Liberal Party releases 308 ridings strategy document.

The document can be found here.

Part of the press release from the Liberals states:

“The members of the party spoke and we listened” said the Hon. Navdeep Bains who co-chaired the Committee. Steven MacKinnon the other co-chair and former National Director of the Party added that “This report lays out a 308 riding strategy that is key to rebuilding our party and winning back the confidence of Canadians”.

Please feel free to look at this document and leave your comments on the recommendations either here in the comments message board, or over at Liberal 308’s Facebook site, on what you think of the recommendations, and whether or not you agree with Mr. Bains claims.

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“A 21st Century Liberal Party of Canada” – document proposal

A Liberal supporter who is interested in the goals and aims of Liberal 308 has made up a proposal for reforming the Liberal Party that he will be looking to propose at the upcoming LPCO conference. It is posted for your convenience to read and comment on. Its posting here does not indicate that the founders of Liberal 308 necessarily endorse it or its approach, but it was posted here for discussion on what it says in the document.

The file is in PDF format. Feel free to download/browse it and to leave questions/comments on, either at the comment thread here, or at the Liberal 308 Facebook group.

a-21st-century-liberal-party-of-canada

Some interesting parallels with Dean/Obama 50 state strategy and the proposed Liberal 308 strategy.

This is a very timely op-ed over at CNN about how Democratic National Chairman Howard Dean’s “50 state strategy” plan was attacked by some of the the Democratic strategists and  politicians – as was Obama’s decision to adapt it for his presidential campaign – as pie in the sky thinking, but how they were vindicated:

Dean’s insistence on having a Democratic Party that existed in the heartland, and not just California, New York and Massachusetts, was brilliant in that it made clear that the party recognized the rest of America…If Democrats are going to achieve success on the national level, they must have significant enthusiasm on the local level. It’s hard to get your supporters ginned up for a national campaign if they see no infrastructure, especially local get-out-the-vote operations.

Gee, does that sound familiar to anyone up here north of the border? If you’re in the Liberal party of Canada, it should. If it doesn’t, then you didn’t pay very good attention this past election campaign. There were other problems as well, which we all know about and that will get touched on in later posts, but in too many ridings, it appeared that GOTV was non-existent.

From a personal standpoint, I can tell you I was up in Guelph during the by-election before it got cancelled, and I can tell you that the team of Frank Valeriote had a very impressive ground-game, and enthused local volunteers. It was probably that ground-game that allowed him to resist the blue tide in SW Ontario on election night – but in far too many other ridings, it appears a lot of that was missing.

The article goes on to talk about Obama’s adoption of the 50 state strategy, and how this decision too was derided by the so-called strategists – but how he too – with the help of Dean – was correct in pursuing it:

When Obama announced that he was implementing a 50-state strategy, he was laughed at. But here we are with six days left in the campaign and the Republicans are having to spend precious dollars on ads in Montana, North Carolina, Virginia, Missouri, Iowa, Colorado and Nevada, GOP locks in past elections…changing the attitude among the nation’s Democrats was also vital, and that’s where Dean played a role. The former governor of Vermont saw firsthand the sorry shape of the party when he ran for president in 2004. Republicans, led by Karl Rove, perfected their voter registration efforts, targeting voters down to the neighborhood, block and household. They knew that to win they needed a well-oiled machine that wasn’t activated every four years; it needed to be active all year round and in every election cycle. So Dean put the people and resources behind substantial voter efforts in a number of states, and they went about rebuilding a crippled party that had no central voter registration effort, an outdated database of supporters, a fundraising arm that heavily relied on trial attorneys and Hollywood types, and a message that changed depending on the day.

Again, does this sound and look familiar, Liberals? Again, if it doesn’t, I’m not sure what you were seeing, because it seems pretty similar to the state of the LPC right at the moment.

The editorial concludes with this line: Old pols always said that all politics is local, and the only way for a revitalized Democratic Party to expand its reach nationally is by re-branding the party on the home front. That takes time, money and leadership, and Howard Dean was willing to put his money where his mouth is.

This question should also be asked by the party members of the LPC: which Liberal leadership candidate and supporters will not only be dedicated to the reforms structurally and organizationally that are badly needed in the Liberal Party, but also be willing to put their money where their mouth is, as well as the dedication and persistence and courage to do so when some in the LPC hierarchy may resist this and also call it “pie in the sky” thinking?

