Sunday, May 29, 2011

Real Renewal

I know some will roll their eyes when I say this, but the federal Liberals - and all political parties for that matter - could learn a lot from the Alberta Liberal Party. After all, everyone talks about "renewing" and "rebuilding" but all too often those are just meaningless buzzwords.

The ALP, however, is actually doing politics differently, or at least trying to, at their annual convention in Calgary, which I've had the pleasure of attending and presenting at.

The party president, executive director, and convention co-chair are all under 30. More importantly, ALP members are currently voting on a series of groundbreaking constitutional changes. They may not all pass - after all, unlike trivial matters such as the future of the country, 75% is required for these resolutions to pass. But either way, these are the kinds of reforms the federal grits should be talking about.

I'll be live blogging the resolutions as they're voted on below:

PARTY POLICY (PASSED): As I've said before, the policy process of most parties is usually conducted in the following stages:

1. Policies are proposed by party members and debated at the riding level
2. After a series of conventions and votes, party members prioritize which policies they feel most strongly about
3. Passed policies sit in a binder in the Leader's Office

This amendment requires the party platform to include at least 2 of the 3 top resolutions passed at convention. This is a great idea in my opinion, since it adds meaning to an otherwise meaningless policy process. A lot of people join political parties because they want to have an impact on policy decisions - if their voice are ignored, they just become disillusioned.

OPEN NOMINATIONS (PASSED): The motion would open up nomination meetings to any Albertan living in the riding who registers their support for the Alberta Liberal Party.

In my opinion, this is a great way to get people who might be a bit squeamish about party politics involved in party politics. It opens up nomination meetings, creating interest in the party.

OPEN LEADERSHIP (PASSED): Basically the same intent as above - leadership races would be opened up to all Albertans.

WOMOV (PASSED): Party members narrowly passed (77%) a proposal to weight all ridings equally in leadership races. This is an important move for a party struggling to find relevance outside of downtown Calgary and Edmonton - if anyone should recognize the importance of growing the Liberal Party outside of its traditional base, it's Alberta Liberals.


  • All great ideas, the ALberta Liberals are doing a great job of thinking outside the box to try and grow the party. Good to see that level of commitment.

    I still think membership/ volunteering or donating money should count for more though than just a supporter of a party (but it makes perfect sense in Alb. where they are trying in more desperate need for new blood).

    I'd like to see the Federal Liberals implement something similar in their nomination/ leadership process, possibly weighing membership/ victory fund contributors slightly more than just "supporters of the party"

    Maybe a 1,1.5, 2 weighting system could work.

    I also think the proposal to weigh ridings equally needs to seriously be considered by the Federal Liberals. OMOV does not help the party grow/ appeal to a wider base of voters.

    By Anonymous Deputy Dan, at 6:36 p.m.  

  • Deputy Dan - Agreed.

    Actually, fed Libs switched over to WOMOV at the last convention.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 7:40 p.m.  

  • Thanks for clarifying Dan. I vaguely remember OMOV being the hot issue last convention but couldn't remember the results

    By Anonymous Deputy Dan, at 11:32 p.m.  

  • Quick question: Either the leader, or caucus, or whoever, includes 2 of the top 3 policy proposals in their platform... or what?

    Are there consequences for failing to do so?

    And are there consequences for not... you know... implementing them if you win power?

    To be cynical about it, it seems like the grassroots has succeeded in stealing from the political leaders the right to make empty promises. :)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:49 a.m.  

  • @Anon 10:49, I would suspect that there would be the usual consequences for failing to do so: bearing the wrath of your supporters.

    Putting the policy in place that at least 2 of the top 3 must be in the Platform provides a mutual understanding that although some policy may be popular at the Convention, there's still a chance it might not make it into the Platform, and that people should try to not be upset if that happens.

    Some will still be disillusioned, but most volunteers would plug their nose and support the cause.

    But if the 2-of-3 test is not met, volunteers and donors are likely to rebel, and other party members would be hard pressed to blame them for doing so, blaming the platform committee instead.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:38 p.m.  

  • I'd say it's not in the party's interest to upset their volunteers and donors during an election campaign, so they should have a large enough incentive to follow through on this.

    As for breaking promises once elected, well, the consequences would be the same as for any other party.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 9:22 a.m.  

  • I am going to be bringing a posse of conservative supporters to as many Liberal nominations as possible.
    Votes from non members is a silly move. It works when there is a relative balance between parties, but in Alberta there is no balance, as it stands it's a 1 party state, after the next election a 2 party state, and the Liberals aren't going to be one of those parties

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:50 p.m.  

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