Political parties are not private.

There was an interesting question raised last week by Toronto Star columnist Susan Delacourt about political parties. She was questioning whether political parties are public or private entities. Before we get legal minds involved in determining this, it is important to stress that a political party is created by and owned by its membership. It is whatever its membership determines it to be.

That being said though, a political party has to constantly redefine itself and undergo change to meet the needs and opportunities offered by its society. It can also be influenced by its leadership as the party leader, elected by the party, is usually a member of the party’s managing body. The last time a party went head to head with its leader was when Progressive Conservative Party President Dalton Camp decided in the late 1960s that former Prime Minister John Diefenbaker had outlasted his usefulness to his party.

It was at about that time that Prime Minister Lester Pearson agreed to a Liberal Party motion for the party leader to submit to a party vote in the year after an election. His successor, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau also agreed. The clause remains in to-day’s Liberal Party constitution.

But the interesting change pushed through by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the party’s biennial meeting in Winnipeg in 2016 is the designation of party members as Registered Liberals with no membership fees involved. In effect, he created a non-paying membership. Instead, over the past few years, these registered Liberals on the party’s computerized lists have been inundated with constant pleas for funds. Justin Trudeau seems to think of the membership as some sort of sucker list.

The fund-raising has been so intense that as something of a break there was an e-mail recently that admitted that the party might be overdoing it. It was asking for policy suggestions for an up-coming party convention in Halifax that is, in itself, a fund-raising opportunity.

What is wrong though is that there is no filtering of these resolutions through a regional or provincial party structure. Only the party hierarchy in Ottawa will see the proposals and decide which ones to put forward. That is a clear indication that Justin Trudeau does not want a democratic Liberal Party. This is just the Justin Trudeau fan club.

-30-

Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Tags: , ,

Comments are closed.