Saturday, November 15, 2008

Constitutional Fun

10:40 (CT) The Room has pretty well filled out. From an unbiased perspective I’m pleased to see that when it comes to policy and their debate, that their members/delegates come out to voice their opinions. Admittedly, I am always a little disappointed that only about half of Liberals, sometimes if that who are delegates to AGMs/Bienniels but don’t make it to the meat and important parts policy-wise of the weekend. I hope Vancouver will see a more solid showing of Liberals for the constitutional/policy debates like this.

10:45: Ppl have been reminded they’re on national TV – so respect the schedule *hint, hint, behave kids! Canada’s watching today!* (unlike yesterday)

10:50 The room is practically filled now.

10:55 They’re doing a practice test of who can make the most noise. By province. Alberta seems the loudest. OK Ontario is clearly the majority here, about 40%. I think the North has 2-3 delegates, about the same as PEI. When NFLD is called, the chair sends his regards to their brother, Danny Williams.

10:56 Another test run is going to be held, using the two Chair’s tie colours as the example (like red vote ‘yes’, orange, ‘no’). The orange is alluded to the NDP, and the NDP gets their first mention of the weekend, which is met by boos (seems Dippers get boos, the Liberals snickers), and the red tie is being taken FROM the Liberals.

Each table is given a key pad, and a person from each table counts who from that table votes “yes” and “no”, and enters that into the electronic controller. A computer tally’s the votes and you see a nice graph on the big screen of the results. And you can see how that vote broke down (I assume by province, I believe that a certain % of each province must support for it to pass overall). Exciting isn’t it?

So here’s the rundown of the Constitution Plenary & Results (Kady gives her own summary and thoughts here):

RES 102 – rules must be put in place to make new members must pay or their membership personally
*PASSED by wide margin.

RES 103 – the wait time limit for new members to exercise their party rights is 21 days. To prevent hijacking of groups, the wait limit should be increased to 60 days.
AGAINST – makes it hard to recruit members in the most crucial time – AGM and nomination time.
FOR (a Guelph delegate)– prevents a candidate being about who can sell the most membership which is lousy criteria. Apparently in his riding, Liberals were signing up to influence the nomination process. I think Guelph had bigger problems than that, like the party and Harper getting involved and kicking out a democratically elected nominee for the party. And Gloria is there too.
FOR – the Chuck Cadman example is made – this party was sad to see him lose the Tory nomination due to insta-members
AGAINST – Don Plett, CPC Party President takes the mic: “we have great MPs because of insta-members, like those backbench MPs from Calgary! They work hard for their money!” He refers to the evil David Orchard, Don Plett gives a “mark my words” he’ll never take over a nomination in OUR party! (I seem to recall he LEFT your party for very good reason after Peter Mackay broke his signed deal not to merge the parties). I’m sure it was all praise for the guy signing up members when he was one of them though, same with Stronach.
*DEFEATED, by a fairly wide margin.

RES 104 – there lacks rules for the identification of ppl when they participate in party events.
AGAINST – it’s redundant

RES 105 – making it mandatory for ppl who hold party positions to be party members
FOR -nothing in const that requires positions of authority in the party to be members, this is an oversight
AGAINST – no one speaks against!
*PASSES, with only about 5 voting against it (darn I can no longer be party leader!)

RES 110 – putting elected reps from diff regions of Canada on the party’s nat’l council
FOR - the Parkdale High Park riding assoc Pres Jason Hickman (who I believe has commented on many a Libblog before) says they will get that riding…one day. Anyways, claims that in future elections, allows for someone elected from each of Canada’s regions to their provincial council.
AGAINST - Hamilton East Stoney Creek delegate speaks – says lets pick the best ppl for the job of Nat’l council, not ppl based on regional quotas which is a Liberal thing.
FOR - in the Canadian Alliance days, the National Council had 3 ppl from Calgary, which wasn’t fair
FOR – ppl who usually get the positions are from the west and this delegate asked each of them how they could represent and serve the ppl of Canada, and they didn’t respond so obviously they didn’t know how
AGAINST – its addressing a problem we don’t have (a few shouts of ‘no!’ are heard fro the crowd)
*This is going to their electronic vote, b/c it seems a bit close. Seemed to pass. It did with 57% support

RES C111- Preventing lobbyists from serving on nat’l council. This follows the spirit of the Accountability
AGAINST – we as a party are a lobby group, we as members are here as a lobby group to get our policies to the PM’s attn.
*DEFEATED. (good to see their practise in their own party what they’ve preached in past elections)

RES 112 – preferential ballot for Tory nat’l council
FOR – national council to be elected by same process that they elect the party leader
AGAINST – no one. Apparently there was lots of discussion at this during workshop, so the chair is surprised at that.
*Heavily PASSES.

RES 113 – filling vacancies on nat’l council
FOR – replacement of a vacant provincial nat’l council should be done by the members, not the party
*PASSES with clear majority (interesting)

RES 115 – Re: Conservative Fund of Canada (CFC)
FOR – this resolution seeks to clarify relationship b/w the party, its members and the CFC. It will give direct contact b/w members and the CFC through their national council. Seeks to have the president of national council automatically become on the board of directors of the fund to help oversee them.
AGAINST – will give up to 12 delegate spots to the CFC. Creates more ex-officio delegates who aren’t elected. This is called machine politics in the US where unelected ppl effect party outcomes. In Canada this is known as Liberal politics.
FOR – it’s thanks to the CFC that we’re in the great state we’re in. They deserve to be delegates.
AGAINST – this is a referendum on grass roots politics, and is a slippery slope of unelected delegates. About half of NDP delegates are unelected, from unions, and that’s not we want.
*Vote goes to machine. An amendment is asked to separate the resolution. Amendments are apparently not allowed from the floor.
FAILS with 57% voting No.

RES 116 – Election of the Party leader
FOR - Scott Reid goes to the mic, says it deals with the problems from the last leadership race. To accommodate members who couldn’t reach holding station, faxed ballots were allowed. Stronach campaign asked for the campaign to be suspended b/c the faxed ballots fell apart, even though they advocated for it. It’s not safe or secure. The solution is to allow postal ballots which is what this resolution asks for.
AGAINST – no one speaks against.
*About 20 votes were against it, so it heavily PASSES.

Constitution Plenary Session Ends.

At 1:30 PM (CT) are the policy debates, let the pandemonium begin!

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Mark Francis said...

"the Parkdale High Park riding assoc Pres Jason Hickman... says they will get that riding…one day..."

Well, maybe their candidate should actually show up for things. Every candidate in that riding came to my daughter's school to talk to her class -- at a time of the candidate's choosing -- and only the Conservative didn't, claiming to be "too busy." My daughter thought very little of that candidate, and she's only 10. Great investment in the future, Cons! Keep it up!

"RES 113 – filling vacancies on nat’l council
FOR – replacement of a vacant provincial nat’l council should be done by the members, not the party *PASSES with clear majority (interesting)"

A good policy. I've seen this as a problem in the GPC several years back. They could only appoint someone for 90 days, but they got aroudn the rule by re-appointing the person every 90 days (The constitution failed to point out that an election had to be held after). Elections to replace resignations failed to happen. At one point, a near-majority of the council was appointed.

Darryl said...

Thanks for the coverage on those. I actually missed this section of the conference. Also very nice to meet you in Winnipeg.