The Party leadership claim that the ‘authority’ for the proposed changes to our Current Liberal-Party-of-Canada-Constitution-English are received from 4 documents, covering almost a decade of studies and reports. However, just what are these reports that our party leadership claim give them the authority to introduce a Proposed-Constitution-of-the-Liberal-Party-of-Canada ?
On the Party’s web site and during the national town hall telephone call regarding the proposed constitution there have been repeated references to the past studies which claim to give the leadership the authority to create this omnibus constitution.
The first written in August 2004, was A Party Built for Everyone, A Party Built to Win perhaps the most important line in this entire report was saved for the very end. “The Liberal Party belongs to all of us, and we must collectively agree to change it. Let the discussions begin!”
In 2009 the Special Committee on Party Renewal produced 308 Strategy – Report of the Special Committee on Party Renewal – Apr 2009 . Among the 5 recommendations to come out of this review was: “The Council of Presidents becoming the central forum for “Liberal University”, and volunteer training and development generally.” Instead the Council of Presidents, the one body within the party which has the most direct contact with the party membership and should provide a direct connection between the members and the leadership, will be eliminated by this proposed constitution.
Also in 2009 The Change Commission of the Liberal Party of Canada authored Advancing Change Together, A Time to Act this document produced 47 recommendations. It also included some sage advice from Ken Dryden in his discussion paper on finances “Treat a prospective donor like a person… How would I like to be treated? What makes me want to get involved, give time, give money? I want to feel like I belong. I want to feel like I matter. “I don’t want to feel like a donor, a thing… I want to be treated like a person. If you do that, I’ll be there. If you don’t, I’m gone.”
Finally, the party leadership is citing Building a Modern Liberal Party. The opening paragraph states much about what this document is: “This paper has been prepared by the National President as a background to the document “A Roadmap to Renewal published by the the National Board of the Liberal Party of Canada (“LPC”). It does not represent an ‘official’ perspective of LPC or the National Board on the matters it addresses but is provided as a personal perspective soley to stimulate discussion and debate among, and input from, LPC members and supporters.” A document which could be described as our leaders own manifesto. This does not by any measurable standard represent a consultative or collaborative document.
These are the documents upon which the party is relying. There are also a few documents which Liberal Members Matter have received and circulated. These documents present counters to some of the positions advanced by the party leadership.
One document offers a Summary of Constitution Changes proposed between the proposed constitution and current constitution. While not exhaustive of the differences, it does offer a glimpse into some of the differences.
Another document is Round table analysis prepared by a group of concerned Liberal members in Alberta.
So here you have some of the key documents in this discussion. Read them, educate yourself, then make your decision as to whether the proposed constitution is in fact the best way forward for the Liberal Party of Canada. But make your decision based on facts, not on emotion, not on some plea that we can’t allow Justin to fail, or to be embarrassed. Neither of these are ground to change the entire structure and principles of our party.