Monday, October 28, 2013

The New Liberal Leader

Rana Bokhari, New Manitoba Liberal Leader
I have worked Saturdays since childhood. I was newspaper carrier when there were still evening papers. I delivered the Winnipeg Tribune, Winnipeg Free Press and Winnipeg Sun.

For much of my life, I have worked more evenings and weekends that I care to remember.

I still do.

I try to take some Saturdays off occasionally but generally it is an extremely busy work day for me.  This Saturday was another busy one.

I take a rare Saturday off and would have this week for the Liberal leadership vote. However, there were a mail-in ballot and advance poll.

I love advance polls in that on election day, I like to be able to avoid any crowds and get my vote in. I do take time do go over my candidate lists and policy platforms. However, by a week before the election or so, I am more or less confirmed in what my decision will be. So far I have been lucky and there has not been a reason for me to regret voting before the actual election date.

The Liberal advance poll was a preferential vote numbering 1 through 3. There were were three worthwhile candidates in Rana Bokhari, Dougald Lamont and Bob Axworthy.

I made my selection based on a variety of criteria for and chose Rana Bokhari as my first choice. I didn't make my decision widely known but did tell a few people. I did not want to influence anyone and I should be clear that I would have supported any of the three had they become leader.  I told only a few people what my decision was. In my view, all of them would be preferable to the two main parties for their leadership.

It will be a tough time for the new leader. No seat in the legislature and probably the loss of two staff members. Those staff are assigned to elected leaders and had worked for Jon Gerrard. Since he is no longer leader, the positions are likely to be terminated unless the other parties agree to a change. The NDP might want to cripple the Liberals and say no. It might be in the Conservatives interest to say yes.

Why? Because every time the Liberal vote goes up, it gives the PCs a chance at becoming government.

I was not present when the leader was elected on the first ballot. However, I was happy to see Rana Bokhari become youngest Liberal leader in provincial history.

Some Liberals expressed dismay from other camps and made disparaging remarks about demographics dictating the vote. I can't say what the break down was but I am white and older than the candidate chosen. I saw a mix of people at the advance polls and on TV supporting the chosen candidate.

The Free Press mentioned that not enough eligible voters actually voted and too many voted in the advance polls. I suppose a delegate election could have ensured more people in the room and dispensed with the advance polls. I don't know. I have been part of both processes. It will always come down to how many memberships sold and voter turn out.

I think my reasons for not going to the actual leadership convention are fairly solid. I still think things have been fairly exciting and interest seemed to grow. But people are going to take their time assessing.

I know that I will be putting more time in but in what capacity, I don't know.

I think one thing I am certain of and that is our two party polarized system has made a lot of people wonder out loud if we could do better.

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