Imagine a group which brings together like-minded Canadians from coast to coast to coast. A group without barriers to engagement. A group that encourages discourse and debate. Now imagine the individuals in that group, average Canadians, working together to effect change in the country they love.
This is what the Liberal Party of Canada must become.
We must create a party where all those with shared aspirations can democratically elect a local candidate and a national leader. Barriers to participation, whether based on race, religion, sex, or financial status, should be dismantled. The playing field should be level, and the process should be fair. Votes should be cast by mail, phone, and over the internet. It will cost the party a great deal of money to oversee such a campaign, but the benefits of openness, fairness, and democracy greatly outweigh the costs.
We must create a party where average Canadians, through research, collaboration, and old fashioned hard work, can see their ideas put forth during an election. The party leader’s line-by-line veto over the entire platform should be eliminated. Individual members should have real power to influence party policy. The policy development process should be ongoing; nimble enough to adapt in changing circumstances, but ordered enough to allow broad participation. It will be hard, but when we work together we can achieve great things.
We must be the party of ideas. Our ideas should be bold in nature, and national in scope. We should always rely on the best evidence available, rather than antiquated ideology. We should respect the jurisdiction of the provinces but not abdicate the role of the federal government. Finally, we must understand that not every problem has a national solution. Canada is a vast nation, we should embrace our diversity.
In January, there is an opportunity to remake the Liberal Party. Liberals from across Canada will come together for our 2012 Biennial Convention. Party policies will be discussed, the national (volunteer) executive will be elected, and constitutional amendments will be debated. Some of the goals I’ve outlined here may be achieved, and I will be working hard during the convention the help them win approval. Together, we can create a party that is open to all Canadians, a party that provides an avenue to create change. A party we can all believe in again.
I know many of you are cynical about politics. Have faith, my friends, change is coming.