I'm a fan of "grassroots input" - whatever that means... But with the events of the last month, I really think it is time to get this leadership thing over with. Circumstances demand quick and decisive action.
People will say this is "undemocratic". Since when are the inner workings of private organizations "democratic"? Does the Liberal Party Executive reflect capable competent people all the membership elected to make key decisions for the party? Or, are the executive simply people we voted for in a drunken stupor during the last convention? Were they simply winners of a popularity contest? Let's hope we gave some thought to our voting decisions. I know I did.
What about the MPs/caucus? Is there ANYONE in the party who are better aware of who would do the best job in Parliament? Would MPs cast a ballot for someone whom they think would send them down in flames? I think not. Honestly, no matter how much we bloggers and others in the party think we know best, people who have won election in their ridings, worked hard on a daily basis in Ottawa, and know the workings in Parliament know what good "leadership material" is. They see it every day - sometimes more than they need or want to. These guys/gals wouldn't pick someone on a whim, and watch their own careers go down the drain. I think we can trust them to make a better informed decision than we can, or 10s of thousands of "instant Liberals" can.
I would love to see the party have a leadership convention here in Vancouver. I would love to sell a ton of new memberships. I would love to run for a delegate spot in my riding. I would love to participate in the horse-trading that goes on on the convention floor, and in the back rooms. But, do we really just do those things for our own personal fulfillment? Do we really just run these as "exercises in democracy"?
If we are going to "break the rules" - the LPC Constitution - we have a couple of options:
1) Break rules by letting caucus and/or the national exec pick our leader
2) Break rules by having a nation-wide "one member, one vote" process. Hey, if we're going to break the rules anyway, why not just quickly switch to the online/call-in/riding-by-riding member vote. Give every current member a vote, and be done with it.
Honestly, if we are going to be perceived as "breaking our party rules", or being "undemocratic", let's just go ahead and avoid the convention and run a poll of all current members at a specific cut-off date. This allows grassroots involvement, a chance for each candidate to grow their base, and a quick process. At least a perception of "democracy" is better than the perception of none. We can even blend in some measure of fund-raising ability: If you raised "x" amount, you get this percent extra added to your total ballot percentage.
Having said that, if our party "brain-trust" (should that have been in quotes?) sees something that needs to be done a particular way, I'm sure I'll see a reason to agree. Remember - we the "grassroots" also put these people where they are. They didn't just kind of "assume control", or win elections on their own. We are the reason they are where they are. Do you know what thoughts on this matter are reflected by the executive members you voted for? How about your MP?
If someone has already mentioned this type of process, forgive me. It's Sunday night, and I've just watched a day of NFL football (along with the required "pops").