Thursday, April 06, 2006

On Stronach's Exit

Belinda Stronach answers questions at her press conference today:
I think, for me, the way I can have the greatest impact on the renewal of the party is to not seek the leadership, to be free to express my views, to spark debate on different ideas, about what could bring forward a stronger and more inclusive, more open, transparent, and democratic Liberal party and I feel the best way to do that is to speak as a member.

Well, I always thought people chose to ENTER leadership contests in order to "express their views, to spark debate on different ideas"... especially in the most wide open leadership in a generation. You can be fairly certain that Ignatieff, Dion, Kennedy, Dryden, Brison, Rae and the rest will have no trouble speaking openly on democratic renewal. Then again, I have never understood why people continue to treat Stronach's candidacy with any credibility whatsoever. I doubt we'll have to hold our collective breath for any radical ideas issuing from her office in the months ahead. The next one will be her first.

I must admit, I did love the relief on Belinda's face, laughter, and clicking of cameras when - after just saying that her French was "mieux que voulle pense" - the reporter from Radio Canada said she would continue her follow-up in English. Priceless. Like the outburst of laughter at Paul Martin's Press Conference (when he insisted the primary reason behind her defection was not in winning the budget vote), for a moment an air of reality punctured everyone's willing suspension of disbelief that Belinda Stronach's pre-written spin should be accepted as embodying the truth.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can gauarantee none of your listed candidates will call for one member-one vote. Care to place a wager?

1:28 PM  
Blogger James MacDuff said...

Well, since the rules - previously and democratically established by the party - for the current race are in place this time around, who really cares?

I do doubt that any of the above would oppose moving to a one-member, one-vote system... the point is that if Belinda felt so strongly on this, there was nothing preventing her from arguing in favour of it, yet still running under the system in place before she ever joined the party.

She didn't seem to protest much over the weighted voting system that gave her a huge advantage in Quebec in the Conservative leadership race. And further, here's what she said only three weeks ago when these very rules were announced:

"Stronach applauded the new rules, saying they will "ensure the leadership race is more open, accessible and accountable process . . . that will guarantee a level playing field for everyone who decides to run."

Frankly, it's embarrasing to try and float this forward as an attempt at some principle reason for not running, especially when you can't speak French and you've been a member of the party for less than a year. The fact was she knew she couldn't win, and at least was smart enough to realize that there was no point getting throughly embarrassed in defeat.

Incidentally, I will bet you a pint of Guinness that the Liberal leader after this one will be selected by a one member-one vote process. But that's more because it has become the accepted method in most Canadian political parties than because Stronach thinks it should be so.

2:30 PM  
Blogger The Tiger said...

Yes, I think that this is the last major party convention that will use the delegate system.

That's not a pity for democracy, as I think that direct voting is better (though I'd prefer either a caucus vote or a straight primary system), but it does mean that the drama of party conventions is likely a thing of the past.

I guess that we should enjoy the spectacle while we can. :-)

4:13 PM  

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