Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Green Party Unity

Whooee! Well, friends an' foes, I spent the weekend at the Green Party convention down in the centre of the universe. I had the pleasure of meetin' Sylvie Lemieux, a gal from up Ottawa way who was lookin' to challenge Earth Mother Lizzie May fer the leadership of us treehuggin' Greenies. Sylvie ain't gonna get a chance to challenge Lizzie now or in the foreseeable future. Neither is anybody else, by the looks of it. Sylvie ain't bitter, though, an' I gotta admire her for that.

The party decided that we ain't ever gonna have a leadership race unless fewer than 60% of the members endorse the leader within six months after a federal election. Now, what we gotta remember here is that the folks who want a change of leadership or even them who just want a leadership contest are the selfsame disgruntled folks who ain't renewing their Green Party memberships. The ones who are happy with the status quo will stay put. The "meaningless" membership numbers may decline but sure as shit at least 60% the happy clams who don't quit are gonna endorse the leader.

So far, I ain't quittin' the Greens. I reckon when you support a party you can't be a hunnert percent's worth happy with every dang policy -- unless yer a rubber stamp without any mind of yer own. I reckon even if we did have a leadership contest, Lizzie would win it anyway so I'm gonna keep on doin' what us card-carryin' party members do: support the party leader. A couple policies got adopted that I ain't too happy with but it could be worse. I could be a Liberal. The Green Party leader's at least a small-g green.

I wanna share a press release that Sylvie Lemieux put out yesterday. It reflects the selfsame attitude I heard her express on the convention floor and in personal conversation.

Lemieux calls for united effort to elect Green MPs

Ottawa, Aug 23 – Green Party leadership hopeful Sylvie Lemieux would like to thank all Green Party members who supported her motion and proposed workshop amendment calling for the Green Party to respect the intent of its constitution by holding regular leadership contests, not leadership reviews.

“Its clear from the voting results, however, that the majority of members who participated in the online Bonser ballot and who attended the convention would prefer using a leadership review process and for the reviews to take place after each election,” she said. "We are a grassroots party and the members have spoken."

Lemieux will now turn her focus to preparing for the next election campaign. “Canadians are counting on the Green Party to be the conscience of the country,” she said. “I am ready, willing and able to do whatever I can to help move the party forward, in a united effort, to elect our first Green MPs to parliament.”

I'd say Sylvie's showin' determination, magnanimosity, good leadership an' she's showin' she's a good soldier. She's a former Lt. Colonel in the Canadian Forces, after all, an' I reckon she knows a thing or two about the chain of command. She told me that the leadership issue was a skirmish she lost but the war is to get Greens into Parliament an' help save the planet an' that war ain't over by a long shot.



Unknown said...

Don't forget that the leader can vacate the post! All good things come to an end, sometime!

GAB said...

Nice to finally meet you JimBobby,

Most of the policy work was decent, most of the constitutional changes were less good.
I simply don't see how more stringent rules and compliance penalties is going to help weak EDAs turn themselves around. I was also not pleased that a prov rep who has never outreached to the EDAs was re-elected, but WTF can you do?

ON leadership I think/hope/pray she will be respectful enough to offer a leadership review or contest after the next election.

I think a structural change needs to be made on the Bonser, items that get 40% red should not be making the convention, since that means less than the needed 60% to pass liked it or though it could be saved in workshop. there were only a few of these but still it was a waste of time and effort.

I was pleased that very few people on either side of the most contentious issues behaved poorly.

I was pleased we were brave enough to bring in Don Drummond for a honest economic appraisal of our vision. I actually agree with some of his responses and hope we do something about them so we get an A, next election.

In the long run the bigger goals are more important than me and my beefs and I will continue to work to promote and elect my Candidate who is more than worthy of the job.

JimBobby said...

Great to meet you, too, GAB.

ON leadership I think/hope/pray she will be respectful enough to offer a leadership review or contest after the next election.

As I understand it, there's no choice about a review. There must be a review within six months of a federal election. My big beef is the difference between a review and a race.

A contest generates a lot more media interest. It also generates membership drives. I understand that the last leadership contest resulted in a net gain for the party of something like $65,000. Not huge but not an expense and that money came from new member recruitment.

A review reminds me a lot of those Soviet elections we used to hear about during the Cold War. "Khrushchev elected by a landslide." Of course, he was the only name on the ballot. It will take some very serious disgruntlement before more than 40% are motivated to vote against a sitting leader -- especially when the most disgruntled leave the party and disqualify themselves from voting.

I agree we need to refine the methodology. The Bonser results could be "workshopped" through online discussion or by select groups to refine language or make the motions less confusing. With better online workshopping/refinement and actual ratification/rejection done prior to the BGM, the convention could focus on strategy and items that help sell the party to the public via MSM coverage.

I also agree that it was a civilized event. I was a little amused at EM's spin on Drummond's speech. He panned a lot of stuff, perhaps rightly so, but the B+ versus F was the part that made it into the leader's keynote. I imagine that spin was highly approved of by an overwhelming 85% of the 11% who voiced an opinion one way or the other. ;-)

Absolutely, the bigger goals are what we need to focus on. just hope we don't lose too many "dissidents". A rubber stamping membership may be unified but not too healthy, IMO. I would have liked to have seen some picking up of the olive branch offered at the workshop where the amendment to the leadership motion was rejected.


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