Thursday, May 28, 2009
A Nomination Meeting
Last Fall I joined the Liberal Party of Canada in order to have a say in electing a new leader and a new candidate in my riding. My riding is Mississauge-Erindale in the city of Mississauga, just west of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
The candidate in the last election was Omar Alghabra, who at the time was the sitting member of the House of Commons in Ottawa. He lost the election by 400 votes.
Well, as it turns out, I didn't get a chance to vote for a new leader. The new leader, Michael Ingatieff, was acclaimed when when eveyone else dropped out of the race last December.
I looked forward to a healthy debate on choosing a candidate in my riding.
I received a notice in the mail on May 12th stating that there would be a nomination meeting in two weeks. All nomination forms must be received by the Liberal Party office in Toronto on May 18th at the latest. That left six days, counting Saturday and Sunday, to fill out a raft of forms [Nomination Rules].
The meeting was last night and the only candidate was Omar Alghabra. I took a picture of him on my cell phone at the meeting. I was told by the riding Chair that no other candidates would have been permitted but it was a moot point since the system was set up in such a way that it would have been almost impossible to get another nomination in on time.
This doesn't seem very democratic and it seems inconsistent with the openness that the Liberal Party desires. I don't know if Omar would have been nominated anyway but what I do know is that I would have been a lot happier if there had been some debate and discussion about choosing a person who could win the next election.
I feel that I've been manipulated. I wasn't the only one at the meeting who felt that way.
It's going to be hard to get excited about working for Omar during the upcoming campaign. The whole idea behind openness and democracy is to let everyone have their say. When that happens, people feel they're part of the process and they're willing to work with the system no matter which candidate is chosen to run in a riding. Competition and debate are healthy. Secrecy and manipulation are not.