Friday, April 10, 2009

LPC Biennial Priority Policies and Constitutional Amendments

I haven't been able to blog much of late for good reason - hopefully I'll find the time to give my thoughts on recent events some time soon, but at the least you can rest assured that I'll be blogging live from the LPC Convention that is just around the corner. And since it doesn't seem to be posted elsewhere yet on Liblogs I thought I would do its readers a favour and let you know that the priority policies and constitutional amendments are now posted to the LPC website (policies here and proposed constitutional amendments here - both now found in the "Have Your Say" section under the Convention link on the Liberal website). It also seems that the program for the convention has been almost finalized (or at least it's more detailed than before). You can find that here.

For those who do not wish to, or are too busy to, check out the pdfs linked to above at the moment, I'll just list the names of the priority policies and constitutional amendments that will be voted on at convention. I promise to give my views on these sometime before convention, but you may all peruse them in the meantime.

PRIORITY POLICIES
The priority policies (I'll update this post later with their original sponsors) delegates wlil vote on are:

6. Vision of Rural Canada
16. Royal Commission on the Environment and Health
29. Improving Child Care and Parental Leave for Canadian Families
35. Aging with Dignity
58. Access to Information
69. Making Poverty History at Home and Abroad
75. Supporting Canada’s Aboriginal Peoples
91. Alternate Energy
95. Regional Development
110. Greening the West
111. Revitalizing Ocean Fisheries
112. To Address Global Climate Change and the Economic Crisis by Stimulating a Competitive, Sustainable Green Economy
113. Crisis in Agriculture
114. Profit Sharing
115. Poverty
116. Aboriginal Education
117. Care Continuum
118. Northern Sovereignty
119. Extending Existing Affordable Housing Programs
120. Reversing the Ban on MSM Organ Donation
123. Climate Change
124. Human Rights Commission
126. Economic Growth
129. Natural Resources
131. National Water Policy
132. National Housing Strategy
134. Internationally Trained Professionals
135. Development of an Integrated Transportation Policy
138. Reducing Child Poverty in Canada
140. A Policy to Support the Implementation of a National Child Care Plan in Canada

The above may not be the final list because as the Constitutional document indicates, "Emergency" resolutions can be added by as late as April 30th if they approved by a PTA, Commission, or National executive AND the LPC Policy and Platform Committee to go to the policy plenary. There may end up being no addtional emergency resolutions though.

CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT PROPOSALS: (with very selective descriptions of some of them)

AMENDMENTS PROPOSED BY THE NATIONAL EXECUTIVE
1. “One member, one vote” and Leadership Vote
Proposed to amendments to 1.:
1.1A Participation of youth in “one member, one vote”
1.2 Reducing the time for holding a Leadership Vote
1.3 Emergency shortening of the time for a Leadership Vote
1.4 Close of nominations for Leadership Contestants

2. Reduction of the number of EDA delegates

3. Changes recommended by the Governance Committee
3.1 Proposed amendment: In order to reflect that the National Director and not the
National President is the chief executive officer of the Party and to make changes to the
references to the “chief executive officers” of the PTAs and the Commissions so that an
inference cannot be drawn to suggest that the provincial or national directors of those
entities must be elected:

3.2 Proposed amendment: In order to implement the recommendation to rename
the National Executive to reflect its proper role, amend all references to the “National
Executive” to “National Board of Directors”.

4. Alternate representatives on the National Executive
Background: The proposed amendment makes clear the right to have “proxies” in the
case where a PTA President or chief executive officer of a Commission cannot attend a
meeting of the National Executive. The proposed amendment also deals with the
situation which arose when Mike Crawley was president of the Liberal Party of Canada
(Ontario) and the National Vice President. Paragraph (a) of the proposed amendment
deals with attendance at meetings. Paragraph (b) is broader and would allow the
additional voting member to, for example, also vote on consent resolutions (in which
case the National Executive would have 25 voting members rather than 24).

