Tag Archives: honesty

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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Do the Work

I’m busy reading an April 2009 document called, “Advancing Change Together: A Time to Act” which is the report of the LPC Change Commission that was co-chaired by Doug Ferguson, Carolyn Bennet and Brigette Garceau.  First thing I want to know was why was this document not highlighted front and centre at every opportunity since its publication in 2009?  Why was it not sent as an e-mail attachment along with the LPC constitution to every member, especially every new member?

I realise that the leader has had to deal with Stephen Harper and with public opinion that grew out of misrepresentation though attack ads, but the organisation as a whole seems to have dropped the ball leading us to a party that has set a record low for voter support and elected seats following the last election.  We are at a point in time where a few in leadership are working towards taking the LPC into the NDP which basically results in the end of an LPC.  I am a member of the LPC and I am not happy about what is happening to “my” party.  It is my party and it is “your” party should you be a member or a volunteer, or someone who votes for the LPC.  The party doesn’t belong to a select few at the top, it belongs to us.  At least, this is what our constitution tells us.

As you can tell, I am a bit frustrated and angry.  However, I still have a hope that in the coming weeks and months that we will be able to reclaim the party with the selection of a leader who will commit to making the LPC a party that focuses on liberal Canadians.  Do the work and the party will again become the Government of Canada.

PS – Go to progressive bloggers and vote for this post.


			

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A Polarized Canadian Electorate

The polls for the current election are showing something that is quite surprising, but somehow at the same time, something that makes sense.  Canada is divided again.  It wasn’t that many years ago that Canadians divided over the notion of two nations within one nation – a Québecois Nation and a Canadian Nation.  Today the divide is based on ideology, or so it seems.  Canadians are either holding fast to ultra conservativism (CPC) or racing to jump on an ultra left bandwagon (NDP).  The Liberals, a centrist political party, has almost been abandoned.

How does this make any sense politically?  Canadians aren’t extremists by nature.  Canadians are a people who steadily work and live a life on the middle road, caring for their families and neighbours while working hard to pay their bills.  I will try to find sense by looking at the phenomenon through the lens of human psychology, particularly that of the personal and collective unconscious.  But first, some background.

The Liberals, the centrist party of Canada, lost its way because of being too long in power.  Canadians trusted the Liberals and that trust became taken for granted.  And the abuses, the scams became bigger.  Along came the PC under the leadership of Brian Mulroney to avenge the Canadian voters.  Mulroney quickly showed Canadians that they had placed their trust in the wrong man and the wrong party and the Liberals were returned to power.  The old Liberal ways returned telling Canadians that the Liberals had not learned their lessons and again needed punishment.  A new version of the conservative party, the CPC held a hope for real change, after all its leader Steven Harper had promised transparency, accountability and honesty – values that seemed to have disappeared in the Canadian political world.

Five years later, and Canada is in shock.  Not only did the CPC not deliver its promises, it took abuse to a new level and added a new element, contempt.  The electorate was pummeled by attack ad after attack ad that sought to redefine the political world in black and white terms.  Invoking an evangelical template, the CPC placed themselves on the right hand of God in battle with the evil forces of darkness which they defined as any who opposed the CPC.  Most Canadians are believing Christians though not evangelical.  The constant bombardment of this war of good versus evil disturbed and shook the worldview of the average Canadian.  Fear began to appear, but not a fear that was easy to define, just a vague fear of the darkness, the instability of the place called home, Canada.

Steven Harper, knows what he is doing, he knows the power and value of fear as he tries to con Canadians to vote for him to be the leader of Canada.  There is no pretense that Canadians are voting for local candidates.  It is all about voting for Stephen Harper or against Stephen Harper.  I don’t believe that the Steven Harper that goes home each night to his family is an evil man, but the man we see as the leader of the CPC is a man possessed.  His hubris feeds on the collective unconscious.  And that, is what has come to scare most Canadians who have unconsciously known they couldn’t trust the man completely.  In this election, the stakes are higher.

And Canadians are in a panic.  Anyone But Harper! Anyone but conservative (ABC) has resulted in a fleeing from the extreme right – a fight or flight reaction – not a reasoned response.  Reason would tell Canadians to go back to the middle.  But the wounds inflicted by past Liberal governments, betrayed trust, have Canadians frantically scanning the political spectrum for a new safe place, as far away from Harper as they can get.  And the NDP are there, waiting for them with open arms trying to assure these Canadians that they can provide accountable, transparent and honest government.

Can the NDP deliver?  Personally, I don’t think so.  They aren’t a party of the centre and they will end up acting out of their extreme, non-centrist nature.  But, perhaps . . .

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Wooing the West

I have to hand it to Michael Ignatieff, he is wiser than most will give him credit for.  The past two days spent in the west, the heart of Conservative county, was the action of a man with a long term vision.  Being upfront with westerners about the errors of the past, speaking words that will resonate with westerners can only pay dividends when it is time for an election.  Westerners are not too happy with Harper.  However, at this time, they see the devil represented by the Liberals, as a worse fate.  But, that is starting to change.  Fighting with Harper over the Canadian Wheat Board has been one crack in the Conservative armour.  The lies and the refusal to admit errors is yet another.  The appointments of buffoons such as Ritz as Minister of Agriculture are insults that are getting harder and harder to swallow.

It is a good time for Ignatieff to come to the people admitting past mistakes, coming to the people willing to listen, actions that westerners will never experience under the rule of Harper.  Well done, Michael.

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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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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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