Monday, December 19, 2011

What does it take to be president? Alexandra Mendes knows

To me, an important part of the job of President of the Party is to know what the job is and isn't. It's an organizational role, one that requires communications and the ability to build bridges to get the job done. What it is not is a spokesperson position. The President must never become a bigger story than the party and the caucus. Alexandra Mendes understands the role and responsibilities of being LPC President, and brings a proven track record of experience and results. Here's what Alexandra has to say about the job of President:

"The race for president of the Liberal Party is generating a great deal of excitement and as a Liberal I am delighted to see the renewed interest and commitment to this party by its members. However, we must not get forget that when the dust settles on the race and a winner is declared, the real work will start. Debates among candidates will be forgotten and the nitty-gritty of the job will get done in many different places; often not on a stage and often out of the public eye. Simply put, the president is not the leader of the party. The president’s job is to help the members, the Caucus and the leader do their work.

One of the first tasks to be tackled is to sit down with the financial books of the Liberal Party. Managing the finances of our Party will be a crucial job for the president and the National Executive in the months to come.

What am I bringing to this aspect of the position? I became executive director of membership driven organization when it went into receivership and helped bring it to financial stability. From this I learned to balance books and be financially responsible with limited funds. This is often a diplomatic act of ensuring that the necessary funds are available for activities that sustain and grow an organization while cutting down on waste and unnecessary spending. Also, since the future of party financing demands that we finance our party from donations alone, we need to manage the money we now have and to engage Canadians to donate and support our party. This will require that we think outside the box to strengthen our finances. The membership has identified creative ways to increase funds and heighten the Liberal profile and as president I would work hard to facilitate these initiatives.

I believe that under the new financial reality, members must drive the financial bus; without the per-vote subsidies we need to change the way our Party does business. To provide a lasting financially responsible framework, I believe that we must have a mandatory quarterly review that assesses both input and output of funds and mandates that we justify our spending either on the basis of successful member outreach or successful fundraising. If an expenditure item does neither, then it should be eliminated in the interest of frugal fiscal management.

The other fundamental aspect of the job is to meet with Liberals, to hear their concerns and suggestions. For the president of the Liberal Party, these meetings require another set of talents: listening and knowing when and how to act. After my many experiences as a MP, a riding association president and an executive director of an NGO I have learned that there is a fundamental difference between listening to people and simply allowing people to talk. For me, listening is an active, purposeful activity where I try to understand and piece together what people are thinking and feeling; what they are asking for; how they offer to help; and even what they are critiquing us on.

For me, listening must always be followed by any appropriate action. There is no point listening passively and then moving on; it leaves people frustrated and also allows many helpful suggestions and golden opportunities to slip away. For example, a young man representing approached me during the May 2011 campaign. He wanted to know why Liberal MP’s hadn’t signed on the online petition against user-based internet fees. I was surprised that we hadn’t, I made two phone calls to the appropriate critics and in less than 48 hours, Liberal MP’s had become the darlings of The young man who had come to me originally was so impressed at the results that he became a member of the Party, joined my campaign team and became our “go-to” person in all IT related matters.

The president must also be responsive to riding associations. As an active member of the Brossard – La Prairie riding association for over 10 years, as a riding association president that supported the election of the Hon. Jacques Saada twice and as an MP who won in the same riding, I have intimate knowledge of the challenges faced by riding associations. I believe that the president must work with riding associations one by one and with the Council of Presidents in a constructive way. A president’s job is not to dictate what should be done but rather to help associations to do their job because they know their communities best. A “one plan fits all” approach will not succeed; we must take into account the unique nature of each riding.

Again, the act of listening cannot be left to chance. We must do something that is required from every president and if elected I would institute a set of rules governing response times. Any written submission from a riding association must be responded to within 30 days and if the decision is required and still pending at 90 days, then there must be a further communication every 30 days until a decision is made.

Another crucial job for the president is to facilitate Liberal messaging. The president is not the spokesperson for the party; that is clearly and indubitably the leader’s job. The president and the National Executive do have however a crucial role to play as facilitators for messaging. As a MP that got swept up by the Orange Wave, I also know that we need to focus on the air war as well as the ground war. In my riding we set up the winning conditions for the 2011 election as we had numerous times before. However, the combination of the attack war against Michael Ignatieff and the Liberals, and the NDP’s successful messaging campaign in Quebec, all of our diligent work was thoroughly overridden.

If I am elected president, I will commit to helping with the air war. First and foremost, this will require that funding be available to define our leader before our opponents define him/her. Second, we will have to change the way we do the business of messaging. We need to communicate more effectively to reach the hearts as well as the minds of Canadians. We need to communicate effectively and in a timely manner with members about the positions the party has taken on issues.

We need to fundraise by showing why our Party deserves the support of Canadians by earning each dollar. We can do this by having clear, simple, straightforward conversations about what Liberals want to support and why. These messages need to not only go out to members; we need to use our free opportunities in the media to effectively, rationally and emotionally connect with Canadians.

