Tag Archives: grassroots

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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Post-Election Thoughts

The election for Canada’s 41st Parliament is over and the results are in. As expected, Stephen Harper has won a majority which should allow him to further his agenda (hidden or not hidden) and that of the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC). And, unexpectedly, the New Democratic Party (NDP) took over as the official opposition as the Liberal Party of Canada (LPC) slipped into third place. I am a liberal at heart and though I am saddened by the result, I am also relieved. This result allows some real changes to occur in the LPC so that it better reflects what it is to be liberal and Canadian.

I don’t want to focus on the election itself as that is one for history, not about what comes next.  It doesn’t matter who did or said what, who did or didn’t take part in debates or who did or didn’t answer media questions, or about the role of the media during the election or about reports not released because there was an election taking place.  The results are in and we now have to live with them for at least four years assuming Stephen Harper follows his own election law this time around.  What I want to focus on is “Now what do we do if we believe in a Canada that is inclusive, a Canada that is unified in all of its diversity?”

First steps on the level of the political party – choose a leader and hold that leader accountable.  An interim leader is being chosen at this moment and will serve until a full leadership convention.  Care has to be given to the selection of the interim leader as many would see this as an endorsement and an unfair advantage to the interim leader in the leadership convention which follows.  Given the polarity of vision in various leadership contenders, this is even more vital as it is obvious to most that certain candidates would fold the party in order to have a “united left party” with the NDP.  Obviously, this is not something that can be decided by a leader, but must be decided by the party membership as a whole, and only after enough time, resources and research have been invested, including the EDA leadership doing an extended conversation with their local LPC supporters.  Will we have the courage and the patience to do this work?  Or will we throw up our hands and admit that we are dinosaurs and cease to exist as a political party in Canada.

Our choice, I hope.

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Cyber Cafe Getting it Right

Well, after reading an article in the Tech section of YahooCanada (here), my faith in humanity took a good upturn.  A cybercafe owner has opened his doors to homeless, providing them with a home, an address and hope – all for $20 a day.  Not a freebee so there is an element of pride left for these people.  Now this is how recession is tackled at the grassroots level.

Merry Christmas!

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Finance, Finance, Finance

Today Flaherty meets with his provincial counterparts.  What can one expect from this meeting?  Well, for starters, I honestly expect each provincial Minister of Finance to make a case for getting more money from Ottawa.  In some cases, this might make sense and in others it is obviously just a grab for cash.  An example of the latter is Saskatchewan.  Now one of the “have” provinces and one of the few that is sidestepping for the most part the worst of the hurt, our minister will ask for help in the agricultural sector, especially the beef industry.  Also in the “we need more money” agenda, will be mining and forestry as well as infrastructure work on highways.  I seriously doubt that anyone at the meeting will stand up and say:

“Let’s put aside our regional want lists and focus on what we need to do for the future of the Canadian economy.  We are the elected braintrust of Canada and we need to step up to the plate to ensure that our country will emerge from this global economic crisis as a leader.  We need to know which questions to ask ourselves, our provinces, out country.  People will be more willing to follow where we lead when the see us leaving aside partisanship and focusing on the issues.”

It isn’t going to happen.  There is no will.  It all starts with leadership from the national government.  Anyone with any knowledge of organizations knows that it begins with the leader, never with middle management.  The grassroots may make enough noise to force some changes in certain directions, but they can’t lead, they don’t want to lead.  They want their elected leaders to do this for them.  And our national leader of the moment, Harper, has his head wrapped around different issues, especially that of saving his face, returning to power and then getting even with those who have caused him so much grief.  In my honest opinion, it would do our country a lot of good if Harper would resign and take time to deal with his personal issues.  It would do Harper a world of good to find a good Jungian psychologist and enter into a long term analysis so that Harper could recognize his demonizing of others is basically an act of projecting his own personal shadow. 

We see it here on the sidelines.  Today’s Globe and Mail article, “PM’s pessimistic talk makes bad situation worse,” is an example of Harper’s projections of shadow contents.  So, where do we turn for a leader?  Who will recognize the need and will risk taking on the challenge.  This is about Canada, not about partisanship.

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