Party Renewal For A Better Ontario
I exemplify party renewal. I’m a person with lifelong Liberal values, with lots of relevant life and work experience, who is stepping up to offer my candidacy.
Being an outsider gives me a unique take on how to renew the Ontario Liberal Party.
Let’s be the Party of leaders who want to do something, rather than be someone.
It starts with an honest assessment.
As Liberals now looking at government from the sidelines, we can’t always point fingers at the current government. Let’s admit we got some things wrong and need to make changes in direction.
Auto insurance is a prime example of where we missed the mark.
The implementation of the Green Energy Act in rural ON is another example. Rural Ontario felt excluded from decision-making.
The party stopped listening to people outside the GTA bubble.
Which leads to a plan.
We need to face up to our rural-urban divide and rebuild trust from grass roots. Much of that work needs to happen at the Riding Association level.
For the Riding Associations
I have been present at Riding Association meetings where I have watched board members struggle to engage because they just don’t have the tools.
They can’t update their own websites to announce events because access needs to be provided by Party headquarters’ staff who are already over-tasked.
They have a mishmash of member lists because they don’t have the access to the Party’s master list which makes it hard to send renewal notices and keep members engaged.
If I am selected as the Party’s leader, empowering the Riding Associations with the tools they need to engage their own communities will be a strong priority.
For the Nominations
With over 100 ridings looking for candidates, there is a real opportunity for excitement and buzz if the nomination process is developed as a media moment. Having many ridings nominating at the same time will create excitement for the Party if the digital and traditional media are engaged.
There are section committees struck in many but not all Riding Associations. Despite their best efforts, it will simply not be possible for a selection committee to identify all strong candidates who may have an interest in running. Many potential candidates browse the party’s website for information about running. For an outsider considering this important step, there is simply not enough information readily available. The development of a detailed, outsider-friendly guide to seeking the nomination should be readily available for download on the website.
The Federal Liberal party had significant success in 2015 by soliciting high-profile non-political candidates to run. As a result, the Federal Cabinet has a wide variety of expertise ranging from soldier to astronaut to physician. A central search committee to look for the best and the brightest provincial candidates is also an initiative I would recommend.
I have spoken to several past nomination candidates who have felt that after they stood for nomination, sold memberships and gave it their all, they were discarded by the party when they were unsuccessful.
One candidate described how he and all his supporters “sat the last election out” because he felt unwelcome after losing the nomination. Successful or not, if someone is committed enough to run for nomination, surely the Party can find that person a meaningful role. The development of a policy for retaining nomination candidates would be a priority.
For Policy Development
In the end, we want people to vote for us because our policies reflect the kind of province they would like to see.
The leadership candidates’ proposed policies and ideas are important because they demonstrate the candidate’s leanings and orientation. However, the Party Leadership simply cannot impose policies from the top down.
If I am selected as leader, we will arrange, and I will personally host, 3 policy conventions in each district between the March 2020 convention and the election. This is ambitious but crucial if we are going to present a platform to Ontario in 2022 that resonates with Liberal voters and (most importantly) potential Liberal voters.
We appreciate the leadership that the Party’s executive has shown to improve the Party’s financial situation but there is much to be done.
My experience in marketing and business tells me that issue-based digital marketing is a strong and compelling way to raise both profile and funds. The best example of a user of issue-based marketing is the National Rifle Association in the United States. Imagine if this powerful tool was used for the good news messages of the Ontario Liberal Party!
The feedback I have had from Riding Associations is that they would like to see a more co-operative approach to fundraising across the province. They note that it is always easier to hold events, engage members and raise funds in held ridings. In ridings that are not held, fundraising is more challenging making it more difficult to run a successful campaign. The problem becomes circular!
Many ridings depend on voluntary contributions from their neighboring associations. While the willingness to share is commendable, the uncertainty a lack of funds creates can undermine the ability to plan events and support a candidate’s election.
Party renewal needs all hands on deck. If you would like to work with me to rebuild the Liberal Party, please consider volunteering or making a donation.