Sunday, December 07, 2008

Could Someone Please Read the LPC Constitution?

There is talk about moving up the date of the leadership vote and scrapping the convention format in favour of some sort of full membership vote. I won't get into the argument of whether or not this is a good idea. It doesn't matter. It's unconstitutional. Let's start with the idea of changing the process. According to section 56 (1) of the LPC constitution:

"The Leader is elected at a National Leadership Convention with the delegates to that convention being elected in proportion to the popular direct vote received by each leadership contestant..."

If you wanted to change that, you would have AMEND the constitution. To do that according to section 76 (1) of the LPC Constitution:

"The Constitution may be amended... by a Special Resolution of the members of the party at a convention."

There is some talk of the riding association presidents being able to change this. I don't see how. While it is true that the the Council of Presidents has the power to interpret the constitution, that power is limited as prescribed in Section 77 (2) (a) to interpret the constitution in such a way that:

"is consistent with this Constitution over an interpretation that conflicts with this Constitution"

Clearly, removing the whole delegated part of the Leadership process would be an interpretation which conflicts with the Constitution. We are a party of rules. Delegates voted in Montreal as to whether or not to change the rules regarding leadership. That amendment failed, albeit narrowly. There is no body outside of a convention with the power in the Liberal Party to change the leadership rules. Not the caucus, not the executive council, not the council of presidents.

In terms of acceleration, there is little that can be done. The Delegate Selection Meetings have to be held no less than 34 days before the convention and proper notice must be given to all members of the DSM's prior to their taking place, pushing the date a few weeks further out. This means that there is little to no way to move the convention up to before a budget vote. This does not even take into account the membership cut-off date which is prescribed as 41 days before the DSM. Realistically, because of membership renewals and single year members that join for leadership races that date has to be in the same year as the convention i.e. 2009. Theoretically, January 1 but more likely something like the fifteenth of January would be the earliest the membership cut-off could be. With a membership cut-off date of January 15th instead of early February, the race could be moved up to the beginning of April. However, the logistical challenge of booking a venue a month earlier would negate any political gains from the expedience. If we want to change the constitution in the future so that a leadership race could be rushed in a crisis someone should propose a constitutional amendment to be voted on in Vancouver.

11 comments:

Northern PoV said...

Alternatives:
* Internet/phone vote
* riding level voting
(won't be more than 2 ballots)
* Heck let the executive, and full caucus pick

Time to throw out the rule book.
We need a new permanent leader, NOW.

Otherwise both the party and country are at risk.

from a non-Iggy supporter

Anonymous said...

The problem is, you need a convention to throw out the rulebook!

KOL said...

Who cares about the constitution?! Can't we just get the Crown to proclaim that it no longer applies?

Anonymous said...

Harper and Rae are divinding our country.

New Bi-partisan Coalition to protect Canada is in the works.

Chrystal Ocean said...

"the logistical challenge of booking a venue a month earlier would negate any political gains from the expedience."

Is there a definition of 'convention' anywhere in the LPC guidebook? Within such definition, if it exists, perhaps the LPC could hold its convention via the Internet.

(The irony couldn't be more obvious with delegates at a LPC convention having voted to retain the delegated convention for selection of the party's leader. When the heck is the LPC going to get with the times?)

Mike said...

Actually this could be done constitutionally though it's a bit dicey.

If the party does this though all those people who said Dion should have stepped down immediately after the election should thank their lucky stars he didn't and give him thanks for the opportunity.

So here's how it could go:
- Dion announces he will resign as party leader AFTER a OMOV vote procedure has taken place to elect the INTERIM leader
- According to the constitution the national exec elects the interim leader in consultation with caucus
- Instead the national exec could pull a Harper re: Senate elections and say "we will hold consultations" and vow to "take into advisement" the winner of the nation wide vote of the Liberal membership as to who should be the interim leader.
- Only the 3 leadership candidates
go on the ballot for interim leader and they agree that whoever wins drops off the ballot for super weekend and just gets acclaimed at convention.

All perfectly constitutional, even though a bit dicey, but it works just like Harper's senate elections bill without actually infringing on the constitution. But again it ONLY works because Dion is still leader today so I think really those people like John Manley who said "Dion should have stepped down immediately after the election" apologize for their stupidity since it's only bc he didn't that Liberals have some flexibility now.

I've read in the papers that this exact scenario is under discussion. You may want to amend your post.

Mike said...

Sorry that should be:
"Only the 3 leadership candidates
go on the ballot for interim leader and they agree that whoever LOSES drops off the ballot for super weekend and the winner of the interim leader vote just gets acclaimed at convention."

Eugene Forsey Liberal said...

Leadership conventions represent effectively a preferential voting system. I assume whatever method is used that will continue to be the case.

Anonymous said...

Everybody but Dion sits as the New Liberal Party. Pick a new Leader and then form a coalition with Dion's party.

Anonymous said...

I'm soooo not a liberal, but to help you idiots think outside the box/constitution...all you need to do is agree to have the leadership candidates agree to a caucus vote and the losers of the vote all agree to drop out of the leadership race (that ends in may). Then public pressure would have to keep any new opportunists out post caucus vote.

But dont take my advice. Ideally you'll keep Stephane.

He is the gift that gives and gives.

ianp said...

if you are going to make constitutional arguments perhaps it would help to quote from it.

57
(1) The National Executive may make any bylaw in accordance with
the procedure set out in Section 26 to regulate the procedures
of the Leadership Vote, but any bylaw that the National Executive
makes must be consistent with this Constitution.
(2) Bylaws anticipated by Subsection 57(1) may include but are not
limited to:
(a) voting procedures (including Internet balloting and electronic
balloting);
(b) nomination criteria;
(c) registration fees and procedures; and
(d) leadership contestant deposit requirements.

While one will make the argument that this is meant for the delegates once elected to vote you should also look at:
65 (5)
5) In the case of the actual or expected dissolution of the House
of Commons, if a Leadership Vote is called or where other
circumstances exist that make it significantly impractical to
hold a convention, then the National Executive may reschedule
any convention of the Party for a date within six months of the
original date.
also
54 (3) In the circumstances set out in Subsection 54(1), if the Leader
publicly announces an intention to resign or if the Leader delivers
to the National President a written resignation or a written request
to call a Leadership Vote, the National President must call a
meeting of the National Executive to be held within 27 days, and at
that meeting the National Executive must:
(a) in the circumstances set out in Subsection 54(1) or if the
Leader so requests, in consultation with the Caucus, appoint
an “Interim Leader”;

therefore there is plenty of room to wriggle about.

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