Ask Questions

For a different perspective, here’s a post by David Eaves:

Liberal Renewal: Identify Good Questions, Not Answers

The following was a memo I wrote for some friends back in May, 2006 as the Liberal Renewal Commission was just getting going. I was sensing that we needed a process that was emergent – one that leveraged its reputation (and meager resources) not to do something top down, but facilitate something bottom-up.

Recently a friend asked me to dig it up. After a little touch up, I thought I’d post it, as I believe much of it is as true to today as it was two years ago.

Memo: How Can the Liberal Party Renewal Committee maximize its impact?

Most Liberals agree the party needs to re-examine its policies, priorities and ideology to ascertain what, if anything, must change to enable the it to regain office.

The process and output of the Renewal Committee will determine its reception both among party members and the leadership candidates. This one pager assessment will argue that, to maximize its impact the committee should help define the debate liberals – through their leadership candidates – must have, not resolve it.

A robust output that outlines a new liberal party platform will likely have little impact. First, leadership candidates will be disinclined to use it. Adopting the committee’s recommendations could either damage the candidates credibility as an innovative thinker (they are ‘borrowing’ someone else’s work) or, more likely, candidates will ignore the recommendations as they won’t allow them to distinguish themselves from their opponents. Second, for a liberal party platform to be credible it must, in some capacity, emerge and/or receive buy-in from the grassroots of the party. This isn’t a plea for wide spread consultations. However, the opposite, hand picking a group of ‘best and brightest’ risks alienating members not included in the process and undermines the democratic ideals that should be core to the party’s DNA. Sitting on the civic engagement committee, I am forced to wonder how does this process measure up against the standards of engagement our policy recommendations will suggest for government programs?

How then can the Renewal Committee have impact, in the midst of a leadership race and without conducting broad, time consuming and questionably helpful consultations?

The liberal party does not need answers. The key to solving any problem, including the renewal of the Liberal Party and the creation of a platform, it is in ascertaining the right questions. The Renewal Committee should thus do two things: 1) Determine what, for each sub-committee topic, are the three emerging questions ANY political party must possess answers for to be the dominant Canadian political force in the 21st century. 2) Provide some criteria for an effective answers and some initial insights. Committee members could then publicly sign a letter committing themselves to pressing the leadership candidates for answers to each of the questions – a test to their capacity for leadership of the party and country for not just the next election, but for the 21st century.

This approach will maximize the impact of the committee by enabling it to provoke a real debate within the leadership race and, ultimately, among party members. If the commission simply provides answers it will alienate the leadership candidates and the party at large. By asking questions it can attempt to position itself as a force for thinking about and opening up, the debate over liberalism and ideas. Moreover, by asking questions it enables all members to participate in this process – by proposing answers – and can ensure that the issues the committee believes to be essential to renewal are placed front and centre.


The vote on Liberal 308’s logo.

As you can see, a majority of you picked the white text on red background. Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t use the other logos for your blog/website, which are listed in the blogpost below this one.

We are going to be getting bilingual buttons/logos for the site and for those other logos (so you may see a minor change to the main logo above), and we also have some exciting plans for the website in general, so stay tuned here and over at the Facebook group for those developments!

Bloggers who support the Liberal 308 concept

As you might have noticed, we have started to include a list of bloggers over on our sidebar who have endorsed the Liberal 308 idea/concept and the notion that structural and organizational reforms are needed to make the Liberal Party work better and compete better.

The easiest way to know they support the concept and to include them here is if they’ve either written a blogpost in support of Liberal 308, or added one of the Liberal 308 button logos that have been created for that purpose over at the Facebook group.

We’ve added the various buttons over here at the bottom of this blogpost for those bloggers who support the initiative but who aren’t Facebook members to be able to download them and then put them on their blog or website. If you need help figuring out how to put these on your sidebar or elsewhere on your blog, send an email to the site, and we’ll get back to you with some technical help. (And let us know if/when you put up one of the buttons so we can add you to our list of bloggers who support this initiative).

Some thoughts on the Liberal Leadership Race as it pertains to Liberal 308.

A few thoughts from me (me being Scott, one of the admins at the Liberal 308 Facebook Group, and general blogging geek, which many of you will know if you read the Canadian blogosphere)  on the start of this leadership campaign to pass along to you folks, since we’ve seen Frank Mckenna announce yesterday that he wouldn’t be entering into the race,  while on the same day, Dominic Leblanc announced he was officially running.

Folks who generally support this initiative may be wondering if we’re going to be endorsing anyone. At the moment, the answer is no; the main purpose of this group RIGHT NOW is about developing long-term strategies for Liberal Party renewal.

At some future point, that may change, but for now, we’re here to try and get the upper echelon of the party – including those who are leadership candidates – to pay attention that many grassroots Liberals are saying enough is enough, and that real institutional and structural reforms are needed for the LPC to be more in touch with its grassroots members,  as well as having what I keep calling the “10 + 3” strategy that will allow Liberals to compete in every province and territory.

All that being said, if any of the LPC candidates for leadership come out with a plan in their platform to do some much needed restructuring and reforms, or even if they acknowledge that reforms and a change in strategy is badly needed, I think its safe to say we at the website and at the Facebook group  will certainly point that out and give credit where it’s due.


P.S. I note that in our poll question we posted asking  what you folks want the Liberal 308 logo at the site to look like, the 2nd choice is narrowly beating out the current one. I think we’ll keep the voting ongoing until the end of the week and go with the democratic will of the Liberal 308 users 🙂

Pick a logo look for Liberal 308.

Alright… This is a retake of my “pick a logo you like” blogpost, with a couple of modified logos for your perusal. We’ve got the current logo:

and we’ve a couple new logos for your consideration. First, a white text, red  background:

and then.. same style,  but red text on white:

These are thumbnails. so click on them to see their full size, and try to visualize them between a red header at the top of this page (which I can’t change at the moment).

Leave comments or vote!