Idea alert -

Idea alert


Rob Silver suggests the Liberal party pursue a pair of democratic reforms.

1. The era of protected nominations for sitting Liberal MPs is dead and will never return. Ever. Every riding will have an open, contested nomination every single time. We will never allow the undemocratic atrophy that enveloped our caucus to return.

2. We will experiment with open primaries at the riding level just as David Cameron did in Britain. Instead of only card-carrying Liberals choosing the candidate, any voter can get a say. There will be by-elections at some point over the next four years; why not try an open primary when the first ones occur? Really, what do we have to lose?


Idea alert

  1. As ideas go, these suck. 

    • In regards to the first point; what is so terrible about having the candidate, to appear on the ballot for the liberal party, voted on locally in the riding that the election is going to happen; instead of letting the Leader pick someone who may be unpopular locally?

      • The reason for a parachute drop is the same for both parties.  The local riding may not have anybody willing to run, or they have someone willing who’s totally unsuitable, or the party has found a ‘star’ candidate in that area they want to run. Or the riding exec may be refusing to run someone they don’t approve of…..a woman, a minority etc

        Thee are lots of reasons for it….and generally the public doesn’t care who they run, don’t even know them….as we just saw in this last election.

        •  Rob Silver’s suggestion about “protected nominations” has nothing to do with situations where there is a lack of suitable candidates. Rather it

          • A protected nomination also has good reasons….for one thing if you have a proven vote-getter…why would you want to change to someone unknown?

            Also MPs in Ottawa don’t need to be worrying about their riding back home tossing them out, or picking their replacement. They have enough to do without that….and don’t want to have to keep flying home to sort things out.

          • Obviously the job of an MP is to represent Ottawa to their constituents.

          • Yes, that has always been their job. 

      • It would give the party a lot of credibility on issues of trust and democracy, which it did not have in that last five years making one outrageous accusation against the Tories after another.

        Personally, I’m skeptical of proposals that make big changes to the current system. But you never know. Do the Liberals need something that is this radical, at least relatively speaking?

  2. Liberals should be advocating proportional representation. After decades of over-representation, they are now on the other end of the teeter-totter. Should still have 59 seats based on the number of votes they got May 2. Chretien advocated pr in 1980’s so Libs could win seats in Alberta.

    • Hi Wayne.  I’m trying.  Anita’s friend Jenn. 

  3. A key challenge for Liberals: How does a party that has never really been about changing itself, or felt a need to do so, now engage in a process of changing itself? Or does it? Add to this the ongoing development, or lack thereof, of the NDP as a governing alternative just highlights how challenging the road ahead will be. Because the Liberals can make all the changes they want. It won’t make a lick of difference if the NDP keeps itself relevant as official opposition and becomes the de facto choice of those opposed to Conservatives. This is not an easy time for the Liberal party, which is why I think they should take things one step at a time.

  4. ” Instead of only card-carrying Liberals choosing the candidate, any voter can get a say. ”

    I agree with first idea but skeptical Liberals will try it because they like to control things from centre, that’s what makes them liberals,  and disagree with second suggestion. 

    Think it is mistake to allow people who don’t have a stake in the party and its future. I would only allow people who have had membership for a certain period to decide (five years or more), people who have shown commitment to party.

    • Agreed.  People work for years for a party, sell memberships, sit on committees, travel, set up meetings, make policy….and they’d like to run. Good plan.

      And at the last minute a busload of ‘tourists’ show up, buy memberships, vote for someone the riding has never heard of….and then they leave, never to be seen again. 

      • “And at the last minute … ”

        Exactly. Lib members used and abused for decades, fewer and fewer putting up with it. Libs should reward membership, not treat it insignificantly. 

        • Con party has done the very same thing for years, so don’t get cocky. LOL 

          • I am not a Conservative but I do agree with you again. 

            Fatal flaw in major parties because they want to control from centre while mood of electorate is wanting more say, having more responsive government. Contradictions are going to be heightened, that’s for sure, but Con supporters will be drunk on power for a while yet and will allow themselves to be used and abused.

    • I’m not skeptical of the first suggestion and very much expect that to be the case.  As for the second, I don’t know that we need to go five whole years, but I can’t see giving one’s opponents the opportunity to get rid of the best candidate before the contest has started!

    • I agree that it should be members who vote in nomination votes, but I’d limit the tenure of members required to vote to 1 year. 5 years is ridiculous and would do too much to discourage new members from joining.

  5. Silver’s suggestions are well-intentioned and I have no quarrel with them on their merits.  But really, IMO, that stuff is ancillary small potatoes.  The real challenge for the Liberals lies in the substantive area of what they purport to stand for from a policy perspective.  I think Paul Wells’ long election post-mortem piece illustrated that problem very well.  The LPC went into this last election thinking that it was sufficient to simply throw a lot of poo at Harper, and that “Harper sucks” as the ballot issue was going to carry them to victory.  This failed big-time, and two of the main reasons for this failure were (1) an arrogant, presumptuous belief that if the CPC went down, the Liberals would naturally be everyone’s alternative choice, and (2), a related assumption that there was no pressing need for the LPC to actively and visibly promote a clear, alternative program for governing.  The LPC is not entitled to anyone’s vote; they have to earn them. 

  6. As far as putting up ideas for reform go these have merit. The first one should give MP’s pause long enough to remember that they are elected by voters in their riding, not national polls.

  7. Making MP nomination independent of the wishes of the leader is essential to rebalancing our political system. All the parties should adopt the first measure. I’m less convinced that the second measure is a good idea. It devalues membership in the party and opens the party to manipulation by people not genuinely interested in it.