Not just a pocket to be picked.

The chickens came home to roost faster than expected. While I have been forecasting dire consequences as Justin Trudeau downgraded the liberal party to a fan club, we are starting to see the problems.

Chatting with an active liberal just the other day, he told me that he was annoyed at his local liberal organization. Here it is six months before an election and his party is showing no signs of life. When he contacted his local electoral district president, the chap told him he was not even listed on the party’s computerized lists. As a loyal canvasser for the party and a regular contributor, the chap had every reason to be annoyed. “I’m not just a pocket to be picked,” was his comment.

Justin Trudeau has never recognized that there is a balance needed with fund raising and party activity. This liberal I was talking to was like many of us over the years. We were involved. We were a recognized and valued part of the party. We worked tirelessly at getting our chosen candidate elected. We took a vocal role in the development of party policy. We took responsibility for choosing candidates who could work with our parliamentary caucus

In our thinking, the leader of the party was responsible for the elected members but he reported to the party as a whole. When they changed the rules for all parties back in the 1990s, they said that the leader of the party had to sign off on each candidate. That did not mean that we wanted the leader to choose our candidate.

Since then all parties seem to think they should be run by their leader. Even the supposedly democratic NDP has a leader now who thinks he has the authority to kick an MP out of the party caucus.

Recently, liberals thought it might have been smart for Justin Trudeau to pass that right to his caucus instead of taking the blame for the ejection of MPs Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott. The inexperienced Justin Trudeau piled his errors higher and deeper throughout the entire SNC-Lavalin affair. If he had been paying attention to his caucus during that time, he either lacked good advice or ignored it.

But I am pleased to say that there are probably still many liberals ready and willing to get to work and help make sure our country does not give up on the liberal party in the fall.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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