Monday, September 10, 2012

What the hell, Liberal Exec?

I get the sinking feeling that the National Executive may not be 100% behind the recently-created Supporters category, for which you can see me ranting about here.

For many long, slow months we've heard nothing much about Supporters. Granted my connectivity into the scene isn't at its most connected right now - damn education and employment, gettin' in the way of my politics! - but monitoring the media and all this other stuff, I've seen nary a mention. It's almost as if the Supporters category was getting something of a half-assed approach from those running this party... but its entirely possible I've not seen the whole story, so I'll reserve my judgement on that front.

But not so much on this, as reported by John Ibbitson:
Yes, it is possible to go to and sign on as a supporter, and the party claims 20,000 people have done so.

But that privilege will end 41 days before the April 14 vote is announced. Mike Crawley, the party’s president, explained Sunday that the party had decided to make the cutoff for both supporters and members that far in advance, so that lists could be finalized, checked for possible acts of fraud, and then shared with all candidates.
Emphasis is obviously mine - and what an emphasis. The Supporters category, which by all accounts has been fairly successful so far (20,000 is nothing to scoff at, right Alberta Liberals? Oh crud...), should be given every opportunity to sign up as many participants as it can. That is kind of the point, after all; why would we discount those people who want to sign up as Supporters later in the race? Forty-one days is nearly six weeks until the end of the race in April 14th - and six weeks isn't even the length of a standard general election campaign period.

As Ibbitson says, this is a strange idea. I know past Liberal membership deadlines, like in 2006, was months and months in advanced; however the NDP membership cutoff date for their leadership election was February 18th, roughly a month and a bit before their race's conclusion. And they didn't have too many issues with their memberships (just with online voting).

In a One-Member, One-Vote system, its key to have everyone you can voting - the greater the number of voters, the more democratically healthy your race is (in principle). But we're artificially cutting off both our Supporters - supposedly the biggest boon we would've had to this race - and  memberships.

It's a strange, and a bit of a stupid idea. Why are we cutting ourselves off at the knees, here?


  1. The 41-day cutoff is in the party constitution, so the national board is kind of stuck with it. It was in the previous (members-only) version of the constitution and stayed in with the change to supporters.

    The Young Liberals actually did propose cutting the period to 14 days, but I seem to remember that we ran out of time and never got to debate that amendment.

    Doing the math on the NDP dates, their cutoff was 35 days. Not that six days is nothing, but I don't see 41 vs 35 days as the huge difference you make it out to be.

    1. I can see the memberships being cut off, but Supporters? That's a bit of a different beat in its own right. If you want to stick with the 41-day period for memberships, I can understand that; but Supporters you should make an exception for. The longer time candidates have to get out there and take advantage of this new category, the better (in my opinion).