5. Recommendations of the Membership Working Group
5.1 National Membership Secretary; title and committee membership
5.2 Payment of membership fees
5.3 Associate membership
5.4 Party membership for Canadians living abroad
5.5 Suspension and revocation of membership

6. Miscellaneous
6.1 Liberal Party of Canada in Saskatchewan name change

6.2 Power of National Executive to change timelines

6.3 Membership of the National Election Readiness Committee

6.4 Commission Club financial control requirements

6.5 Membership of the Leadership Expenses and Leadership Vote Committees

6.6 Appointment of additional members of Leadership Expenses Committee

6.7 Presence at candidate and delegate selection meetings

6.8 Slotting of aboriginal delegates

6.9 Membership requirement for right to vote at Commission Club DSMs

6.10 Reduced convention fees for youth and aboriginal ex officio delegates (to ensure fees remain half of the adult fee as they've been for same time)

6.11 Spent provisions

AMENDMENTS PROPOSED BY THE LIBERAL PARTY OF CANADA (ONTARIO)

7. Election of Officers of EDAs
Background: Paragraph 12(2)(c) does not provide for the election of individuals to
positions which are vital to the affairs of an EDA, such as officers primarily responsible
for fundraising or membership.
Proposed amendment: Amend paragraph 12(2)(c) so that it reads as follows:
(c) provide for the election of a chief executive officer of the EDA (the “EDA President”)
and officers primarily responsible for fundraising, membership and policy of the EDA (the
“EDA Fundraising Chair, EDA Membership Chair and EDA Policy Chair”) by a vote of all its
members;

8. Time for renewal of membership (give 3 months after expiry to renew)


AMENDMENTS PROPOSED BY THE COMMISSION OF YOUNG LIBERALS OF CANADA

9. MPs, Senators and candidates serving on National Executive

9.1 Background: Currently, there are no provisions in the National Constitution to
limit sitting Members of Parliament, Senators or Ministers of the Crown from holding
positions on the National Executive. Concerns have been raised about potential
conflicts of interest in such situations.

Proposed amendment: Add to subsection 22(2) the following sentence: “Except for
the Leader and the representative of the Caucus referred to in Paragraph 22(1)(b), no
person who is currently serving as a member of the House of Commons or the Senate
of Canada may serve as a voting member of the National Executive [National Board of
Directors if proposed amendment 3.2 is passed].”

9.2 Background: Should a voting member of the National Executive be nominated
as a candidate, they would have to take a leave of absence from their position on the
National Executive during the writ period. However a member of the National
Executive will not be required to take a leave of absence should they seek a
nomination.

Proposed amendment: Add as subsection 49(3) the following:
(3) Upon selection as a candidate of the Party for election to the House of Commons, a
voting member of the National Executive [National Board of Directors if proposed amendment
3.2 is passed] as defined in Paragraph 22(1)(a) must take a leave of absence from the National
Executive [National Board of Directors if proposed amendment 3.2 is passed] during the writ
period.

10. Ex officio delegates

Background: Concerns have been raised about the influence and number of ex officio
delegates versus that of elected EDA delegates. This does not suggest that certain
elected positions do not warrant ex officio status, however, under the current rules some
individuals have virtually a life-time ex officio status. Also, it should be noted that a
proposed amendment that will be considered at the Convention will reduce the number
of EDA elected delegates from 20 to 14 (and youth from six to four). Should it pass, the
influence of EDA elected delegates will be diminished even more so. This amendment
would limit the number of parliamentary ex officios to sitting MPs and Senators and
reduce the overall numbers of ex officios versus elected EDA delegates.

Proposed amendment: Amend paragraph 62(1)(h) so that it reads as follows:
(h) each person who is serving as a member of the House of Commons or the Senate of
Canada at the time of the convention and who is a member of the Party;

11. Policy resolutions
Proposed amendment: Add as subsection 61(7) the following:
All policy resolutions which are duly sent to a biennial convention by a PTA or a Commission according to the rules set out by the National Policy and Platform Committee must be considered by delegates at the convention before going forward to the floor for a final vote. (This one has great relevance to those who would have rather kept the policiy workshops as is this year).

12. Outreach Secretary (put an outreach secretary on Nat. Exec and give them voting status)

AMENDMENTS PROPOSED BY THE SENIOR LIBERALS’ COMMISSION

13. Proposed amendment: Amend subsection 10(1) so that it reads as follows:
(1) A member of the Party has the right to receive newsletters, information, membership
services, and notices of general meetings and other activities from the Party, from their PTA,
from their EDA and from any Commission or Commission Club of which they are a member.

