If you're unaware of who the guy above is, that's former Scarborough MP Tom Wappel, who in the 1980's took over the riding association in Scarborough Southwest with his group of pro-lifers, one of many that descended upon poor Scarborough during this time.
Wappel, who received support from Campaign Life and the Catholic Church for his pro-life views, is a prime example of why the power to appoint is sometimes necessary in certain ridings.
You can lament about democracy all you want, but a perfectly democratic system will produce results that will kill our chances in particular areas, or will saddle us with baggage we don't want. The fact is, the democratic process is easy to take over, especially so for a primary system which we seem to be moving towards (which I'm happy to support).
But let's be reasonable - we don't want another Tom Wappel, M.P., taking over a riding on the basis of a single issue campaign that we as Liberals are opposed to. We need some sort of trump card to pull on these people, and the ultimate trump card is candidate appointments by the leader, executive, or whatever.
Yes, I agree, people like Derek Lee or Jimmy K or John MacKay, who are all pro-life, are/were valued members of the Liberal caucus. No doubt about it. But they have and continue to prove their worth. Differences of opinion aside, these individuals have proven themselves to be credible.
But there will be the case when the difference of opinion is just too much. Again, we have Wappel. But what about Lesley Hughes, the Kildonan Truther candidate from 2008? What do we do when these highly organized and concentrated groups come together in one or two ridings, flood it with members, and take it over and nominate some unsuitable/unstable candidate? And this isn't only limited to the nutbars - riding associations should have a trump card to play against egotistical a-holes with designs on the riding. I know there's a few around Burlington in particular.
That's not democracy, that's an invasion. And I would sleep a lot better at night knowing that the leader and/or the executive had our backs and could do something.
Make it more restrictive, make it conditional, make it a democratic vote among the executive itself - I agree that the power needs to be curtailed. But please, please don't take it away. We'll be opening ourselves up to the Christine O'Donnells of the world if we do.