04 May 2009

Reflections on the Convention

There's any number of reasons I wish I was still in B.C. at this time: the Rockets are two wins away from clinching the WHL Championship, the local team is still in the playoffs (admittedly I've never been much of a Canucks fan), the weather, etc. But one reason in particular that I wish I was in B.C. right now is that it would have afforded me the opportunity to attend the Liberal Leadership Convention this past weekend. Though largely a coronation, these things are fun. I had a blast in Toronto in 2003 and I'm sure that this one would have been as well.

I didn't watch much of the convention on TV because they don't play out as well for the cameras and the weather was half-decent this weekend. I did get to catch Ignatieff's acceptance speech and I found it to be exactly the type of speech that needed to be delivered. The new leader excoriated the failures of the Harper regime without getting into the mud and he proposed an alternative vision based on the core liberal values that have made Canada the success story that it is and continues to be. It wasn't a typical politician's speech because Michael Ignatieff is anything but a typical politician. We need more of that in this country.

Another item that passed with much fanfare was the approval of the one member, one vote policy that allows all members of the Liberal Party of Canada to express themselves and their preference for the party leadership. Having 3,000 of your closest delegated friends in red in one hall is a cool experience but it does shut out the overwhelming majority of the party membership from the actual process. You could find nary a Sheila Copps supporter at the 2003 convention because the process was so heavily weighted in favour of Paul Martin - though the 94% approval he received in Toronto was an incredible sight, was it an accurate reading of his overall support from the party? Difficult to say, but not something that will be encountered in the future.

In the end, the weekend was a great success for the party. Now begins the march towards increasing the party's support throughout the country.

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