Thursday, August 03, 2006

National Council Takes a Step in the Wrong Direction

The Conservative Party's National Council has decided that candidates who have lost more than 2 elections must get special permission to run a third time. Don Plett, the President of the National Council, explained that they are trying to stop candidates from "gate keeping" or preventing other candidates from seeking the nomination. This move is as wrong as it is unnecessary.

The current nomination process requires potential candidates to convince the majority of party members in their riding to vote for them as the next candidate. Potential candidates can sign up new members right up until a deadline that is usually only a couple weeks before the vote. Since a committed challenger could easily sign up a thousand or more new members, the only way to secure the nomination is to be persuasive enough to sign up members and convince them you're the right one for the job.

The Conservative Party has a proud tradition of being the most democratic major federal party, even to the point of having a leadership election process that gives every member a vote. Don Plett is a Western Canadian former reformer, if there's anyone in the party that should be aware of the importance of giving grassroots party members a voice it should be him. Taking away power from the individual members and giving it to a national body far away from the local decision making process is the last thing I expected from the party.

I hope and pray that I do not see the day when the party leadership overrides the democratic choice of a local party association to decide who the best candidate to represent their interests is.

N.B. If you want to express your concerns, here are the names and email addresses of the National Council members.

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