Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Could This Convention Actually Get Interesting?

The Coronation in Vancouver is starting to get the first sparks of conflict. No, there are no delays in the inevitable coronation of Czar Michael the Grit. However, the fight between the YLC and, frankly, everybody else may get downright ugly. The party has done everything it can to make this thing as bland as possible in the hopes that the media will cover Ignatieff's acceptance speech and go home with only spin for their stories. The watered-down policy process has been thrown into the Pacific to remove any trace of importance. Even Weighted-One-Member-One-Vote (WOMOV), a narrow loser in 2006, seems to be on track with few public detractors. So, what's the problem? Well apparently the rules of the game for the convention in particular rule 6.10 regarding amendments to proposed constitutional amendments.

Now I am not one of these people that sleeps with a copy of Robert's Rules of Order at my bedside, so I can't say that the rule strikes me as particularly aggregious. It is clearly constructed to remove the YLC amendment as an impediment to the passage of WOMOV. We shouldn't really be shocked that the dice would be a little loaded at this convention. However, this rule could be a significant stumbling block. The problem with this is it gives the YLC the impetus it needs to rally its membership to whatever cause it needs. The YLC is a decent voting block to begin with, and now there's a reason for unity. The YLC is left with few recourses and even fewer of them make for good optics for the party as a whole. The options for the YLC as I see it:
  1. Amend the rules. This requires a 90% vote but given the fact that nobody really would read the rules except for people likely to be offended by this you might get some mob mentality behind this. If you pass out a bunch of "Scrap 6.10" buttons and avoid telling anyone the details, you might be surprised at the result. If the convention were to overturn a part of the rules set down from on high, it would be egg on the party's face but not egg that's explainable in a soundbite.
  2. Make a deal. Lots of people with lots of agendas at this convention. Policy and constitutional amendments are the biggest things on the table. The obvious choice would be to threaten to have the YLC vote against WOMOV unless you get a promise of support on your amendment. However, the possibility of being backstabbed by just enough people to ensure the failure of the YLC amendment is downright likely. A policy group is less likely to have the numbers the YLC needs. However, if they can string together the right list of policies together who knows.
  3. Vote against WOMOV. There is a good likelihood that if the YLC were to mobilize its 25-30% of delegates against WOMOV there would be enough convention loving Liberals out there to kill WOMOV. This would look terrible for both the YLC and the party.
  4. Protest, but let WOMOV Pass. This is the least confrontational. The challenge here is finding a way to get the fact that the YLC is upset across without alienating everyone. Did you know that 25 delegates can request a recount on any vote or force any vote into debate? We may need a full debate on Constitutional Amendment 33 which changes the legalese at the beginning of the constitution. Who says the fillibuster is dead?


Anonymous said...

Oh, just get on with it. Ridiculous to complicate things at this point.

Improvements can be made later, but it has to get done or the Liberals fall back.

But, hey, the youth always have to complicated what isn't necessary to complicate.

If they don't pass OMOV - they will lose a lot of supporters.

Scott Tribe said...

You're presuming that YLC delegates will all vote in a bloc against OMOV. That's a dangerous presumption to make.

There are more then a few youth delegates who recognize this was a poison pill sub-amendment presented by the YLC executive council all along, and in more ways then one.

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