Bob Rae posted this on Facebook at 1:05am
Taking Away Your Vote In The Liberal Leadership Race?
In light of the opportunity to defeat the Harper government and replace it with a new government of national economic unity, it is clearly now time to bring the leadership selection process to an earlier resolution. We need our new permanent leader in place by the time the House returns to debate the Conservative budget on January 26th, 2009.
This obviously means we need a different selection process from the one that was put in place to lead us to a Convention in May. Press reports have some suggesting that the entire leadership process should be replaced with a single, secret vote to be held in a closed meeting of the 76 MPs, next week. I think this is the wrong thing for our Party.
The party Executive is working on a viable, timely, cost-effective and constitutional means of enabling a one-member-one-vote democratic leadership selection. This can be in place swiftly, and you can make your voice heard in the selection of your Leader. I believe that ordinary Liberal volunteers must have a direct say in choosing the new Leader. That’s the only way to go.
You are the volunteers who make this Party a living force in the life of our country. Without you, there is no Liberal Party. You give your time, your talent, your financial support, and ask for nothing in return except the chance to contribute. To take away your chance to choose the person who leads you… it just doesn’t seem right.
As well, there are real questions about representation that we need to keep in mind. A simple vote of the Commons caucus would leave significant portions of our country’s diversity silent in the selection of our Leader. Because our caucus is concentrated in major urban centres, almost no rural ridings would be represented. Literally two Liberals between North Bay, Ontario and Vancouver, BC would have a vote in the MPs-only process. Most of francophone Quebec outside of Montreal would go unheard from. Defeated candidates would be disenfranchised. So would the party executive that you have put in place. So would our youth, women and aboriginals – who are under-represented in the Commons caucus. So would our long-serving Senators, who have given so much for our Party. That doesn’t seem right either.
Finally, there’s the question of what this kind of vote would mean for our party’s ability to grow. We have a chance to welcome Canadians into our political family. We need more of them to join us – especially in the places where our support has been declining. I favour a 308 riding strategy, not a 76-person vote. I have spoken out for using our race as a chance to grow this party; a closed caucus vote would take it in the opposite direction.
Let’s urge everyone in a position to influence this to put a stop to this hasty, ill-considered idea before it goes any further. I urge you to contact your nearest Liberal Member of Parliament, and any of the following, to let them know how you feel about this attempt to take away your vote:
Party President Doug Ferguson: email@example.com
Commons Caucus Chair Anthony Rota: Rotaa@parl.gc.ca
Please get involved with my campaign.
Do whatever you can. Every little bit helps. Together we can have an open leadership process, defeat the Harper government and give Canadians the government they need to deal with the economic crisis.
Please let me know what you think.
Looking for more?
Get the best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.