Opinion

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January 20, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – How can a Party seek to represent a nation when its Resolutions aren’t representative of the Party? True renewal requires being engaged, checking in, so to speak, to see to it that the decision-making is a reflection of the majority. Sadly, too many Liberals at the recent convention, checked out early.

Though there were many opportunities at the convention for Liberals to speak their mind and have their concerns brought forward in a very civilized process, most did not take the process of voting on the Priority Resolutions as seriously.

Sunday morning at 8 am., the Canada Hall doors were wide open. Coffee and muffins were for sale on the main floor and headsets for interpretation were ready for the asking. Media cameras were present and so were many volunteers. Noticeably absent were the reported 3200 delegates. Only a minimum of two hundred delegates were required to begin the plenary sessions and indeed, there were two hundred and twenty based on the number of clicks that responded to the test question. Twenty five was the number of delegates required to secure the debate of a Resolution. Debate consisted of mere minutes, three or four, per person, to state at times very complex points. But time marched on, even if delegates weren’t marching in.

Some delegates were rightly concerned that the resolution to make marijuana legal would lead to very bad optics. Still, serious points were being made and countered on the dangers of addiction. As has been reported, even Margaret Trudeau’s mental illness and pot use were referred to by a family physician from Montreal, in an attempt to bring a serious tone to what is very potentially a future medical concern, particularly after one young woman stated that coffee was more addictive than pot. There was a reference to becoming the Marijuana Party and that there were more serious issues facing the country and the Party. Yes, as much as argument can be developed in a sprint, the Liberals raced through this. Marijuana will be the fodder of many editorials I’m sure. What is appalling however, is that at 10am, 1446 delegates out of a potential 3200 passed this non-binding Resolution. Is it really something the Liberal leader will have to act on with so few turning out to vote?

The Reproductive Health Resolution was passed despite the fact the Resolution had factual errors (there is no right to abortion in Canada under any Act) and that it dealt with a provincial matter. It was passed in the first fifteen minutes of the Opening, with 592 delegates present. There will be reports that the resolution was passed by 92% of the delegates. But that was only 92% of 592 delegates, out of 3200.  Kudos to the National Women’s Liberal Commission, since they were willing to get out of bed for this one. 

Throughout the Plenary session, there were complaints that copies of the Resolutions were lacking. People couldn’t see the texts of the resolutions on the screen but were still expected to have an opinion. Resolution 99, “Accelerated Development of Clean, Renewable, and of conservation and energy efficiency in Canada,” was taken to task on the fact the wording in it made no sense (its title proving the point). With barely a hesitation, the Moderator moved along and asked for the vote.  Perhaps all conventions are as cavalier about such things and participants should do their homework.  But let’s be clear, many of the participants were at a convention for the first time. These delegates had bragged about paying their own way to this Convention, only to have their concerns disregarded several times.

By the time all the Resolutions were passed and the Constitutional Amendments were being voted on, the room had 1300 delegates present. Constitutional Amendments are binding.

Much will be said about the influence and enthusiasm of the youth at the Convention.  There will be talk of the old guard and the new. Old ways and new ways. We will hear stats about how resolutions were passed with overwhelming support. The truth is not so convincing. Somehow, highly committed and motivated Liberals couldn’t see fit to vote. How do they suppose they know how to inspire the country to vote during ho-hum elections? The truth is Liberals let the Liberals down. Were it not that the country will now be misled by the results, most of us wouldn’t care.

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