Monday, December 08, 2008

No to short circuiting the leadership

With respect to the Liberal party machinations, I'd say, first of all, yes to this proposition:
"'A democratic consultation within the party must be conducted but surely that can be done soon,' the LeBlanc insider said."
This Globe report suggests that the Ignatieff team, with a strong show of support from the parliamentary caucus, is going to push the national executive on Tuesday toward allowing Mr. Ignatieff to be installed as interim leader. Then the May convention would still occur, that being the point at which delegates could affirm or overturn the choice, because technically delegates select the leader under the Liberal constitution. But for all intents and purposes, the leadership race would be over. Rae would practically become an outsider candidate, crazily incurring debt to climb the presumptive Ignatieff mountain. Not likely to happen. He'd likely drop out. Does anyone really think another candidate would be chosen down the road at the convention?

So it appears it's up to the national executive to agree or come up with an alternative to the Ignatieff push. A few more thoughts...

The politics of it are brash, bold, yes. But there's the hint of wanting to get this thing over instead of having a debate. Shutting it down. What 's the rush? Can't there at least be an abbreviated process into January rather than subverting the whole thing this week?

The membership's stakeholding in the party should be prioritized by the national executive, above the immediate political concerns of the parliamentary caucus. Let the membership participate before any leadership candidate becomes interim leader. Because it appears that the interim choice effectively becomes the permanent one. It's in the long and short term best interests of the party to have membership participation. You can't be arguing against Harper shutting down democratic processes and then be doing it yourself.

If you need to have an interim leader for the next month until one of the leadership candidates becomes the effective leader, then put a Brison, Goodale or Hall Findlay in there.

I agree with Danielle Takacs on debates being an important part of this process. If there were to be weekly, or even just a few debates between now and mid-January, it would help build interest in alternatives to Harper. Build interest, what a concept. Couldn't Liberals use such exposure? That's what the Democratic debates did down south. There might also be a useful educational purpose to them to break through a lot of the ignorance about our parliamentary democracy. The coalition and its future would be a prominent subject of discussion. What better than to have it debated in front of a national audience? Who gives a hoot about pouncing Conservatives ready to run ads from the material. They'll do that stuff anyway. Debates have more upside than down.

There may be sympathy for the position that Ignatieff appears inevitable, let's just slot him in there as interim leader and go from there. Emergency times and all. But it appears to be a slothful course, short circuiting the membership. Not good.