Tag Archives: consultative process

Communication and the LPC

I have to thank the fact that there are people who leak out information, that media publishes these leaks and that a number of my followers and those that I follow on Twitter catch this information so that I can stay somewhat up-to-date on what is happening within the LPC.  I am a member of the party but that doesn’t seem to count for much in terms of communication.  Perhaps if I was on the national executive or one of the remaining 34 MPs I would be privy to information about my party.  I shouldn’t complain too much as there is a portal for ordinary members to make some noise at en famille, the forum for LPC members.  Of course there is a wealth of documents stored on the national party’s website as well, much of these bits of information tucked away in PDF format just waiting for any member to ask.

But, when there is a question of immediacy such as is currently the case in terms of appointing an interim leader, it is embarrassing to not know what is going on except via the media.  One would think that membership would be the first to know, at least officially notified a few minutes before it’s released to the public.  Our constitution has a process that is supposed to be followed in the selection of an interim leader.  There is no need for a consult with the membership, just a process that will allow a further process to begin, one in which membership has a real say thanks to the revised constitution.

But the media tells me that the current national leadership has a different idea in mind, one in which the rules need to be changed.  My guess is that the leadership has listened in to the debates raging on Twitter and on blog sites across the land.  My guess is that this leadership then makes assumptions from what they think they are hearing, yet they don’t bother to do the fact-checking with the actual membership.

Twitter is noisy and much of that noise comes from many who are not members of the LPC, and that is what makes this social media so vital.  That said, it isn’t a replacement for dialogue with the LPC membership.  The party knows who the members are and where they are located and how to contact them.  There are EDA’s which can become more useful at the riding level for a more inclusive dialogue.  We can also use a secure polling option hosted at the National Party’s website to get a quick overall view of what members think in regards to any number of questions of a more immediate nature.

Since none of this is being utilised, the leadership has set themselves apart from the membership, something that suggests a certain level of contempt for the membership.  Yes, I said it – contempt.  Members are not equal, not regarded as more than a source of funds for the most part as those who are more-than-equal play leadership games and work behind the scenes on different power agendas.

It’s time to claim the Liberal Party of Canada for its members, by its members.  A lot of work has been done in preparing for renewal (ACT 2009) and now it is the time to do the work of breathing life back into the party so that we can once again be proud to be called Liberals.

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Obvious Lies to Canadians About Canadian Government

Getting my daily fix of Canadian news, a few things popped out at me, the Macleans interview with Harper and an article in the Globe and Mail,  about Ignatieff building a team for his new role as leader of the opposition.  Now, think about how this is structured in Canada, the party in second place is awarded the key role of official opposition, not first on the cheerleading squad for the ruling party.  I note that Warren Kinsella is likely going to make the team as chief of the “war room”, something that he has excelled at in the past for the Liberal Party.

For now, though, I will focus on the interview with the PM, Stephen Harper.  In the Macleans article, Harper states:

I think it’s just better for us to govern, and I think it’s better for the opposition, rather than just opposing us and rather than getting together to oppose us on everything, to actually tell us realistically what kind of things they think we should be doing for the economy.

That the interviewer should let this slide without reference to the mandated role of an opposition party, is just another opportunity for Harper to create a myth for Canadians about the nature of Canada’s parliamentary system.  Harper continues his campaign to poison the minds of Canadians about the realities of a Canadian election.  An election if it is to happen will again pit party against party.  It will not be an election of Conservatives against a coalition team.  Whoever is elected, if a minority government will need to find accommodation with other party MPs in order to enable a functioning government, something Harper is not so great at doing.  This is what has to happen, has always happened in a minority government situation.  If accommodation doesn’t happen, then we have two options, allowing the official opposition the opportunity to find that accommodation, or returning to the electoral process in hopes of a party getting enough seats to form a majority government.  It is “obvious” that Harper has no desire to respect the federal system.  And, it is “obvious” that he is doing all that he can to have Canadians have a different idea of how government in Canada works.

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Prognostications for 2009

Okay, I will join the ranks of those who are peering into teacups littered with a broken tea bag leaves, or those with illusions of having paranormal abilities, and making a few predictions for Canada in 2009. 

