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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.


  1. Conservative Bob Dechert 42.7% +3.3%

    Liberal Omar Alghabra 23,466 42.0% -2.8%

    New Democrat Mustafa Rizvi 8.5% -2.6%

    Green Richard Pietro 3,636 6.5% +2.1%

    Marxist-Leninist Dagmar Sullivan 129

    Larry, an impressive bunch of guys you liberals are! Nice work. From the 2008 results table above it's clear to see why the Liberals lost a riding like Missisagua! That's like Obama's candidate losing South Chicago! But as some one said, we must never underestimate the Grits' ability to screw up. This riding in 2004 elected Carolyn Parrish giving her about 55% of the vote and the Tories' Bob Dechert about 32% Two elections after the Libs managed to whittle down their support to 42%. Marvellous. In 2006 the Grits split the sane vote with the NDP and Greens, and in 2008 split ieven more sharply letting Dechert romp home with a 400 vote margin! Now if you guys did less navel gazing and were more victory oriented you would get your act together and Green or no Green stand behind Alghabra and see him through. With the state you have brought the Grits to, inner party democracy is the last thing you shd be worrying about. Of course I know that there is a deep schism within the liberal fold in Mississagua. Which is why Rupinder Brar runs with the NDP and Rizvi runs with the Greens. It is an expat tussle involving Canadians resply of Sikh, Arab, and South Asian Islamic origin - none of whom can get along with the other. In the process, the bigger picture - chiropractors framing science policy and creationists vetting biology curriculum is missed. And then you want to know why Tories are ru(i)nning the government? How long before the Tories take over Ontario? Nice work!!


  2. Yup, anonymous is correct. Why would you want to know what your candidate actually think? What a silly idea. And just because your party is called liberal is no reason to expect that its processes, policies candidates will be that way. Just like here, in the US of A, we liberals, er make that Democrats, voted in a president that every day is becoming more and more the image of the Republican party, which is no party at all for those of us that are liberal.

  3. Dear Hermit,

    as a constituent your involvement doesn't begin and end with the nomination of your candidate. now say your candidate loses the nomination (like in a primary South of the border) does it mean you won't vote Liberal in the general election? and how does it help to have a guy like Dechert representing you in Parliament when he ignores kooks who think that the earth is 6,000 years old, HIV doesn't cause AIDS, and the moon is made of green cheese (OK I made the last one up). so instead of having a 50% Liberal you would rather have a 0% Liberal? you vote in your party and then keep your legislator on his toes, giving him hell if he acts against your policies. the choice is not between a 100% liberal and a 50% liberal. it is a choce between a liberal and a tory. keep arguing and you will have more tories in parliament.


  4. truti: You say he should "give him hell" if "he acts against your policies". Are you Canadian? The party leadership sets policies, "backbenchers" like Alghabra have a rather intangible influence on them at the best of times. This reads suspiciously like Democratic Party boilerplate.

    I've noticed also, that in the U.S. context people who make arguments such as you have tend to become livid with rage at the thought of someone voting for the "wrong" left wing party, but are rather curiously indifferent to those who vote for the right-wing party. It's hard to understand, considering that the latter do mathematically twice as much damage to their favorite's prospects as the former.

    It becomes even harder to understand, when after the election, the same people become adamant that the left-wing party should "reach across the aisle" to the (formerly Evil Incarnate OMG OMG The World Will End If They Win We Just Can't Let That Happen) opposing party, and adopt most of their platform... er... I mean work together in a spirit of bipartisanship.

    Funny that.

  5. Mouseland,

    You forget (or ignore) that the wing-nuts win only when the opposition is divided. so when you are concerned about means to the exclusion of ends, the wingnut doubles down on winning tactics and romps home. just look at the stats here. Alghabra may be a backbencher, even PG Wodehouse's Nodder, but him in the House means one more vote for the Grits and one less for the tories. Simple. What do you want? A bigger science budget and no creationism or "inner party democracy" and sitting it out in the cold? You guys better get real. The tories are turing the dials like it's a ratchet. undoing the tension may become impossible very soon. if you want to live in pre-Pearson land, go ahead. Party leadership sets priorities? So what priorities do the Greens or NDP set? And what does it matter if they never come to power? A party that can't compromise and act like a coalition - like the NDP or Greens will always be in the wilderness. And when lib voters punish their own party it's like cutting your nose to spite your face.