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OMOV and YLC quotas: From agnostic to against.

You might remember on Friday I said I had reservations about this Young Liberal of Canada amendment that would support One Member One Vote – conditional on the YLC retaining their 25% quota of youth delegates at Liberal conventions.

After reading a couple of Liberal blogs that have popped up opposing this “amendment to the amendment”, but in particular and specifically after reading Jeff’s blogpost and Steve’s blogpost expressing their reasoning for being against the YLC sub-amendment, I’ve turned from being indifferent to the YLC amendment to outright opposing it (and from talking to a few other Liberal bloggers in private, and seeing some bloggers in some of the above mentioned blogs comment threads, they may not have posted anything on this issue yet, but I get the feeling they will be shortly, and more then a few of them will be posting their opposition to the YLC sub-amendment on quotas).

My main reason? I’m trying to get confirmation of this from the Liberal office, but if the statistics that I saw on a few of these message boards are true – that the YLC members or Young Liberals make up no more then 12-14% of the current Liberal Membership, and that this number has been declining in recent years, I absolutely balk at giving or keeping a quota disproportionately larger then what the current youth membership has, and giving them such a large bloc of influence which to be blunt, they don’t in my view currently deserve to have.

As one Young Liberal at my Facebook page said to me:

“Under the proposed YLC amendment to Weighted-OMOV, and if the current number of members in my riding remain the same, my vote would be anywhere from 12-25% of the riding total… Not that I would not mind that, but that is bad for democracy.”

Get that? He’s the lone young Liberal in his riding, and yet his vote would get weighted to up to 25% of the riding total? Yikes.
That’s an extreme example that is obviously not the same everywhere in every riding, but I can’t accept an amendment like what the YLC is offering. I know they want to protect their influence within the party, but I think this goes too far. Theoretically the youth could drop to 5% of total party members and still have that 25% guaranteed quota. I don’t consider that very democratic or fair, and I think it gives the YLC leaders little or no incentive to go out and recruit new members, when they know their % of votes for delegates are a guarantee.

IF the YLC wants influence in the Liberal Party there’s a better way, and I’ll repeat what a couple of the other Liberal bloggers have already pointed to – YLC Presidential candidate John Lennard’s post here that says the YLC leadership needs to actively go out and aggressively recruit and grow its members.

If the YLC does that, they’ll have real power through real numbers – and they don’t and won’t need a quota system.


22 comments to OMOV and YLC quotas: From agnostic to against.

  • DM

    “it treats someone in High River the same as some in Toronto, which is the essence of equality in the grand scheme”

    No it doesn’t.

    It treats the totality of Liberal Party members in High River the same as the totality of members in a single Toronto riding. As individuals, they are in no way being treated in the same way (and I’m assuming there are significantly more members in the Toronto riding than otherwise).

    Now, so does the status-quo.

    As Dan wrote today, there are far more similarities between the status-quo and WOMOV than there are differences.

    Just don’t tell me that WOMOV treats every member “equally” because it isn’t true.

  • DM

    I know it’s weighted, so I wasn’t “wrong”. I love the weighted component, because it’s actually a more representative process regionally, it treats someone in High River the same as some in Toronto, which is the essence of equality in the grand scheme.

  • hey Justin

    we counted votes in ridings in the 2006 leadership where 2 people voted.

    Other ridings had big numbers like 8, 12, 13, and 21…

  • Justin T

    I think it is totally unrealistic that in a contested leadership situation there would be 1 or 2 youth in a riding that make up the entire 25%. Campaigns will be signing people up for that 25%.

    But how is that any different that smaller ridings getting the same vote as larger Toronto ridings or the 30% of delegates that Young Liberals are currently guaranteed.

    As has been pointed out on other blogs, Young Liberals make up 30% of delegates to Vancouver. OMOV will need 67% to pass. Having the youth onboard for OMOV makes it a lot easier for the amendment to pass.

  • DM

    As an aside, is the Renewal Committee’s report public anywhere?

