Open Nominations - Expectations Can Be Dangerous


As referenced in an earlier blog, Liberal Party "open nominations" has created issues this promise inside and outside of the party. Liberals both new and well-weathered, have been asking the same question, "WTF is going on?"

The idea of open, grassroots candidate nominations applying to every riding sounds like a great idea. It fit well within the idea of the Liberal Party as a national movement. Still, admittedly in hindsight, the problems were obvious.

In the small world of those who are passionate about their politics, there are different levels of cynicism. At the opposite ends of the spectrum are:

Zealot: Everything your candidate says is divine revelation and complete truth.

Cynic: It's just a political promise. You can't really expect the politician to mean it.

The are a surprising number of people who started to creep toward the former when it came to Justin Trudeau. When he promised open nominations, they truly believed it would be fully open. Despite the small print, with the party retaining its right of appointment, many truly believed that the party would stay out of local nominations.

Perhaps I lean to the cynical side but such an expectation seems naive and untenable. In a business where some of the best candidates (those who can win an election) may not agree to run or can't run until an election is close, the party can't (shouldn't ?) leave everything to just anyone who wants to try to run?

So how did the party chose to

Manage Expectations

Not very much. If you have been following the nominations, you have talked to fellow travelers about

  • Who is running in my riding? How can I find out?
  • Who is the party favourite contestant?
  • When will the nomination be called?
  • What is the party doing to help their favourite?
  • Are some contestants being treated differently?
  • Funny how quickly some green lights are given.

Far from a transparent process, for most not in the party inner circle there was a significant level of opacity.

For some of us, it was rather amusing to watch so many candidates and their friends burrowing for any information to help their campaigns. Like the reading of tea leaves, we tried to give meaning to the intonations of senior party leaders when they gave such insights as "I don't know when you will be green lit." Uncountable hours of meetings and telephone calls were devoted to the meaning of "I don't know when your meeting will be called."

For many of the new members brought into the party by contestants, this opacity was, to be kind, counter-intuitive. They didn't understand why we couldn't tell them when a meeting would be called or exactly who would be running. It seems odd, almost amateurish.

The longer the process went on, the more people wonder.


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