14. Proposed amendment: Amend paragraph 10(2)(a) so that it reads as follows:
(a) attend, speak, and vote at a general meeting of their EDA or any Commission or
Commission Club of which they are a member;

15. Proposed amendment: Amend paragraph 10(2)(b) so that it reads as follows:
(b) be selected as a delegate or an alternate delegate to any convention or general meeting
of the Party or any Commission of which they are a member;

16. Proposed amendment: Amend paragraph 14(2)(b) so that it reads as follows:
(b) developing on an annual basis, in concert with the members of the Party in its province
or territory, a strategic plan for its province or territory that proposes activities in the areas of
membership recruitment; finance and fundraising; policy development; EDA compliance; EDA
organization, election readiness and policy development; where a provincial or territorial section
of a Commission (a “PTA Commission”) is recognized, PTA Commission compliance; PTA
Commission organization, election readiness and policy development; administration of Party
elections (including a Leadership Vote, a Leadership Endorsement Ballot, candidate selection
meetings and delegate selection meetings); and election readiness;

17. Proposed amendment: Add as paragraph 14(3)(f) the following and renumber
the remaining paragraphs accordingly:
(f) provides that PTA Commissions are granted rights to participate in the affairs of the
PTA;

18. Proposed amendment: Add as subsection 14(6) the following:
If the Constitution of the PTA provides for the establishment or governance of PTA
Commissions, then the provisions of the Constitution must be consistent with Subsection 34(3).

19. Proposed amendment: Amend paragraph 17(1)(h) so that it reads as follows:
(h) the determination by the National Executive [National Board of Directors if proposed
amendment 3.2 is passed] of the sharing of membership fees and other revenues between the
Party, the PTAs, the EDAs and the Commissions.

20. Proposed amendment: Amend subsection 28(2) so that it reads as follows:

(2) In making appointments to a committee established by the National Executive
[National Board of Directors if proposed amendment 3.2 is passed], the principle of equal
participation of men and women and the recognition of English and French as the official
languages of Canada and geographic regions must be respected.

21. Proposed amendment: Amend the eighth unnumbered subparagraph of
paragraph 30(1)(a) so that it reads as follows:

One of the four chief executive officers [chairs if proposed amendment 3.1(d) is passed] of the
Commissions who are members of the National Executive [National Board of Directors if
proposed amendment 3.2 is passed] elected among themselves on an annual basis

22. Proposed amendment: Amend paragraph 32(1)(c) so that it reads as follows:
(c) other members of the Party, who may be appointed by the National Campaign Co–
Chairs in consultation with the Leader and the National Executive [National Board of Directors
if proposed amendment 3.2 is passed] respecting the principle of equal participation of men and
women and the recognition of English and French as the official languages of Canada and
geographic regions.

23. Proposed amendment: Add as subsection 38(4) the following:
(4) There shall be a provincial or territorial section of the Senior Liberals’ Commission
established in each province and territory which shall be accepted and recognized as part of the
PTA organization in that province or territory.

AMENDMENTS PROPOSED BY THE NATIONAL WOMEN’S LIBERAL COMMISSION
24. Proposed amendment: Amend the first paragraph of the preamble so that it
reads as follows:
The Liberal Party of Canada considers respect for the dignity of each individual man and
woman to be the cardinal principle of democratic society and the primary purpose of all political
organization and activity in such a society.

25. Proposed amendment: Amend the third paragraph of the preamble so that it
reads as follows:
In accordance with this philosophy, the Liberal Party of Canada subscribes to the fundamental
rights and freedoms of persons under the rule of law and commits itself to the protection of
these essential values and their constant adaptation to the changing needs of modern Canadian
society.

26. Proposed amendment: Amend subsection 6(3) so that it reads as follows:
(3) All membership fees will be shared between the Party, the related Provincial and
Territorial Association (PTA) and the related Electoral District Association (EDA) as
determined by the National Executive [National Board of Directors if proposed amendment 3.2
is passed] in consultation with the Council of Presidents.