  • DM

    I agree every riding is equal but every member is not. That’s a feature of the proposal – and is certainly defendable – but it most certainly does not mean that every MEMBER is equal – only that every RIDING is equal. Steve stated otherwise in response to Danielle and he is wrong in that regard.

  • DM

    “you and me equal. Period”

    That of course is not true. You and me are equal if we happen to live in ridings with the same number of members. If I live in a riding with 1000 members and you live in a riding with 2 members (as is the case in more than a few ridings), then your vote is actually 50-times more equal than my vote.

    The status-quo is flawed (the BIGGEST problem with the status quo is the weight ex-officios have – roughly 20% of the vote in Montreal went to, um, old white men 😉

    Weighted OMOV is flawed. I’m not sure if the YLC proposal makes the flawed proposal better or worst.

    The irony is much of the current support amongst Iggy establishment types is they think it was a delegated convention that screwed Iggy last time. The almost certain winner if the current, weighted OMOV had been in place in 2006? Stephane Dion. There is zero change that Iggy would have won – he was NOBODY’S second choice.

    Yes, I am undecided but I am leaning towards voting to keep the status-quo.

    • @DM, Of course it’s true. The weighted OMOV makes sure that every riding is equal to the other. If we had pure OMOV, that would mean Liberals based in big city ridings and in the power base of the East would do all the picking of the leader and of policy. Weighted OMOV attempts to correct that imbalance.

  • While we’re on the topic of quotas Danielle, I, and others would like to be guaranteed that we will be able to vote at all the YLC and OYL elections. Say a quota of…I don’t know…33% or so.

  • Sorry Danielle, my bad. After I read that crack I just figured that reading the rest wasn’t worth my time, so I missed some good rebuttals I guess 🙂

    As for OMOV, it’s a pretty simple concept- you and me equal. Period.

  • Karem Allen

    I believe the party needs to listen to the Youth, Woman’s and the Aboriginal wings through the policy process and we need to see these polcies make it into the actual campaign. The commissions should be mentoring future candidates.

    Youth say they are the most progressive wing of the party and I don’t dispute it but selecting a leader is for the purpose of running in an election to win and form a government that leads us all.

    Isn’t the act of winning a wide open leadership contest a good test run? There is no protection in an election and that is where the real representation comes from. A leader who does not listen to Youth is not going to be voted for by young voters– members or not. What difference will our policies make if we are not the governing party?

    There is so much bullshit in this party that at least having OMOV dilutes it!

    As we have seen at the Provincial level it does not matter what is said in an election because it can and will change.
    Do the Provincial Liberals listen to the Youth? they have their delegates and youth voice but the policy for limiting the number of passengers in a car caused a revolt and it was overturned, why were the youth not consulted on that? Where was the voice?

    The Liberal Party is full of powerbases and these powerbases do not want to loose any of it.

    The point of One Member One Vote is not only to save on convention fees as someone stated, it is to give everyone in this party a say in who leads it. It is to say that Jane and Joe Liberal both have a stake , an equal stake in who runs in the election under the Liberal banner as the Leader. It is to help in fundraising, If I as a member feel more valued then I will donate and if I am not rich and feel valued I will donate a little but maybe frequently.

    If we all feel empowered equally we will support this party, if the funding drops the party is dead in the water.

    I don’t want to see a war erupt between the youth and we “old” folks but we are all Liberals and together we are stronger.

  • ugh. *shakes head* Steve, AGAIN, the ONE comment was tongue in cheek if you choose to take offense, I’m sorry. And I’ve already said that it was, so mentioning it again and dragging this out is very frusturating. Like how many times have men said something that was misinterpreted as something else by women? And Steve I don’t think you like it when people choose to pick out one sentence from your posts to attack that doesn’t represent the real meat of your post and ignore the rest. I did address in the rest of my comment the rebuttals against exactly the points you, Jeff, and Scott and others have been making. Let’s not mention the one sentence “sexist male” crack again people and let’s focus our efforts at the issues at hand shall we? I’ve written much more substantial, valid sentences than that one that deserve more att’n, thank you very much. I’m not going to comment again on it, so if anyone wants to have the last word for the sake of it, the floor is yours, and hope it brings them satisfaction knowing they’re picking on something that was innocent and didn’t relate to the real issue. I’m more than happy to debate the real issues of OMOV.