First, when Parliament reconvenes on January 26th, there will be no surprises in terms of a minority government being turfed in a non-confidence vote regarding the Speech from the Throne.  On the following day, the vote on the budget will pass as it will be more “liberal” than Liberal.  It might even be more “liberal” than the NDP.  Who will vote for the budget?  My guess, is that only the minority government will actually vote for the budget with enough opposition members missing due to colds, flus and pressing family matters.  I don’t think anyone wants to be tagged with the fallout of that budget.  Of course, the Bloc may be convinced to vote for the budget as it WILL contain all kinds of goodies for Québec in an attempt to cobble together a fast fading support of Conservatives in that province.

Second, like most are predicting, the economy will be much worse and last much longer than has been predicted.  Market fluctuations will give false signals of encouragement, if only to sucker in more investment dollars before sucking them away as profit for a few who would sell as people begin to buy back in.  This fits the Harper advice that there is money to be made in the market.  Saskatchewan will lose, not grow, during the year.  It isn’t an island outside of the storm waters.

Third, the Liberal party will take time to heal and partly refill election coffers while the Conservatives break every rule of their ideology.  Strategic avoidance of pulling down the government while appearing to attack the government will accomplish two things, time for the healing and powerful influence on Harper’s government to stay away from ideological traps that would spell out the end of their brief rule.

Fourth, the Conservatives will make mistakes and piss off even more of their own supporters.  They will “cross the line”, likely in the late spring, resulting in the government being tossed out in a vote of non-confidence. 

Fifth, there will be no coalition government to follow this fall from power if the Conservatives can last until May or June.  If for some reason such as a death-wish policy proposals, that the government falls earlier, I do expect a coalition that will be open to NDP, Liberals and a few Conservative backbench MPs or even leader wannabees.  It would be a coalition of necessity for all parties at that point, one that would actually be welcomed by the public.

Sixth, Harper will lose his status as party leader.

Seventh, Prentice will become the next Conservative leader, not Charest.

And, I will end there.  Seven is a nice number.  Besides, the crystal ball is getting cloudy at this point, likely because the wind has picked up.  It will be interesting to watch the year unfold now that I have a measuring stick. 

Happy New Year.

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Planning a Budget

Well, after 45 years of earning and spending money, I’ve had a few opportunities to work on a budget. Simple things for a simple person, really. I mean, how hard is it to plan for buying a home? Of course, this is back in the dinosaur days when it took a good-sized down payment to get involved in the process. So, the good woman and I sat down and took a hard look at the numbers. Of course, there was no way that I could hold back on some of the numbers. I had to come clean on what assets we really had, what debts were hiding in the dark corners and what the prospects were for continuing to have money come into the home. Together, going over all the data, we were able to come up with a budget, a plan that would finally reward us with our own home. Since we were honest with each other and trusted each other, we reached our goal with the help of our budget.

It makes sense, doesn’t it? It is all based on trust and honesty and open lines of communication. So, when I hear that Ignatieff has a meeting with Flaherty and that this meeting is followed up with yet another meeting between two more Liberals and Flaherty, it appears that maybe a line of communication is opening up. Now, it becomes a matter of trust and honesty. Will Flaherty provide the necessary information? Will trust be developed? Will the information be honest information?

Given the history of both Harper and Flaherty, I have my doubts. It takes quite a bit to “change” character, especially when one is in a public forum. Even should there be a change, most of the public would not note the change, believing that in spite of the new words, the “old” remains unchanged. I don’t know where this will lead. Hope tells me that this time the Conservatives under Harper will get it right. Cynicism tells me that they won’t.

What does stand out for me, is the approach that Ignatieff is taking. He is creating his profile in the minds of the Canadian public. Regardless of how long he has been in politics and regardless of his previous attempt at the leadership of the Liberal Party, Canadians are just waking up to the reality of Michael Ignatieff. Many are now asking “Who is this guy who will be our next Prime Minister?” Each move he now makes will define “who he is” in the minds of those listening and watching carefully.

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