Who will endorse and implement the Canadian version of Dean’s plan here? Whether you call it Liberal 308, or “10 + 3”, I believe (and I think many of our supporters believe)  it needs to be done sooner rather then later. Grand vague statements of being for “renewal” are fine. Citing specifics for what type of renewal you want and how you go about it are better, and of course, actions speak louder then words.

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(cross-posted at Scott’s Diatribes)

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.

-Scott

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 🙂

The 308 Club

The following is a 308 Club Proposal that was given to Mr. Dion by Oshawa Liberal Candidate Dr. Sean Godfrey on his May 6th – May 7th visit to the Liberal Caucus in Ottawa.

The 308 Club

Proposal:
Every current Liberal candidate and Liberal MP automatically becomes a member of ‘The 308 Club’. The club permits each member to communicate freely and easily with any or all of the others.

Purposes:
*To permit free access to the best minds and ideas within the membership quickly and easily, without the usual frustrating and unnecessary obstruction from Party ‘handlers’ and bureaucrats.

*To foster better relations and true team spirit amongst candidates and MPs alike.

*Bridges the perceived gap between the political elite in their ivory towers on Parliament Hill and the humble ‘groundlings’ in the trenches – the candidates.

*Provides the Leader and the Cabinet, in Opposition or Govt., with a rapid means of canvassing the views of the members on issues, and provides the members with a quick way to bring their ideas forward to the highest levels where decisions are made, in turns of Party policy and strategy.

*Provides a feedback mechanism to the leadership on their proposals in turns of policy or of strategy

*Permits rapid communication between the Leader, MPs and candidates so there is a consistent message heard by the public from each on any given topic.

Furthermore, it allows concerted attacks to be launched simultaneously and quickly across the country, on any issue, at any time, by all candidates and MPS when required, maximizing the effect on the public.

* To aid the development of each of the 308 riding associations in combination with each of their candidates or MPs, to become truly functional, independent, but connected, ‘cells’ of effective political action across the country

In essence, what such a club would do is to foster better working relations between those key players who are our MPs and those who are our aspiring MPs.

Its aim is to effect better and more rapid communication and to lessen the real or perceived gap between those in power and those aspiring to power.

It is an essential exercise in practical politics, democratic principles and the necessary adaptation of the Liberal Party to a new modern way of conducting political warfare at the grassroots level.

Why is this important to achieve?

Simply put, the Liberal Party needs to think of all its candidates and MPs as equal. That way each and every one feels valuable, respected and important. That creates a true team spirit and a true sense of comradeship.

This Liberal opposition cannot become anything more successful – unless it converts some of those humble ‘groundling’ candidates into new MPs.

‘The 308 Club’ is one tool to make that more likely to happen. There are twice as many Liberal candidates as there are Liberal MPs: a more effective communication process between the two groups will merge them effectively into one cohesive fighting force

Consider the contrast in styles this makes with the autocratic ‘one man party’ of the Conservative Government. ‘The 308 Club’ is something the Conservatives would never be able to even understand let alone contemplate with their rigid inflexible hierarchy.

In their Party, no one may speak or utter a thought unless first cleared by the PMO.

By contrast, ‘The 308 Club’ simply but very effectively demonstrates that the Liberals not only preach about true democratic principles, but live by them, too.

Mechanism

Communication could be by many methods including by telephone, by email, or a members’ private forum web page, by means of telephone conferencing and by regular meetings of ‘The 308 Club’.

MPs and candidates would have immediate access to the personal email and tel. numbers of each other, so direct communication as well as member wide communication could be facilitated at a much faster pace, with no external hindrances.

What it really requires is a shift in how some Liberal MPs may regard themselves as an exclusive elite, rather than as a source of inspiration and a vital support for their colleagues and lesser mortals: the candidates.

That change in attitude and perception will go a long way to making the process less daunting to those candidates, less confusing and more likely to make them successful in their attempts – as they will have a better working knowledge of what is happening. Information currently is distributed almost haphazardly to candidates from a distant leadership at arms length – a very remote and ineffectual process which does not inspire confidence or team building.

Summary:

It will take a shift in approach for ‘The 308 Club’ to yield its maximal benefits. But, I humbly submit that it could become one of the cornerstones of a future successful Liberal Party machine.

We cannot hope to beat the Conservatives by adhering to failing strategies of the past. They have failed and will continue to do so. We do not have their money and we thankfully lack the Conservatives’ rigid adherence to a dictatorial style of leadership. That is our true strength – and we need to exploit it.

Submitted May 2008, in person, to Mr. Dion, Leader of the Opposition, by Dr Sean Godfrey, Liberal Candidate for Oshawa