This is my understanding of what it means to be president of the Liberal Party of Canada. How do you see it? I really would love to read your thoughts…"

Friday, December 16, 2011

Experience to get the job done - Alexandra Mendes' proven track record

In this time of Liberal rebuilding, the Party President must work for,
and be accountable to the membership. It is not enough to simply chair
meetings or to be a talking head on TV, a President must have the
passion and experience for organizational management required to take
on the heavy tasks of rebuilding our party.

Alexandra Mendes has that passion and experience.

Within the party, Alexandra has demonstrated her management experience
in the myriad of roles she has played - working her way up through the
party, going all the way from a local riding volunteer, to a riding
association President, to an MP assistant to proudly serving the
people of Brossard-La Prarie. Alexandra also has valuable experience
at management outside of politics, having served as Executive Director
of Maison Internationale de la Rive-Sud, an immigrant settlement
agency on the south shore of Montreal. When Alexandra took over the
agency, it was in trouble, having gone into financial receivership,
and not able to play its part in helping New Canadians thrive in our
great country. But with skill, dedication, and passion, Alexandra
helped right the ship and brought the agency back into financial
stability. Alexandra has a proven track record, not rhetoric, of
bringing hard work and dedication to organizational management, and
the Liberal Party of Canada needs someone both with a firm commitment
to improving management operations, and passion for the Liberal Party
and Liberal values.

Alexandra Mendes is the best candidate for the job of Liberal Party of
Canada President. Elect a President with passion, dedication, and a
proven track record to help our party renew.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Fantastic cross Canada support for Alexandra Mendes!

Check out what great Liberals from across Canada are saying about Alexandra Mendes!

Support for Alexandra Mendes is growing in every province. Liberals are choosing Alexandra because of her proven ability to take a member-driven organization and turn it around to make it financially successful. Liberals are choosing Alexandra because her experience as a riding association president and as a Member of Parliament give her valuable insights into how the party works and what is needed to support a riding and win a riding. Liberals are choosing Alexandra because she is more interested in listening to the membership than talking at them. Liberals are choosing Alexandra because she will change the culture of the party by ensuring that the ownership of the party is in the hands of the members and that we put an end to infighting by standing united as a party. These are excerpts of what just a few of them have to say about Alexandra, click on their names to read the full endorsement:

Les appuis envers Alexandra Mendès arrivent de toutes les provinces. Les libéraux choisissent Alexandra en raison de sa capacité éprouvée à prendre une organisation dirigée par ses membres et de la rendre financièrement stable. Les libéraux choisissent Alexandra parce que son expérience en tant que présidente d'une association de circonscription et en tant que députée lui ont permis d'acquérir des connaissances essentielles sur les opérations du Parti et ce que cela prend pour soutenir et gagner une circonscription. Les libéraux choisissent Alexandra parce qu'elle accorde beaucoup plus d'importance à écouter les membres qu'à leur imposer ses opinions. Les libéraux choisissent Alexandra parce qu'ils sentent qu'elle saura changer la culture du Parti en s'assurant que les membres demeurent les principaux « actionnaires » de notre formation et qu'elle fera tout son possible pour mettre fin aux querelles intestines qui nous déchirent depuis des années. Voici des extraits de ce que quelques-uns d'entre eux ont à dire sur Alexandra, cliquez sur leur nom pour lire leur témoignage complet:

I am extremely pleased to support Alexandra Mendes as President of the Liberal Party. Alexandra has a clear grasp of the issues facing our Party and brings experience as a committed volunteer, a political activist, an engaged political professional and as a parliamentarian to this job. She will ensure every voice is heard as we rebuild the Liberal presence across the country. Alexandra understands the role of President in ensuring that good governance, effective and efficient administrative structures and solid financial support are developed well before the next election. She is running for the right position at the right time and has my full support.
Rob Oliphant, Ontario

This is why we should burst with optimism and pride at the thought of Alexandra Mendes as President of the Liberal Party of Canada: ...

... Mendes insists on inclusion in our Party and in our country. She is a communicator and a consensus builder. Her commitment to a progressive and prosperous society, to justice and human rights, to women's issues, citizenship, immigration and multiculturalism are an invaluable asset to a Party needing to grow....
Jade Boldt, Alberta

... I like you, want the very best for our Party. We need a President who is a facilitator, someone who listens and then acts, someone with proven competency in restoring organizations in precarious health (financial and organizational), someone with high ethical standards and proven integrity and finally someone who 'gets' Canada's diversity on linguistic, ethnic, racial and religious origins. Well, the only candidate in my mind who meets all those criteria is Alexandra Mendes. ...
Marlene Jennings, Québec

... Tout comme vous, je veux le meilleur pour notre parti. Nous avons besoin d'un facilitateur, d'une personne à l'écoute qui sait aussi passer aux actes, quelqu'un qui a fait preuve de ses compétences, telles la réussite de la restructuration d'organismes en difficulté (financières et structurelles), une personne qui a fait preuve de ses valeurs sur le plan de l'éthique ainsi que de son intégrité. Et non moins essentiel, nous avons besoin d'une personne qui comprend la diversité, qui comprend le Canada dans toutes ses dimensions, tant au niveau linguistique qu'au niveau ethnique, racial et religieux. Or, à mon avis le (la) seul(e) candidat(e) qui atteint tous ces critères est Alexandra Mendes. ...
Marlene Jennings, Québec

Meeting an unusual politician - intelligent, well informed, candid, courageous, friendly, charming... you have renewed our dreams and hopes for better Liberal times ahead. Thank you!!!
Ivanka Ruseska, Alberta

... Alexandra is committed to working with riding associations and rebuilding them, re-focusing the priorities of PTA's on local, riding level engagement. Re-empowering our riding associations is critical to rebuild the party, particularly in Quebec and The West. As a supporter of organizations like Equal Voice, I am pleased that the cause of gender equality within the party organization, and in candidate recruitment is an important issue for Alexandra, and one she will work towards as President.

