With the Biennial Convention rapidly approaching, I've had to narrow down the field for the Liberal presidents. There are five outstanding candidates - former cabinet member and local gal Sheila Copps, former LPC(O) President Mike Crawley, Kingston and the Islands president Ron Hartling, former MP Alexandra Mendès, and Charles Ward. Each of them has good ideas and I'd be comfortable with any of them as President. However, I did have to narrow the field down quite a bit.
Ron Hartling, the association president for Kingston and the Islands, which had the great distinction of being one of two ridings in the country we managed to get a rookie candidate elected, especially hard considering the loss of Peter Milliken and, as often happens in these incumbent-held ridings, a dormant EDA. He has cut his chops on the ground, showing that he can organize, strategize, and win. In other words, he just isn't about saying the right words - he took action, and was successful. I respect that, and we need someone like him running this party.
Mike Crawley, the former Liberal Party of Canada (Ontario) president, has shown great enthusiasm for the job he's running for, and it shows in his platform. He has been in this party for a long time, and he's been involved in not just the grander governance of Ontario, but also the Young Liberals, which I believe is key experience as we move towards rebuilding. He has the charisma, the passion, and the ideas. That's what we need as well.
If I could combine them both into "Miron Hartley," I would. Both are impressive, intelligent candidates, and most of all, they espouse the change of direction we need more than any of the other candidates. They both propose greater inclusion, greater accountability, and greater priority towards communications and reshaping the current top-down structure of LPC governance. They both have platforms detailing those changes, and they're impressive, to say the least.
I suppose my biggest problems lay with Crawley - as LPC(O) president, I haven't seen the benefits of his time in charge, not really. Our provincial wing is horribly top-down and that is his legacy more than any others. The only reason I've chosen him as one of two possible presidents is because of the strength of his ideas. Otherwise, Hartling, who doesn't have that associated baggage, would be my premier choice. Come the convention, he may end up still being so.
But I would be impressed with these two gentlemen as President more than I would be with either Copps, Mendés, or Ward. I would suggest all invested readers of this blog to consider one of these two individuals to lead the party as we enter the renewal period. See for yourselves, I've provided all candidate websites - no others really compete, in my opinion. Mike and Ron have what it takes, and both of them deserve the job.