Little seedlings of support for David Merner as the next leader of the LPC are sprouting up.
Dan Arnold of the National Post has this to say about Werner:
I’ll reserve judgment until I meet the man, but Merner does meet three of the requirements on the official “Liberal leadership BINGO card” – he was born in Alberta, used to play hockey, and is fluently bilingual. If we find out he’s Pierre Trudeau’s long lost nephew, the media will be head-over-heels in love with this man.
Impolitical also sees David Merner as worthy of consideration:
I spoke with David on the weekend while he was at the LPCA meeting in Edmonton. Merner is a native
Albertan, living in Victoria, who has worked in Ottawa at the Department of Justice. Is fluently bilingual. So fluent that he played on French hockey teams while living in Ottawa. And wrote the Ontario Bar in French. That's pretty darned bilingual.
Also notable about Merner, he sits on the advisory board of Leadnow, which over the past year has become one of the leading young progressive organizations in the country. Speaks about really making an effort in the west for the party, emphasizes micro-targeting, mentioned Liberalist twice during our chat, cares about a new way of doing policy in the party ("wikisourcing") and is keen to answer the question of what kind of leadership the party needs. Very engaging and easy to talk politics with, he is going to add a lot to the race.
And Far and Wide astutely points out the hidden weapon of Merner in the coming race for leader – the possibility that tens of thousands of progressives who want the non-Tory parties to cooperate to remove Harper from power could sign up as Supporters of the LPC and vote for David Merner:
And suddenly Merner will place himself within a debate that will emerge as this race moves forward. Why? Because, as I've said the mechanics of the race mean the contest isn't confined to narrow partisans, it will draw in others with a wider agenda:
Maude Barlow, national chairperson of the Council of Canadians...."The progressive elements of our society have to come together in solidarity"... And Jamie Biggar, the executive director of Leadnow.ca, which has challenged measures of the Harper government, says his group advocated for co-operation with the Liberals during the NDP leadership campaign and will do so again as the Liberals pick a leader.
Biggar also notes 10000 people joined the NDP to support these notions. The point here being, "outside" organizations can willingly participate in assisting any advocate. Mr. Merner will find friends within the party, and perhaps a built in administrative aid from others. There is an appetite out there for co-operation, that Merner is distinguishing himself makes him a "dark-horse" to watch, he will recieve media attention and sympathy from certain quarters.
I expect "co-operation" to be a core issue as this process moves forward. Mr. Merner has shrewdly staked out fertile ground that could make this "second tier" candidate one to watch moving forward...
I'm with Far and Wide: cooperation will be a major touchstone in the coming election of the new leader of our party, and perhaps THE key issue.
Poll after poll shows massive support for some form of electoral cooperation between the NDP, LPC and Greens. People want change.
And they want our democratic deficit remedied, through electoral reform that makes people's votes count.
The Merner Plan & Justin Trudeau's decision not to run for leader
I believe that David Merner needs to add several key planks to his support of pre-election cooperation as per the Cullen Plan, in order for him to win.
If Merner were to add the features below to his candidacy, I believe that two things would happen.
Firstly, Justin Trudeau might seriously decide to keep his powder dry and take a stab at the Liberal leadership some time in the future. The Merner Plan would give him the perfect out to do this, while keeping his options option for a run for the leadership in the near term.
Secondly, I believe that tens of thousands of Canadians would join the Liberal Party of Canada as Supporters so as to vote for David and the Merner Plan.
If Merner publicly supported the Merner Plan as set out here, then I would seriously consider voting for him as the next leader even if Justin Trudeau decided to take a run at the leadership. The country comes before the party when it comes to improving our democracy.
Contents of a Winning Merner Plan
David has one of 3 of the issues I believe he needs in order to become the next leader of the Liberal Party of Canada: his support for pre-election cooperation along the lines of the Cullen Plan.
|Matthew Carroll of Leadnow|
If David added the following 2 issues to his Merner Plan he could prove unbeatable, no matter who ran (Justin, Coyne, either of the McGuinty brothers, whoever):
Modified Proportional Representation:
Merner should spell out in clear terms that should he become leader of the LPC, he would immediately define the terms of a modified proportional representation system of electing our federal MPs. This LPC MPR would then become the basis on which he, as leader of the party, would consider supporting any other party should the next election re sult in a minority government.
|Jamie Biggar of Leadnow|
Merner should make it absolutely clear that (i) there would be no support (with the LPC abstaining from confidence votes or voting against any minority government) unless the leader of the NDP clearly and publicly committed himself and his party to vote for legislation to implement the LPC MPR within 6 months of assuming power as Prime Minister; and (ii) there would not be any referendum on the LPC MPR proposal.
This plank would give all those who so desperately wish our archaic democracy to be reformed by giving ALL votes cast in our elections value, to join the LPC as Supporters (if they met the terms to do so – not being a signed up member of another party, and
agreeing to Liberal values).
Merner is a fighter, both in court and as a politician, and weighing the odds and sifting the facts before making an incisive and effective decision is not foreign to him.
David Merner would go down in history as the Great Reformer.
Commit to Step Down:
Commit to resign as leader of the LPC once the modified proportional representation proposal has been legislated into existence and is the law of the land.