Alexandra has a critical understanding of what the role of President is and isn't. We need an organizer, a manager, a facilitator, not someone who will be writing talking points and doing interviews, taking attention away from our leader and caucus.

With her approach to engagement and reform, Alexandra is the best choice for President ...
William Norman, Ontario

Alexandra believes, as I do, that the liberal party members ultimately are responsible for the decision-making process and their ideas and recommendations should be respected and valued, as well as implemented by their duly elected officers. Decisions have to come from the bottom-up not top-down and this has to be the modus operati of everything we do as a political party in order to grow and again earn the right to be a contender for the governance of our great country. She believes in a democratic, transparent and accountable executive which answers at every occasion to the party members who are the heart and soul of the our party, and by serving their interests she assures their continued support of and continued involvement in our party. ...

For these reasons and many more, I am confident that Alexandra is the President who, along with all of us, will rebuild a strong, dynamic and interactive party that will earn the right to once again govern our great country. ...
Eleni Bakopanos, Quebec

...Alexandra believes strongly in the importance of listening and she puts that belief into practice in her communications with members. And, because Alexandra has a knack for putting people at ease when she talks with them, conversations with her are genial, open and productive.

Alexandra's communications skills are also an asset in building teams and facilitating teamwork. Her commitment to teamwork will be a tremendous asset in rebuilding the Party across Canada. ...
Joel Klebanoff, Ontario

Oui j'appuie Alexandra parce que je connais son humanité, je connais son authenticité et sa passion envers ce en quoi elle croit, j'ai expérimenté son intégrité, j'ai connu sa fidélité et sa loyauté à travers 2 décennies d'amitié vraie, je l'ai côtoyé à l'appui et à la défense des plus faibles, je l'ai vue à l'œuvre dans des situations faciles et surtout dans celles plus difficiles, je l'ai vue diriger avec une main de fer dans un gant de velours. ...
Ninette Abi-Khalil, Québec

You can see more endorsements for Alexandra Mendes from great Liberals like Sen. Grant Mitchell, Sen. Joan Fraser, and MP John McCallum on the endorsements page:

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Last day to sign an intent to stand as a delegate form for Biennial!

Want to help rebuild the party? Today is the last day to sign an intent to stand as a delegate form! Just click the above link, and fill out the simple form! Together we can make history!

And if you're undecided about who to support for exec board positions like President, take a look at some info on my choice for best candidate, Alexandra Mendes!

Please sign the form and check out some info on a great candidate!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Alexandra Mendes talks about winning together

A great post from Alexandra Mendes about the need for a united party and how to move forward together. In our rebuilding process, one of the most important things we need to do is stand together as Liberals. Alexandra talks about running a positive campaign based on her experience in bring people together both inside and outside politics, and her vision for how the role of President should act as a positive force for unity in the party. It's a great piece, and I encourage you to check it out.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Why I am supporting Alexandra Mendès for Liberal Party president

The Liberal Party faces a difficult, but not impossible task in rebuilding and reconnecting with Canadians. Electing a new President and exec board is and important step in this process. We as a party have a few options in deciding how we want to move forward. We could try putting out big names from our past who have a controversial history. We could try to win people over with flashy platitudes and talking points.

Or, we could support someone for President of the party who has experience in different levels of the party and Canadian life. Someone who is deeply in touch and experienced in reaching out to our multicultural population. Someone who has a wealth of experience in both the private sector and public life. Someone who has a clear and firm understanding of what the role of President means, values teamwork, has management experience, and has worked in the grassroots.

As a candidate, Alexandra Mendes has all of this and more.

Listening in on a number of debates and townhalls, I have always been impressed by the caliber and quality of the answers Alexandra has provided to the difficult challenges of how to best rebuild our party. Alexandra is committed to working with riding associations and rebuilding them, re-focusing the priorities of PTA's on local, riding level engagement. Re-empowering our riding associations is critical to rebuild the party, particularly in Quebec and The West. As a supporter of organizations like Equal Voice, I am pleased that the cause of gender equality within the party organization, and in candidate recruitment is an important issue for Alexandra, and one she will work towards as President.

Alexandra has a critical understanding of what the role of President is and isn't. We need an organizer, a manager, a facilitator, not someone who will be writing talking points and doing interviews, taking attention away from our leader and caucus.

With her approach to engagement and reform, Alexandra is the best choice for President, and I would encourage my fellow Liberals to read more about her campaign and get engaged: