Liberal brass have approved rules which seemed designed to prevent Bob Rae and Ralph Goodale from becoming interim leader of the decimated party.These, to me, are fair rules. The Board is requiring that whoever leads the Party in the interim, someone they vote on, has to agree to conditions that take away their power to talk about something the membership has not had a chance to vote on (if people want a merger, then they can vote for a pro-merger person in the leadership race), as well as being representative and communicative of the Party's caucus, in both native languages. Alongside keeping them out of the permanent running, the restrictions are fair and reasonable. They do preclude certain qualified people, however, either for reasons of ambition or communication, but I think it makes sense.
The party's national board has issued a final statement outlining a plan to defer a vote for permanent leader for up to two years and laying down conditions for choosing an acting leader in the interim.
The final plan, obtained by The Canadian Press, is not much different than a draft plan leaked Monday, which seemed designed to prevent Toronto MP Rae from becoming interim leader if he has full-time leadership ambitions.
But the final plan now stipulates that the interim leader must be bilingual, whereas the draft had suggested a unilingual leader would be acceptable provided that a "native francophone" deputy was appointed.
However, my sticking point is this:
The board also now says that Liberal senators, who were excluded in the draft plan, will be given a partial say in choosing the interim leader, although their views will carry less weight than elected MPs.This isn't right. The Senators are not an elected body, yes, but they are a caucus of representatives that must follow a leader, interim or otherwise. They have as much a say on those decisions as the Members of Parliament. The Board should not constrict their say in this way - they can't step over the caucus. I agree to the restrictions before because those are Board restrictions that bind them; this, however, is a caucus matter, and Senators are undoubtedly apart of that caucus. Let them have their full say.