Saturday, January 05, 2008

Leadership-prinzip replacing democracy in Canadian politics

Fellow Member of the Rank and File,

In 1979 at the Nomination Convention when Canada's current Minister of Justice first stood for nomination an individual sought the position of Candidate who, while a doctor, had a problem that led to his speech being incoherent at times to the members of the Party there assembled.

It was one of the moments in a political involvement this year being a half century long (for it was in 1958 John George stopped on Essex's Main Street during the election of that year) I most remember, with pride.  With pride in the hundreds of individuals who listened politely and clapped politely when
the speech was concluded.

A moment such as this could not occur to-day.   Individuals are not at liberty to place their names forward in nomination given they are a party member and have a mover and seconder for their nomination.

Our Minister of Justice had to file his papers and obtain approval to seek nomination, this when he was already a member of the Privy Council having been a Minister in a previous government.

What follows was sent to newspapers across Canada as a Letter to the Editor in its body, to columnists as it is presented to you. The same question I pose to
you as to them "
Thoughts you may have on the subject presented would be most welcome: is this a real concern or those of a paranoid politician?"

If you share the concern, let those who are increasing their powers at the expense of those in the rank and file know of your discomfiture. Either do this or  accept without complaint whatever flows downward in the future.

        Joe Hueglin
To: The Fourth Estate <>
From: "Joe Hueglin, Member 29th Parliament" <>
Subject: Leadership-prinzip replacing democracy in Canadian politics

'Yonder sits the Fourth Estate, and they are more important than them all.'"
Edmund Burke

These thoughts are sent to you as a member of the Fourth Estate which is as Burke said centuries ago while looking up at the Press Gallery of the House of Commons.

"Member 29th Parliament" has been added to my name in the "From:" line to establish bona fides to write on these matters. The usual "Return Receipt" request is not present such being inappropriate on this matter of consequence.

Thoughts you may have on the subject presented would be most welcome: is this a real concern or those of a paranoid politician?

        Yours truly

              Joe Hueglin
Leadership-prinzip replacing democracy in Canadian politics

Sad it is that while the news is filled with the trials of Kenya and Pakistan over their struggles toward achieving stable representative government in Canada the flow of power from local Riding Associations to party leadership hierarchies has occurred with little notice.

This week the Liberal Party candidate in Desnethé-Missinippi-Churchill River and the Conservative Party candidate in Toronto Centre Riding in upcoming by elections were
named without reference to the will of their Parties' rank and file constituency members.

The selection of Candidates standing for election to the House of Commons through Riding Nomination Conventions has been usurped to the point whereby candidates actively campaigning have been peremptorily removed from their duly nominated elected positions.

Politics deals with the gaining, maintaining and using power.  Power flowing upward is messy for at times individual Members of Parliament stand up overly strongly for the well being of their constituents in the view of the Prime Minister's Office or that of the Office of the Leader of the Opposition.

The alternative, candidates for election to the House of Commons being appointed rather than being freely elected at Riding Nomination Conventions, is the Leadership-prinzip replacing democracy for the power of Leaders and their immediate advisors is unduly increased.

While hopefully the actions taken by Leaders of both the parties with any expectation of governing Canada will not become accepted as the norm for the future. They will
be, however, unless what has been little noticed until now is forcefully brought forward.


"Don Meredith, a prominent businessman and Baptist minister, was acclaimed as the Tory candidate in the downtown riding by the party's riding association."

"Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion today announced that Joan Beatty, former Saskatchewan NDP cabinet minister and Aboriginal activist, will be the Party's candidate"