Young Liberals of Canada and One Member, One Vote

These past few weeks on En Famille and on eclectic portions of the blogsphere, I’ve attempted to maneuver through the nuances of the discussion on the Youth amendment to One Member, One Vote.

The proponents of the amendment emphasize the strength and, by extension, the importance of the YLC as a bloc. In the past, the Commission has cemented its entitlement to securing a sizable portion of delegate seats at Conventions, forming a cohesiveness which has contributed to its pivotal role in shaping progressive policy on several occasions. 

YLC bloc aside, it would seem that an immediate extension of the current Convention system of Leadership voting to a system which would include all members – One Member, One Vote – would require quotas for youth (also women, seniors, aboriginals) in order to emulate current proportions. While one could argue that the current delegation system renders individual preference – and, hence, the views of these respective Commissions – irrelevant in favor of percentages tallied from riding association assemblies for first rounds of voting, the current system does give individual delegates license to vote as they choose on the Leadership on subsequent voting rounds; the votes herein ultimately determine the Leader in the case of several candidates (as in 2006).

In brief, a point allotment bolstering youth representation in Leadership voting has the following two apparent purposes:
i) Maintaining the vitally distinctive (internal) position of the YLC as a bloc in practical and symbolic terms, and,
ii) Maintaining the enthusiasm of the (external) reception that the Commission enjoys from the rest of the Party, which has been necessitated in the past by the YLC’s systematic underrepresentation and weakness (characteristic of members in the age range) in the organization at large.

These two purposes are mutually reinforcing. Together, they suggest the following predicament: “The Young Liberals of Canada, as a result of their youthful character, hold such a distinctively opinionated stance in comparison to the rest of the Party that their presence is weak in the face of the organization at large.”

Perhaps I have exaggerated for effect, but the meaning is clear: consideration of the fundamentally controversial issue of OMOV has been stymied by the disheartening virulence of another – one of organizational unity.

When members of the youth wing took memorable moments on convention floors to vocalize their stances on Same-Sex Marriage and Anti-Ballistic Missile Defense, among other policies, their ultimate strength lay not in the brute force of their numbers or the consistency of their accompanying masses; rather, their weight was in the substance of their reasoning. 

It is my view that as youth – the innovative forces with the most potential to effect positive, responsible change in our nation, not to mention the best volunteers – we should have pride, and not diffidence, in our enviable position in leadership campaigns. By the same token, we should utilize the breadth of our impressive achievements as inspiration to devise institutions by which we might integrate our student teams more fully with portfolios held in PTAs and the National Liberal Executive, while soliciting the views of historically marginal groups in aiming to be maximally inclusive.

It would be a triumph if young people comprised a more substantial proportion of the Party’s membership. It would mean more young candidates, more young regional presidents, and more young Members on the Hill. We can make it happen. Until then, let’s keep the conversation civil on the web, in the suites, and on the floor.

Warmly,
Clara Chang

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Change Commission

Hey, as you’ve probably already heard, the National Executive passed a resolution on November 27 to create a committee to scope out answers from party members about how to renew structure, technology, fundraising, communications, etc, to be summarized and taken to the convention, as well as five regional meetings, to which regional constituents will be invited, with the option of participation via webcast.

Opinions on renewal topics are being solicited at http://enfamille.liberal.ca (click ‘Change‘), as well as, elsewhere on the forums, input into the 2009 budget and comments on public policy. Join the discussion if you haven’t already!

The Change Commission is seeking responses to the following questions:

1. Why don’t Liberals donate to the party as much as other political parties? How can we convince party members to donate to their riding and/or the national party?

2. How can we engage party members in the community? How can we attract community leaders to join the party?

3. How can we best rebuild weak riding associations?

4. How can we improve the party’s use of technology? How can technology best serve our ridings and our members?

5. How can we improve the structure of the party nationally, provincially, and locally?

6. How can LPC improve the party’s internal communications? What do members want to hear from the party?

7. How can LPC and the provincial and territorial associations better serve riding associations?

8. How LPC can improve the policy resolution and policy discussion process?

9. How can we best reach out to community groups and multicultural organizations?

Another Liberal blogger endorses Liberal 308 Concept

It’s been awhile since any of us posted here – what with coalitions and prorogues and a new Liberal leader, and the holidays… but we’re all still here, don’t worry.

I thought I’d freshen up the site a bit by mentioning we’ve added another Liberal blogger to the blogroll of those Liberal bloggers who supports the Liberal 308 concepts and goals – and that would be Impolitical, who’s well known amongst the Liberal blogosphere, and well regarded.

As for this place, we’ve been actually looking to move this site to one with its own unique URL address, so keep an eye out for that.

I’ll  just add on a  personal note that I sincerely hope Mr. Ignatieff keeps to his promises of wanting to do Liberal grassroots renewal, as well as following thru on implementing some type of a  Liberal 308 riding strategy plan. I’m sure many of us will be watching carefully over the next few months, regardless of what happens in Parliament, in the leadup to the Convention in the Spring, some signs of action on this front.

Visionaries

In the words of Drew Adamick, 2008 federal candidate for Cariboo–Prince George, “There is one clear message that the Liberal Party must take from this past election: We must rebuild ourselves.

No longer can we blame the media for our failures. No longer can we blame other parties for taking away support that we did not earn. No longer can we expect victory to be handed to us on a silver platter.

We need to rebuild and renew the Liberal Party and Liberalism in Canada. Liberal 308 is a pilot project for this renewal.

What does Liberal 308 mean? It means that we must build and active and involved Liberal presence in ALL 308 ridings across Canada. It means that we must reach out to the Liberal grassroots for effective fundraising and policy development. It means we must change our attitudes of the past and set the framework for future Liberal victories.

The next few months will be one of reflection, and hopefully rebirth of the Liberal Party.

This weblog will hopefully be the site of transparent, respectful, rigorous discussion on the issues we care about as Liberals. Feel free to comment and leave an email address to add yourself to the mix! There are a couple of stipulations, which are listed on the About page. Really read these.

What’s becoming more and more impressed upon me with each new initiative is that a Liberal effort is a team effort, so, add yourselves to the mailing list.

Warmest Regards,

Clara Chang, Westmount Ville-Marie