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banner photo croppped from one of my snaps from the Liberal Convention 2012

The Supporter Category has been misused against the spirit of the 2012 Liberal Party Convention.

As the race began for the leadership of the Liberal Party of Canada, and as the invitations went out to people to become supporters of the LPC, with no money down, yet with the opportunity to vote in the election of a new leader, something began to sound wrong.

In the news we kept hearing of candidates signing up their supporters, and what should have been a discussion about who could become the best leader for the party, became an obsession with who was getting more supporters.

Troubled, and annoyed that the scoffing pundits may well be proved right, even before the debates began, that it would be a coronation of the Trudeau celebrity, I looked back at what had been voted for at the 2012 convention in Ottawa.

Yes, there it was: a very strong support for the resolution to amend the constitution to allow the registration of Supporters of the Liberal Party of Canada. Yes, and again I remembered correctly: a Supporter of the Party has the right to vote on the Leadership Vote conducted in their Electoral District Association.

It does NOT say that there will be a registration of Supporters of a Leadership Candidate.

It does NOT say that the number of supporters who will vote for a particular candidate will be determined BEFORE the Leadership Vote.

Yet that is what has been allowed to happen. They are not treated as supporters of the party, but as supporters of one or another candidate, and their numbers are being used to render an actual vote unnecessary.

Quite simply, a person may very well be encouraged to become a supporter of the party because of an invitation by, and interest in a particular candidate. The candidate has every reason to be optimistic that the supporter will actually vote for them. But registered supporters are not beans to be counted. They are thinking people, otherwise they would not even care to be involved.

Once involved, they will be exposed to many ideas and many examples of the thoughts, visions, experience and skills of other candidates. A person has every opportunity and every right to change their minds several times, and should be given the full time available to mull it over and sleep on it before voting.

It is not the members at the convention who intended this travesty of democracy. It is not what was in their hearts when they voted. There was no intention that it should lead to a distorted kind of survival of the fittest based upon a single parameter which has nothing to do with policy, management, vision and aptitude for the job. (Well, it has very little to do with those things and more to do with marketing).

The blame must be squarely placed on the party's executive who fashioned the details of the deployment of the approved new supporter category and the role of supporters prior to the actual leadership vote.