I have decided to support Vancouver Quadra MP Joyce Murray in the Liberal leadership race that has just officially begun. That's not a big surprise after my blog post last week writing of the importance of a track record of electability for leadership candidates. That post was essentially an endorsement but not fulsome enough. So this post will hopefully do the job. I am supporting Joyce with real enthusiasm and hope as I look forward to this campaign.
I met Joyce in Toronto in October and a number of things just clicked in terms of mutual views on the party and issues. In addition, it was quite apparent that Joyce is an impressive and substantially accomplished woman.
She is, above all else in my mind, a seasoned politician who is a fighter. That's who I believe the Liberal party needs right now as a leader. Joyce fights and wins and has repeatedly. She has successfully fought through three contested nomination contests, not two as I wrote last week. How many politicians in the Liberal party can say that to begin with? That they fought, there was no riding handed to or held for them. And then to say that they have won four elections? Very few except those who have substantial experience. She has also lost. And yet has come back to win again.
Why is this particular aspect of leadership, an electoral track record, so important? I would suggest that it instills deeply a sense of democratic accountability and respect for the democratic process for someone who has gone through it. This is a sense that I wish for the next leader of the party to have. To know through and through that you have to fight to win. To know the importance of winning each vote and to know how to do it.
To know that policy has to be grounded in values that connect with people otherwise you're not going to get re-elected next time. To know that you have to create that policy in a way that is collaborative, not top-down, so that your members and supporters connect with your party and then you indeed have a thriving party. To know that this is a political and democratic organization that the Liberal party is. It's not a club for the powerful and personalities. It's about doing good things for people and the country and we do that by getting elected!
So this is why I value electoral experience and believe in its importance for this leadership race. This is not a job that just anyone can do. Joyce has that experience, having been elected both provincially in B.C. where she was the Environment Minister and federally. I believe she shows the discipline that this democratic sensibility forces upon a seasoned politician.
I also believe it is important for our next leader to have a business sensibility, an on the ground depth of knowledge about what it takes to build a business and achieve success. Joyce also has that, having built a successful business with her husband of 35 years. The business they built has 600 full time employees and I believe about 800 seasonal employees. They reforest, among other things, demonstrating a real dedication to the environment as well. Building a successful business from the ground up over time. That shows a stick to it-ness and determination that the party needs as well.
Political acumen, business savvy, those are some pretty substantial credentials. That she is from the West, that's also a persuasive factor to me. It's time to have a Western leader of the party.
I would add the personal qualities as well that have impressed me. Integrity chief among them. You can sense when you are dealing with someone who sees the humanity in people and is fair. There is a likability too. She stands up for women (3:10 min mark here). She reminds me of some leading dignified women politicians of the day that I respect, including Alison Redford and Hillary Clinton. Why can't we members and supporters of the Liberal party choose that too? I think we should.
There are a number of policy reasons for my support as well but I'll leave those for another day (or days) as this campaign goes on.
Joyce is announcing her leadership bid at 11 am ET today. See you there!
See also: "Joyce Murray: Representing the Canadian Experience," "Joyce Murray will be a Formidable Liberal Leadership Candidate."