Saturday, May 2, 2009

A Convention About Nothing, or a Convention About Money?

When I first heard that Michael Ignatieff was taking control of the Liberal Party, I was happy. Not because I thought Iggy gave the Tories the best chance of winning, but because I shudder to imagine what horror Bob Rae would reap upon Canada if elected Prime Minister. Even if Ignatieff was the more electable candidate, to me he was the lesser of two evils. When I heard that the Liberal Convention would go ahead despite no leadership vote, I was excited because I thought that it would become a policy convention. Liberals could vote on policy, and actually produce some sort of tangible platform so that myself as a moderate could decide if I could vote for the new candidate.

No such luck. A convention with no policy and no leadership vote left me wondering what on earth the Liberal Party stood to gain by even holding a convention. I laughed at the first suggestions that this was a Convention about nothing, as back in the day I was a big fan of Seinfeld. I understand why the Liberals will not release any policy, but by doing so they are eliminating any possibility that I would vote for them. To me politics is all about policy. Passionate speeches loaded with superlative hyperbole does not sway me either way. I want policy, and I am not getting any. As a moderate I have to hold myself open to the option of at least considering voting for the other side if I can weigh their policy against the ruling government.

But I disagree that this is a Convention about nothing. This is a Convention about money. I would be curious to see the final price tag of this Ignatieff coronation, what it cost the sum total of the delegates to attend, and how much in donations the party was able to procure. They are asking their party members to spend a lot of money to come to Vancouver and listen to speeches, attend a few “workshops” and likely also charging them a price of admission. Will the Liberal party turn a profit by weekend’s end? Or are they bleeding money from the party core whom they hope will donate more money to a fiscally troubled party in the future? It is difficult to measure if this convention will produce a net gain financially for the Liberal Party.

What I know for sure is that the Liberals have purchased the electioneering software used by Team Obama, both for recruiting and fundraising. Such that if they are not turning a profit this weekend, then the likely objective is to arm their membership with tools and ammunition to raise money and recruit new members while also arming them with some sharp talking points and slurs to use against the Tories. So this is hardly a Convention about nothing, it is a Convention about money, which the Liberal Party sorely needs.

The other likely objective of this Convention is advertising. They will get a lot of play from their friends at the CBC, and they are hoping that Canadians actually pay attention and watch the speeches. That is a long shot at best. Does anyone really care? I am a politics junkie, and while former Prime Minister Jean Chretien was delivering a partisan speech, I was watching a hockey game. If someone like me who cares about politics would rather watch Playoff hockey, how many swing voters were tuned in?

Here’s what I don’t get; the excuse for not voting on policy is that they don’t want the Conservatives to know their policy. Meanwhile, they are perfectly able to keep the results private. They don’t have to release their policy, but they won’t even vote on it? The only possible explanation for presenting a lame excuse for not having a policy convention is that Ignatieff does not want to be bound by the desires of the party membership. Iggy supports pre-emptive wars and coerced interrogation, so it hardly benefits him to have the core of the party vote against it. If nobody votes, then come election time Iggy can present whatever the Czar wants. If I were a delegate of the Liberal Party forking out big money to attend this Convention, I would be outraged that I did not get the opportunity to vote on party policy.

“I have come to the conclusion that politics are too serious a matter to be left to the politicians.”

-Charles De Gaulle


  1. No, as usual it is a convention about lies and rewriting history. For Ignatieff to say that Dion is a victim of 'brutal politics' (how about that of the Liberals when they dumped Dion) when Dion repeatedly called Harper a liar, is amazing.

    Then to hear Martin say that Harper has spent the surpluses the Liberals accumulated - well we know now that the surpluses came from taking too much off taxpayers' paycheques for Employment Insurance.

  2. To suggest "that Harper spent surpluses the Liberals accumulated" also implies that we were in a net surplus position when in fact we only achieved annual budgetary surpluses. The debt load is still huge. There was no vault full of excess cash when Martin left.

  3. Only political junkies will watch on TV . . . everyone else is enjoying some really good hockey.

    I walked down to the convention center and strolled around - you are correct about training sessions .. . that's what's advertised on the information bulletins etc. Since there is no policy discussions, there is time for training.

    The LPC biggest vulnerability right now is the lack of policy . . . a void just waiting to be filled.

  4. the training sessions that they are holding are no doubt on how to hammer the conservatives on thier "hidden agenda" all the while keeping the electorate from learning of Iggy waffles plan to increase taxes on everything.

    I'm so sick of their lies
    stories and lies

  5. William says....

    Correct you are!

    This Liberal convention is NOT about policy, its about getting that more than 40 million still missing from Adscam, back into the Liberal election machine.

    Training sessions you say, just six short months ago, the Liberal party was BROKE, the leadership contenders were up to their eyeballs in debt, now they have money to burn on (training sessions)?

    I smell a rat!

    The theives infesting the Liberals are still pulling the strings of the Natural governing party, heaven help us if they ever get back into power.