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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Liberal party renounces undemocratic leader selection process

The Liberal Party of Canada’s rank and file, who had no say in the choice of Michael Ignatieff, have given all party members the right to vote directly for future leaders. The Grits resemble labour unions in the sense that, while both brag a lot about how democratic they are, neither acts particularly so. For years unions have resisted secret ballots, one of the hallmarks of democracy, and the Liberal Party of Canada has for decades stuck stubbornly to choosing their leaders at delegated conventions rather than using a one-member, one-vote system.

This past weekend, Grit convention delegates dragged themselves out of their smoky deal-making backrooms and hospitality suites to give every party member a vote. This brings the Liberals in line with all other federal parties by replacing a system under which leaders are elected by delegates representing riding association members and by current and former politicians and party officials.

Back in 2006, the Grits rejected a one-member, one-vote system in favour of retaining rules that were so loose that the Liberal national executive was able to maneuver Stephan Dion’s replacement by installing Michael Ignatieff as interim leader on the basis of consultation with a mere 800 “elite” members.

Bob Rae told delegates that change in leader-selection rules sends a message to the people of Canada “…that the Liberal party is not a private club.”

Perhaps. Time will tell whether the Grits can resist their back-room deals. Now if only they would select their general election candidates by a on-member, one-vote nomination process and eliminate their undemocratic practice of party leaders appointing candidates to represent ridings—sometimes over objections of riding associations.

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  1. HA HA HA That is rich coming from a party that swore it would never protect sitting MPs from nomination. Gawd, you guys have done more flip flops on issues than a gymnast.