    I don’t think it’s that surprising that you don’t see any youth speaking directly against this amendment and that the YLC exec unanimously endorsed it, it’s against their own interest and the future viability of the YLC to vote against the amendment.

    I’m sure you’ll see National Director Adam Miron speaking in favour of it as well.

    IF the amendment fails I expect you’ll see many youth will still vote for the overall package, but surely not as many as if the amendment passed.

    But let’s remember it passed last time, so it’s a pretty decent assumption to assume it will this time, so OMOV supporters should think about that.

    And Steve I don’t think you like it when people just pick out one sentence from your posts to attack and ignore the rest, I did address in the rest of my comment, rebuttals against exactly the points you, Jeff, and Scott and others have been making.

  • “The people who I see mainly standing up for OMOV as it currently is, is 26 year old or older, men – what a surprise.”

    Danielle, with all due respect you just articulated why this amendment is a crock. So, anybody who isn’t a YL doesn’t have a right to speak to a process which undermines MY equality in the party? Think about it.

    BTW, the SEXIST crack is counter-productive.

  • The more I read about this amendment, the more I’m of the opinion that this is a poison pill amendment. I’ve been around politics a long time to know one when I smell it.

    It’s been a long time since I’ve done hardcore politicking …

    I’d love to be convinced otherwise.

  • I wonder if all of us – old(er), young, “white”, “non-white”, experienced, idealistic, left-centre-right, or whatever – might get back to the discussion about this being about basic principles of democratic expression.

    The weighted OMOV system, particularly coupled with the preferential ballot, as the Renewal Committee proposes, may not be what we in our party, nor voters in Canada in general are used to, but they are inherently more democratic and reflective of modern (Westminster parliamentary democracy-style) democratic processes than what we do now.

    One can argue that the public doesn’t care what we, the members of basically private organizations that operate in a public sphere, do with respect to our internal processes, but one can also argue that political considerations in democratic institutions are at least partially to blame for the embarrassing diminuation of Canadians in our democratic processes generally.

    Examine (some of) the facts from the last election: a huge decrease in voter turnout, resulting in an increase in support (actual votes) for one party, the Greens, and a decrease for all of the others. But examine too that decrease for the “big three”. Between 35, and 65,000 fewer voters for each of the NDP and CPC and close to 900,000 FEWER voters for the Liberal Party of Canada.

    How we deport ourselves and what and how express what we believe in makes a difference.

    Our internal processes, while “inside baseball” to most are indicative to many others. I for one, not having supported ILMI in either of his leadership bids, do actually believe that the concept of “growing the party” espoused by Bob Rae and courageous young Liberals like YLC presidential candidate John Lennard (and let me be clear, I have been to date supportive of others in the YLC race(s))are very firmly shared by our interim leader. His efforts at opening the door to the tent have not gone unnoticed. But if we continue to care more about the influence we each individually or collectively have as opposed to caring about moving forward what we believe in, which includes concepts of democratic expression, I don’t think we’ll get far.

    This ain’t about the Youth. It really ain’t.

    Oh, dang! dinner’s up…gotta run

  • I worry about the “power” moving to smaller ridings too… Perhaps there is room for a hybrid system?

    Maybe we can have a “superdelegates” system, where there are “superdelegates” from the various commissions, and this is added to the one member one vote? This would certainly bolster the youth, women’s commission, etc., We could also ensure that vote numbers reflect regional, or riding size.

