Monday, April 06, 2009

Do I Smell Hypocrisy?

I apologize for yet another post on Weighted One Member One Vote and the proposed Young Liberals of Canada amendment. I just wanted to put something out into the ether. Before I start, let me say once again that I don't know how I would vote on either Weighted OMOV or the YLC amendment. I see the virtue and vice of both proposals. However, I have to be a little bit surprised at the outrage at the YLC's amendment. I suspect much of the uproar may be because supporters of WOMOV fear that the YLC's amendment would poison their attempts at reform. I am surprised though, because the system already massively favours some Liberals over others. Dan's right to say that the difference between 1.3 votes and 1.5 votes shouldn't affect youth engagement, but why are we so quick to accept the weighted nature OMOV in the first place? The answer is that we need to make sure that Liberals from across the country have a say in the process and that the leader is not just chosen in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal. This is a holdover from the current system. For the OMOV purists, weighting the system to make all ridings equal should be viewed as a major concession. It is slightly absurd to call a system one member one vote when one member's vote could be worth 2 and another's 0.02 depending on the number of Liberals in their riding. The can of worms is open. We shouldn't be surprised that the YLC is looking for another concession. What's the difference philosophically between weighting for regional balance and weighting for age balance?

7 comments:

Scott Tribe said...

Simple; many of us don`t see why we should be giving an organization that barely constitutes 12-14% of the membership, and a leadership that has been doing nothing but squabbling the past couple of years - more power then it deserves to have - with a 25% quota system that more or less skewers the OMOV concept.

The YLC should go go out, forget about the internal squabbles and the politicking, and actually.. you know, recruit more members and get your strength in numbers up. You`ll get and retain and earn your influence, rather then have it thru some artificially inflated number that quite frankly, I don`t see why the YLC should think it should be be entitled to.

Aaron Ginsberg said...

Scott, I don't support the YLC on this. I'm Switzerland on this. But by your logic, why should fifty Liberals in Lethbridge have equal voice to 5000 Liberals in Toronto-Centre? What's the difference between that and the YLC's proposal? Why don't you tell people in small riding associations to "forget about the internal squabbles and the politicking and actually... you know, recruit members and get your strength in numbers up"?

A BCer in Toronto said...

Aaron, I think it would be useful to consider why some of the various elements that are within the current system are there, and whether, with the changes brought in by OMOV, they're still necessary.

We do lots of things to bring more youth into the party, from youth rates for events for reserved spots for youth reps on executive committees and boards. And under the delegated system we reserve spots for youth, and others, in recognition of the fact the delegated system holds certain inherent unfairness around access: cost is a major barrier to entry. Hence, taking steps to ensure, despite that unfairness, a broad demographic swath is at least somewhat represented at convention.

The delegated system is defacto weighted by riding, with each riding electing the same number of delegates regardless of membership. But that's for different reasons, and you've mentioned some of them already. Because we seek to be a national party, not just a party of the big cities.

So, by moving to a OMOV system that lets everyone vote with just a $10 membership, the barriers that made it difficult for youth to go to convention are no longer there. Because there is no convention, no money to raise, everyone gets a vote. Young or old.

And we're doing lots of other things to address the wider issues of youth involvement, as I've mentioned. But the issues of regional distortions remain.

Steve V said...

"For the OMOV purists, weighting the system to make all ridings equal should be viewed as a major concession."

I don't see it as a concession in the least. I actually see it as the best way to ensure that all regions and subsets within are heard from, rather than Toronto and Montreal deciding the leader. If you take the "purist" view, in terms of regional equality, based on the population of each riding, then it's an excellent system. All ridings are equal (I know the disparities, but that's an EC issue, not a Liberal orientated problem), so why not a system that respects the Canadian identity. I suppose you can find fault with any tenet, but I see this stipulation as entirely egalitarian, depending on how you look at it.

Mike said...

I think what some people are missing is that if you reduce the youth representation within a leadership race to 12-14% from the 30% they have now, they become a bloc a leadership candidate could COMPLETELY IGNORE and still win.

If they retain at least 25% no leadership candidate could afford to ignore them.

So some say: "oh they just need to get more members, easy, money grows on trees, etc...."

Ok and if they don't? And to be honest I don't think they would.

Do we all believe in survival of the fittest now? Because I thought that was a Conservative mantra.

So then you have no relevant youth wing anymore and they are no longer able to influence leadership races. That's what some people want and you are entitled to that view, but I have a lot more respect for people who just come and say that rather those who say "oh everything will be just swell, the young Libs have nothing to worry about, just trust us and pass it".

And then as youth no longer have a real proven voice they lose the best recruitment tool they've ever had. University students were pulled away from the NDP because their party doesn't listen to their youth wing, whereas ours did.

PS I anticipate Scott making a comment of how I'm "going around to all blogs commenting on this". And so is Justin Tetreault, Jason Cherniak has commented on multiple blogs in favour of the amendment too, is it so unbelievable that someone cares enough about this to spend their own time defending it?

You don't have to be a party bigwig to care about the future viability of a youth wing after all.

Quixotique said...

Mike,

There are so many issues to take with this line of thought.

"I think what some people are missing is that if you reduce the youth representation within a leadership race to 12-14% from the 30% they have now, they become a bloc a leadership candidate could COMPLETELY IGNORE and still win."

Are the youth in the Party sheep? Must they vote as a bloc? For (some) policy issues perhaps, one might see/accept it, but for Leader? or for a nomination candidate? I think you are making your own counter argument here.

If the youth significantly contribute to ongoing recruitment, year-in, year-out, whether they vote as a bloc or not (hopefully not) the next time there is a leadership they will be individually as important as any other member to a leadership candidate to attract, but the candidate that can resonate on key issues of (more) concern to youth will attract them nonetheless and benefit from their greater numbers.

Remember that as a group, the 14-25 demographic represents about 15% of the Canadian population; if you consider that as a bloc, why should a 15% uni-share point of view trump any other of equal or greater weight, say?

"And then as youth no longer have a real proven voice they lose the best recruitment tool they've ever had. University students were pulled away from the NDP because their party doesn't listen to their youth wing, whereas ours did."

It makes me bristle whenever someone uses the argument that leadership races are the best recruitment tool we've got. Hopefully leaderships are few and far between and an incumbent leader as opposed to a hopeful should be the best magnet we've got - in addition to our value-based policies.

Youth should not find it acceptable that they can only have a "real proven voice" through participation in leadership/nomination/national executive elections. That's about power and factions, not about real influence. And, how "real" is that voice/influence, if it is an artificially inflated viewpoint?

Justin said...

I completely disagree with Scott and think it is unfair to bring up internal bickering as a reason why the YLC is not deserving to keep its constitually entrenched voice within the party.

If internal bickering was a reason to deny people a say, we would not have any votes at all in the Liberal Party. The YLC does not hold a monopoly on family quarrels. The senior party fights among themselves just as well.

All views expressed in this blog are those of the author and the author alone. They do not represent the views of any organization, regardless of the author's involvement in any organizations.

All comments are the views of the individual writer. The administrator reserves the right to remove commentary which is offensive.

The author is not responsible for nor does he support any of the advertisements displayed on the page