Friday, January 13, 2012

#Ott12 Post - Impressions of the Mood in Ottawa

Hello fellow Liberals! After being among my own kind for a day and a bit now, I feel fully indoctrinated! Love for all! Let's create universal childcare! Let's create sustainability! I love Bob Rae!

The convention - my first, so everyone knows - is an interesting experience, and if anyone is involved in politics in whatever party, I recommend going to this gathering of like-minded and sometimes opposing individuals and groups. As a delegate, I get fawned over as well for votes and support (little do they know I just want to know where their hospitality suite is). Watch it all live here.

As a Liberal, I'm impressed by the numbers and by the passion of everyone here. Everyone has an idea, everyone seems willing to discuss those ideas, and best of all, everyone appears to listen. They may not agree, but they'll listen, and that's better than nothing. It's a great sight to see all these people from walks of life way outside my own come together and discuss how to reinvigorate the Liberal Party of Canada. And Bob Rae's speech wasn't that bad either.

However, as a change-oriented, primary-favouring, supporter-tier-loving Liberal, I'm a bit disheartened. I was sitting today in two q-and-a sessions on the Roadmap to Renewal, the set of amendments and clauses put forward by the National Executive, which takes the party towards the now-infamous "members" and "supporters" system, as well as the staged "primary" vote, and other important changes.

The amount of criticism from old party stalwarts - former MP Maria Minna one of the loudest - over this idea of "supporters" is just insane. Alf Apps has done a great job defending it so far, and honestly, I wish he was this stoked about changing the party and improving it when he first got the job, because the man as he is now would be my choice for President. Honestly, he has done amazing work and I commend him for it.

But a good portion of the party is against it. I'm a bit worried about the prospects of the supporters system going through - but we'll see. I'm going to try my best to change some minds in the meantime.

The "Critics Corner," where Liberal critics discussed issues and told delegates what they were doing in Ottawa, was consistently packed. I'm very impressed by the level of engagement here by convention-goers. I look forward to tomorrow, when even more of these sessions go on, and we get down to the nitty-gritty of constitutional plenaries and delegate discussions.

As Bob Rae said during his speech - there is no way this Party is dead.

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