This will trigger another contest for leadership of the LPC, and Merner should reserve the right to run again for leader. Justin Trudeau, if he has wisely decided not to contest Merner in this go around, could toss his hat into the ring at that time.
Merner's commitment to step down would do wonders in focusing Canadians' attention (including tens of thousands of prospective Supporters) on the two major issues in the Merner Plan – the adoption of something like the Cullen Plan before the next election, and the implementing of a modified proportional representation form of electing our future MPs.
Like Cincinnatus, David Merner would earn the respect of all Canadians for carrying out the reforms we so sorely need, and then stepping down once he had achieved the changes.
The Big 5 who might help David Merner become leader of the LPC
The leadership of the LPC will be won by the candidate who gains the most votes f rom all members of the Party and all Supporters.
|Anna Maclean of Leadnow|
The new class of voters known as Supporters means that hundreds of thousands of Canadians who wish to bring about positive changes in our democractic system of elections, can actively take steps to make this happen by becoming Supporters of the LPC and voting for a candidate of their choice to become the new leader.
Given that the probability is that there will not be a party in Parliament after the next election with a majority of seats, the tide for reform is at a critical time. A cooperation between the NDP and LPC and Greens to replace the Harper government with a new one, will take place.
And if David Merner adopts the above Merner Plan and becomes the new Liberal leader, reform is virtually guaranteed. Not even the Tory control of the Senate could stop such reform legislation.
|Emma Pullman of Leadnow|
Keep your eye on Leadnow, the activist group seeking cooperation with a view to electoral reform.
Their five leaders could play a major role in bringing about an influx of several hundreds of thousands of new Supporters in the LPC, who would vote for the candidate who promised the best hope of immediate, tangible and effective eletoral reform.
LeadNow believes in ordinary people doing extrarordinary things together:
Normally, we wait for politicians to tell us who and what we should vote for. Let's work together for change by telling our politicians that we will vote for the candidates who will cooperate for progress on the issues you care about.
Right now, generations of Canadians are coming together to share their hopes and ideas for our country and our future. Together, we'll draft a Declaration for Change that challenges our politicians to work together for progress on the issues that you care about. Leadnow will ask people to commit to take action and vote for the politicians who will rise to the challenge.
The Leadnow group defines cooperation and electoral reform in clearly understood language:
When we say “cooperation” we mean any plan that involves the NDP, Liberals and Greens working together in key ridings to ensure that vote splitting does not result in a Conservative being elected despite the fact that a majority of people in that riding are willing to vote NDP, Liberal or Green. There are a number of different ways of accomplishing this goal, and it should partially be up to negotiation between the parties. We will report on the ideas put forward by the parties and the leadership candidates.
What do we mean by “electoral reform?”We think that Canada needs to have a national conversation to determine the exact nature of the electoral system that would best fit the needs of Canadians. The goal would be to ensure that the number of seats a party earns through an election closely reflect the number of Canadians who cast ballots for them. The current system does not allow for this, and we need to build consensus on a better system for Canadians.
Leadnow is a young organization:
In March 2011 a group of young Canadians launched Leadnow.ca to help Canadians take action together for the fair, responsible and democratic Canada that we believe in.
A year later, more than 100,000 Canadians of all ages and across the entire country have joined the Leadnow.ca community. Our members include NDP, Liberal, Green and Conservative supporters. Many of us do not belong to any political party. All of us want change.
Through local gatherings and online voting we have found that our community values deep democracy, equity and climate justice. As we organize campaigns on a range of issues, they will always work towards these larger goals.
Their key leaders are:
Matthew Carroll is Leadnow's Campaigns Director. He trained as an atmospheric scientist, and has a decade of experience as an organizer, facilitator and campaign strategist, working with a variety of non-profits, public institutions and governments. Follow him on Google
Jamie Biggar is Leadnow's Exective Director. He has a background in large-scale online and offline collaboration to develop policy and campaigns. He began organizing in the youth climate movement, co-founding Common Energy and goBeyond to bring university communities across British Columbia together to catalyze regional climate action. He has served on the boards of multiple environmental, social justice, and educational organizations, including his service as Chairman of the Sierra Club of BC.
You should follow Biggar on Twitter at https://twitter.com/jamiebiggar/ and his Facebook
Ryan Baillargeon is Leadnow's Online Director. He specializes in using technology as a tool to help the Leadnow community take easy, effective action on a range of important issues.You can follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/jyant
Anna McClean is Leadnow's local organizing coordinator. She helps the Leadnow community build local connections, organize events and actions, and come together to discuss the issues that matter to Canadians. Follow her on Twitter at https://twitter.com/annajcmcclean
Emma Pullman is Leadnow's volunteer research director. She is a passionate independent investigative journalist and writes for the Vancouver Observer and DeSmogBlog. Her Twitter address is https://twitter.com/emmacaroline_/ and her blog is http://www.desmogblog.com/blog/emma-pullman
Over to our Pollsters
Now let's see whether our pollsters start asking some pertinent questions about who would join the LPC as a Supporter in order to vote for a replacement government and electoral reform, along the lines of the Merner Plan outlined above.