Friday, September 01, 2006

Does this have to be difficult?

Red Tory seems a little peeved at the constant attacks being leveled at his candidate, and I can see what he's saying. I thought the noise over the "hypothetical" plans for the future was just that. Is this just a symptom of a long slow campaign? Are leadership races always this bitter?

In that sense, I guess I'm still a bit of an outsider to the process (as some might also say is evident in my choice of candidate).

For what it's worth, let me share my perspective.

I've been voting Liberal, federal and provincial, since the early 90's, so while I may not have been an official member in good standing, I've been supporting for over a decade.

I never really felt the desire to get involved until things started going south for the party. Actually, my first involvement was during the provincial election where the Libs replaced the PCs gov't in Ontario; like most people, I'd had enough and wanted to help drive the stake into that beast.

With the 2005/2006 federal election looking as close as it was, I thought I'd do what I could to help out. Things haven't gone so well, but I'm still here to do what little I can until the Harper regime is replaced.

I believe in the Liberal party and what it stands for.

But I'm new to this involvement in party politics thing, and I think I can see why most of the population doesn't bother. While we all have our opinions and preferences when it comes to government, it's not always rewarding to publicly display those preferences.

It's a little embarrassing to help "wear the egg" and "eat the crow," but you take the bad with the good and keep on. In for a penny, in for a pound(ing). Think of me a one of the multitude of canaries in the mine that is the Canadian political landscape; when I give up, its bad news.

I understand to some degree that there is a lot on the table; the party is full of impassioned people who have put a lot into it, and want the best for it, and are more and more convinced that means their candidate as leader, and theirs alone.

We all see the weaknesses of the other candidates, and the reaction is that those weaknesses will become the party's should they become leader. If they make mistakes then it's seen as evidence that they are not going to cut it. Is that realistic? Not really.

I work with a lot of 'change management' and when all of that change is complete, we hold a pilot, or a live test of the processes that were just changed. This is done partly to see if the new processes work, and partly to see how people will deal with the problems that arise.

In that sense, I guess the pile-on that occurs after every gaffe just helps the live testing that's going on for each of the leadership candidates that have to prove their ability.

And so it goes, and everyone will support their candidate until it becomes apparent that they won't win. Then they'll find the next best choice, etc, until it gets to the point where its down to a few remaining choices, and then people will be deciding who they want to win, or who they don't want to win.

When the dust settles, a leader is chosen with hopefully enough consensus to help the party put the divisiveness of the leadership struggle behind them. I gather this is precisely what didn't happen after the last Liberal leadership struggle.

Hopefully this time what everyone will remember after this whole process of trying to choose the best leader is that the real strength of the party comes from it's supporters.

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