“It is now.” The headline and those three words are from a discussion paper released by Alfred Apps, a prominent Toronto lawyer and President of the Liberal Party of Canada. The title is “Building a Modern Liberal Party” and we think that Liberal Party members should certainly be bold and tell Alf Apps to stuff it!
The document is supposed to provide warm-up thinking for the Liberal Party of Canada’s biennial conference in January of 2012. While we had some trepidation in trying to read a 79-page document by a lawyer, it turned out to not be a lawyer’s document. Somebody with a marketing background was involved. It is a pure marketing. It is a treatise on how to sell the Red Tent of Canadian Liberalism.
Judging by the definition of liberalism in the document, that red tent would have to be made of spandex. And that is only its first mistake. By trying to be all things to all people, his visions of liberalism come to nothing. Alf’s big red tent goes nowhere.
And where was our party president when he points out our failures in the last federal election? What was he responsible for in that lacklustre performance by the party? There was no forgiveness for poor Michael Ignatieff. Who decided that Alf Apps gets a pass?
There is far too much in Alf’s document that needs to be discussed and even more that is not there. In the run up to the January convention, it is obvious that the party ‘bosses’ are heading off the growing demand for party democracy that is coming from activists throughout the party. The basic step of returning power to the electoral districts is being brushed aside in favour of another ‘commission’ and the commission’s recommendations are to be vetted by the council of party electoral district presidents. Nothing will change.
Alf’s paper does not recognize that the top down management of the party is what has left the party with almost a third of the electoral district associations becoming moribund and more about to join them.
We will come back to this subject but in the meantime, Alf Apps needs to understand that before you market something, you need to understand the people who might buy it.
Copyright 2011 © Peter Lowry
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