03 October 2006

The old ways

I will admit before I start that I was hoping to be sent to the convention as a Kennedy delegate for Trinity Spadina, but Gerard did not do very well in my riding and got to send only one delegate, who is not me. I want to say that because some of what follows may sound like sour grapes, but it's not (I wanted to go but wasn't expecting to make it since I'm new in the riding and don't really know anyone). I won't name names but those familiar with the riding will know who I'm talking about and so I also want to make it clear that I think they're all good Liberals and worthy delegates, and the ones that I met personally during the Federal campaign struck me as nice people to boot.

That having been said, the delegate selection in Trinity-Spadina was about as old-school back-room Liberal as they come. I helped count ballots, of which there were about 300, and of those about 70 were marked almost identically. They were presumably marked undeclared (for reasons which will be obvious: only Iggy polled more votes than undeclared in Trinity-Spadina, where we will send 3 undeclared delegates). And, with very little deviation, they selected the same two Kennedy delegates, the same single Bob delegate, the same single volpe delegate, the same three undecided delegates, the same two ignatieff delegates, and after that I guess the voter actually picked based on their own personal opinions.

Bear in mind that there were about 120 delegates standing for election, and so the average support for each delegate would presumably be 10% or less. So when over 20% of the ballots are for a slate - not a candidates slate, but a slate of insiders - the results are pretty much in the bag. Each camp will only send one or two delegates, and the highest individual delegate on each camp's list will not be the person that got the most support from that campaign's supporters, but rather the person who got the support from the undeclared slate. I think there will only be two delegates of 14 going that weren't on the slate (one for Iggy, since he got enough votes to send 4 delegates and the slate was not quite as consistent for him, and one for Bob, which is his daughter Judith).

Again, I'm sure they're good people and good liberals, but there's something that's just not right about that. I wouldn't have been able to go anyway, because I was near but not at the top of GK's delegate list (excluding the two insiders) and he could only send one. So this doesn't effect me directly, except as being an example of the kind of thing that discourages people from participating and reminds people that your average person just doesn't get their voice heard in the Liberal party. And that's bad news for a party that needs renewal.

2 Comments:

Blogger Ryan said...

Hey Gavin,

I totally understand what you're saying. Though I received some of the benefit of these "insider" votes, it wasn't enough to get me into one of the top 4 Iggy spots.

However, while it's not pure democracy, it is pure politics that success is as much about who you know - and that's part of the lesson of these DSMs - it's not just about participating, it's about learning the game (which includes all the aspects of campaigning and organization) in order to become an effective member of the party.

In defense of those who received votes, they are long-time members of the Riding Association and received the votes out of their loyalty and service. So in that regard I don't take issue with who benefitted from these lists.

October 05, 2006  
Blogger Gavin Neil said...

Ryan,

agreed all around, and in particular that these people were deserving. Moreso than me, at any rate, I wasn't going to get in and I didn't want it to sound sour grapes. I just think that if we had a one-member-one-vote system, it would be a more effective democracy and, therefore, NOT have the effect of discouraging new members and so on. Learning how to play these games is not intrinsically valuable - it's only valuable if playing tthese games is required for advancement. That is the case, but it doesn't have to be, and I would suggest that it shouldn't be.

October 10, 2006  

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