Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Garth in D-C: Curiouser and Curiouser

There appears to be a difference of opinion between Garth Turner and Janet Rosenstock, the Membership Chair of the Dufferin-Caledon FLA, regarding the number of members required to hold a candidate nomination meeting.

As a lawyer's daughter, I personally despise this kind of discrepancy on such an easily resolved issue. And since nobody else seems keen to sort out fact from fiction in this case, I guess it's up to me.

To quote Ms. Rosenstock:

Every FLA must have a certain level of membership before a nomination meeting can be granted. The Membership level is lowered during what is called, 'Electoral Urgency.' Our 'Electoral Urgency' number is roughly 175. We needed about 12 more members.

In a later interview with CTV she claims that Turner was only 9 members short, but in any case, where did this magic number of 175 come from?

The Liberal Party does indeed have specific requirements for membership levels in these cases. Here's what the rules say:

“Minimum Membership Threshold” means, in respect of each Electoral District Association, the lesser of:
(i) 300 EDA members; or
(ii) a number of EDA members equivalent to one and one half per cent of the Liberal vote in the last federal Election, provided however that in no event shall this reduce the required number of members to less than 100;

In the case of D-C, the number of Liberal votes in the last election was 8,495. 1.5% of 8,495 is 127, which would be considerably below either the 166 or 163 figures mentioned by Rosenstock.

But what about this "Electoral Urgency" situation? Well, that gets a little more dicey. I won't quote the entire section of legalese, but here's the rub:

In any such state of electoral urgency, the National Campaign Chair or his or her designate may alter the time lines and procedures fixed by these Rules in such manner as he or she, in his or her sole and absolute discretion, may see fit, for any Electoral District(s), provided that any changes to these Rules so enacted shall forthwith be communicated in writing to any affected EDA president and to any Potential Nomination Contestant (of whom the National Campaign Chair or designate has knowledge) who may be affected. The failure of any such person to receive such notice shall not invalidate the declaration of electoral urgency.

In other words, all bets are off.

I'm waiting for further clarification of this from our own riding officials, but common sense would seem to dictate that any situation of 'Electoral Urgency' would only have existed before Ignatieff and Harper agreed to strike an EI reform panel on June 17th, and after Ignatieff announced his intention to vote against the government on August 31st.

Rosenstock claims that Turner was informed of the current membership requirements on June 18th.

The other problem is, Ms. Rosenstock was quoted as saying, "The Membership level is lowered during what is called, 'Electoral Urgency." Which could not possibly be the case in this case, since the number of members she's claiming would be required is higher than would normally be the case.

Don't get me wrong - I'm well aware of Garth's ability to place himself in a favourable light in any given situation. But there's definitely something rotten in D-C.

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