The Grassroots Liberals for Change Facebook group — founded by occasional macleans.ca commenter Jean Proulx – is apparently urging rank-and-file party members to send the following missive to MPs, senators, party execs and the media (yeah, because we’re always so helpful in leadership crises).
The letter calls on the Ignatieff and Rae camps to “come together in an amicable fashion and work out a compromise solution acceptable to both of them, and raises an as-yet-undiscussed alternative to a lightning round leadership race — a powersharing exercise of sorts. “Have one man act as leader for a pre-determined period of time and the other to act as deputy leader (or another role of his choice). After the pre-determined period of time has elapsed they would then switch roles.”
Full text after the jump:
Dear MP / Senator / Party Executive member / Editor,
I am writing in advance of the LPC caucus meeting scheduled for this upcoming Wednesday Dec 10th. According to media reports caucus will be discussing leadership of the party at this meeting and may make a decision on this subject.
I am urging you as a member of the caucus to encourage reconciliation between the different leadership factions within the party. At this point it appears that the new leader after Mr. Dion resigns will be either Mr. Ignatieff or Mr. Rae. Both men are highly intelligent, very accomplished, bilingual, good organizers and gifted communicators. Both enjoy significant support among the caucus and ordinary LPC members, members the party will need if we go into another election and as we continue the work of rebuilding the party. At this crucial moment in the history of our country and our party we cannot afford a decision-making process that alienates either of the two men, their supporters or ordinary grassroots Liberals. Canadians are watching us. If we cannot put our own house in order how can we ask Canadians to trust us to lead a coalition government?
The Liberal Party of Canada has been fighting over leadership now since at least the Turner-Chrétien years. Enough is enough. We need unity now. We need both men and their followers to come together in an amicable fashion and work out a compromise solution acceptable to both of them.
One possible solution might be to have one man act as leader for a pre-determined period of time and the other to act as deputy leader (or another role of his choice). After the pre-determined period of time has elapsed they would then switch roles. Essentially this would be shared leadership. This is what we need. Perhaps at some less fragile time the party can take a more permanent decision on who should lead us.
On another note, I wanted to express my full and enthusiastic support for the coalition agreement with the NDP. I believe this agreement is the only hope we have of unseating Mr. Harper from the PMO. Not only now but also going forward into the next election. Mr. Harper has amply demonstrated this week that he can no longer be trusted with power; but as long as there is only one party on the right and four parties to the left I believe we will continue to lose elections. It goes much further than simply the leader or even organization and fundraising. It took many elections for the old Reform Party and Progressive Conservatives to realize they needed to start cooperating with each other. Will we have to endure many more beatings such as the one we received in October before we wise up? If so, I think we may find that we will lose many supporters and volunteers in the interim. If we are simply counting on disgust with Mr. Harper or a new leadership saviour to regain power then I think we will be sorely disappointed. Mr, Harper has made clear his agenda to not only defeat the Liberal party of Canada but to destroy us. Are we going to let him by playing into his hands through continued vote splitting? Perhaps we are counting on NDP or Green support to evaporate to our benefit? If so, again, I think we will be disappointed. The NDP may have limited electoral appeal but they have a core level of support which does not change much from election to election. As for the Greens their support has been rising significantly and as our environment continues to suffer it is unrealistic to expect this support to drop much if at all. Putting aside all these practical considerations, every member of our caucus is on record as supporting the coalition. As Rob Silver pointed out in a recent Globe & Mail blog, MPs had plenty of opportunities to express their misgivings earlier. We are committed now. The NDP has also taken significant risks by joining this coalition. To abandon it now would not only be politically unwise but also dishonourable. Speaking personally, I would find it quite difficult to be as enthusiastic about my support for the LPC if we do not remain supportive of the coalition.
Returning to leadership, again, I believe we would be served well by either man. Having them both lead us however – and both genuinely cooperating with each other and with our NDP coalition partners- would be the ideal scenario. I hope our party makes the right decision for our country and ourselves. I have taken the liberty of copying this e-mail to the other members of the LPC caucus.