Monday, January 30, 2012

Reflections on convention and moving forward

I've had some computer difficulties the last couple weeks, combined with work and school keeping me busy, so only now do I have a chance to reflect on the LPC convention.

First off, congratulations to Mike Crawley and his team for a great winning campaign for President. I had a lot of good friends working very hard on his campaign, and I think that hands down he had the best campaign. It was an honour to work with some incredible Liberals on Alexandra Mendes campaign, and I look forward to seeing all candidates who ran for exec board positions to stay active in the party and contribute to the rebuilding process.

On the policy front, the big issues were obviously marijuana and the monarchy. I'm glad the marijuana policy passed in particular, and I sincerely hope the party makes it a part of the platform, and more generally, takes on the Harper crime agenda in a more cost-based way. For too long Liberals have either taken a less solid position on opposing the Conservative crime bills than I think many grassroots Liberals would have liked, or have attempted to use the "dumb on crime" messaging. I think using a more cost-based (and federalism) based line of attack on the Tory crime legislation will yield more positive results. The problem with saying the Conservatives are "dumb on crime" is that it sends a message that if you, personally as a voter believe in the Conservative attitude on crime, you must be dumb. It comes off as smug and elitist, and the Conservatives can and have spun this as "You want to lock up drug dealers and gangsters? Hug-a-thug Liberals think you're dumb." Saying that the Conservatives are "tough on wallets" when it comes to crime I think is a better line to use, and would help re frame the issue as one of pocketbook issues and government spending.

Constitutionally, I was pleased to see the creation of the supporter class, but disappointed at the outcome of them being allowed to vote in leadership races but not local nomination races. I was hoping for the opposite outcome, as I believe the leader as the embodiment of a ideology must be accountable first to the members of the party supporting that ideology. Allowing supporters to vote locally would help us engage in much more community politics, building up from the grassroots on the riding level, helping the people whose names will actually be on the ballot to reach out to the local population, engage with them, and get involved with the thousands of Liberal voters who aren't party members in a given riding. I am also against the oft discussed idea of banning appointments, but I was hoping that the amendment to limit the use of them would have passed.

On the whole, it was of course a very positive convention, and it was great to meet and see Liberals from all over the country. We can rebuild the party, and this convention was a great start.

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