Ontario Liberals deny democracy.

In a world where there are those who want to build for the future and those who want to control the future, the Ontario Liberal Party managers must be control freaks. They are making the rules to pick a successor to Premier Dalton McGuinty. There will be no dilettantes, crazies, left-wingers, policy mavens or other trouble makers allowed. In seeking to replace Dalton McGuinty, the party seems to want someone just like him.

In making the announcement, Ottawa MPP and Party President Yasir Naqvi was the perfect foil. A proud first-generation Canadian, Naqvi would not necessarily recognize that what was being promulgated was wrong. What he needed to do before announcing his executive’s decisions about the leadership of the Ontario party was ask why the federal rules for its leadership contest are so different.

In a political environment that seeks inclusion, the Ontario party executive chose a closed, delegated convention. In a political environment that seeks broad options, the party executive chose to discriminate. These people have the temerity to put a toll gate outside the leader’s office to keep the riff-raff in their place. The price tag for entry is an initial fee of $50,000 and then another $125,000 must be given to the party if you want to raise and spend the $500,000 limit.

At a time when Ontario is desperate for new thinking and new leadership, the Ontario executive has locked the door to almost all but people tarred with being McGuinty’s fellow travellers. If you were not in a McGuinty cabinet, your chances are slim. The only person willingly admitting that he might go for the brass ring today is Finance Minister Dwight Duncan. The selection of Duncan would pretty well guarantee that the Liberals would be trashed in the election everyone at Queen’s Park expects early in the spring.

This self destructive bent of Liberal party organizations is a tradition that we have lived with for many years. It is as though Liberals cannot walk and chew gum at the same time. If we want to win in Ottawa, we forget about Queen’s Park. If Ottawa is hopeless, we invade the Ontario Legislature.

Liberals need to look ahead.

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Copyright 2012 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me

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