LDP 03: A favour from Ford.

If a stronger, more democratic political party is to rise from the ashes of the Ontario liberal party, we can thank premier-designate Ford for one bit of help. Ford has refused to fund the liberal MPPs in Queen’s Park as a political party. It means those who want to have a new and invigorated replacement party can make more of the decisions with less confusion for the public.

Without the funding, staff, the right to ask questions in question period and the trappings of a party in the legislature, the grassroots of the party are on a more equal footing to say what the party should be. We want the elected members to have a say but not to drown out the grassroots.

This is a far cry from the situation under Kathleen Wynne. The Ontario liberal party was a top-down, one-boss organization. It allowed Wynne to get the party into the mess of charges in Sudbury over her manipulation of a bye-election. If the party had been allowed to conduct an open and democratic election of their candidate, there would have been no such charges.

But even more serious was the lack of party input on policy. Nobody listened to the people who supported the candidates and stood ready to work hard to elect them. The only person that Wynne was listening to was that former TD Bank head who told her to sell off part of Hydro One. It was one of her stupider moves and helped build voter antipathy towards her.

We probably have a year for this new party to get organized and register it before there might be a bye-election in Ontario. That would be our first chance to show some muscle. Our objective would be to get that eighth MPP to enable our new party to have full rights as a party in the legislature and for us to elect a party leader.

The difference I would suggest is that the leader’s role be better defined than in the past. The leader would be elected by an every-member vote and should be directly responsible for managing the elected wing of the party. The party president and executive might be responsible for the party at large and the vetting of candidates. The party members in each electoral district should be responsible for choosing the candidate.

While the policy directions for the party passed by the members have to be treated as possible directions for the party, the party leader needs to report to the party each year on the progress on party resolutions.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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