    Our party is intellectually rich, forward thinking, and progressive, and it has a lot to do with “cosmopolitan” ideas mostly coming from the larger centers. It is no coincidence that we have so much representation from Toronto, Montreal, and Greater Vancouver…

    I think that OMOV can be modified to ensure that we don’t get pulled away from the “progressive” side of things. One good example of this is gun control. I’m from the Prairies, and I know that most Liberals I know in Sask, Man, and AB, oppose the registry. They, however, are a tiny part of the Liberal Party membership nationally. If we give all ridings equal weight, the public would perceive that the Liberal Party is really split on the gun registry, when this is far from the truth. If, on the other hand, we use a “population multiple” for every vote – based on the riding you come from – this would ensure fair and balanced expression of Liberal thought. If we have all members vote on an issue, then, we wouldn’t have to worry about riding “imbalance”…

    Just some random thoughts from the two of us…

  • Anthony, and Scott (especially Scott, cuz I thought you knew me better than that, which disappoints me) you’re really misrepresenting what I said and my intentions. If you want to pick up on my one sentence relating to men to move against what I did say overall with my valid concerns, so be it. And I’ll note neither of you addressed the rest of what I said which was a direct rebuttal to what people like Jeff and Steve and yourself put in your blog posts. If you want to reply, pls choose to reply to one of those points, not on a side tracked, taken out of context, exageration. I’ll watch what I say next time with more seriousness. And they say it’s women who can’t relax and are the ones who over react.

    I was a YL for 12 years. Years involved mean nothing. This is a representation issue. I have worked on several campaigns, in various levels of the party, I know many of the key strategists, have worked with many of those many, I know the techniques of the war room, and yes, I know they’re always changing. If OMOV passes as is, stats programs or vote tracking software will used be used as I said it would be. And bang, new unofficial, unnecessary pandering will exist.

    As the youth rep on the Ontario Women’s Liberal Commission I also feel it is frankly my duty to speak out on such issues for the members I represent, it just happens to correspond with my own personal view as well.

    And to Jim…. if Belinda Stronach, who is known is one of the biggest OMOV vote supporters could support the amendment why can’t you? She spoke in favour of this very same amendment at the last convention. I thought OMOV was just about giving a greater voice to all those who can’t afford to go to conventions, I didn’t realize it was about taking away the protections in representation that already existed.

    I also don’t believe the quota creates a disincentive to recruit, the newly acclaimed YLC VP Org had in her platform that she will set and publish recruitment goals and her progress on them. In my case, I joined the Young Libs a long time ago because I belived the party leadership listened to youth, without the quota, I think the incentive for the leadership to listen to youth will be gone, and that will actually make it harder to credibly argue in recruiting to other youth that we have a true voice.

    • @Danielle Takacs– If you meant that as a wisecrack, it didn’t come across as such in the typed words very well (a smilie face or wink might have conveyed that better if you’d included it)… so if that was the intended meaning of that remark, I apologize .. but at the same time, you need to be careful with using that particular type of wisecracks, as it should be obvious people can take it the wrong way if it isn’t spelled out clearly it was sarcasm or a joke.

      I think Jeff has addressed in his latest comments at his blog some counter rebuttals to those who’ve come up with objections. I think OMOV is a way to democratize this party, and it would be regrettable if those in the YLC were trying to prevent this because they fear a loss of their turf.

      All they have to do is go out and work harder to get new members with invigorating policies. Once the new members join and they increase their numbers.. they’ll get back their clout in spades. Plus, I thought a Young Liberal made a good point at John Lennard’s note at Facebook about growing the youth wing; OMOV will help those young Liberals who can’t afford to get to conventions because of the exorbitant cost to be able to actually participate.

      The YLC needs to look at the bigger and longer-term picture here.

  • haha Danielle

    so you are attacking your opponents not based on what they said, but based on their age and their sex…Congratulations…you’ve officially missed the point of the exercise.

    There are other ways of representing minorities in the party.

    If the youth wing truly wanted to lose its influence, it would sink OMOV altogether after their amendment fails. I was a Young Liberal for 7 years. To see the youth wing stand in the way of progress for the party is exactly the reason this amendment should fail in the first place.

