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Local Liberals say convention burst at seams with positive energy

A dozen Prince Edward Hastings Liberal Association members attended Ottawa 2012 Liberal Biennial Convention Jan. 13-15. From left, Theresa Van Luven, a member of the Electoral District Association; Eric Wilkinson – Youth Director; Brandon Bell – Director at Large; Peter Tinsley – Past Candidate; Lenore Begley – Association President; John Duggan – Association Executive Vice-President, and six other members, not shown, including directors and members of the Association from all parts of the riding.

A dozen Prince Edward Hastings Liberal Association members joined more than 3,000 party members in the nation’s capital last weekend for the Liberal Biennial Convention.
Peter Tinsley, PEH federal Liberal candidate in last year’s election, said the newly re-built Ottawa Conference Centre is a huge complex, “but seemed to burst at the seams with the positive energy of more than 3,300 delegates from across Canada and of all ages – one third of the delegates were under 30 years of age and they made themselves heard.
“While these conventions are normally policy development oriented in theme, this one was dual-themed for both policy development and Party development or re-building,” said Tinsley.
“As was said many times – just because we lost an election doesn’t mean we lost the party.  It has been clearly recognized that significant re-orientation is required and this convention was a major step in that process both in terms of re-structuring and policy initiatives.”
Tinsley said the election loss served as a catalyst to galvanize people into action.
“Locally, our riding membership has almost doubled since May 2nd and for the first time in many years we have a full and active executive of 24 members and this was the largest delegation in memory to attend a biennial convention. This is important as a major thrust in the Liberal Party’s structural reform is an emphasis on the importance of Electoral District Associations, particularly in the matter of policy development from the grassroots up and evidence-based, not from the top down and ideologically driven.”

Mainstream news reports focused on the party’s votes Sunday to make the legalization of marijuana a party policy and rejected a motion to sever ties with the monarchy.
“It should be understood that the Party’s philosophy is to encourage people to bring forward ideas for discussion and the achievement of consensus,” Tinsley said. “The resolution re: the Monarchy was one such idea presented that did not achieve any degree of consensus that it is what Canadians want or that it would be good for Canada – it was soundly defeated.
“On the other hand, the resolution regarding the legalization of marijuana did receive the support of 77 per cent of the delegates after vigorous debate, including the involvement of two physicians and one veteran police officer,” Tinsley said. “There is much empirical data to the effect that its effects are no more harmful than alcohol (some say less) and, as important, that no regime of prohibition anywhere in the world has been successful – they have only served to feed organized crime. So, the Liberal Party has resolved to give the alternative of legalization and careful regulation consideration, including seeking the views of the provinces and all Canadians.”

Delegates also voted to open the party to outsiders by creating a new, free category of membership. A U.S.-style process of choosing party leaders through a primary voting system was rejected. Delegates supported changing the way Canadians elect their representatives with voters ranking candidates in order of preference.

The party’s leader, however, keeps veto power over the election platform.

The event was not a leadership convention but interim leader Bob Rae was questioned many times over the weekend about whether he would run for the job. Other names mentioned as possibilities included David McGuinty, (brother of Dalton); Gerard Kennedy, Marc Garneau and Dominic LeBlanc.

The election for Liberal party president was won by Mike Crawley, 42, after a tight race with Sheila Copps.

Minir A. Sheikh, the former Chief Statistician at Stats Canada, delivering a key note address entitled “The Importance of Evidence Based Decision Making” – a central theme in Liberal policy development.

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  1. Rastas says:

    The disgruntled former Chief at Stats Canada cried wolf with the media’s help, to castigate the PM, jumped to a job paying 30% more and speaks for Liberals now. Surprise surprise.

    Oh and that mandatory long form census imbroglio??? The most recent census since then had a 96.8% completion rate on the long form census….1% less than the mandatory long form version in prior census’s.

    Statistically insignificant difference! Ah the culture war! Yes we got used!

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