Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Date is set for Liberal convention and the campaigning gets underway

BC Liberals  hope that the month synonymous with love will bring them a little of it, as the Liberal party sets Saturday, February 26th, 2011 as the day that they will select a new leader for the party.

Along with a date may come new procedures as well, as the Liberals prepare to abandon the current method of balloting of one person, one vote to a weighted system. A procedural switch that Liberals hope may deter the prospect of instant Liberals from the Lower Mainland over running the voting booth to install the candidate who best accumulates the largest volume of newest members to the party.

Michael Smyth of the Province, tried to make sense of the new rules and the impact on the leadership run in his Sunday column for the paper.

The hope it seems is that, this way candidates from outside the heavily populated southwest corner of the province will have an equal chance at the leadership as those who have machines of sorts in place in the Greater Vancouver  and Victoria area.

One time Liberal leader and political commentator Gordon Gibson provided some background on the debating points  and how it may change the party, reviewing his thoughts on the issue in the weekend Vancouver Sun.

Before the new weighted system comes into place however, the Liberals will have to approve the changes in an extraordinary session planned for February 12 in Vancouver, two thirds of the delegates to that session will have to cast a vote in favour before it comes into effect.

If it passes, the new rules would be in effect for the Leadership vote on February 26th.

While the party comes to terms with how they'll handle the vote and refine their rules, the leadership contenders will begin to organize their teams to try and secure that favourable vote count on the 26th of February.

Already one front runner has bowed out, as Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts, chose to take a pass on the leadership derby this time around, providing the traditional wish to devote more time to her family at this time rather than enter the ravages of provincial politics.

On her way out the door however, she did offer up an endorsement for Carole Taylor everyone's top Liberal of the day it seems.

 Ms. Taylor however, seems to have ruled herself out of any further role in provincial politics, recently accepting the position of Chancellor at Simon Fraser University. Though when it comes to politics, as Michael Smyth of the Province points out  it's always wise to remember that never doesn't really mean never.

While the front runners drop out or wave off those that seek their entry into the race, the rumblings within the Liberals of the need for the Premier to exit the stage sooner than later continue to grow.

Mr. Campbell's original declaration that he would remain on as leader until the convention seems to have not rallied the troops, in fact the calls are growing for him to step down now and allow for an interim leader to take up the task of guiding the party through the passage of time.

Two weekend reviews from the Globe and Mail see here and here, as well as Vaughn Palmer's column for the Vancouver Sun provide some valuable insight into the internal debate within the party.

While the Premier may wish to hold onto his position until the spring, it seems unlikely that the party may let him linger on the political scene through the leadership contest.

With the Premier keeping his political baggage on the provincial stage with his intent to remain in office until convention day, the choice it seems is clear for the party.

If Liberals intend on turning a new page on the party's biography, it most likely will require that the author of the last ten years of passages takes his leave, sooner rather than later.

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