the youth of the party and the rest of the party. I think it’s time to stop treating ourselves as young Liberals as though we’re some sort of junior partners.

Finally, I think it sends a pessimistic message, that it allows us to think young Liberals can’t do more...that we need some sort of booster seat or training wheels to go where we want to.

I’m with you on that. But, just to play devil’s advocate, isn’t the role of the YLC President to look out for the interests of youth? So shouldn’t the YLC be protecting the gains they’ve made in the past?

I think the role of the YLC is to grow the party and bring more young people into the party. It’s not about protecting our piece of the pie – it’s making sure our voices are heard louder by bringing more people into the party.

My push as President of the YLC is going to be to bring more people into the party and make sure their voice is heard all the way up.

So, talking about the role of the YLC. Looking at the big picture, young voters don’t seem to be voting Liberal, the Liberal Party hasn’t had more youth candidates or elected more younger MPs than other parties. So, in that context, do you think the YLC serves a useful purpose for the party?

I think we need to get our organization away from a lot of the internal trying to defend our turf, or protected ourselves against the “senior party”. We want to bring people in, take a senior role in the party, have people run for MPs, have more young Liberal riding presidents - we have a 25 member national executive and there’s only one young Liberal on it outside of the YLC president. We need to get ourselves organized and start thinking big.

I get all these campaign e-mails and I saw you had an endorsement from Simon Begin, a former Quebec Young Liberal President who supported the Conservatives last year. In his endorsement, he seemed hostile towards the Liberal Party’s traditional position vis-à-vis Quebec, saying “the Liberal Party of Canada has never really made a point of opening itself to Quebec while in power” and “the abuse of power of some centralizing federalists contributed to the distorted Liberal Party’s image”. I know you’re at McGill so you obviously have a sense of Quebec – is that kind of your view of the province?

My opinion has shifted a bit since I’ve lived here over the past few years. I think it’s important for people to recognize Quebec’s distinctiveness.

I’m very happy to have Simon’s endorsement. The key is building the young liberal organization, so that means relying on connections we have to other provincial parties that share our philosophy, our general philosophy. In Quebec, in particular, there’s a huge organization of young Liberals there that are untapped.

See also - John Lennard interviews with Scott Tribe and Jeff Jedras

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  • The YLC Constitution says:
    Article 6 - Responsibilities of Office
    (1) The President shall:
    (a) promote the interest and welfare of the YLC both within the Party and externally;
    (b) chair all meetings of the YLC;
    (c) report as required detailing the activities of the National Executive.
    (d) be the primary spokesperson of the YLC;(e) maintain all duties normally associated with a chief executive officer and such other duties as delegated to him/her by the National Executive; and
    (f) represent the YLC on the National Executive of the LPC and on the Management Committee of the LPC.

    See here.

    Parts A and D are interesting given John's reply about OMOV to Dan's devil's advocate question. It does sound like the President is constitutionally mandated to put the interests of the YLC first (though in the case of the YLC amendment they happen to be also the best interests of the party).

    As for being the spokesman, what happens if let's say the YLC amendment fails this time but the entire next exec votes to bring back the same amendment for another go in 2011. Is he not again constitutionally bound to defend that amendment as the spokesperson of the YLC even though he doesn't personally agree with it?

    The amendment on the table now I believe is supported by the entire incoming exec except him so it could definitely pan out that way for bringing back this amendment in 2011 or something else entirely that John might not personally agree with. I think he'd end up having to serve the will of the rest of the exec wouldn't he? (The Constitution does say the YLC National Exec can overrule the YLC President and even the YLC Table Officers on anything)

    Would be interesting to see what happens for sure...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:46 p.m.  

  • Another anonymous comment - what a shocker. Why is it that John's opponents on here never want to identify themselves?

    (And also an obvious Young Liberal member, possibly on the executive, since they're quoting verbatim the YLC constitution)..

    Let me say this: I think you're stretching it to say that the YLC amendment is somehow supposed to protect the interest of the YLC (self-interest, yes, I'll agree there)... but John might argue he believes it's in the long term interest of the YLC to support OMOV, and that they're cutting their nose to spite their face by putting forth this amendment and then voting down oMOV if it fails.

    I obviously disagree as well that this quota rule is in the long term intersts of the Liberal Party; Why should a group get a quarter quota when they have less then 10% of the membership?

    The YLC would have gotten more sympathy and flexibility from me and a lot more of the other Liberal netroots I suspect, if they'd proposed a "weighted quota". That is; whatever you have for membership in the Liberal Party determines your guaranteed delegates (ie, if you have 9.8% of the membership right now, you get a guaranteed amount of the same delegates... and that goes up or down as needed).

    I could live with a quota of that type... but not with one that totally inflates their power in picking a leader of the party which they don't deserve.

    By Blogger Oxford County Liberals, at 12:16 a.m.  

