Who convinced Trudeau to look democratic?

Wow. When you read the Liberal.ca website now it looks like Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau invented party democracy. It not only says he believes in party democracy but he is working to assure Liberal Party members of open nominations. He seems to not only be recanting his heavy-handed approach in the recent Trinity-Spadina by-election in Toronto but maybe he expects us to pretend it never happened.

But we should not let him off the hook for just some well chosen words. We still have to see some positive action. We still have to get the heavy hand of the party off the so-called “green-light” process of nominating candidates. Winning a battle is not resolving the war.

Many Liberals believe that the power to vet candidates belongs at the electoral district level. Maybe the local party could ask for assistance if it does not have all the resources needed to check credentials but the decision has to be made by the riding executive. The names of those who sign the nomination papers for a candidate for example, tells the local executive a great deal about a candidate. The meaning of the names is lost on senior levels of the party. Senior levels look at candidates in a different manner than the local party executive.

The truth is that truly democratic nominations can change the face of the party. They bring in more people, new ideas and changing demographics. They create greater volatility and sometimes some tensions. They accommodate the occasional maverick and create challenges for the party leadership.

But without the challenges within a Canadian political party, it fails to grow and evolve to meet the needs of an ever-changing population. The needs and desires of Canadians will always change as they process through the cycles of aging, maturing and renewing. We are human and not static. Our wishes and needs evolve and our politics have to be able to change and evolve to meet those needs.

And it is liberalism ahead of all other political movements that can best meet these societal fluxes. The ideologues of the right and left of politics are hide-bound in comparison. Only liberalism has the flexibility to seek the constant renewal of ideas and solutions to meet societal change. Our liberalism requires the freedom to grow with the changes.

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Copyright 2014 © Peter Lowry

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