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CPC ConventionWatch 2008: Amending the constitutional fine print


 

As promised, some of the less-agonizingly-technical proposals on the B-list of constitutional resolutions, which won’t be debated on the floor but voted on via hand ballot. (Note: It’s possible that I missed the significance of some of the other resolutions, so please feel free to bring up any that seem moderately interesting in the comments):

  • Does it count if it’s the Conservative Party issuing the threats? – The biennial national convention could now be postponed for up to nine months due to “the conduct or threat of a federal election”. The current rules do allow the party to put off a convention “due to a federal election”; the proposed amendment will “clarify the possible need to delay a convention in a minority Parliament” according to the explanatory text.
  • In case there was in any doubt as to who is in charge – It is the leader who nominates the directors of the Conservative Fund Canada and the executive director of the party, subject to ratification by National Council. A subsequent resolution would give National Council full control of rules and procedures for candidate selection, which was previously shared with local riding committees. I’d be interested to hear from any party members as to whether the changes being proposed would increase the overall power of National Council at the expense of EDAs.
  • Power to the policy wonks! – Or, alternately, power away from those talentless hacks at the National Policy Committee, which, according to the explanatory notes, is made up of mere part-time representatives with “neither the skills nor the time to be a source of expertise on policy”. If the proposed resolutions pass, the National Policy Committee would no longer serve as  a “policy resource to the Party, the leader and the parliamentary caucus …  provide information from a variety of sources that shall serve as as source of policy expertise and education …  or serve as a means of communications between members and electoral district associations, Presidents’ Forums and other affiliated organizations, the Leader and the parliamentary caucus” – just member-to-member communication. The committee would  still get to facilitate policy discussion and the promotion of the process, and identify policy areas needing study – and it would be in charge of preparing the final Policy Declaration, including “correcting any numerical, typographical, grammatical, syntax or translation errors that may otherwise exist in the text.” It would also rubber stamp ratify any interim amendments to the policy declaration made by the parliamentary caucus and the leader.

 

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