  • You know Scott some people could care less who wins between John and Sam, it's a 2 year term and very few Presidents seek re-election. I could state quite categorically I have had no communications whatsoever with any members of the YLC exec (and I'm quite sure none of them would even recognize my name if they heard it), I'm allowed to have my own personal opinion as are other young Liberals either for or against this amendment. The constitution is readily available on their website and I had read it more than a year ago and remembered where to retrieve it.

    OMOV will affect every future leadership, so when John comments on that his comments deserve to be subject to scrutiny and it doesn't make them an opponent of his candidacy only his view on this amendment. There are people fully supporting John that don't agree with his position on this amendment too.But Scott I'm curious to your view on two things:
    1) Since it's well established the OVER-REPRESENTATION of youth played a big role in Trudeau's victory in 1968, was that a bad thing? If youth had only been 10% he wouldn't have won, Liberals would have gotten a much more right-leaning leader instead.

    Who knows if Trudeau hadn't won in 1968 we may have never had a Charter of Rights. So over-weighting youth can lead to better leadership outcomes and at the very least would lead to more progressive leaders winning, something you should support, regardless of whether it intuitively seems fair or not.

    2) Would you watch this video?
    (link)I'd like to know what you think.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:57 a.m.  

  • You know whats funny? While John Lennard is working hard in BC winning delegates over....Sam lavoies "right hand man" Braden is commenting anonymously on this blog.

    I know because #1 he made that video himself (anyone can in under 3 mins at www.animoto.com) and #2 only he would be so vain as to think it would have gone "viral" by now...wasnt that the same song you used in your Bob rae vid?

    LAME, i guess Braden was too busy campaigning for Obama to sign his own name!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:22 a.m.  

  • Wow lame of anon person to make that accusation and just plain uncalled for.

    I got that video off Justin Tetreault's facebook wall. I only saw the video for the first time when I saw on his page. So I guess you can go looking through Justin Tetreault's list of facebook friends now....

    Btw Justin is not endorsing either candidate in the YLC race. That's pretty shameful of you to accuse Braeden though, I hardly think he deserved that comment.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:35 a.m.  

  • And to be perfectly clear, I've met Braeden once in my life and I'm sure he has no idea who I am and would not even recognize my name.

    This kind of bs though is just not appropriate and I'm sure John Lennard wouldn't like it to know one of his supporters (as this person seems to be in talking about John winning over delegates in BC) is talking this kind of trash.

    This is a legitimate debate it doesn't need to descend to very personal insults.

    I really don't care who wins the YLC President's race, I care whether the YLC amendment passes. There are other young Liberals who feel just like me. It really shouldn't matter who the author of any comment is as long as valid points are made (hence why I think Dan still allows anon comments).

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:54 a.m.  

  • And to be perfectly clear, I've met Braeden once in my life and I'm sure he has no idea who I am and would not even recognize my name.

    Wow that's totally Braeden Caley. This guy's got too much time on his hands. Enough sockpuppets Braeden! The Lavoie camp is getting sad by this point.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:02 a.m.  

  • I'm sure in the morning Dan Arnold will confirm that these comments came from nowhere near BC (where I assume Braeden is). And I'm sure Dan Arnold will also call you out on your ass for being the asshole that you are for personally insulting Braeden for apparently no reason. Let's get back to the debate at hand on OMOV shall we or do you only have personal insults to hurl at someone who obviously isn't on this thread to defend himself?

    So give it up buddy, you're not doing John Lennard any favours with your attitude. In fact I won't be surprised if John Lennard also calls you out for your crap on this very thread.

    If you don't want to debate anything meaningful then just go away, I'm happy to debate with Scott Tribe (as long as Scott can get over the idea that I'm somehow connected to the YLC exec) or anyone else.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:14 a.m.  

  • My name is Chris Drew and I can't wait to debate policy in Vancouver (and I finally broke the string of anon comments!)

    By Anonymous Chris Drew, at 2:17 a.m.  

  • Wow. I find it funny that in this whole debate, my Facebook wall got a shout-out. I will confirm that I did post that video tonight.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:24 a.m.  

  • To the first anon, I think John answered the question about the role of the YLC President well. It's not a certainty that this is in the best interest of youth or the YLC, so I'd hardly say he needs to defend it.

    As for the second anon, I'm not sure you can point to Trudeau's election as a sign that quotas are needed. First of all, I don't think they had youth delegate spots reserved specifically for youth in '68 and, even if they did, they were still elected by the membership at large (as they are now...even if youth are over represented on delegates, the votes to elect these delegates aren't weighted up). Trudeau managed to bring a lot of young people into the party which was instrumental - it's a case study that shows the benefits of appealing to young voters even in a non-quota world.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 8:34 a.m.  

  • Well said, Dan! I was about to make the same clarifications.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:34 p.m.  

  • Thanks for sharing post.

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