  • It’s important to compromise here or else it will be very difficult to get the 2/3 support needed for the overall OMOV package whether people like me vote for it or not. So advocates of OMOV should be supporting something like this to ensure the bulk of youth are on board.

    It seems to me, then, this amendment is designed to defeat the OMOV proposal. I have to accept this amendment in order to have the youth support OMOV?

  • That’s disappointing considering you never addressed, or possibly didn’t even read my comment on your last post about this on Friday, and are going on the basis of views expressed by non-youth. I noticed several ppl against the YLC amendment linked to your Friday post, but that resulted in no responses to my comment. The people who I see mainly standing up for OMOV as it currently is, is 26 year old or older, men – what a surprise.

    I’ll post my comment here again and I’ll see what you have to say this time Scott, and I hope you can give my view the same credence as you have to the other two bloggers you linked to. I know Jeff has address his part that I had related to him, but I still think my main thoughts were very valid and realistic. And as you know Scott, I related the very same view to you about OMOV many months ago when I wrote to you about Liberal 308.


    Without some sort of assured representation of groups, leadership candidates would just look at the membership list and run an SPSS data analysis or similar program, to see what more “like voter groups” (e.g., wealthy males would score highest) are within the membership, and then cater to those groups predominantly for their support. I know enough of our numbers that women (far far less than 50% of the membership), youth (13% of the membership), Aboriginals would not make the big categories found in a program for most leadership candidates to include their issues within a platform. That is why we have commissions. And if OMOV is to remove the “wine and dine” aspect from leadership races, for my reason stated above, it will just be replaced by other more-well-to-do groups found within our lists that maybe don’t need as much promoting and protecting across Canadian culture as a whole.

    I also hear rumour that an amendment to OMOV will be proposed very shortly, along the lines that members within the last 6 months can’t vote in OMOV leadership races. If that fails, should I still vote then for OMOV, when its a perfectly sensible, fair amendment that should be accepted with no qualms?

    Another issue is why is it so much more important to weight by riding and give overrepresentation to small ridings, than to guarantee certain representation for youth or other underrepresented groups? This a
    great topic of debate and I know Jeff Jedras (BC’er in Toronto, (see here) ) said he wouldn’t support OMOV unless it was weighted by riding (which I agree with him on), so I’d be curious to hear from people with that pov why they support weighting by riding but not any other kind of weighting? Finally, I’d add this amendment DID pass in 2006 and was supported by many MPs including the biggest OMOV advocate Belinda Stronach. Youth shoudln’t be asked to give up their leverage here and say “this is a just token amendment, if you vote it down, we’ll support what you want for OMOV anyway”. The commissions play a very important role in getting out the vote and bringing in new members to the party via their clubs, they shouldn’t be taken for granted. Most clubs fundraise for their own operations and the youth make a profit for the party, and the NWLC raise thousands of dollars a year for women candidates.

    I like the idea OMOV and including more ppl, and changes are certainly needed in our present system. We just have to make sure it’s the right change for EVERYONE in the membership. I don’t want to do anything drastic,
    find just as many (different) issues with the new system, and then having it be difficult to change again in the future. It’s important to compromise here or else it will be very difficult to get the 2/3 support needed for the overall OMOV package whether people like me vote for it or not. So advocates of OMOV should be supporting something like this to ensure the bulk of youth are on board.

    • @Danielle Takacs Danielle, I respect your viewpoint, but I believe that Jeff and Steve and others views correspond closer to what I think. And, I’m a tad disappointed to read you equating this opposition to this amendment as being only “old men” opposing this. In private conversation and from reading public comments, I know there are women bloggers and women Liberal members who oppose this amendment as well (though they may not be in the youth wing – which by the way doesn’t de-legitimize their opposition to this anymore then those of us who aren’t in the youth wing who happen to be “old”, and of the male persuasion).

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