So this past weekend I went up to Huntsville for the Liberal Party of Canada (Ontario) AGM, which also includes the Ontario Women’s Liberal Commission AGM on the final day. I thought the weekend was a huge success, but there's always few improvements that could be made for next time.
I always prefer to start with the bad and end with the good (which heavily outweighed the bad) so here goes. First of all, I was not very pleased with how some sessions were scheduled. I believe Aboriginal issues are quite important, yet the LPC(O) scheduled the Aboriginal Commission AGM for 5:30 PM on the first day (Friday). This was obviously at a time at which many people had not yet arrived in Huntsville yet so maybe people who might have attended could not. Secondly the OWLC AGM was scheduled up against a policy session on social justice hosted by Ken Dryden on the Sunday at the very end of the AGM. Issues of social justice have always been of extreme importance for many Liberal women and this kind of scheduling first of all meant that women had to choose between discussing social justice issues (and hearing a great speech by Dryden) and attending their own AGM. Also there were many people, particularly candidates and MPs who would have liked to have attended the OWLC AGM but had to be back in their ridings for events on Sunday so they couldn’t stick around for an AGM that only began close to 11 AM on the Sunday. Next time, I very much hope that either the OWLC AGM occurs as a separate event altogether or takes place earlier in the weekend and NOT up against an important policy session. I also hope the Aboriginal Commission gets to hold their AGM later in the weekend when more people are there. I hope that those of us who feel passionately about this will make their voices heard and that there will be better scheduling next time.
But that’s it for the bad, there are lots of great things to report. First of all, I am extremely pleased to announce that I am now officially the new VP Young Women of the OWLC. I greatly look forward to working on behalf of young Liberal women and female members of the Ontario Young Liberals (OYL). Feel free to check out my campaign website: http://www.danielletakacs.ca/ let me know what you think of my ideas.
I was also extremely pleased to see that my riding of Brant was awarded the top award for the South-West Ontario region (22 ridings) based on a combination of new memberships and fundraising. Congrats to Lloyd St. Amand, Joy O’Donnell (past riding President) and Andrew Hunter (Current riding President) for the award (and to my Brant Young Liberals for boosting the membership rolls and forming a new chapter that I founded earlier this year!). As for other elections, congrats to Jason Cherniak for his victory as the Central Region President, I’m sure he’ll do a great job for the region.
Then there were the events/sessions. The first night there was an excellent reception hosted by the OWLC which Stéphane attended and refused to leave until everyone that wanted a picture got one. The attendance at the event was massive and it was good to see some recognition for such a great organization. The next day Bob Rae gave a fantastic run-down of where the Liberals stand on the platform (we will be ready any time, rest assured) and some of the great ideas that will go on the trail. I know the Liberals will have an excellent platform to bring to Canadians. There were also some great policy debates on some of the more important issues of the day and other sessions on the policy process itself, campaign preparation and fundraising. All very worthwhile. Tom Allison’s’ presentation on campaign management was especially good, as always. He is definitely a person at the top of his game. The Liberals are vey lucky to have him on our side.
Of course one of the main highlights though was Stéphane Dion’s excellent speech to the 700+ Liberal delegates in attendance. It was the best speech I’ve seen yet. Made some good jokes, hit all the right issues and got us all fired to take the Liberal message to the people to win the next election. Saturday night there were some excellent parties held by different candidates and the one hosted by the OYL, all hugely packed.
To finish off the weekend was the OWLC AGM. We had fantastic speeches from National Women’s Liberal Commission President Nicole Foster-Woollatt, departing OWLC President Michelle Simson (the new candidate in Scarborough South-West), incoming OWLC President (Liana Turrin), MPP and Minister of Children Services and Women’s Issues Deb Matthews, MP Carolyn Bennett, and some excellent discussion for the year ahead. I am very excited for the first meeting of the new executive.
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