27. Proposed amendment: Amend paragraph 12(2)(c) so that it reads as follows:
(c) provide for the election of a president of the EDA (the “EDA President”) and an officer
primarily responsible for policy of the EDA (the “EDA Policy Chair”) by the majority of votes
cast by the members who are present at a general meeting of the EDA;

28. Proposed amendment: Amend paragraph 30(1)(a) so that it reads as follows:
(1) The National Management Committee consists of:
(a) the following voting members:
The National President
The Leader
The National Policy Chair
The Chief Financial Officer
Two of the PTA Presidents elected among themselves from time to time for a
term determined by them; one of whom must be capable of expressing
themselves in French, and the other of expressing themselves in the English
language
One representative of each Commission
One of the National Campaign Co-Chairs

29. Proposed amendment: Amend subsection 33(5) so that it reads as follows:
(5) No member of the Party (including a member of the Caucus and a candidate for election to the House of Commons) may represent in any way that a policy or platform is a Party policy or part of the Party platform unless the policy or platform has been approved by:
(a) a majority of the members of the National Policy and Platform Committee;
AND (Delete: Or)
(b) the Leader after consultation with the National Policy and Platform
Committee.

This one above would ensure that the National Policy and Platform Committee HAS to sign off on ANY element of the platform for it to be included or described as official policy, whereas it sounds like in the past that was optional.

30. Proposed amendment: Amend subparagraph 34(3)(f)(iii) so that it reads as
follows:
(iii) provides for the election of the president of the club and the officer primarily
responsible for policy of the club by the majority of votes cast by the members who are present
at a general meeting of the club;

31. Proposed amendment: Amend subsection 36(4) so that it reads as follows:
(4) The National President, in consultation with the National Women’s Liberal
Commission, is responsible to report to every biennial convention of the Party with an
assessment of the extent to which equal participation of women and men at all levels of the
Party has been achieved. If the convention determines that such equal participation has been
achieved, then the National Women’s Liberal Commission will be deemed to have completed its
primary mandate and the goals and objectives of the Commission will be reviewed with the aim
of determining the need for its continued existence.

32. Proposed amendment: Amend the paragraph designated 39(e) in the existing
Constitution (but re-designated as 39(c) if the amendment proposed under item 6.4C is
passed) so that it reads as follows:
(e) the club has filed with the National Office a copy of the current Constitution of the
club certified by the president of the club and the chief executive officer [chair if proposed
amendment 3.1(d) is passed] of its Commission.

33. Proposed amendment: Amend section 1 so that it reads as follows:
This Constitution establishes an association called “The Liberal Party of Canada”, hereinafter
referred to as “the Party”.

34. Proposed amendment: Amend subsection 14(1) so that it reads as follows:
(1) The Liberal Party of Canada is a federation made up of the following provincial and
territorial associations:

35. Proposed amendment: Delete the introductory subparagraph of paragraph
23(1)(d) (which now reads “with the consent of the National President and the Leader,
appoint”) and replace them with the following: “appoint, with the consent of the
National President and the Leader”.

This part also makes me wonder about whether they've made it more difficult to pass "Amendments to amendments" for constitutional proposals:
"Amendment Proposals. If a Constitutional Proposal (the “Amendment Proposal”) is an
amendment of another Constitutional Proposal (the “Main Proposal”), then the
Amendment Proposal will be considered and debated only if the Main Proposal is passed
by a two-thirds majority. The Amendment Proposal also requires a two-thirds majority in
order to be passed" (p. 8). Perhaps this only applies to amendments from the floor, though I was under the impression those weren't allowed. This could affect the much debated YLC amendment. For those don't know in 2006 the rulres were that amendments to amendments were voted on BEFORE the main proposal and required 50% support from delegates to be incorporated into the main proposal which was then voted on afterward and still required the 2/3 majority to pass. The YLC amendment passed on this basis in 2006 and then the overall package failed to get 2/3 support.

If I read these new rules correctly it seems to indicate that you have to pass the main proposal before considering any amendments and then those amendments still need 2/3 support. That would be a very dramatic change in the rules. I would have to say that at the least it doesn't seem right to be forced to pass an overall proposal before considering amendments and I would hope that even those who completely oppose any additional amendments to a main proposal would agree with me on that.

Admitedly I won't have time to read the full 40 pages today (as you can see above I was mostly just cutting cutting and pasting), so if someone is able to clarify that issue and whether I've misread the rules, that would be appreciated.

Happy reading!


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