Monday, May 09, 2011

Party changes

I haven't had too much to say about all the internal party machinations commencing, for a few reasons. Have been adjusting to the loss and thinking about what it means, what to do that's useful to make a contribution in coming years (more on that another time). Also, I haven't really been too fussed about who will become interim leader. I would be ok with about 4 or 5 people in caucus as it is constituted. But now it does seem like wheels are turning and it's hard to ignore: "Liberal party brass have scheme to postpone choosing leader for year or more." Any views here are just my own, just one member, that's it. Everybody will ultimately have a vote on any major changes being proposed, as I understand it.

It seems that a consensus has developed in terms of moving the leadership beyond the five month period, in order to allow for a breathing period and some rethinking to occur. There may be some objection to that but the larger view does seem to be that more time is needed to ensure that the party gets things in order, or at least adopts a process that will allow it to get things in order is put in place. Before a leadership review is undertaken. That seems fine and sane to me. Why, historically, the five month period was built in has been proven to be shortsighted given what transpired last week. If we are going to have an online vote of some kind on that point, as the Canadian Press report suggests, that sounds like a good development. [Update 9:30 p.m.: Specifically on the online vote point, it's a virtual convention that has been proposed to occur in June, which would change an October convention date - which satisfies the five month requirement - and choose one at a date between May 2012 and June 2013.]

For those who are objecting to such changes, I would just say that maybe we should be considering that constitutions are only so finite as their amending formulas. If there are flexible ways to amend such a constitution that are built in, that's a reflection of the culture of the organization. If people want to make it more difficult to amend a document, that's a whole other discussion.

What I am not so comfortable with are the conditions that seem to be coming forth regarding the choice of a new interim leader. It may be that the initial favourable response to moving a leadership date back has now morphed into some sense that other changes are permitted. Like placing restrictions on what the interim leader can do. I am not steeped in this party stuff and what typically occurs, but those conditions seem to be a reach a bit far. Ultimately a new leadership choice will be put to the members. If they want to vote for the interim one, so be it. If not, they won't. And to think that an interim leader would be able to pursue existential options for the party as some kind of rogue actor seems foolish. There would be a price to pay and the legitimacy of that pursuit would be undercut immediately.

Those conditions, if they are directed at Rae, seem insulting to him. All I've seen of him post-election have been statements in response to media questions. Those responses seem to have been puffed up. I'd be fine to see him as interim leader, to be quite honest. He has gut political instinct which the party could use in the near future. It's long past time that his NDP past stop being used against him. But as I said above, that's just my view and I would be open to others as interim as well. It's not really a time for bickering or power struggles and I certainly intend to be as constructive as possible.